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http://www.philsbaseball.com/ - Dec 12, 2013 6:05:51 AM - Dec 5, 2004 5:03:03 AM
Phillies must trade John Mayberry before tomorrow's Rule 5 Draft
by Scott Butler 12/11/13
John Mayberry must not be on the Phillies 40-man roster this time tomorrow. Mayberry must be traded tonight.
Why the urgency? The Phillies were given a gift last week when they earned an extra Rule 5 draft selection from the Cubs through a grievance. It gives the Phillies the 4th and 7th picks in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft. Problem is, they have two selections in the draft and only spot available on their 40-man roster. If they want to take two Rule 5 guys, someone from the current roster has to go. That player needs to be John Mayberry.
I will touch on the Rule 5 aspect in a second, but first, let's talk a little John Mayberry, Jr.
Even healthy, Phillies offense not as good as you think
by Scott Butler 12/10/13
Prepare yourselves for a really depressing article.
It wasn't supposed to be that way, though.
My original intention with this post was to show you that with just a little bit of luck, the Phillies still have one of the top offenses in the National League. Give us a full year of Howard and Utley and the performances we hope and expect from Asche and Brown, the Phillies might make some noise.
Well, not so fast there, Skippy.
I wanted to see how the Phillies offense projects this season if Howard and Utley are healthy, if Domonic Brown can replicate 2013, if Asche can hold his own, and if the rest of the starters simply do their jobs. I'm not asking for 40 bombs from Howard, 100 runs from Revere, or a .300 batting average for Rollins. Just a healthy team and a little bit of good fortune.
The goal here is to set a baseline for the offense if the starters can stay on the field and perform the way they are expected.
Phillies rumors week of December 1-7
by Scott Butler 12/8/13
In our regular feature on Phils Baseball, here are the rumors from the past week from the guys at MLB Trade Rumors. They have a page devoted just to Phillies rumors (this is not a paid plug, honest) and all we do is put everything from the past week in one post.
Here are the latest Phillies rumors from the week of December 1-7:
Thanks Cubs! Phillies gain extra Rule 5 selection
by Scott Butler 12/8/13
The Phillies gained an extra pick in next Thursday's Rule 5 Draft and the reason is mysterious.
The Phillies were awarded the Cubs' pick (4th selection overall) after winning a grievance over Chicago's handling of their selection of Lendy Castillo from the Phillies in 2012.
Players chosen in the Rule 5 Draft must be on the selecting team's active 25-man roster for the entire season, but they also must be on the 25-man roster for at least 90 days during the season. The rules are in place to prevent teams from “drafting and stashing” players on the disabled list to keep them off the active roster.
Castillo was on the Cubs' disabled list for 91 days with a groin injury in 2012 before activating him in September, when rosters expand, giving him 92 days on the active roster. It doesn't take much math sense to recognize that 92 is greater than 90, so technically the Cubs were not in violation.
Then why were the Phillies awarded the pick? With no official explanation, my answer came from "commenter" in the comments section of Todd Zolecki's article:
News flash: the Phillies are old and expensive
by Scott Butler 11/29/13
Captain Obvious here with an insightful observation: the Phillies are an old team. If Family Feud asked 100 people to describe the Phillies in one word, old has to be the #1 answer. Number two on that list should be expensive. Put those two together and what do you get? The Phillies are an old, expensive team.
Ruben Amaro is counting on another term for the 2014 season: talented. While it is easy to point out the high salaries, increasing age, and declining skills, let's not forget that this still is a talented team. If Amaro cashes his lottery ticket this season and somehow his core can remain on the field, the 2014 Phillies should be competitive. The problem with the Phillies situation is that they have no choice but to count on older, injury prone players who hopefully can hang onto their skills just a little longer.
Despite their huge payroll, the Phillies had very little to spend this offseason, which explains why the Phillies were never serious contenders in the Brian McCann/Jacoby Ellsbury/Shin-Soo Choo sweepstakes. Amaro pointed indicated in an interview last week with Mike Missanelli that he expected their payroll to be similar in 2014 to what it has been in the last few seasons, which is around $170 million. After signing relatively cheap deals for Byrd and Ruiz, the Phils have roughly five to ten million left to spend with glaring needs in the starting rotation and the bullpen.
The reality of the situation is that while the core names from the talented and inexpensive 2007 team are mostly the same, their value nearly seven seasons later is quite the opposite. Let's look at the transition in graph form.
Phillies rumors week of November 17-23
by Scott Butler 11/24/13
In the third installment of the newest regular feature on Phils Baseball, we run through the rumors from the past week from the guys at MLB Trade Rumors. They have a page devoted just to Phillies rumors (this is not a paid plug, honest) and all we do is put everything from the past week in one post.
Here are the latest Phillies rumors from the week of November 17-23:
New podcast: Examining Ruben Amaro's tenure
by Scott Butler 11/23/13
In the latest podcast, I go year by year and walk through Ruben Amaro's tenure from start to finish. Here are a few the things I touch on:
Major trades: Good deals like Lee and Halladay and awful trades like Oswalt and Pence.
How the Ibanez and Polanco signings hurt the Phillies.
Why Jayson Werth should have been traded.
The destruction of the Pence trade.
Comparison with Pat Gillick.
How much do Phillies have left to spend this off season?
by Scott Butler 11/19/13
Teams who finish with 89 losses tend to have many holes to fill and the Phillies need lots of shovels and dirt. They filled two needs by signing Marlon Byrd and Carlos Ruiz, but still need to look to free agency for at least two starting pitchers and bullpen help. So, how much do they have left to spend?
To answer that question, we begin with the guaranteed contracts. If we include Carlos Ruiz's still unofficial 3 year/$26 million deal and assume he earns $8 million in 2014, the Phillies have $138.5 million in salary obligations for ten players, roughly $135 million of which counts towards the luxury tax. That luxury tax threshold is based on the average annual value (AAV) of each contract, which is calculated by dividing the total guaranteed money by the number of years.
Cole Hamels' contract, for example, earns him $138 million over 5 years, but it also includes a $6 million buyout in the sixth year, guaranteeing him a minimum of $144 million over 6 years and an AAV of $24 million. Even though Hamels will only make $22.5 million in 2014, it counts as $24 million towards the luxury tax. On the flip side, Rollins will make $11 million in 2014, but he has a $9.5 million AAV because it is a four-year, $38 million deal.
Included in both the actual 2014 payroll and the luxury tax number is roughly $10 million in player benefits.
Where we stand with their current salary obligations is a 2014 payroll of $148.5 million. Their payroll for the last two seasons was over $170 million, so if they remain at that level in 2014, they have about $21.5 million to spend. With a luxury tax figure of $145 million, it leaves them with a maximum of $44 million to spend before reaching the luxury tax.
That realistically leaves Amaro with between $21.5 million and $44 million to spend on the rest of the players. Still with me?
Reflecting on Carlos Ruiz contract
by Scott Butler 11/18/13
Signing Carlos Ruiz to a 3 year/$26 million contract is another clear overpay, but the pile Ruben Amaro just stepped in was nearly unavoidable.
There are plenty of reasons to knock this deal.
Ruiz is 35. That is old. Corey Seidman pointed out on CSNPhilly.com that since 1965, only two catchers 35 or older have hit at least .290 in 400-plus plate appearances: Jorge Posada and Carlton Fisk. Only Fisk, Posada, Mike Piazza and A.J. Pieryznski had an .800 OPS after that age.
The contract is also significantly costlier than most predicted. MLB Trade Rumors predicted a 2 year/$14 million contract and the Rockies were only willing to offer 2 years and $15 million. The Phillies appear to be the only team willing to guarantee a third year. It also easily tops Russell Martin’s two-year, $17 contract from the Pirates last winter.
Crashburn Alley found that in the previous three seasons, only one catcher (John Buck) has earned a contract of three years or more, seven were gives two-year contracts, and everyone else received a one-year deal.
Their options were limited. The Phillies have nobody in their farm system qualified as a starting catcher, and their limited budget essentially eliminated Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia as possibilities. AJ Pierzynski is a lefty the Phillies do not need who is actually older than Ruiz. Dioner Navarro would be much cheaper, but he is also a significant downgrade. That left Chooch.
This was in no way a win for the Phillies, but it wasn't a complete debacle, either. It gives the Phillies a quality defensive catcher who works well with pitchers and can hit a little. While Amaro added an older player again and overpaid again, given their options it was not the most egregious move he could have made.
Phillies rumors week of November 10
by Scott Butler 11/17/13
Did you know a new Phillies rumor is generated every 3 seconds during the offseason? Yeah, I totally made that up, but it probably isn't that far off.
That is why I love MLB Trade Rumors because they track all rumors and have a page devoted just to Phillies rumors (I swear I'm not making a dime for this plug!). Last week I decided to go a step further and put all of their Phillies rumors from the past week in one page. Most of you seemed to like the idea (you lazy bastards), so I am making it a regular feature (at least during the hot stove period). If you want the rumors in real time, make sure to visit MLB Trade Rumors Phillies page.
Here are the latest Phillies rumors from the week of November 10: