Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Phillies take on a big $13.5M salary and get Buchholz



Could a healthy Clay Buchholz jump start the Phillies rotation in 2017?


Another move that the Phillies make that has you wondering, why?


Would you like to sign a top tier pitcher for your rotation? Sure, any day of the week. But what the Phillies did in signing Clay Buchholz away from the Boston Red Sox is pickup a pitcher who is in the final year of his contract, and has disappointed the Boston Red Sox fans majorly for the past couple seasons.

Clay Buchholz has been with the Boston Red Sox for 10 years, perhaps the best years of his pitching career. Early on Buchholz looked like he was going to be the real deal. In 2010, Buchholz went 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA, that was the numbers that earned him a 7-year $56M deal from the Red Sox at that time. In 2013, Clay was an All-Star with a 12-1 record.

Fast forward to near the end of the contract, now there is one more year left at $13.5M and the Phillies went out and took Buchholz, rescuing the Red Sox from the 2017 Luxury Tax and adding a big salary to the Phillies rotation.

Red Sox fans took to social media, and as we know, social media can be misleading at times, but the general consensus was that many were happy to see Buchholz go.

Scott Lauber, ESPN staff writer who covers the Red Sox, wrote, "Look, Buchholz is hardly irreplaceable. He went 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA in 2016. He got booted to the bullpen in May, went 19 days without pitching in July, and looked like a surefire candidate to be traded or, worse, designated for assignment." But Lauber summed up that it was a salary dump that the Red Sox wouldn't be better because of it, "But on Dec. 20, the only valid reason for the Red Sox to trade 10-year veteran Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies -- for a Class A infielder, no less -- is to guarantee they shed his $13.5 million salary from the 2017 payroll in order to stay below the $195 million luxury-tax threshold and avoid paying a 40-50 percent tax on their overages." Read the Lauber ESPN article here.

So, the Phillies get a guy who use to be very good, spending a whopping $13.5M to see if he can find some of that magic again. This move is like a river boat gambler who is hoping to draw a third ace in his hands in my opinion. It's hardly the type of move that is a solid foundation for a rebuild. Or it is in response to the Phillies low spending on salaries prior to getting Buchholz and Kendrick, the Phillies would have had close to the lowest payroll in the league. Going out and doing some spending at least makes the team look decent from a salary spending prospective.

Maybe Phillies GM Matt Klentak is remembering Buchholz from his  post college days at Dartmouth and this signing is like a trophy signing to him? Whatever the reason, the two acquisitions that he's made and spent a lot of money on for 2017 in Buchholz and Kendrick don't make any sense as far as the future is concerned, the signings are for one year.

Maybe being that it is a contract year, Buchholz will rebound from his last three years in Boston where is was a middle of the road type of pitcher. Boston surely couldn't unload Buchholz in the hot stove action a couple weeks ago and the Phillies didn't get him for nothing, they have to pay his full salary and traded a prospect for him.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Odubel's signing must have surprised even him



Obudel Herrera is now a multi-millionaire Phillies baseball player



The Phillies signed Odubel Herrera to a five year deal, was the headlines this past week as the Phils locked up the speedy center fielder who himself may have been surprised at the move.

The signing came at a time when the Phillies really didn't have to do it, maybe they think Odubel is going to have a breakout year in 2017, and this move will save them money in the long run.

At times it seemed like the Phillies weren't sold on Odubel, he sat the bench a few times, was called out to be more professional on the field by manager, Pete Mackanin, when it came to keeping his feelings and emotions in check.

On the field, he's shown promise, not anything that would lead you to believe that he may be a player that is voted on as an all-star, (the Phillies already named Odubel to the All-star ranks from the team last season) but a guy that will be getting on base and catching a lot of fly balls in the outfield. Anymore, that recipe will be getting you to a big payday in the MLB. A five-year deal for someone who hasn't accomplished all that much is a bit of a gamble. Will this player get better or will he just play about the same?

Fangraphs.com recently wrote an article that says that Odubel may have sold himself short. The article goes on to compare Herrera and his WAR, Wins Above Replacement player, ranking as a key point to the article. Players really aren't paid according to WAR rankings though. So, when they say he sold himself short, they don't know that Odubel would have been foolish to turn down $30.5M dollars for 5 years when he is only going to be 25 years old this season.

Fan reaction has been mixed to this news, they appreciate the hustle that Odubel puts in but a lot of fans didn't see him as the player that the Phillies (at least in December of 2016) were going to build around.

One thing is for sure though, the Phillies did have to start making some decisions for the future. This is one of the first contracts that have been finalized for a certain number of years into the future. We'll see if the saavy Dartmouth graduate, GM Matt Klentak, made the best move with this starting this season.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pat 'The Bat' Burrell and Stairs on 2017's Hall of Fame eligible vote list



Pat Burrell is one of the most popular Phillies in the history of the team, his swing was legendary




Wow, it's been 5 years since Pat Burrell retired, and this year 'The Bat' is on the 2017 Hall of Fame voting list. Matt Stairs also is on the list to be voted on by the BBWAA. How did Pat and Matt get on the list?

Both players were nominated by the writers for this year's election along with 17 other players in their first year of eligibility.

Is Pat Burrell a candidate that could make it to the Hall? He's had 292 HR and 976 RBI over his career. Baseball-Reference.com has a Hall of Fame monitor that keeps a numerical score as to how worthy a player is to make it to the Hall. Burrell unfortunately doesn't add up to Hall numbers, but it is an honor to make the list.

Another ex-Phillie, Matt Stairs, had a long career in baseball (19 seasons), and this year he will be the Phillies hitting coach. Stairs career was a few years longer than Burrell's but he didn't hit as many HR's (265) or drive in as many runs (899) as Burrell did in only a 12 year career. One reason for that is that Stairs was a DH for a long time in his career.

Stairs' numbers on the Hall of Fame statistics over at Baseball-Reference.com says he is even much lower than Burrell on the measurement scale, and he is compared to Burrell among others on a 'similar batters' comparison over a career.

It's a great honor to even make the list to be voted on, players must get more than 5 percent of the vote to make it on the list next year. We'll have to see if either player can surpass that in the vote. The vote is announced on January 28th, 2017.

Here's the ballot list for the 2017 Hall of Fame:

 
Rk Name YoB % of Ballots
1 Jeff Bagwell 7th 71.6%
2 Tim Raines 10th 69.8%
3 Trevor Hoffman 2nd 67.3%
4 Curt Schilling 5th 52.3%
5 Roger Clemens 5th 45.2%
6 Barry Bonds 5th 44.3%
7 Edgar Martinez 8th 43.4%
8 Mike Mussina 4th 43.0%
9 Lee Smith 15th 34.1%
10 Fred McGriff 8th 20.9%
11 Jeff Kent 4th 16.6%
12 Larry Walker 7th 15.5%
13 Gary Sheffield 3rd 11.6%
14 Billy Wagner 2nd 10.5%
15 Sammy Sosa 5th 7.0%
16 Ivan Rodriguez 1st
17 Manny Ramirez 1st
18 Vladimir Guerrero 1st
19 Mike Cameron 1st
20 J.D. Drew 1st
21 Jorge Posada 1st
22 Magglio Ordonez 1st
23 Derrek Lee 1st
24 Tim Wakefield 1st
25 Edgar Renteria 1st
26 Melvin Mora 1st
27 Carlos Guillen 1st
28 Casey Blake 1st
29 Jason Varitek 1st
30 Orlando Cabrera 1st
31 Pat Burrell 1st
32 Freddy Sanchez 1st
33 Arthur Rhodes 1st
34 Matt Stairs 1st
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/13/2016.



Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016 December Holidays Phillies Talk








It's about 114 Days until Opening Day, the Hot Stove Winter Meetings are over, the Phils didn't do much on adding any big named players. That wasn't something that was expected anyway, so we're not that disappointed.

What will 2017 bring to the Phillies, on this show there is talk of this young group of players could be on a final audition to either stay on this team, or be dealt away.

It's the Holiday show, where the podcast starts to smell the fireplaces in that very cold weather, maybe a chestnut or so roasting on an open fire, and some interesting Phillies Talk.


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Hot Stove yields little additions to Phillies team







Well, another Hot Stove season for baseball, and another season that is just plain boring for the Phillies fan. Just a few short years ago, we were treated to some great news of players joining the team but lately, that news hasn't been there.

The Phillies have made a few moves this off-season, but nothing to really hold out hope that it's going to be the team of the future or an important part of why the Phils will do much better this year.

Here's what has happened so far with the team:

Nov 2 2016:  Named Matt Stairs to hitting coach for Phillies

Nov 11 2016: Traded Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney to LA Dodgers for Howie Kendrick

Nov 14 2016: Jeremy Hellickson accepts a qualifying offer one-year deal

Dec 6 2016: Agreed to a one-year deal with Joaquin Benoit


Are Phillies management getting a bonus for keeping a tight reign on signings? It seems to be very strange that the Phils are supposed to be rebuilding for the future, now all of a sudden, there are a lot of one-year deals with players that aren't all that exciting.







Thursday, December 01, 2016

Baseball labor peace for 5 years as players feared International Draft


Owners and players agreed last night in labor peace, good for them, the fans were watching and waiting



Interesting times for baseball labor negotiations, as last night sealed the deal for labor peace in the US MLB for 5 years.

Many stumbling points of the contract had people thinking that this might not go as smoothly as planned to get a deal past.

Read all about the finer points of what happened with the new contract here in an article in the Chicago Tribune.

It came down to the wire almost, just 3 and a half hours until what was described as a player lockout which may have had an impact on the 2017 season. With each labor issue that baseball has had, they have lost fans, many of whom have never looked back. So, it's great that this didn't happen.

Interestingly, the player seemed to be very fearful of baseball opening the draft up to an international pool, I think that could have only helped salaries go higher. If teams speculated on international players that didn't pan out, there would have been plenty of money to go around for those players still in the regular draft.

This labor agreement could've had a significant impact in the future of baseball, had a lockout occurred, there would have been fans to close the book on the game. A generation perhaps? In this day and age of easy TV money, this agreement was a no-brainer. I am waiting on the day when the fans will speak to baseball a little. The high ticket prices passed on to fans with a myriad of other fees until you get in your seat at a ballpark is at an all-time high. Baseball is entertainment, a luxury, an item that people can choose to attend.