Sunday, September 29, 2013

Decisions - 2013 Review Pt. I

Well, the Phillies finish the year in 4th place (one game behind the Mets) in the NL East with a 73-89 record. Under Sandberg, they were 0-2 to start and 2-8 to finish, but ended up 20-22. We'll play the blame game and grade these guys later, but let's talk off-season moves.

The Phillies have two outgoing free agents whom they are likely to re-sign: P Roy Halladay (injured) & C Carlos Ruiz. Ah, the memories of that Perfect Game & post-season no-hitter are still fresh in my mind thanks to iTunes and this battery. Oh, how things change quickly in baseball.

Sorry, had a sentimental tangent there...

Next is the fact that Sandberg is here for three or four years but may have to start from scratch with the entire coaching staff as "free agent coaches." The list is long:
  • P Rich Dubee
  • BP Rod Nichols
  • C Mick Billmeyer
  • H Steve Henderson
  • 1B/AH Wally Joyner
  • 3B Juan Samuel
Once again, my thoughts on who to keep will come later. Let's move on.

Next up are the ten (10) - not four (4)... sorry - arbitration-eligible players:
  1. Kendrick (RHS, shoulder), Bastardo (LHR, just reinstated from suspension), and OF Revere (ankle) are probably going to be tendered.
  2. With Asche the main man at 3B, he'll need some relief (15 games next year). IF Kevin Frandsen may be tendered a contract since Galvis & Hernandez have no experience at 3B, despite their versatility. Speaking of which, they both will see time at 3B & in the OF during winter ball.
  3. The six other players who are arbitration-eligible, but most likely non-tendered candidates (think Nate Schierhotz), are: P John Lannan* (knee), C Erik Kratz*, OF-1B John Mayberry* (Jr.), IF Peter Orr, P Zach Miner, and OFs Casper Wells & Roger Bernadina
    • *Lannan's injury makes him non-tenderable despite ONE spot open in the rotation for a half-year; Kratz may be tendered, but Rupp has done well in limited action; and with Galvis, Hernandez & Ruf on the bench, Mayberry becomes redundant.
And to round off this entry, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention those who finished the year on the DL not fitting the above categories: 1B Ryan Howard and pitchers Jeremy Horst, John Pettibone, and Mike Adams.

I'll have a season recap (grades & injuries) along with me playing the GM in my next entry.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Revisiting Bold Predictions from 3/22

My bold predictions for this year have been terrible, but let' break them down one-by-one:

Phils lose Opening Day in a pitching duel between Hamels and Hudson. Score: 2-1 (a no-decision for Hamels). The Phillies did lose on Opening Day in a slug-fest with 12 combined runs scored.

Phils struggle in April, but do manage a 15-13 record in the month (not including the Indians game). Halladay struggles and defense is off to a slow start. Their April Record was 12-14. Halladay did struggle and eventually needed surgery to fix his shoulder.

Despite losing O.D. and struggling in April, the team still win 84-87 games this year; they do make the postseason, albeit as a wild-card. Well, this completely busted! 'Nuff said!

Brown wins a silver slugger award by hitting 25 HRs & 100+ RBIs. He falls just short of Gold Glove status while earning some MVP votes. One of the few bright spots in a lost season, Brown has emerged as the everyday left fielder. He has come a long way defensively and playing everyday has helped his offense. He's been dealing with an Achilles and his team is bad, limiting him to 80 RBIs and probably no MVP votes, but I'm sure he'll garner some SS & GG votes. I'd say this is a good prediction.

Hamels is - at the VERY least - in the top three in Cy Young voting with 19-21 wins, a 2.50 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, four CG, two shut-outs, which includes his first career no-hitter. Cole Hamels made numerous quality starts even when he was struggling in the first half of the season to a tune of a near-4.50 ERA, but has since put up a near-2.00 ERA. While this prediction has busted overall, let his season be more evidence that the win statistic is "outdated."

So, what's my overall score?
  1. Opening Day: 45%
  2. April: 45%
  3. Overall Record: 0%
  4. Brown: 85%
  5. Hamels: 45%
Score: 220/500 =  44%

I also made a prediction after Biddle's 16-K performance in AA that he'd be promoted come Trade Deadline. Since no one was traded and Biddle struggled mid-year after an illness, he never got that promotion. Since he did well overall (I'd give him a B-), he'll get AAA next season and will be, at the very least, a Sept. call-up next year.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

2014: A More Detailed Look at the Opening Day Roster

With the Phillies having virtually no chance at making the playoffs and also the signing of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez now official at three (3) years, $12MM (reduced from 5-YR/ $48MM)... it is time to look at the 2014 Opening Day Roster a little more closely.


Rotation Candidates:
  • LHP Cole Hamels ($22.5MM AAV)
  • LHP Cliff Lee (if not traded, $24MM AAV)
  • RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez ($4MM AAV)
  • RHP Kyle Kendrick (Last Yr. of Arbitration - est. $8MM)
  • John Lannan (Last Yr. of Arbitration - est. $6.65MM)
  • Free Agent (Halladay at $13.65MM) or for $500k...
    • Tyler Cloyd - may not be on 40-man roster come Rule 5 Day
    • John Pettibone
    • Ethan Martin
    • Adam Morgan
    • Austin Wright
    • Jesse Biddle - I project him to be called up in July.
Bullpen Locks:
  • Closer Jon Papelbon (if not traded, $12.5MM AAV)
  • RHP Mike Adams ($6-7MM)
  • LHP Antonio Bastardo (Second Yr. of Arb. - est. $2.25MM)
Bullpen Candidates:
   *Except for a Free Agent LM/SS, $500k each

  • Long Man/ Spot Starter - Cloyd, Free Agent, or...
    • Ethan Martin
    • Austin Wright
    • B.J. Rosenberg
  • Justin De Fratus
  • Michael Stutes
  • Phillipe Aumont
  • Nefi Ogando - Acquired from Red Sox in McDonald waiver deal. He'll be in A+ or AA in 2014.
  • Luis Garcia
  • Zach Miner
  • J.C. Ramirez
  • Jeremy Horst
  • Jake Diekman
  • Joe Savery
  • Cesar Jimenez
  • Rob Rasmussen - Acquired from  Dodgers in M. Young waiver deal.

  • 1B Ryan Howard ($23MM)
  • 2B Chase Utley ($15MM)
  • SS Jimmy Rollins (unless traded, $11MM)
  • 3B Cody Asche ($500k)
  • Bench:
    • Frandsen?
    • SS-2B Freddy Galvis ($500k)
    • 2B-CF Cesar Hernandez (< $500k)
  • Primary Catcher (Chooch at $4MM?)
  • Erik Kratz (First Year Arb. - est. $1-2MM)
  • In Camp:
    • Rupp
    • Valle
    • Joseph
  • LF-RF Domonic Brown ($525k)
  • CF Ben Revere (First Yr. Arb. - est. $1-2MM)
  • RF-LF-1B Darin Ruf ($515k)
  • OF-1B John Mayberry, Jr. (First Yr. Arb. - est. $1-2MM)
  • Front Office and Coaching Staff, 40-Man Roster Minor League Contracts, Insurance Premiums for long-term contracts, College Scholarships, etc.: > $12.5MM (this will be less than the beginning of this year due to Manuel's firing and another change in the coaching staff under the manager).
  • Primary Catcher
  • Starting Rotation
  • Bullpen Piece?
  • Utility IF/OF that can play CF & 3B - could be a Rule 5 pick
  • Depth signings (players signed to minor league deals with invites to Spring Camp).
Bottom Line:

They have $25MM to fill four to six roster spots despite having six players making $108MM AAV. Nice, huh?! Why the flexibility?
  1. Players earning ML Min. (~$500k each): 7-10 ($3.5-5.0MM total)
  2. Players in Arbitration: 6 ($23MM est. total)
  3. Signings (prev. contracts & free agents) of < $10MM AAV each: Up to 5 players (> $15MM)
  4. Luxury tax threshold rises to $189MM from $178MM.
Scenario: Chooch ($4MM) & Halladay ($13.7MM) re-signed, so we have ~$8MM for ~3 spots. That's still a lot of flexibility.

Next 2014-related entry:

I will probably have a post on line-up projections at some point soon. Hope you enjoy this breakdown!