Beerman’s Report Card: Jose Contreras – Phillies Nation
Beerman's Offseason Report Card

Beerman’s Report Card: Jose Contreras


Last off-season when the Phillies brought in Chan Ho Park it raised a lot of questions. Park was originally signed to be the number 5 in the rotation, but wound up excelling out of the bullpen.  Personally, I would have loved to see him back in the red pinstripes, but he obviously priced himself out of the budget asking for close to $5 million and stating his desire to start.

This winter, Ruben Amaro brought in Jose Contreras to fill that role out of the bullpen with the understanding that he might be an insurance policy for some spot starts.  Yet for the most part, he will be starting games in the bullpen.

Prior to getting traded to the Rockies late last season, Contreras struggled mightily in the White Sox rotation. It is no secret that his best days are behind him; however he should still prove to be a solid arm out of the pen.

The sample size is too small to garner any real ideas of what we can expect to see out of the bullpen from the righty; nonetheless, he did manage to strike out 106 batters in 131.2 IP.

Beerman's Grade - BThe main reason this deal works is the length. A one-year deal at close to pennies on the dollar for an experienced arm gives you extreme low-risk, high-reward potential – much like the Pedro signing last season. If Contreras can’t hang, it’s easy to release him and cut your losses. However, should he manage to provide a spark out of the pen for an inning or two at a time – like Park did – then for $1.5 million you found a real contribution to the team that you can reevaluate after the season.

I might have higher hopes than I should for Contreras, but I’m expecting something along the lines of 3.75 ERA with about 80 Ks over about 100 innings or so.




  1. Jeff of Nova

    February 16, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Sorry I have to comment on this.

    This is a B but the Polanco signing is a C wow,

    These are starting to look like fillers of junk.

    I think they are all C’s till we see what happens. Why don’t we do this after Spring Training see who is on the roster and had a good spring?

  2. philsguru

    February 16, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Like I care what a beer man thinks…this blog is a joke

  3. bfo_33

    February 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Here’s the problem: On paper, best starting pitching since 1980. On the field, same excellent crew back again, only one move to a guy we already know, who will fit well into the offense, may be a drop in D. The bench is comparable, maybe even better than 2008, which was one of the best performing benches in Phils history. Lee has been talked out. The only drama going into the season is the bullpen, which can’t be worse than last year, and Hamels, who doesn’t have to carry the staff anyway. For the media and blogs, there isn’t much to talk about. Not as entertaining – at this point, much more fun to follow the Mets. For the Phils, I prefer boring.

  4. Beerman

    February 16, 2010 at 12:34 pm


    I am not grading these based on players. Sure polancos contributions will be more than contreras but you have to factor in yrs and value of a contract. The phillies awarded polanco, a decent player, a contract that was too long.

    Contreras is a cheap 1 yr deal. There’s no obligations after this yr. If he pitches well it’s awesome. If he sucks you cut him with no real ramifications.

  5. Don M

    February 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I think its a problem to give grades before the school year even starts …

    because, last year Chan Ho Park was given an F … turned out to be probably a B+

    Ibanez was given a C … turned out to be probably a B+

  6. Chuck

    February 16, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I give “philsguru” an F for his stupid post, “this blog is a joke”

    Why are you even on it then?

  7. George

    February 16, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    If Beerman wants to “give grades before the school year even starts” that’s fine with me. I don’t care how many extra six-packs he has to chug to wash down the taste of his foot.

  8. Weed Man

    February 16, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I just ate a box of tasty cakes when I realized it was time to grade the Jose Contreras signing before he throws a single pitch for the Phillies. Abbadabing! An A+!

  9. David

    February 16, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Is there anyway to bring back Park? Doesn’t seem like he is swimming in offers.

  10. psujoe

    February 16, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Beerman is simply projecting what he thinks the value of the player versus the cost will be. Mock drafts, grading early, projecting the NCAA basketball brackets, et all. It’s all in fun so a few people should stop being so serious and let the man prognosticate.

  11. Jeff of Nova

    February 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    and if Contreras doesn’t make the roster then it is crap. I understand what you are trying to do.

    But as it was stated many time is the last blog, people were commenting on the grade based on what they feel not exactly how good of a signing it is. Contreras is good signing, more upside than down, Just wondering how Polanco is worse since. Not even talking about contributions. Polanco was cheap for what his resume shows. I mean a gold glover, career .300. I know he is moving to 3rd, and I think many are weighing way too much into that. Feliz was horrible at the plate and that is where we will ultimately see it.

    Keep drinking your Beer Beerman, have a Sam Adams on me:)

  12. The Original Chuck P

    February 16, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Wow… I feel ashamed to be a “regular” on this site after reading these comments. Seriously, what has gotten into you people? You can’t comprehend what he’s doing?? Given what the player has done and what he might be capable of doing, how would you rate the signing… NOT how much is a player going to contribute. A good player could be a bad signing… an average player could be a good signing. It’s all relative… it’s not grading the player before he takes the field; it’s grading the deal in context to market value and risk/reward potential.

  13. Pat Gallen

    February 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you Chuck P: Couldnt have stated it better myself.

  14. Richie

    February 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    I would absolutely grade the Contreras deal higher than the polanco deal because of the risk in years and money for polanco as opposed to the 1 year 1.5 for Contreras. What don’t you guys get??? Low risk high reward is better than medium risk high reward. Contreras keeps the ball down and has a nasty split when he is dealing. For 1.5 million I’m hoping that he deals all year. On the other hand you have a great contact hitter probably past his prime switching to a position he hasn’t played in 4-5 years. What if he just flat out can’t handle third anymore where does he go? Not second. Bench player?

  15. Weed Man

    February 16, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I’m ashamed too. I need another hit off my gravity bong.

  16. Chuck

    February 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Placido Polanco will surprise a lot of “youse guys”…clearly he’s an upgrade over Pedro Feliz..

    I would still grade that deal rather high..

  17. Blaise

    February 16, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    How about we just trade for David Wright or Ryan Zimmerman and then we’ll all be happy

  18. Blaise

    February 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Actually, lets get both of them!!!

  19. Beerman

    February 16, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    LOL my phaith has been restored in some of our readers.

  20. Jill

    February 16, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Seriously people, what is so hard to understand? The grade is on the deal, not the caliber of the player. The Polanco deal was bad. They never should have given him that many years. What happens in the 2nd and 3rd year of his deal when/if some other third baseman comes along who is way better than Polanco and we can’t afford him because we tied up Polanco for 3 yrs. What happens if Polanco is terrible at third base (a position he hasn’t played in years) and we’re stuck with him for 2 more yrs? We can’t move him to 2nd or SS. So then what? we pay him all this money to ride the bench? If the Polanco deal was for one yr I think the deal would have gotten a much higher grade.

  21. Chuck

    February 16, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    And….what happens when Polanco has 2 really good years and everybody suddenly is praising Ruben for going out and getting him??

    If Polanco has 2 good years…and plays more of a utility role in year three…so what…it’s STILL an upgrade over Feliz..

    Polanco at 3 years/18 million was a better deal than Figgins at 9 mil a year, Beltre at whatever he got from Boston, and Feliz at 5 million..

  22. George

    February 16, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Original Chuck P., I believe you are getting too hung up on semantics. There as really very little difference between “potential” and “how much a player is going to contribute.” While we might all see a player’s potential, we might not see that he could have a career year, injure himself, get traded before his contract expires, or how well a different player may have done and at what cost. We can only guess.

    The same holds true for “market value,” because market value is ultimately what the highest bidder deems it to be. I, for one, would never have given A-Rod a quarter BILLION dollars. I wouldn’t have given Ben Sheets $10 million, either. But someone did, so THAT’S what they’re worth, and I may never know why.

    While I don’t find anything horribly wrong with “projections,” I do think they’re overrated, premature, and based largely on emotions. Too many times, they prove to be ridiculously wrong.

  23. Brooks

    February 16, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Projections are fun but can get overwhelming.
    Why would anyone project on anything other than the performances already seen? In other words, if we have a career .300 hitter coming into our lineup, it would be logical to assume he will hit around that mark. No career years and definitely you don’t project a disaster (either of which are in the scope of possibilities).
    Based on what we have seen (my own lineup of course):

    Rollins – .275 average; 15-20 hrs, 70 rbi, 100 (+) runs scored
    Polanco – .300 average; 10 hrs; 70 rbi, 100 (give or take) runs
    Utley – .300 avg; 30 hrs; 100 (+) rbi, 100 (+) runs
    Howard – .270 – .280 avg; 40-50 hrs, 130 (+) rbi, 100 runs
    Here is where it gets more fuzzy – who is the real Werth?
    Werth has hit for a higher average, probably 30 hrs, and judging where he hits in the lineup – 100 rbi
    Ibanez – will he return to pre-all star form from last year? His lifetime BA is .285, last year he hit .272 the lowest average since 2001, when he became a regular. He has averaged less hrs and now that the NL has seen him – who knows?
    Victorino – this guy just keeps getting better. His average will probably settle in over .290, with 10-15 hrs and great defense.
    Ruiz -Carlos has never had more than 374 official atbats in a season and has never hit more than .259. His power is minimal but he is, after all, a terrific defender and Senor Octobre.

    This is what Spring is all about (and wishing for the snow to melt!)

  24. Don M

    February 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Thats what i was saying … how can you call a fair-market value contract . a BAD DEAL … before the guy has even played ..

    Im willing to bet he outperforms a lot of players that will make a lot more than $6 M per year .. and he’s going to be a great fit in our lineup

    Anyone judging the Polanco “deal” should wait and see how he plays.. and then look back as to if it was a good deal or not

    to me, $6 M for an above average hitter, who never strikesout, and plays gold glove defense is GREAT .. the fact that he’s aging, and moving to a different position might bring that down to VERY GOOD .. but the fact that he’s going to be in a better lineup might give him better offensive numbers ??

    who knows, who cares .. how many days until they start practice down there???

  25. Chuck

    February 16, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    I don’t know about anybody else…but I’m getting a little tired of all these people constantly complaining about the Polanco signing..

    It’s as if Ruben signed Wes Helms or something..

    Polanco is gonna be a really good addition to this team…have a little phaith….and stop wishing for Mike Schmidt reincarnated.

  26. Wine Man

    February 16, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Wine Man says he gives this post an A+. The comments? Priceless!

  27. Jill

    February 17, 2010 at 7:32 am

    The problem with Polanco is not the amount of money, its the years.

  28. Chuck

    February 17, 2010 at 9:08 am

    The years are fine..Polanco is SO versatile that he can play second (giving Chase a rest)…or even play first if needed (I’m sure he wouldn’t embarrass)…And I’ll bet he could even play left field if asked and do no worse than Pat Burrell with bad knees.

    Like was said earlier…even if Polanco is reduced to a “super utility” role in year 3 of the deal…it’s STILL worth it.

    You have to look at all that he can do…and not worry about whether or not he can just play third base.

  29. Don M

    February 17, 2010 at 9:39 am

    I said that at the time of the signing.. that he could definitely play LF or 1B too… which at $6 M might be a very welcome thing come year #3 of that contract

  30. crashdavis162

    February 19, 2010 at 9:55 am

    I think your expectations of his production (100 IP 3.75 era) are not in line with what he’s done for the past 3-4 years. Let’s not also forget that he’s a player that defected out of Cuba with a STATED age of 37, who knows how old he actually is.

    So, even though your point is that it’s a cheap deal with upside, your projections about what he will do in a Phillies uniform are a part of your grade, and I think that’s where you’re being unreasonably optimistic.

    Also, cheap deals are not only about what you pay in $, but the opportunity cost of putting one guy in there vs. somebody else – just ask the Boston Red Sox how their cheap deals for Smoltz and Penny worked out last year.

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