The Dip: A Response to Paul Hagan – Phillies Nation

The Dip: A Response to Paul Hagan

On the back of today’s Philadelphia Daily News read the teaser: “Oswalt is Phils’ Admission That Trading Lee Was A Mistake”. The article that lied therein was written by Paul Hagen who, while I guess still technically a beat writer covering the Phils, has been paid for years to report on the most mundane aspects of Phils baseball. But apparently, Hagen is not without an opinion, and some bad ones at that.

Firstly, Hagen opines that the Phillies should have just kept Lee and avoided this whole necessity to trade for more starting pitching. Implicit in this reasoning is that Ruben Amaro, Jr. knew at the beginning of the season that Joe Blanton, no fragile animal, would injury himself early and struggle to become effective for most of the season. Ruben must also have known that JA Happ would himself miss almost the whole season with injuries of his own. And that Moyer would blow out his elbow. While we all know that injuries are a part of the game, the necessity of relying primarily on two starters for the whole season is something that I think we all agree that no one could have foreseen. Injuries are an unknown variable and when the Phillies started to bear their allotment to the point where their pennant hopes were started to slip away, Amaro made the big move to compensate. Kudos to you, sir.

In his article, Hagen seems troubled that the Phillies might be mortgaging their future for the sake of the present:

[The Oswalt Deal] ..also increases the odds that, in the not-too-distant future, they will have a roster chocked with costly older players on the downside of their careers and reinforcements down on the farm to replace them.”

Paul, in case you haven’t noticed, Ruben has structured the Phils payroll to siphon out big money starting after the 2011 season. Gone will be Lidge, Moyer, Ibanez, and after 2012, Rollins and Polanco. So I guess you mean those artifacts, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, and Chase Utley that will be hanging around for awhile. None will be 36. Some may disagree with the Howard contract (I don’t), and that’s fair, but on the whole, Ruben has managed this payroll nicely.

No reinforcements? Let me throw some names at ya: Domonic Brown, Jonathan Singleton, Harold Garcia, Trevor May, Brody Colvin, Jarrod Cosart, Phillip Aumont, J.C. Ramirez, Tyson Gilles, Vance Worley. Wait, my fingers are getting tired. While most of this talent is still in A ball, the drip of contributing players will start in about two years, the time when the older players start to leave. My gosh, it almost seems like a plan.

So Paul, you are wrong as wrong can be and in every facet of your reasoning. Roy Oswalt coming to the Phils is all about adjusting to circumstances, to think on one’s feet and the ability to be nimble. The Phillies don’t bemoan things that didn’t work; they go out and fix things.



  1. chitown Phillyfan

    July 30, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    You know what? I still think the Cliff Lee trade was dumb, but I do actually applaud RAJ for making this move. They see weakness, and they really are trying to make moves to put the best product out there. The Phillies in many ways are what I wish the Eagles were….instead of adjusting, the Eagles stand pat and do little to change the way they run things.

  2. Don M

    July 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm

  3. The Second John

    July 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Can you guys PLEASE get your site fixed? Without you guys I have to do actual work at my job.

  4. Bart Shart

    July 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    I would not be surprised if the Phillies have another deal in the works, possibly for a solid utility player who bats right handed and has a history of hitting left handed pitching. Also, they may be looking for bullpen help.

  5. Gaze_NJ

    July 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I think the success and progress of our farm system this year has come to a total shock to everyone. I believe that Ruben truly thought he needed to retool the farm, when in reality a ton of guys progressed by leaps and bounds more than expected. With such a plethora of MLB potential sitting down there, I think the window of opportunity to grab another star pitcher just accidentally opened up. If Brown, Singleton, Rizzotti, Colvin, Cosart, Worley, etc weren’t having such impressive years then I don’t think Ruben would have been comfortable sending away prospects.

  6. Ted Bell

    July 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I doubt that Hagen wrote the headline, but almost every writer and commentator that chimed in on the Oswalt trade had the same spin – so Hagen’s not alone in his opinion. The common thread on MLB radio yesterday was that RAJ really screwed up with the Cliff Lee trade.

    If you read Randy Miller’s tweets, he made some interesting comments on the Cliff Lee trade (at least some info that I didn’t know before) a few days ago:

    “Cliff Lee to an All-Star at the ASG: “I got an offer from the Phils, told them to let me sleep on it and was traded before I called back.”

    “This from Phils clubhouse: “2 owners told me that Montgomery never told them that Lee was being traded. One said, ‘I wanted to keep Lee.'”

    These things tell me there’s a communication issue within the organization, and possibly a little confusion as to the direction they’re going.

    I’m Ted Bell.

  7. Chris L

    July 30, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Two quick things:

    Dip pretty good summary. Lee’s trade is only a “mistake” in hindsight. In all trades, signings, etc. there is gambling going on. While you may gripe that the prospects that the team got have done poorly that’s one of the gambles. The other is the health of the others on the roster.

    the other report that I’ve seen posted on cbs was that the agent spoke when Cliff hadnt

  8. The Second John

    July 30, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Hey Brian, is this site back up for good?

  9. Brian Michael

    July 30, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I don’t want to jinx it, but yes it’s been moved to a new server.

  10. Bart Shart

    July 30, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    After the Oswalt deal, I am back on the Amaro Jr. bandwagon. I feel very positive about this move.

  11. Bart Shart

    July 30, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Congrats and thanks for the new server. Big improvement.

  12. jim

    July 30, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    The thinking should have been “We need another ace to beat the Yankees in 2010.” With that in mind they should have kept Lee.

  13. Adam

    July 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Excellent article. I am of the opinion that many of the Inquirer writers are either old, disinterested, dispassionate or all of the above. These are the guys that still think the 1980’s are the “golden years” of the Phillies and seem to not realize how cool their job actually is.

    All things considered, the Oswalt deal was an absolute steal by Ruben and certainly helps mitigate any damages from the Lee debacle. I mean we are getting at worst a number two starter for a year and a half for 12 million-14 million dollars. What a bargain!!!! The Phillies window is certainly this year, next year, and potentially 2012 if they can adequately replace Moyer, Ibanez, and Lidge (and I guess Oswalt cause there is no way they pick up that 16 million dollar option).

    The plan seems to be in place as much of this young talent has probably 2+ years to develop together. You have to give Ruben loads of credit as much of the Phillies talent (and we will be getting two big picks when we waive goodbye to Werth) is at the lower level; which is fine considering the talent at the big club. He seems to have (wait for it, wait for it) a competent and logical business plan in place.

    The only question remaining is if Ed Wade is still collecting a paycheck from the Phillies as by my count he currently has or has dealt or been involved with the following players (Oswalt, Lidge, Bourne, Happ, Gose, (the other prospect), Michaels, Feliz, Myers.

    This team might just look poised to turn the corner. Any word on Rollins’ return?

  14. Bruce

    July 30, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Hmm..m I’m wondering if PN columnist, Corey Seidman would like to retract his description of Roy Oswalt as a “Pussyboy”? LOl..LOL

  15. Geoff

    July 30, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Oswalt also has my all time favorite throwing motion. Love how he drives forward aggressively.

  16. Bruce

    July 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Moderation? I’m merely repeating Seidman’s word(s) that were in BOLD letters for his heading.

  17. Don M

    July 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    With THIS move .. we can try to beat the Yankees in 2010.. AND 2011

    with Lee, we could’ve only tried for this year … also .. in 2012.. there will be a much greater chance that the pitchers brought back for Lee .. JC Ramirez, and Phillippe Aumont are ready to help at the MLB level .. whereas the draftpicks we would’ve got for Lee, wouldn’t be ready for 5 years (when Rollins, Howard, Halladay, etc. are all gone anyway)

    In all fairness .. Lidge was GREAT for us in 2008 .. but Bourn is the better player right now. They got an All-Star CF for a Closer they didn’t need

    and Wade looks dumd all the time, but his refusal to trade talent in the early part of the decade allowed us to win in 2008..

    Gose and Villar might be good.. who knows.. but they are fast as hell, and you can’t teach speed

  18. Ryan H

    July 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I feel like Ed Wade got completely fleeced here. I think Happ’s best pitching is already behind him and the phillies are worried he’s headed towards major long term arm problems. The reality of these young prospects is that most of them are completely overhyped and never really turn into anything. The only guys that have panned out that they’ve traded have been Gavin Floyd ( to a degree) and Gio Gonzalez (who is more now than anybody thought he would ever be).

    speaking of reinforcements, I look for Scott Matheison to become a potential closer of the future on this team. I wish they would have left him up in the bigs and shipped off Danys Baez instead.

  19. psujoe

    July 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Nice article. Lee dump was a mistake, almost everyone agrees on that. However, the Oswalt trade is off the charts good.

    Question. Can the Phils offer Oswalt arbitration if they both void the option? Or is that reserved for players with less service?

  20. Geoff

    July 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Well Wade also got a replacedment for either Feliz or Berkman – whicchever leaves, when he flipped Gose for Brett Wallace, who should finally be up to start next season or even sooner.

    But Oswalt allows us to be in solid contention next year as well, and likely a year beyond that if the Phillies pick up his option. That way, regardless of whether Werth stays or goes in FA, if you have a front three of those guys, youre always in contention.

  21. psujoe

    July 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm


    Wade flipped Gose for Wallace who will start for them in 2011. Now he can dump Berkman for more prospects. They did get a #4 starter Happ, A starting 1B in Wallace and a talented young SS. Love the Phils end, but two cheap starters was probably the best he could get.

  22. Geoff

    July 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    If they both void the option he becomes a Free Agent. If one party does not agree he becomes a free agent.

  23. Don M

    July 30, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I’ve heard Wallace is already more a DH .. wonder why Toronto flipped him so quickly.. and basically traded Micahel Taylor for Anthony Gose ???

    JA Happ is solid .. not spectacular .. but Houston has been losing money on their team this year, so talent wasn’t their biggest need. They wanted average pitching at a team friendly rate .. Happ fits that bill more than anyone on our roster

  24. psujoe

    July 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks Geoff.

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  26. Me

    July 30, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    i wish we still had michael taylor… as don m pointed out… the blue jays basically flipped taylor 4 gose & we couldve given the stros singleton & had brown & taylor

  27. psujoe

    July 30, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Taylor was blocked. He’s in AAA doing OK .268, but only 5 dingers in 328 ABs. 66 KO’s. He’s still only 24 though.

  28. Tony

    July 30, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    We can probably get Taylor back if Amaro wanted to and for cheaper than what his value was in December. His stock has gone down a bit since leaving the Phillies farm system.

  29. Ed 2

    July 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Media pundits around the sports world are focusing on this trade as some type of solice for all those hurt by the untimely dismissal of Cliff Lee. Some have even done so with streams of unwarranted venom spit at RAJ. While people like Hagan, i agree, seem to be speaking from the crystal clear image of retrospect and from their shiny 1980s looking glass, its the national media who have been the most outlandish.

    Buster Olney (with his more and more obvious toupee) went so far as to, first, demand an apology for trading Lee from RAJ, to then claiming that he EXPECTS an apology. Maybe over at Vanderbilt he took a class at wagging the dog, but i dont believe its an ethical basis for reporting.

    Im very upset to say that I have to completely agree with Dipsy and his assessment of the media and the organization. I guess I have to stop the notso subtle digs…for now.

  30. Andrew from Waldorf

    July 30, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Dipsy I am proud of you. This article is almost 100% correct and on the money. Your best work yet.
    Things are getting interesting with this team and this website ( please stay up today).

    The Oswalt deal is probably even a better deal then the Lee deal was. Its a home run.

  31. Ryan H

    July 30, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Ed 2: Buster Olney is the absolute worst. Well, maybe not worse than Keith Law. But the two of those guys are 1 and 2 in the rankings of biggest moron “experts” on ESPN. Olney is a guy who clearly has an agenda and preconceived narrative to follow. He’s been poo pooing the Phillies since their run of NL dominance has begun and trying to play up the Braves all year. Add to that the fact that he is a complete Yankees brown noser. Clearly he cares about the Yankees first and the rest of baseball second. Jayson Stark and Peter Gammons have so much more credibility than Olney IMO. There is no way in the world you can look at this Phillies team on paper and now in the standings and not consider them among the favorites to win the division. Yet that’s Olney’s story and he’s sticking to it.

  32. Andrew from Waldorf

    July 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Bottom line
    Lee was gone in 2011 anyeay and Oswalt is here. With the Astros paying some of the salary. If Oswalt is good this more than makes up for the Lee trade. The second one. But again the first one wasnt that bad and still have Ben from it and the prospects from Seattle.
    Now get me a reliever Ruben.

  33. repeat

    July 30, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    yeah and i wish the beautiful girlfriend i had in college hadn’t moved back to the island she was from because her dad got real sick(at least that’s what she told me.).. sh*t happens! we got doc,lee and oswalt now and for at least next season. knock on wood.. but for the 1st time in ages starting pitching won’t be a question mark for this team. at least for a little while. and no Hamels/Myers/Moyer ’08, Lee/Cole/Pedro 2nd half ’09 don’t compare despite their post season merits. no one knows how things will turn out. it sure is exciting though. they’re having panic attacks in Atlanta and flash mobs in Queens. Great piece Dipsy! And John Smallwood is a whinny little b*tch too.

  34. SpinJamin

    July 30, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I just think the Lee deal was Ruben taking a chance that this team didn’t need him because they had Halladay. He wanted to get something in return for depleting the farm system for two pitchers and I think it had a lot to do with the fact that he was told he couldn’t add 9 million on the payroll and then just watch him walk away to the highest bidder. I don’t think that logic makes much sense to me, but it was a chance he took with good reason.

    Now we have a similar quality pitcher, a managable contract, money back to help the payroll and didn’t have to give up too much quality besides Happ. I just think that we all just think we should be the Yankees and buy whoever we want, spend whatever we want and not worry about the consequences. When Phillies fans are willing to pay 1000 bucks for top seats and spend ridiculous money on luxury boxes then the team might be able to just keep signing whoever, whenever. Until that becomes a reality you have to understand the business side and you have to give Ruben all the credit in the world for fixing his gamble that didn’t really work and somehow coming out better in the end.

  35. The Dipsy

    July 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I know that media guys have to find something to write about…I do. But, this Hagen’s article was just gratuitous silliness. RAJ goes balls out and makes a great trade, fleecing our old malfeasing GM in the process, and all a guy can write about is how the our GM is “admitting a mistake”? Well, what if we hadn’t done anything???? How much of a F-UP would RAJ be then? No. He’s making our team better. Paul Hagen’s persepctive is about as fresh as a Foghat concert. He’s gotta hang it up. He and Donnellon. Let Murphy write every Phillies piece. I wonder if Hagen wears a mask and carries a gun when he goes the to collect his paycheck each week. Seriously, when is the last time he wrote anything even remotely thought provoking? and I think the only “scoop” he’s ever come up with is what the Phils are serving at the post game buffet. Brutal. Please quit.

    The Dipsy

  36. repeat

    July 30, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    that’s doc/oswalt/cole of course

  37. Georgie

    July 30, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Well, you have to realize that Paul Hagan is looking at the world through his ’70’s Joe Paterno glasses, so it makes perfect sense that he sees it this way. I have not been able to let the Cliff Lee thing go, until now. I understand why RAJ felt the need to do it, and now he has made up for our loss by bringing Roy Oswalt here. It’s obvious RAJ and the FO want to win it all again, and I salute him/them for giving a us a FANTASTIC 1-2-3 starting lineup. I can’t wait for the game tonight..going out to mow now so I can be in front of the tube by 7pm.

    Great post Dips.

  38. dino

    August 1, 2010 at 2:04 am

    The logic of some here escapes me. Had the Phillies kept Lee, or better yet signed him, they would have had him all season, and there would have been no need to get Oswalt.They could have used lesser prospects to get more bullpen help. Thus, they would have been stronger in 2010.

    Lee could have been signed. Blanton should have been released, or at least had arbitration. Instead, they throw 24 mil at a mediocre 4th starter who can be found for less than 5 mil. Howard did not need to have his K extended now, and it certainly didn’t need to be extended until 2016.

    Lee’s first demand was 20 mil; the Phillies countered with 14. That was it-they traded him b4 Lee could counter. If they were willing to give him 14, who knows if he would have taken 17 or 18-just a 3 million difference which could have come from Blanton’s heist.

    You guys think the Phillies are not rich,and act like it’s your own money you’re saving. these billionaire owners must be laughing as they count their money.

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