Hot Stove Update – Upton, Madson, Victorino – Phillies Nation

Hot Stove Update – Upton, Madson, Victorino

Is Upton heading to Atlanta?

Upton’s Interest in Atlanta “Soaring”’s Mark Bowman reported early this morning that B.J. Upton‘s interest in Atlanta “seemed to soar” after meeting with GM Frank Wren, manager Freddi Gonzalez, and former manager Bobby Cox. Bowman is referencing a meeting that took place over a week ago, however it is widely believed Upton may be the first of the center fielders to sign.

Madson to Angels

Jon Heyman is reporting that Ryan Madson will sign with the Angels today on a one-year pact and be their closer. Heyman reported that both of Madson’s former clubs, the Phillies and Reds, had interest in bringing him back. Madson turned down his half of a $11 million mutual option and took a $2.5 million buyout instead to become a free agent.

Seven Teams Interested in Victorino, Phils Reportedly Not One of Them

The Indians, Rangers, Giants, Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, and Reds have all reportedly shown interest in The Flyin’ Hawaiian per Jon Heyman. While the Rangers, Giants, and Rays all have presumed holes in center field to fill, the other teams of interest presumably don’t. With Shane Victorino drawing this much interest, it no longer seems like he will be any type of bargain.

Analysis: Of note, the Yankees inquired about Victorino at the trade deadline but already have a center fielder in Curtis Granderson, who is in the last year of his contract. If Victorino signs with the Yankees, and Ichiro re-signs to play right, Granderson may be the odd man out as Brett Gardner will be handling left. Granderson may be available for a song should the Yankees choose to move in a different direction.

Mackanin Joins Yankees as Scout

Former Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin has joined the Yankees as a scout reports Andy Martino. Best of luck to Pete.

Phillies Sign Second Minor Leaguer

The Phils signed former Baltimore third round pick Brandon Erbe yesterday. Erbe, 24, was ranked #78 in the 2007 Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list powered by a 98 MPH fastball but quietly fell off the radar soon after. Erbe has had a series of shoulder injuries over the last few seasons and posted a 6.82 ERA in 19 appearances for High-A Frederick last season.

Analysis: Erbe was invited to camp with the Orioles in 2010 as a member of their 40-man roster, seemingly on the fast track to making the big league club. His 98 MPH fastball fizzled after mid-season labrum surgery in 2010. Erbe used to rely heavily on the fastball to post impressive K/9 IP numbers – it will be interesting to see if he can recreate any of that magic in Clearwater or Reading.

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  1. Chuck A.

    November 27, 2012 at 9:13 am

    “Seven Teams Interested in Victorino, Phils Reportedly Not One of Them”

    That headline alone tells me that they’re committed to moving on entirely from Vic. I don’t get it as signing him to a team-friendly 3 year deal would make sense as opposed to coughing up tons of $$$ for Upton or Bourn or trading for someone like Fowler. I’m tellin’ ya….I think he pissed someone (Cliff Lee)or a few people off to the point where there was no turning back.

    • Whatever

      November 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Victorino was annoying several veterans and coaching staff in the clubhouse with his loud rap music and constant laughing and joking after games as the losses began to mount in the month of June and early July. It was written about how he and Rollins were setting the clubhouse atmosphere without the presence of Utley in the first half of the season. Amaro said as much in a pre-game interview in early August after he had made the deadline trades, that the Phillies needed a clubhouse change of atmosphere. He didn’t mention any names but he wasn’t referring to Blanton or Pence. I don’t think Victorino is Amaro’s and Manuel’s first choice for the outfield position unless he is still available at a decent price after they struck out on other options.

      • EricL

        November 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm

        The moon is made out of cheese.

        See, I can make things up too.

      • Don M

        November 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm

        Jimmy Rollins controls the stereo in the clubhouse, not Victorino… bro

      • George

        November 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm


        You may be able to make up things, but your example doesn’t show it. The moon being made out of cheese goes way back, and is therefore not something YOU made up. If you’d said something like “The moon is made out of elephant turds,” that would be a different story.

    • George

      November 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      With seven teams in the mix, it would seem unlikely that anyone will get Victorino cheap or short term, which are really the only reasons he should be signed in the first place. If Amaro wants to go younger, there’s no reason whatsoever for him to express interest in an aging center fielder coming off a lousy season that included bad lefty/righty splits.

  2. Don M

    November 27, 2012 at 9:55 am

    If Phillies lose on Upton… and aren’t in on Hamilton… and don’t want to pay Bourn’s price tag… Do we target Swisher (I think the best fit in our lineup)…

    Swisher and trading for a CF like Fowler or Span would be a good move in my book

    • Phillies fan from Germany

      November 27, 2012 at 10:10 am

      If they are not interested in Vic (which I don’t get) that is what I would do, as long as you don’t have to commit to Swisher for too many years.

    • EricL

      November 27, 2012 at 10:49 am

      Hopefully not. Angel Pagan is the choice if that scenario arises. Then maybe span, although that always depends on what you have to give up to get him.

      • Phillies fan from Germany

        November 27, 2012 at 11:56 am

        Pagan would be a good choice but I still dont believe he will play for anybody else than the Giants. Just a gut feeling.

  3. Pedram

    November 27, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Shouldn’t we as fans try to sway Upton our way? Perhaps we should start tweeting at him.

    • Pedram

      November 27, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Cliff Lee picked Philly partially because of the fans after all.

  4. Don M

    November 27, 2012 at 10:16 am

    And actually… I still like the idea of Peter Bourjos if we also upgraded RF with Swisher. Bourjos should be a lot cheaper in a trade than Fowler or Span (adding another LH in Span doesn’t help for the “balancing the lineup” – which may or may not be a made-up issue)

    • schmenkman

      November 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

      That could work:

      Rollins, Utley, Swisher, Howard, Ruiz, Brown/Ruf, Bourjos, Frandsen
      Rollins, Frandsen, Utley, Howard, Swisher, Ruiz, Brown/Ruf, Bourjos

      or vs. LHPs:
      Rollins, Frandsen, Utley, Swisher, Howard, Ruiz, Brown/Ruf, Bourjos

      • Alex M

        November 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

        Bourjos will not be coming to the Phillies, the Angels have a hole in right field after the departure of Torii Hunter, so why would they trade one of their young talented outfielders when they finally have a place to play him?

        The Phils will sign a CF or trade for Dexter Fowler (only if his price really drops).

    • Don M

      November 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      yea, I don’t believe that Bourjos will be dealt, but if they fail to resign Grienke, i imagine that they’ll entertain offers that would give them some SP depth (not that I think the Phillies really even have anything to get that done)…

      I know Trumbo plays both corners – and obviously Trout can play CF… they have Vernon Wells who could play LF for them (and bat 8th?).. again, I don’t think they’ll trade Bourojs now that Hunter left for the Tigers, but if they need to land a SP to go with Weaver and Wilson, they will have teams interested in him

  5. Jeff of Nova

    November 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

    RAJ has a plan, not sure what it is but I can’t wait to see it as usual

  6. Don M

    November 27, 2012 at 10:38 am

    So much of it depends on who else does what…

    If the Nationals resign LaRoche, that would keep Morse in LF – which means that with Harper and Werth – they wouldn’t need a CF…. which might bring down the price of Bourn

    if the Angels can resign Grienke, they don’t need any extra pitching, and wouldn’t be trading for it…

    In past years, Amaro has tried to set the market – or at least not worry about the market. This year he seems to be waiting for other things to develop

  7. Ken Bland

    November 27, 2012 at 10:45 am

    It’s sort of hot stove related, particularly if you start talking compensation, and degree of it with all the names mentioned in this possible transaction piece.

    Marvin Miller passed away today. Forty some years ago, he was front row center as the head of the formation of the MLBPA, and presided over changing the financial structore of baseball, but probably pacing the way for other sports as well. This makes Miller both a patron saint, and villian in the collective eyes of observors. Revenues are derived from numerous sources, but the freedom of movement contributed to higher salaries, which were at least in part paid for by Average Joe ticket purchasers. Tickets ain’t cheap. To them, and succeeding generations forking over hard earned bucks, some degree of lack of love for Miller has to be respected. Conversely, for the Union he represented, the success stories, no matter who paid for it, that were off the charts. Back in the day, considering that Miguel Cabrera might well have had his 3rd best year in the last 3, it’s not unthinkable that the wrong employer might have tried to cut his pay for the next year. Baseball history has some examples of that.

    But one thing stands above board to me on Miller’s contribution to baseball. Years ago, players were not the sharpest tools in the shed. To generalize, they weren’t socially or politically saavy. You didn’t see many Doug Glanvilles in the game that were Ivy League graduated, and went on to write for the New York Times. Still don’t, but many more players have succeeded post baseball than seems the case from long ago. We still have some drug and vice abuse in the game today, but reading up on players from way back when can depress you on how alchoholism was so present. Miller’s association with the Union hardly singlehandedly made players more hip to the world around them. But he made a vital contribution toward educating players, which led to numerous advances in business and social accumen.

    I may not know if Jack Morris or Mike Mussina is a Hall of Famer, but I know Marvin Miller is.
    The game’s gone on without his direct involvement for a while now, but it still won’t be the same. A baseball blog, no matter what team it covers doesn’t necessarily have to cover his passing, but it’s more complete acknowledging the development in my view. Mission complete, message the same.

    • George

      November 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Very interesting comment. Miller really helped the players, who were being spat upon by owners. I remember years ago when Koufax and Drysdale held out for $125K and $100K respectively, (What would they have made after Miller?) and were forced by the stinking reserve clause to come back to the Dodgers for way less.

      I think part of the reason players seem more successful after their careers are over is simply because their earnings allow them to invest in or capitalize new ventures. It isn’t necessarily because of education. Now they can actually afford investment counselors and advisors, and don’t have to get drunk to avoid worrying about where the money will come from when they retire.

  8. Jay Floyd

    November 27, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Is Martino a Yankees reporter now? Last I knew, he was covering the Metros.

  9. Allen Thornburg

    November 27, 2012 at 11:57 am

    As Philly fans, we should all text Upton and try to scare him away from Philadelphia; I want no part of him. Essentially, he is Hunter Pence with a lower batting average and OBP and better defensive skills; if Pence wasn’t worth extension money (and he wasn’t), then why the hell should we blow that saved money on Upton? His mythical “upside” and “high ceiling” that he has yet to display? That’s not convincing me; we already have one high-upside underacheiver (Dom Brown) on our major league roster; let’s not add another project to the outfield. Again, I would be satisfied with Swisher in RF and a Mayberry/Schierholz platoon in CF (the Nats did all right this year without a regular CF); Bourjos would be nice, but might be harder to acquire now that he’s got a spot open for him in the Halos’ OF. If we went with a platoon in CF, we could bring in Cody Ross for LF if you’re not comfortable depending on either Ruf or Brown for that spot. What I’m afraid of is (A) that the Phils sign B. J. Upside or (B), they miss out on Upside and then Amaro panics and throw an enormous amount of money at Boras in order to get Bourn (who would be even worse for this team). When your GM is a moron, watching baseball isn’t much fun.

    • schmenkman

      November 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      “Essentially, he is Hunter Pence with a lower batting average and OBP and better defensive skills;”

      And a much better baserunner.

      Upton probably does have some upside, but he’s already better than Pence, and he’s over a year younger.

      The Phillies could have kept Pence, but then they wouldn’t have Tommy Joseph (or Schierholtz, or Rosin), who they can develop and use, or trade to fill a need.

    • Lefty

      November 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      I really don’t think you can characterize BJ Upton, a six year veteran that has helped a team reach a World Series as a “project”. He’s not my favorite choice of FA outfielders either, but he’s not a “project”. I think he is what he is, a guy worth about 12m per year that will likely get a lot more on a long term deal from someone. Vince Gennaro, the author of Diamond Dollars and of SABR, said (paraphrasing, I don’t remember his exact words) he believes that the market is ripe for overpays based on the few signings that have already occurred.

  10. Lefty

    November 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    How much in trade would Granderson cost?

    • EricL

      November 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      Lots. He’s hit 84 HR in the last two seasons from CF, a premium defensive position.

      Any thoughts of getting him for “a song,” as Ian intimates, are sorely misguided I think.

      • Lefty

        November 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

        Agreed, but I also think he hits a lot fewer bombs playing at any other park but YS3. So the price while high, may be a little lower than we think.

      • EricL

        November 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm

        Well, I think his sticker price is going to be based on his stats in Yankee Stadium, while you’re right that he probably doesn’t perform nearly that well outside of the Bronx. Unfortunately those numbers are where Cashman is going to start negotiations from, so I have a feeling it’s a classic overpaying issue (in basically the same way that acquiring Fowler would be).

  11. Lefty

    November 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I have a sickening feeling that this apparent Atlanta excitement is for Upton is BS. When was the last time they paid for an expensive long term FA? IMO- They aren’t giving him 90 million.

    I think they may be trying to drive the price up for their division rivals. I really hope the Phils are not so locked in on BJ Upton that they are willing to beat any one else’s offer.

    • Don M

      November 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Atlanta is losing their #3 hitter though in Chipper Jones – so it does not surprise me that they want to add a bat in the middle of the lineup (which Upton is… he’s not a leadoff man). They believe they’ll get much more impact from Upton’s bat than from Bourn’s …. I agree with that.

      Interestingly- MLBTR mentioned that the Braves have called about Dexter Fowler (an Atlanta native)… seems like both teams want Upton, and Fowler might be the backup plan. Atlanta has much more to offer in a trade, since the Rockies are said to covet pitching

      • Lefty

        November 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        I agree that losing Chipper makes a difference in their decision making. Still, they haven’t been big spenders on long term FA contracts typically, unless I’m forgetting about someone.
        (which is highly possible)

      • EricL

        November 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

        Atlanta has quite possibly the worst television deal in baseball, which really limits their ability to increase payroll, so, no, they haven’t really signed any marquee free agents in a long time.

      • Don M

        November 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm

        I agree with that, but lots of Atlanta’s talent is pretty cheap … Heyward, Kimbrel, Freeman… Medlen, Minor, Beachy (with more young pitchers coming (unless they trade them for a CF if Upton chooses another team)..

        They are losing the face of their franchise, and I think they want to add an impact player this offseason. We’ll see though, I also thought the Marlins were going to draw fans last year, so what do i know

  12. lorecore

    November 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    ericl: To follow up on the braves awful tv deal, fangraphs just posted all 30 team’s deals – prompted by the news that the Dodgers are about sign an unprecedented deal around $6-7B in total.

  13. Chuck A.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    It’s funny that some people can easily call Amaro a “moron” (look above in this thread)…yet for the 3 out of 4 years that he’s been the GM he’s managed to help get them to the postseason…. where it’s anybody’s game once they get there.

    And you can’t lay 2012 entirely at his feet, either, since the #3 and #4 hitters were out of the lineup for about half the season and the #1 starter was on the DL for 2 months as well.

    I’m not saying that I agree with every one of RAJ’s moves. He’s made some mistakes. But I have no problem with his wanting to “go all in” in ’09, ’10, and ’11 in order to win another World Series.

    • EricL

      November 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Well, the core of the team he’s assembled was actually in place before Amaro became GM, and he used a lot of payroll flexibility (created by his predecessors) and a good chunk of the farm system (left flush by his predecessors) to make the moves he did.

      He’s average at best, in my opinion, and has greatly benefited from the excellent position the franchise was in when he became GM.

  14. lorecore

    November 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    ChuckA: I don’t think Ruben is a moron, but your defense of him doesn’t match up. You absolve him of blame because the playoffs is anybody’s game once in – but then you back his decision to ‘go all in’.

    If all you can possibly be expected do is make the playoffs, then why should a GM go “all in” by spending even more resources on a team already with the ability to make the playoffs in the first place?

    • Chuck A.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm

      Yeah, I back his decision to “go all in” because we all know, Amaro included, that once a team is in the playoffs they have as good a chance as any other team that’s made it.

      And I’m not absolving him of blame. Read my post again… I said that he’s made some mistakes and that I don’t agree with every move he’s made. But a poster above referred to him as a “moron” as though he hasn’t done jacksh!t since taking the job. I don’t think that’s accurate.

      Also, to Eric… I realize that he inherited a really nice situation with which to work. So, yeah, all the credit of the team’s success can’t be nor should be given to him. But I would disagree that he’s “average at best.”

  15. Montco Phil

    November 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I don’t know who the Phillies will wind up getting for centerfield (nor do they I guess) but I do find it curious that neither of Victorino’s two former teams (Phils & Dodgers) appear to be in the bidding to obtain/retain his services. I would think he’s due for a bounce-back season.

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