Viewing Amaro’s Offseason Moves Through A Larger Scope – Phillies Nation

Viewing Amaro’s Offseason Moves Through A Larger Scope

Early last week, Ruben Amaro signed Delmon Young to a one-year contract, seemingly putting a cap on his offseason moves.

In the time that has passed since, the public has chastised Amaro for his re-structuring of the team. On social media and talk radio, people have spouted off about how he has failed to address the Phillies needs and turn them back into a contender this offseason.

To be perfectly honest, the frustration is understandable. While the Braves got the Upton brothers, the Phillies got the Youngs, who I believe are of no relation. The Nationals reeled in Dan Haren, while Amaro signed John Lannan.

The acquisition of talent hasn’t really stacked up. On paper, it seems the Phillies will once again be unable to contend with the two teams they finished behind in the standings last season. While the Braves and Nationals got better, it’s hard to argue that the Phils did the same.

So, in grading Amaro on how he has set the team up for the 2013 season, it’s fair to suggest he deserves no better than a C, and maybe an even worse grade.

To critique Amaro simply on how he set the team up for 2013 is unfair, however. When the offseason is viewed through a wider lens, Amaro has done a good job with his moves this winter. Unlike in years past, he avoided the long-term, expensive commitments to players not worth their salt, opting instead to bring in players to fill voids on short-term deals. In fact, the most expensive contract Amaro handed out was to Mike Adams, a deal that is worth just $12M, assuming his third year vesting option isn’t met.

The result is a team that will have a ton of financial flexibility following the 2013 season. Let’s take a look at the Phillies expiring contracts after this season. It should be noted that, for values, I included Lannan and D. Young’s incentives, since the team had to make room for those amounts in laying out their budget. I also assumed that Roy Halladay would not reach the total innings needed to make his 2014 option vest (not a far-fetched assumption), and that Kyle Kendrick and John Mayberry Jr. would not be offered arbitration following the season. Here’s the contracts that expire and their average annual values:

  1. Roy Halladay – $20M AAV
  2. Chase Utley – $12.2M AAV
  3. Carlos Ruiz – $3.34M AAV
  4. Michael Young – $6M AAV
  5. Kyle Kendrick – $3.75 AAV
  6. John Lannan – $5M AAV
  7. Delmon Young – $3.5M AAV
  8. Laynce Nix – $1.25M AAV
  9. John Mayberry, Jr. – $500K AAV

In expiring contracts alone, the Phils gain about $55.54M in spending money for 2014. That number doesn’t include arbitration eligible guys Antonio Bastardo and Kevin Frandsen, though. So let’s call it $53M. Consider the fact that the Phillies payroll projects to be about $165M in 2013–assuming incentives are met and including buyouts. There could always be a trade or two during the season, and that could push it to $170M.  That gives them another $8M to spend before they hit the $178M luxury tax threshold. However, in 2014, the threshold raises  to $189M, so the Phils find another $11M to spend. That brings the grand total to somewhere in the range of $70M additional dollars to spend on the 2014 season, if the Phils opt to go right up to the luxury tax threshold. While that may seem unlikely, they did push the threshold last season ($173.5M), and are in line for a nice cash influx with a looming TV deal that may allow them to loosen the purse strings.

That’s $70M to spend on a free agent class that includes the likes of Robinson Cano, Brian McCann, Ben Zobrist, Josh Johnson, James Shields and Tim Lincecum, among many others (For a complete list, click here). I don’t think there’s any question that next year’s free agent market is much stronger than this year’s. Because of Amaro’s reluctance to hand out big contracts this time around, the Phillies will be in position to sign at least two of the big names on the market, plus some second-tier players (He could sign Cano and Shields for $45M a season, and still have $25M left to spend). This is all hypothetical, but it gives an idea about the Phillies potential spending power in the not-so-distant future.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: That’s all well and good, but what about the 2013 season? What about winning now?

The fact is, if the Phillies are going to win in 2013–which is still a possibility, mind you. I don’t intend to write this team off–they’ll need the guys they’re already paying handsomely to perform up to their standards. Guys like Utley, Halladay and Ryan Howard need to step up. There wasn’t a player on the market worth signing who could change that.

Amaro recognized that fact, and he shrewdly opted to maintain the team’s flexibility going forward. I haven’t been in love with everything Amaro has done this offseason, but he deserves credit for doing that much.

If 2013 should end the same way 2012 did, the Phils will be in a position to completely revamp their roster. Amaro’s prudence this offseason makes that possible.



  1. Publius

    January 28, 2013 at 9:36 am

    At this stage though why should we trust Ruben to use that money well? Also, $80+mil sounds like a lot, but when you have as many holes to fill as the Phillies will next year, and have to rely on an expensive FA in almost all those positions, that money is going to go away very, very quickly.

    • Ryan Dinger

      January 28, 2013 at 10:05 am

      I figure best case scenario, some guys in the Phillies system come up and fill some of those holes. I break it down like this:

      2B – Free agency
      3B – You look to Asche to potentially fill this role.
      OF – If Brown can claim one of those spots today, you only have need for one outfielder through free agency. If they get really lucky, maybe Gillies finally figures it out. Though, I’m not banking on that.
      SP – They probably have need for three starters next year, if Kendrick isn’t offered arbitration. You hope Pettibone can claim the number five spot. So you look to sign one front of the rotation starter, and maybe a middle of the road guy, as well.
      Bullpen – With Papelbon and Adams signed next year and a bevy of young arms, there really shouldn’t be need to sign anyone.

      Of course, this is reliant on a lot of the young talent panning out, but I think at least a few of these guys should be ready next year. As far as Ruben properly allocating funds, I can’t defend his past mistakes. But he did seem reticent to invest in overpriced talent this offseason. Hopefully he’s learned from his past and can be expected to spend smarter going forward. I think the main point is he’s left himself in a good position to spend in the future.

      • Jaron B

        January 28, 2013 at 10:46 am

        2014 rotation: Cloyd & Pettibone could be in the mix (so could Rosenberg who has been trained in starting), Hamels & Lee are signed. And the best value out on the market may be actually be Roy Halladay himself at $12-18MM per year if his option doesn’t vest. I think one of you guys wrote a piece on that back in the summer.

        2014 OF: Brown, Revere, Ruf, and… Pence? Perhaps it could be. Not sure if Pence is the best fit for the team with Brown in right: Brown plays much better right-field than left-field. Inciarte could also be in the mix (if the D’backs don’t/ can’t take him back) along with Collier & Gilles developing.

        3B: You’ll have Galvis (and/ or Frandsen) in there as back-up to Asche.

        2B: You could re-sign Utley if (1) he doesn’t start 2013 on the DL & (2) he’ll accept $8-12MM per year on a one- or two-year deal. Galvis & Utely could then platoon when Asche is getting reps.

      • Publius

        January 28, 2013 at 10:48 am

        That’s a pretty mediocre team aside from the starting pitching, probably 4th best in the NL East

      • EddieG

        January 28, 2013 at 10:48 am

        if galvis proves he can hit for a good AVG and get on base a good deal wouldn’t a Utley/Galvis combo be good for 2014. Asche/Frandsen to start the year and in a perfect baseball world LF-Ruf, Center-Revere, and RF-Brown, if brown and ruf prove they can hit ML pitching consistently and if they are able to put up a respectable defense in 2013.

        I see the phillies extending Ruiz and Valle ending up as backup catcher for most of the 2014 season.

        Tha’ts just wishful thinking on my part.

      • Mark

        January 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm

        To Publius’ point, why should Amaro be trusted? He’s shown to be reckless with the Phillies money at times (Howard contract extension) and the few times he’s been more prudent, the Phillies have ended up with players who have no business being on an MLB roster (Delmon Young, Yuniesky Betancourt).

      • wbramh

        January 29, 2013 at 5:47 pm

        I’ve been following baseball since the era of the Whiz Kids and one thing has been a constant when predicting the success or failure of an upcoming season.

        If you have to use the word “if” more than three times, you’re out!

  2. Chuck A.

    January 28, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Well this should be a fun thread….

  3. Rotcod

    January 28, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I may be crazy, but I like what Amaro’s done. I have been looking at it through this type of lens from the beginning. Sometimes you have to rebuild; this is like a financial rebuilding period. I think Amaro is savvy and smart. The stupid-seeming moves that he has done, I believe, he has done consciously and intentionally. He doesn’t have bottomless pockets. What do people really expect? You can’t go all in on every hand.

    • Publius

      January 28, 2013 at 11:18 am

      If you think willingly trading for Michael Young and signing Delmon Young are “smart and savvy” moves then I agree, you are crazy,

      • Rotcod

        January 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

        I don’t think all his moves are smart and savvy. I think HE is. There’s a difference. Also, it’s like what, 750K for Delmon Young? And if Michael Young can recapture a fraction of what he did only two years ago, well then… Also, no one has any suggestion what Ruben could have done without breaking the bank. NO ONE.

      • Publius

        January 28, 2013 at 11:43 am

        Flip Worley to Rockies for Chris Nelson or Jordan Pacheco, sign Nick Swisher to 4/$64m contract (or essentially what Delmon, MYoung, Lannan and Adams are making). Better, younger team for same cost and you hold on to May.

      • Ryne Duren

        January 28, 2013 at 11:56 am

        i think the aquisition of young and the signing of D young are only a one year temp fix.they have so many health questions with the three big guys haliday, utley and howard and pending Fa.s for next year they are definately in a transition while striving to be very competitive this year. i’m not expecting anything great this year but they do, if things work out have a chance to get a wild card or posibly a div title. if not you’ll see wholesale changes either after the season , or if they’re floundering by midseason? i could see a fire sale and a full blown retool.
        just an opinion, but i can see this happening. i can understand them not spending big bucks on certain players of this years FA crop. i think rube has a plan. plan A and plan B depending on the health of lots of our players.

      • Ryne Duren

        January 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm

        publius i don’t know if i read this wrong on your comment but . they already dealt worley. and swisher is already signed by another team.

      • rc

        January 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm

        Re: Better, younger team for same cost and you hold on to May.

        Swisher on a 4 year deal at 32 and Nelson 28 in September vs D Young 28 in September, Revere 25 in May and M Young at 36 on a one year deal and the 16th pick in the draft makes them younger?

      • Chuck A.

        January 28, 2013 at 12:53 pm

        rc – it’s just Publius picking apart every go&&amn thing this front office does as if he somehow could do a better job given ALL the variables that go into it.

      • Mark

        January 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm

        Or Publius recognizing the fact that Amaro has not demonstrated any great ability to evaluate talent. It doesn’t matter that Delmon Young only cost $750k/year. He’s a horrible baseball player. Same as Betancourt who’s even worse of a baseball player. Yeah, that’s only a minor league deal, but what good can come from it?

        So far all I’ve heard from Amaro supporters his wishful thinking. Maybe Young will be good in RF even though he hasn’t played the position in 6 years and his former team DH’ed him as much as possible. Maybe Michael Young will rebound at the age of 36. Maybe Revere will learn how to hit anything besides a single. Maybe Ryan Howard will learn to hit lefties for a change (I would hope for $25m/year). What has Amaro done besides inherit a championship team? I’m completely baffled by an support he receives.

      • The Original Chuck P

        January 30, 2013 at 10:39 am

        Everyone has an opinion…

        Jordan Pacheco and Chris Nelson… two utility players heading into their age 27 seasons… Pacheco posted a 91 OPS+ last year. He’s a career .308 hitter in the minors with no power to speak of. Nelson posted a 102 OPS+ last year (prior to call ups, he’s been in the 60’s). Nelson has a little more power but he’s a career .282 hitter in the minors and appears to be a butcher in the field (look at his fielding percentages across all levels). Pacheco seems to have a better glove and plays a lot of positions (1B, 3B, C) but I’m not sure either player has a true spot.

        Ben Revere > either of those guys… he’s younger, plays a premiere defensive position (very well) and is going to get better. He’s a guy you can sort of build around – you don’t have to worry about center field for the next 5 years. I think May was just progressing too slowly – at the pace he was moving, it’s fair to say that Biddle and Pettibone had caught up and the Phillies wanted to commit to those two. You don’t need three guys vying for one spot… especially if you feel like you know what you’ve got. I think Biddle is a stud.

        DYoung is so low risk… it’s not even worth talking about. If he does what he did two years ago, it’s tremendous. You’re taking a one year flyer on a guy that will re-enter free agency looking for a multi-year deal – you’re giving him a chance to make a lot of money somewhere else.

        MYoung is a guy that’s playing with a chip on his shoulder… and I think that will be the theme of the 2013 season – playing with a chip on our shoulder.

  4. Ken Bland

    January 28, 2013 at 11:45 am


    That television money that you listed as part of your best case scenario incoming funs links to an article from 11 months ago. In the ensuing 11 months, the Phils had a terrific drop in local ratings, and on the whole, have fallen victim contributed to a less leading brand name than when the fans were fired up by 5 relatively excellent years in a row. Add the mystery of Chip Kelly to the sports dollar competition, and a local economy that at best figures to stay afloat, and the freedom from exsisting contracts might be the most positive aspect of monies to get it cranking again. Obviously, all this could develop a rosier plot than this caitionary list, but my point is I’m a little hesitant to take this new television deal as the godsend that’s as guaranteed as a birthright. It’s probably a good, helpful deal, but I wouldn’t take it for granted.

    • Ryan Dinger

      January 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm


      I thought about those things and you’re right about a lot of them. But the team still draws pretty well (better than the Dodgers, who just received a 20 year/$8 billion TV deal). The Phillies current TV contract nets them $25M a year. Even if they got half of what the Dodgers just got in their deal, that’d be an increase of $150M a year (the team would receive $175M a year). Even on a low estimate, they should get a sizeable increase in revenue.

      • Ken Bland

        January 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm

        Dodger attendance this year will be interesting. I read where they have a terrific advance for the year, whatever the word terrific means. It’s pretty amazing how popular the Lakers are out there. I can’t thiunk of another 3 or 4 team market where the NBA team is the kingpin, but with their crummy year to date, fans may be thirsting and willing to transfer emotions. It’s always amazed me how much the Dodgers, easily a leader in attendance years ago lost so much following long before McCourt. Point’s well taken on a minimum of a sizeable increase.

      • EricL

        January 29, 2013 at 11:02 pm

        Guys, TV deals are based on market size and ratings, not gate attendance.

        LA has a television market about 3 times as large as the Phillies, which is going to result in a huge premium paid for their rights. Further, while the Phillies had the best local television ratings in baseball in 2011, they lost 33% of their TV audience from 2011-2012. If that trend continues they will be squarely in the middle of the pack ratings wise at the time their TV deal is up for renewal (after the 2014 season). Middle of the pack doesn’t get you top-tier television money.

        Ruben Amaro’s stewardship of the franchise, if he doesn’t turn it around in a big way the next two years, will likely end up costing the franchise tens of millions of dollars annually for however long contract lasts. That could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, which would make his tenure not only poor in the near term, but disastrous over the long-term.

    • wbramh

      January 29, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Perhaps the team is willing to live with an empty stadium night after night as long as their cable deal is comparable to the one the Dodgers received. Of course, when cable subscribers are asked to pay through the teeth to defray the cost of the Phillies deal they may find it difficult to recoup their investment.
      I’m not sure the Phillies can bank on maintaining large crowds like the smug Eagles and Flyers management has managed to do with their losing teams. T
      that hasn’t been the case in most baseball cities outside of Boston and New York (Yankees).
      At the end of the next cable contract, the team might find itself with no fan base and a fire sale renewal fee for the TV rights.
      That’s how teams get sold and sometimes have to leave town.

      • Chuck A.

        January 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm

        What was that thing that Chicken Little said???

      • Dave P

        January 29, 2013 at 5:20 pm

        As a flyers fan, I take offense to the Flyers being called a “losing team”. After all, they’ve made the playoffs every year since 1994 except ONCE. Maybe you should do a little before posting your paper thin theories.

      • wbramh

        January 29, 2013 at 8:19 pm

        I think you’re confusing “the sky’s falling” with “these guys can’t seem to hit a sacrifice fly.”

      • wbramh

        January 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm

        Gosh Dave, the last thing I wanted to do was offend a Flyers fan.
        A person could get physically hurt doing that.
        Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot, the Broad Street Bullies and that same fan mentality are gone – along with a single championship for the last 39 years. But keep making those payoffs, and hopefully, you’ll live long enough to see another Cup.
        Like the Eagles and their winningest ex-coach, the Flyers are pure winners.
        Again, my sincere apologies for my “paper thin” opinions concerning the team’s obviously tremendous successes.

      • Dave P

        January 30, 2013 at 10:03 am

        Well, 39 years ago was 1974, and they won the cup in 1974 and 1975. Looks like two to me, but I’m no math major.

        …So they have as many championships as the phillies, and have been to the biggest stage more recently than the phils as well. (2009 world series vs. 2010 stanley cup finals). They even won a playoff series last season!

        Since we used 39 years to begin this comparison, we might as well stick with it, since that’s I suppose some sort of culturally significant number of years.

        Since then, the flyers have been to the Stanley Cup Finals 8 times. The Phillies have been to the world series 5 times. 16 losing seasons for the Phillies vs. 6 for the Flyers. (Granted, there was 1 more Phillies season in the mix there).

        Certainly, the flyers and their “losing ways” have plagued Philly for a long time.

  5. Chuck A.

    January 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Publius, how do you know that a Worley to COL deal WASN’T talked about? I am sure they thought of many scenarios and some of them just weren’t good fits for either of the trading teams. Swisher…yeah…that would have been a nice signing and i wouldn’t have complained about it. Not sure where they were with that one ..

    • Lefty

      January 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      He doesn’t know, he doesn’t know anything about the inside talks the FO has had with other teams. He doesn’t know who they’ve tried to acquire and who turned them down or asked too much.

      It is crystal clear that this FO makes mistakes, every deal you make is a gamble. But I seriously doubt they lack in hustle, that they leave any stone unturned.

      • EricL

        January 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm

        I think this is inaccurate.

        They’ve gone on record, multiple times, as saying they don’t care about advanced statistics, or sabermetrics. That means, by definition, they are leaving a big stone unturned by intentionally ignoring a facet of the game that can help you better evaluate your players and those you’re looking to sign or trade for.

        Even if you don’t fully subscribe to them as the be all and end all of baseball analysis, to dismiss out of hand is to make a big mistake.

  6. Christian

    January 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Long time reader, first ever comment:

    While the Braves and the Nationals added big name players, the Phillies essentially added Utley, Howard, and Halladay, and shored up others holes such as the bullpen, 3B, and CF; and as the article suggests, they have left plenty of flexibility for the future. I think fans are underestimating what Amaro has accomplished this off-season.

    Personally, I am very excited about the upcoming season. Plus, they just resigned Chad Durbin. Another solid under-the-radar move.

    • Rotcod

      January 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Woo, another optimist here. Go Phillies!
      (no sarcasm implied)

    • Publius

      January 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      ….wait, how exactly did the Phillies “add” 3 players that were already on the team? And how on earth are you arguing that Howard’s bloated contract is a “good” thing?!

      • Christian

        January 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm

        Howard’s contract is a topic for another thread. This article is about whether or not Amaro did enough this off-season to keep pace with the Nationals and Braves, both of whom added significant pieces to their already good teams, and still leave enough flexibility to retool in 2014 and beyond. I am of the belief that he did.

        My point about “adding” Halladay, Utley, and Howard is that this team will be far better than they were last year simply because these three will be healthy for the entire season. Add to these three a much stronger bullpen, improved defense in CF/more speed on the base paths, bounce back seasons from the Youngs, and further development from Ruf and Brown, and this team has the tools to win the East, imho.

        I realize this is a rose-colored view of things but why not? It’s all about half full or half empty. Sure it could all go wrong but it just as easily could all go right.

      • Chuck A.

        January 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

        Yeah, it’s like getting a player back from the DL at the trade deadline. Wait…didn’t that happen last year??…..

      • Christian

        January 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm

        But this time they are returning before spring training not the trade deadline, and we won’t just have them for 70 or 80 games after already digging a huge hole in the standings, but instead will have them for 150+ games. And they won’t need time to fully heal after returning prematurely from injury but instead will already be fully recovered and hit the ground running on day one. Seems pretty different.

      • Ryne Duren

        January 28, 2013 at 11:11 pm

        wow publlius. what he means by saying they have added those three is the fact that for a major chunk of last year those guys weren’t on the team because of injury, or not being 100 % healthy. so if they are in fact healthy, it makes the phils much much better. even without halliday at 100% or the other two, the phils were on a 95 win pace in the second half! have faith pal.

    • Mark

      January 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      Bringing back Durbin is a good thing? At $1.1mm/year? Way to try out the younger, cheaper bullpen arms they already have in the system! How the hell does anyone expect Amaro to rebuild a championship team when he can’t even take the chance on bullpen arms that the organization develps?

    • Mark

      January 28, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      The Phillies won’t be winning any more championships until they demontrate they can once again develop major league talent. Has it been so long since their last World Series that fans forget how much homegrown talent was on that team? It is without a doubt more expensive and error-prone to build through free agency. Look what’s happened in Boston. Unfortunately, the only ability Amaro has shown is that he can spend ownership’s money. Sometimes intelligently (Hamels, Lee – though I don’t think paying market prices is anything exceptional), sometimes carelessly (Howard).

      • Double Trouble Del

        January 28, 2013 at 10:27 pm

        Unfortunately when you have a “core group” of players that are of roughly the same age and are successful, you are often tempted to add one more piece to continue the winning all while you have these core players in their relative prime. This leads to a cycle in which a team forfeits first round picks to sign FA pieces, trades away more valuable farmhands to acquire needed players at the trade deadline while simultaneously receiving lower draft picks on account of winning.

      • wbramh

        January 29, 2013 at 5:22 pm

        “The Phillies won’t be winning any more championships until they demontrate they can once again develop major league talent.”
        That was the case with the 2008 and 2009 pennant-winners and arguably the case with the 1993 team as well. Daulton and Hollins (originally drafted by the Padres I believe, but made it to the bigs via the Phils Org) led that team in RBIs with 105 and 93 respectively and Morandini was a major spark. Kevin Stocker was also a product of the org. Five out of the 8 position starters on the Whiz Kids came up through the org as well as 4 of the 5 top starters (including aces Roberts and Simmons).

    • Ryne Duren

      January 28, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      welcome christian to the commenting. i’m with you, i feel the same way. my feelings are all over the place with the team this year! there are so many variables as to what could or couldn’t happen it makes my hair fall out! oh wait that already happened! oh well, i welcome your optimisim.

  7. Lefty

    January 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    We’re definitely in the stage now of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    But Ryan if your assessment of what happened is truly part of a solid long term plan as you laid out, then I’m all for it.

    But until your scenario is revealed by RA Jr. himself, (Don’t hold your breath waiting for that) none of us will ever really know.

    • George

      January 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      Boy, can I agree with that! Nobody knows for sure what’s going on, and, in my opinion, none of Amaro’s moves are worth getting bent out of shape over one way or the other.

      It was a bad free agent market. No sense spending foolishly, no matter what might be planned or unplanned for the future.

  8. Bart Shart

    January 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    This is an excellent article, and one that points out the need for rebuilding the team with free-agent dollars. Halladay, Utley and a number of other players will be financially motivated to perform this year for future contracts. We will see if this overall play works. I hope it does and I hope we can praise Amaro come October.

    • Publius

      January 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      There is no evidence out there that players play harder in contract years.

      • Ken Bland

        January 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm

        I believe you missed the point of what appears to be a nearly 3 year old article. It’s not about playing harder, it’s about playing better. And as the article fairly mentions, there are counter examples. It doesn’t even date back to 3 guys in the Phillies environment (if that means anything at all) that responded to free agent to be status pretty well, Werth, Hamels, and a year away Cliff Lee, who responded very well elsewhere in his actual free agent year. I’ll take Halladay and Utley with something to prove 9 days a week. I just hope the medical gods do.

        Perhaps you oughta look up Wayne Garland in his free agent year and see how he did.

      • schmenkman

        January 28, 2013 at 2:41 pm

        The point I take from it is that if it’s just as easy to find examples on either side, then whether it’s a contract year or not is essentially no better than flipping a coin in predicting whether a it will be any better or worse than another year.

      • Publius

        January 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm

        Sure, exceptions always exist, but simply assuming that player Y will play harder because he’s in a contract year doesn’t make sense. Sure, he might be a rare exception, but that’s it. Plus, it’s not like Chase is internally thinking “oh man, I’m not gonna dive after this ball…OH WAIT I NEED MY SWEET CONTRACT MONIES!” *dives* *injures shoulder*

        Having a healthy Utley and Halladay will be enough. To think that they’ll play harder simply to earn a bigger paycheck is an insult to them and basic human reasoning.

      • George

        January 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm

        Once again, a very sensible comment from Schmenkman. He may disturb some people with stats, but he always looks at things logically.

    • George

      January 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      …and Schmenk also does it without the condescension and sarcasm of many other commenters.

  9. Chris

    January 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Make a post and Publius will try and refute it.

    • Publius

      January 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Will not!

      • Chuck A.

        January 28, 2013 at 4:07 pm

        Will so! Your turn…

      • wbramh

        January 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm


  10. EricL

    January 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Lol, Robinson Cano is not going anywhere. The Yankees will re-sign him and they actually have more financial flexibility in 2014 than will the Phillies. Johnson, Lincecum, and McCann are broken shells of their former selves leaving Shields and Zobrist as the only real good options from that list. Zobrist gets a lot of his value from his positional flexibility and high OBP which Ruben clearly doesn’t value highly and so you’re left with James Shields as a potential target for the Phils.

    Honestly this years free agent crop looks much better to me than next years group, and the Phils completely punted this offseason.

    • Ryan Dinger

      January 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      Well, that’s true if you only look at the six names I arbitrarily chose from that list. However, focusing on those six names: Cano has already said the Yankees won’t get a hometown discount (which, to me, indicates that he plans on at least testing the market). McCann has declined a bit, but he’s still an above average player (even this season–his worst yet–he was a 2.0 WAR player). Johnson just had a 4.0 WAR season, so I don’t get where he’s broken down. And Lincecum’s xFIP was nearly 1.50 runs less than his ERA; his strikeout rate didn’t really suffer. I get the sense his issues stemmed from less control than he usually has. I also disagree that this year’s crop is stronger (obviously), especially considering that just about every major signing was an overpay, in my opinion.

      As the article suggests, punting this offseason was a good thing because it was a market that had a dearth of talent and was running wild with guys making more than they should.

      • Mark

        January 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm

        Many supporters of Amaro have claimed that he helped keep the championship window open a bit longer for this Phillies team. If that is the case, how is punting this offseason a good move when the core of the team is on the wrong side of 30?

      • EricL

        January 29, 2013 at 11:09 pm

        And as I suggested, this year’s group of potential free agents is better than next year’s group, so punting while getting older and having few reliable options from which to choose going into 2014 was not a good thing. It was a big mistake.

    • Double Trouble Del

      January 28, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      I agree and in fact have stated in some other inane post that the 2014 FA crop is even worse than this year’s. I really hope that some portion of those savings is spent on player scouting and development. The thought of signing Lincecum to a long term contact concerns me and we haven’t even started the 2013 season.

    • wbramh

      January 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      IMO, the only single-signing free agent this year who could have created a great enough differential of games won to put the Phils in contention was Josh Hamilton. It would have taken at least two of the next top-rated players to equal Hamilton’s (potential) value to the team and that would have likely cost even more. money. Having said that, in any given year, Hamilton is not much less of a risk than Howard
      Imagine not one, but two hobbled superstars saddling the team with enormous, long-term salaries.
      No easy answers but I sure would have loved to have seen a physically (and mentally) healthy Hamilton in this lineup – especially while they team still enjoys a quality pitching rotation.

  11. Ryan Dinger

    January 28, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Mark – Many supporters have claimed that, but that doesn’t mean I believe it. I wouldn’t even classify myself as an Amaro supporter. When Phillies Nation graded his performance this past summer, I gave him a C. He’s had some good deals and he’s had some bad ones. To answer your question, though, punting this offseason was a good thing for two reasons: 1) There wasn’t a big contract signed that I looked at and said, “Wow, the Phils really missed out on that deal.” I don’t like the Hamilton contract or the B.J. Upton one. Victorino at almost $40M? No, thanks. By avoiding those deals, Amaro has allowed himself a lot of flexibility going forward (which is the crux of this article). 2) As I state in the article, if the Phils are to compete this season, they’ll need Utley, Howard and Halladay to perform. Signing Josh Hamilton or B.J. Upton or anyone else wouldn’t have changed that fact. That’s why it was a shrewd decision to avoid committing to those players.

    • Mark

      January 28, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      I completely agree with the points you raise. I’d much rather the Phillies save their money for another move than splurge on a Josh Hamilton or some other max contract player. What frustrates me as a fan watching Amaro’s moves isn’t the fact that he didn’t make any big money moves this off-season, but that he thought Delmon Young and Yuniesky Betancourt could contribute to the team. Both are horrendous players (with Young having the awful attitude to go along with it).

  12. Andrew from Waldorf

    January 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks for the shout out KB.

    the guy really is amazing.

    He inherits a WS roster and the best farm system in baseball.

    And has turned it into this in less than 5 years.

    He has GMed on a level of a poster on a site.
    Hoarding all the players.

    A few simple moves 3 or 4 years ago and you avert this.

    The simple ones like last year just not resigning Rollins.

    Its like one of the kool aid drinkers from here is calling the shots.

    When he gets fired. And its happening this year.

    He will NEVER be a GM in the majors again.

    So why keep him around now?

    Its like a guy in a poker tornament who gets dealt aces in every hand and loses.

    But somehow he loses. Amaro has accomplished that.

    • Ken Bland

      January 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      Glad you saw the article. Neyer sounded more like you than you. I wouldn’t describe his job as in jeapordy necessarily, but he’s owed 4 mil or so less now than he was a year ago, and I don’t get much feel for where Dave Montgomery’s head is, or have much feel for the blueprint of what they’re trying to do. Let’s just say it’ll be an interesting season.

    • wbramh

      January 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      While I’m not a huge fan, Ruben would likely get another GM gig in a New York minute.
      Like players, there are worse GMs and managers getting regurgitated every few years.
      Sometimes they come back to haunt you if only because of what you get in their place.

    • George

      January 29, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Wait a minute, Andrew. Was Amaro responsible for the five year aging process that “WS roster” has suffered?

      The team won in 2008 did so largely by getting hot, and had exactly ONE really good starting pitcher. Do you honestly beleive the “roster” could have repeated even once without some new players, guys that could only be gained through free agent signings or trades of prospects?

      Small moves don’t win pennants pennants five years in a row.

      Personally, I’m pretty sick of your constant “broken record” drivel, and your claims of expertise.

      • hk

        January 30, 2013 at 6:19 am


        It’s hypocritical to call out others for being condescending, then characterize someone else’s posting as drivel.

  13. hk

    January 28, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    KC has the option to keep Shields at a reasonable price in 2014 and Tampa has the option to keep Zobrist for cheap salaries in both 2014 and 2015. There are probably others on the list with team options and still others who will be extended before they reach free agency. Therefore, I think it’s too early to claim that next offseason’s free agents will be better than this offseason’s.

  14. therookie300

    January 29, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I still wish Gillick hadn’t traded away Gio Gonzalez for Freddy Garcia. RAJ didn’t have to make the move of acquiring Lee for all that money. That money could have been better spent since Lee didn’t deliver in game 2 of the 2011 NLDS anyways.

  15. branderson925

    January 30, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Poor analysis.

    The Braves got the Uptons, the Phillies got Young? Yeah did the Phillies have the pieces to trade for Justin Upton. BJ is whatever, nothing solid, I mean I wouldn’t have minded him but he strikes out a ton and doesn’t hit well at all. How is he going to steal bases and score runs if he’s not getting on base.

    Comparing the Phillies getting Lannan to the Nats getting Haren is foolish as well. Phillies needed a solid 5th starter and that’s exactly what they got. Do you think they should have made a play on Haren? Are you kidding. They don’t need the top of rotation pitcher (obviously). What kind of money would be paying this Haren contract.

    I think Amaro deserves a B/B+ for this offseason. I’m shaky on the Young deal but our bullpen sure is solid which was TERRIBLE last year (and not too hot the year before that) What he did was make a series of low-mid risk moves with decent to high upsides. You never know what Revere might be able to do as he gets a bit older. He will certainly get on base, score runs and steal bases. I like that move quite a bit considering the other options. What should we have thrown a bunch of long-term money at Bourn who is 30 and who we’d potentially be shaking our heads over in a few years.

    C’mon have some optimism and use your mind when analyzing the offseason moves. Comparing apples and oranges in this article. Phils WILL compete for the NL East but likely settle for a WC which I am okay with


    PS First post since the season haha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Phillies Nation has been bringing Phillies fans together since 2004 with non-stop news, analysis, trade rumors, trips, t-shirts, and other fun stuff!

Browse the Archives

Browse by Category

Copyright Phillies Nation, LLC 2004-2016
Not Affiliated with Major League Baseball or the Philadelphia Phillies

To Top