Saturday, November 05, 2005

Catching Up

A lot has happened lately including meetings with soon to be FA's, GM interviews around the league, and a major reconstruction at the Phillies home park. It's been a busy couple of days...
  • Phillies give in to the constant criticism and plan to alter the dimensions at the ballpark - I'm personally somewhat indifferent (
  • The offseason is officially underway: Washington trades Vinny Castilla to San Diego for Brian Lawrence and cash. The first trade of the offseason is a really interesting one and I think it could have major implications for the Phillies. This will be looked at in greater detail in the coming days.
  • Jim Thome to the Twins?
    • "The Twins have verified that they have had conversations with Philadelphia management regarding a possible transaction for first baseman Jim Thome, where the Phillies would have to pick up a good share of Thome's contract. The deal has a balance of $43.5 million remaining for three years" (Star Tribune).
  • Jim Thome to the Orioles?
    • The article also shoots down the rumors from the Star Tribune listed above. It also mentions at the bottom what I consider to be two great moves by the Phillies - hiring John Russell as AAA manager and promoting P.J. Forbes to the top job at AA Reading. Very, very impressive moves (Philadelphia Daily News)
  • Billy Wagner talking to the Mets
    • I read in the NY Post on Friday that he did meet the Mets and liked what he heard very much. That's all well and good. Newsday reports today that the Mets will make Wagner their number one priority and will attempt to top any offer he receives. I hate the thought of Wagner closing games and hitting 100 MPH for the Mets, but if they want to give him 4 years-$40 million then, please believe me on this, Phillies fans will be getting the last laugh sooner rather than later.
    • Billy Wagner on the meeting with the Mets from the Saturday Post:
      • "I thought it was very good," Wagner told The Post by phone yesterday. "I thought everything was very casual, very laid back, and they made it a point to really speak to my wife and make her feel comfortable."
  • The Kansas City Royals with serious interest in Rafael Furcal?
    • This has nothing to do with the Phillies really, but it was shocking enough to warrant a mention. It is known by now that the Royals will have some cash to throw around, but it was expected to be overpaying for a "star pitcher" (their spin I'm betting) like Paul Byrd. Nobody was ready for a prepared offer for Furcal. They have little shot of outbidding the Mets or Cubs, but at least they are making headlines by throwing their hat in the ring. Furcal will be overpaid too, by the way, and I am glad the Phillies aren't tempted since they don't have a need for a SS/2B, but sometimes a team has to overpay a guy to get him to come to town. We'll see that with Furcal this year.
    • Same article, lower on the page:
      • "How in demand was new Phillies general manager Pat Gillick? The Red Sox put out a feeler to Gillick just before the Phillies named him general manager; the Diamondbacks expressed serious interest before they hired Josh Byrnes, and the Dodgers were crushed when Gillick snubbed them …" (Ken Rosenthal, FOXSports).
  • Unusual agreement with Seattle made after the Gillick hire
    • "Before the Phillies hired Gillick, they signed an agreement with the Seattle Mariners that prohibits Gillick from hiring any of their employees or taking any of their players in the Rule 5 draft for one year. Gillick was working as an adviser to the Mariners before he joined the Phillies. Gillick would like to bring in a few people on the scouting end, but none works for the Mariners. He hopes to have them in place soon" (Philadelphia Inquirer).
  • I really wouldn't mind seeing Milton Bradley in CF next year for the Phillies
    • "The Dodgers haven't decided what to do with Bradley, who made $2.5 million last season. They could decline to offer arbitration (which would make him a free agent), trade him or sign him. McCourt, who publicly supported Bradley through several problems on and off the field, is not inclined to bring him back, a source said. However, others in the organization want to give him another chance" (LA Times).
  • Hideki Matsui profiled in Time Asia - it is a really fascinating article and well worth a read on its own, but certain things do tend to jump out:
    • "He likes to watch his much vaunted porno collection, tapes that he often trades with Japanese reporters. As one Japanese journalist put it, describing Matsui's affinity for such unique Japanese cultural institutions like the no-panties shabu-shabu in Japan, "Matsui is a horny guy. All of us are horny, more or less. But Matsui doesn't attempt to hide the fact." Yet another win for the Japanese Everyman."
My six slightly lesser known candidates for the Phillies GM spot have done fairly well this offseason. A quick rundown:
  • Josh Byrnes - hired as new GM in Arizona
  • Chris Antonetti - interviewed for Phillies GM job, now a candidate for the GM job in Boston
  • Kim Ng - recently interviewed for GM job in Los Angeles, a candidate for the Boston GM job as well
  • David Forst - former Harvard baseball captain a prime candidate for the Bostom GM job
  • Dan Jennings and, my favorite, Dayton Moore - no changes in their job status for better or worse. I have no idea how Dayton Moore hasn't gotten an interview this offseason. It boggles the mind.
Gerry Hunsicker, presumed runner up to Pat Gillick for the Phils job, hired by Tampa Bay as the number two personnel man. I really like the direction that franchise is heading - great hire.

And finally,

Theo Epstein is rumored to be very interested in staying in baseball and would be willing to take a one-year advisory role within the front office of an organization. It is now time for the Phillies to make their pitch. With his hire, I would automatically go from being okay with/liking the Gillick hire to loving the combined approach the new front office would then take. Just a pipe dream though, but you never know...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you clearly think $40 million for 4 years is more than wagner is worth. how much is wagner worth to the phils? what offer would you like to see them make, taking into account length of contract and the limited money the phillies have to spend?

1:10 PM  
Blogger XXX said...

I don't like anything about that rumored contract. I won't pay any closer $10 million a year and I can't in good conscience give a small, hard throwing lefty with a violent delivery a 4-year contract. Wagner is 34 now, 35 in July, and would be 38 by the end of this deal. 10 million bucks for a closer like Wagner is justifiable in the short-term - he should "earn" that pay in the next 2 years, but what about the 2 years after that? The Phillies reported last offer of 2-years, $20 some million plus a team option that takes it to 3-years/$30 million is ideal. 2 years is what I would give him guaranteed with the third year being a team option or buyout year. $10 million a year is steep, but fair.

All that being said, I'm not sure if the Phillies can give him the money he wants, let alone the years. The $77.75 they have owed to just 11 guys makes it difficult to envision them giving $88.75 million or so to just 12 guys (assuming the payroll tops out at $95 million or so again. Keep in mind that this is Wagner's first crack at free agency in his career (partially by the rules, partially by choice) so he'll definitely take his time, enjoy the tours of each city that expresses interest, and milk every last penny out of this opportunity. If the Mets do offer that 4-year/$40 million contract and nobody tops it, he'll be a Met for sure. If a team tops that deal (Braves...doubtful, Red Sox/White Sox...maybe, it's impossible to ever rule out the Yankees) then he'll wind up there.

This is his last big contract as a major leaguer and he is coming off his best major league season. He has pocketed roughly $44,000,000 as a professional and has a chance to double it with this contract. It really must be nice to be a free agent, I can't even begin to imagine what is going on in his head right now. I'm jealous.

1:38 PM  

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