Monday, January 09, 2006

All Kinds of Wishful Thinking

It looks like the Miguel Tejada for Bobby Abreu rumors have quieted down enough to assume that any proposed deal is all but dead. Tejada says he isn't going anywhere. The Orioles say Tejada isn't going anywhere. The Phillies say...nothing. Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe attempts to revive the rumors by writing that the Phils were trying to acquire Tejada in order to spin him to Boston for OF Manny Ramirez and SP Matt Clement. If it is true that Tejada doesn't want to play 3B in Philadelphia, but would be willing to play SS in Boston, then this deal makes a ton of sense and all of the Tejada/Orioles denials could potentially be thrown out. Any possibility that the Red Sox could throw 3B Andy Marte along with Ramirez and Clement in that Tejada package? I'm still fairly confident Abreu isn't going anywhere, but all of these rumors make for some good discussion during one of the slower times of the baseball calendar.

It is probably time to stop whining about the terrible Ryan Franklin signing, but the recent comment during a mailbag from Phillies employee/"journalist" Ken Mandel at filled me with enough rage to share:

Gillick likes Franklin's ability, and the GM hopes the righty still has something left. By this winter's standards, $2.6 million isn't much for a guy who might have something to prove. On paper, it's a definite risk, but Franklin has a better chance to succeed in Philadelphia than Padilla. I'm not saying he will -- and his numbers are what they are -- I'm just saying he has a better chance.

I hate the addition of Ryan Franklin. It is a one-year deal worth $2.6 million so the financial committment isn't a serious one, but Franklin is such a bad idea for the Phillies that he'll either A) not make it through the year in the rotation or B) survive the year as a starter (due to shoddy management calling the shots, i.e. old school baseball men like the Phils skipper) and challenge for the all-time homeruns allowed record. If Franklin has a better year than Padilla next year...I don't know what I'll do. Luckily, it won't happen so it is a moot point anyway.

Every time I write about a potential answer at third base for the Phillies, the guy gets snapped up by some other team (typically in a lopsided deal favoring the team who grabs the third baseman). Corey Koskie is yet another example. I worried most about his salary when I mentioned the Phillies possible interest in him, but Toronto took care of that by agreeing to pay a large portion of Koskie's salary just to move him. Milwaukee jumped at the chance and now they have a 3B upgrade for 2006. The Brewers only have to pay Koskie $4.25 million of the $11.6 million he is owed over the next two seasons. The one silver lining in all of this for the Phillies is the newfound 3B surplus in Milwaukee. Everything I've read seems to indicate the club will now either try to shop 3B Russell Branyan or just waive him to clear a 40-man roster spot for Koskie. Branyan would be an excellent option for the Phillies as the player who hits righthanders in the 3B platoon with David Bell. Bell kills lefties. Branyan is awful against lefties. Bell struggled big time against righties in 2005. Branyan has hit .249/.366/.518 with 29 homers in 442 at bats against righties from 2003-2005 including a .280/.405/.538 line in 182 at bats in 2005. Branyan isn't perfect (597 strikeouts in 536 career games), but as a platoon player he wouldn't have to be. He'd cost less than $1 million in 2006 and would help solidify the Phillies 3B position in the short-term. Added bonus: his middle name is Oles. A move like this just makes too much sense not to at least consider.

At what point does free agent SP Jeff Weaver begin to consider taking the one-year contract a la Phillies favorite Kevin Millwood took last year? There are reports he is still expecting a 3-year deal with a fourth year vesting option, but with the Dodgers out of the running to sign him, who will step up and pay him? The Orioles and Angels have both had reported interest, but if this drags on it wouldn't be too big of a shock to see Weaver forced to settle on the "Kevin Millwood Special." I don't love the guy, but it would be nice to have that extra $2.6 million spent on Ryan Franklin back to help pay some of the costs of a one year Weaver rental.


Anonymous Braveswin said...

Well you were right, Branyan is the odd man out. He was designated for assignment. Some other club will take him. Back in '04 the Braves picked him up then traded him away during ST. I thought he would have made the team but instead they went with DeRosa.

Weaver is a wild card. He's shown promise and then he's shown crappiness. He made just under $10M last season and I don't see who would pay that number again until he proves himself. Obviously, a one year deal would benefit Weaver if he can pitch good during that time. As you said the "Kevin Millwood special". Boras is his agent, same with Millwood. So, if he does sign a one year I guess somewhere in the $7-$8M.

8:58 AM  

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