Friday, January 06, 2006

Covering All The Bases (Pun Intended)

All of the latest non-Ryan Franklin Phillies news that I can possibly come up with to clear my head of that terrible, terrible signing (plus it has been a while since I've done one of these)...
  1. Ken Rosenthal of has been the star reporter of this baseball offseason. He has been one step ahead of every media outlet on seemingly every single major move. So the latest Bobby Abreu trade rumor as reported by Rosenthal is something that really should not be dismissed. Rosenthal claims the Phillies have offered RF Bobby Abreu to the Baltimore Orioles for SS Miguel Tejada. The Phillies would then either attempt to flip Tejada for a frontline starting pitcher or keep Tejada and make him the new starting 3B. Rosenthal also seems to believe that the Phillies offer wouldn't be quite enough for the O's as they have coveted some starting pitching in most every other rumored Tejada deal. Tejada for Abreu...I'm sold. I'd rather have Tejada and Michaels/Victorino than Abreu and Bell/Nunez. Plus the option to deal Tejada for some pitching (revival of those Mark Prior rumors?) is tempting. Would the Phillies be willing to part with Abreu and SP Cole Hamels for Tejada? How about Abreu and P Ryan Madson? Abreu and SP Gavin Floyd? Abreu and SP Rob Tejeda? Abreu and SP Scott Mathieson? Do any of those work? Gotta believe the last three offers are far more palatable to the Phils than the first two, but the whole problem with trading for quality is that you gotta give up quality too.
  2. News moves very quickly - the Philadelphia Inquirer has picked up on these Tejada rumors and posted new information on their website as I finished up the previous paragraph. The Inquirer confirms much of what Rosenthal has previously reported, but adds the new twist (in truth Rosenthal alluded to it in his article) of the possibility that Tejada would refuse to report to a new team that acquires him and attempts to move him off of shortstop. Abreu has a full no-trade in his contract which also complicates any trade possibilities (we knew that already). The Inquirer makes a point to say that the deal is still being discussed and is by no means dead - important to make clear at such an early junction in the trade discussions. No source is cited so it may be Jim Salisbury's own take on the situation, but another wrinkle to the deal is brought up - the Phils could also want RP LaTroy Hawkins included in a deal if they are to include a young starter such as Tejeda or Floyd (Baltimore area native). I'll leave you with the old "it's a developing story, we'll wait and see what happens" line and call it a night (for now) with regards to this bit of news. Got a problem with that? Fight me.
  3. I killed the Phillies over the Ryan Franklin addition. I don't enjoy doing that. Honest. I'd much rather praise my team over a good move any day of the week - contrary to what the national media may want you to think about Philly sports fans. Complaining about bad moves is fun and all, but congratulating good moves is far more rewarding. That was one long, somewhat pointless intro for a minor league addition. In a very shrewd pickup, the Phillies claimed OF Josh Kroeger (late of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization) off of waivers. This is what minor league prospect expert John Sickels had to say about him in his Pre-Season Top 20 in Review (from 11/7/05):

    5) Josh Kroeger, OF - Hit .261/.316/.422 for Tucson, with 14 homers, 36 walks, 108 strikeouts. Kroeger has good power from the left side, but is still an unrefined hitter in many ways, and will need additional time in the minors.

    The "5)" you see is the pre-season rank of Kroeger in the D'Backs minor league system. Arizona has a pretty impressive system, so that is some high praise for a prospect. Kroeger is a 23-year old lefthanded corner outfielder that had a monster 2004 season, but a less successful '05. The D'Backs tried to slip him through waivers to create some 40-man roster room, but obviously couldn't sneak this quality guy pass the eye of the Phillies. Kroeger has good power, a little bit of speed, and, based off of some reports anyway, a plus outfield arm. Classic low risk, high reward type of pickup. I've never actually seen the guy play, but the only comparison off the top of my head based on the little I know about Kroeger would be former Phillies OF Eric Valent (but with more upside). If Kroeger can contribute in any way to the big club in the next few years then this was a worthwhile move. I believe this will be the case.
  4. Bryan Smith of Baseball Prospectus recently put out a list of 8 players from around baseball he think will break out as prospects in 2005. If you want to read about all 8, then you are out of luck unless you are willing to pay a couple bucks. If you want to read about the one Phillie mentioned, then you have come to the right place. Smith cites 2B/SS Brad Harman (good birthday - 11/19/85) from Lakewood as a player who will break out in 2006. This is nice news, but even nicer when you see Harman had a .303/.380/.442 line (11 homers and 23 doubles) as a Blueclaw in 2005. Harman is one of the many Australian players the Phillies have signed over the past few years - he is originally from Melbourne. From the BP article:

    But it’s the middle two months that put Harman on this list. Just 175 pounds, you wouldn’t think there would be a lot of pop in Harman’s bat. However, in 218 at-bats from mid-June to mid-August, Brad slugged 22 extra-base hits. Nine of those were home runs, despite playing half his games in Lakewood, an extreme pitcher’s park. During that time, Harman hit .326/.392/.514, showing good offensive skills across the board...Another bonus that Harman provides is that he plays the middle infield. Bad speed should make shortstop a stretch, and soon, I expect him to make 2B his home. This should allow him to add 15 pounds of muscle, thus creating even more power potential. Next year, Harman will move to a more neutral park in the Florida State League, and will have his second trial at a full season. Should he become more consistent, it will be exciting to see what kind of numbers the 20-year-old can put up.

    That is the opinion of just one man, but it has been known for a while that the Phillies have singled out Harman as a potential major league player. All this good news makes my head hurt, so back to something we are all more accustomed to...
  5. Cole Hamels. Hurt. Again. From the Philly Daily News:

    It seems certain that lefthander Cole Hamels, the 2002 first-round pick, will not compete for a starting job, as the team hoped. Hamels' back problems, which have sidelined him since July, will keep him from throwing until next week, about a week later than scheduled. 'He doesn't figure to go out with this group' of starter candidates, Gillick said.

    This really isn't all too great of a setback, but it now looks pretty clear that Hamels will be starting 2006 in Reading. Hamels needs to throw more minor league innings anyway, so maybe this minor delay in recovery is a blessing in disguise - the Phillies can't rush him to the bigs like they did Gavin Floyd. Nothing like an injury being the only thing from preventing the Phillies from doing something stupid.
  6. I may just be easily confused, but I don't get this from the Daily News today. Maybe I'm missing something, but these two statements seem to contradict one another. The first statement reads:

    The Phils' general manager also said reliever Ryan Madson would be the top candidate to fill the fifth starter spot if the season started today, though Madson would become the setup man if the Phillies fail to trade for one, as they hope to do.

    Later it states:

    If no further moves are made, Madson could join the rotation and Chris Booker, Ricardo Rodriguez, Daniel Haigwood and Julio Santana could compete to become the setup man. If 2001 first-round pick Gavin Floyd, Rob Tejeda or Rodriguez pitches impressively in competing for the fifth starter's spot, Madson could wind up as the setup man.

    I realize they use "could" in the second statement, but it still seems odd to me. Any help?
  7. Anybody heading to spring training this year? There is a good resource out there for planning such a trip via (which was recently featured in this weekend's Boston Sunday Globe by the way). If anybody is planning a trip to ST or has already been (not just Phillies fans, but anybody who has a good spring training story) wants to drop me a line, go for it. It'll be years before I get a chance to go for the first time and I really don't know what the experience is like.
  8. This is what we in the business like to call "ending on a high note." A former Phillie has a new CD out and it is nothing I would have ever imagined. For the first time in a long time, I am at a loss for words. It's probably (definitely) for the best.


Anonymous Braveswin said...

For now Tejada wants to stay in Baltimore. I've read the news on a Abreu/Tejada and have to agree that would be a good deal for both clubs.
Did you happen to see the deal the Brewers got for Koskie? The Jays are going to pay $7M of his $11M left on his contract for three years; then there going to split the 1M buyout. Deep in depth, the Brewers already have Branyan, Hall, and Cirillo at 3B. Hall will probably going to be the odd man out and would be an excellent addition for someone. He's been shuffled around between 2B/SS/3B due to upcoming prospects.

Alot of negativity has been put out about the Ryan Franklin acquisition. I certainly don't think it's a move in the right direction for the Phillies. Gillick commented: "He's going to pitch a lot better than he has the last couple of seasons. We think he's going to bounce back and take a spot in our rotation."
This goes back to the belief that a change of scenary makes everything good again. Also Gillick mentioned a need for additional pitching once they decide where to put Madson.

9:34 AM  
Blogger XXX said...

That Koskie deal was really something. I think the Brewers have had the best under the radar offseason so far and I love some of the young building blocks they have in place for the future. They got Koskie for nothing - both in the player they gave up for him (a young non-prospect) and the amount they'll have to pay him. I can't believe how good a deal that was for them.

I think the Brewers remain high enough on Bill Hall that Russell Branyan will be the odd man out. If the Phillies added him to be the guy who hits righties against in the 3B platoon with Bell, I'd be happy. Probably won't happen though. That Brewers infield should be fun to watch develop over the next few years - Fielder at 1B, Weeks at 2B, Hardy at SS, and eventually 2005 draftee Ryan Braun at 3B.

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. Just one guy's opinion though.

1:24 PM  

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