Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Prove It

There is a rather significant positive that can be taken from the Jason Michaels-Arthur Rhodes deal finally being made. Ryan Madson is finally freed from the bullpen and will in all likelihood begin 2006 in the Phillies starting rotation. This is the silver lining that so many Phillies fans are quick to point to in defense of the trade. It is a good thing, there is little denying it; in fact, depending on how optimistic one is about Madson’s abilities, this could be a very, very good thing. One problem – there was no rule that disallowed the Phillies from both keeping Jason Michaels and moving Madson to the rotation. These things were not mutually exclusive to anybody but the people running the Philadelphia Phillies. The need for a veteran back of the bullpen arm is what finally gave the Phillies piece of mind enough to move Madson from the pen to the rotation. This shouldn’t have been the case, but it was. The Phillies do not deserve the benefit of doubt in this situation; they made a good move internally (promoting Madson) that could have been made without hurting the team externally (giving up Michaels to get Rhodes).

The strange fascination with old, past their prime relievers never ceases to amaze – it is really part of the much larger school of thought permeated within the Phillies organization (to be fair, this line of thinking isn’t exclusive to the Phils) that wants us all to believe that older, experienced, “proven” players are inherently superior than a guy who has yet to get a chance at the big league level. We all know, at least with some small degree of certainty, what kind of players Abraham Nunez, Sal Fasano, and Arthur Rhodes are by now. They have established track records (for better or worse…) at the big league level – they also come with the price tags (for example, Nunez will make roughly five times more than Danny Sandoval this season) typically associated with “proven” players.

Would some combination of Matt Kata/Danny Sandoval, Carlos Ruiz, and Chris Booker/Yoel Hernandez/Travis Minix/Ryan Cameron/Brian Sanches be any better than Nunez, Fasano, and Rhodes? Maybe, maybe not. The point is that being a “proven” player doesn’t make you a good player – heck it doesn’t even make you an average player (Nunez: career OPS+ 67, Fasano: career OPS+ 81). The fact that Abe Nunez has over 2100 career plate appearances does not make him any more valuable than a guy who has just 2 plate appearances (Sandoval); those 2100 times at bat have resulted in a rather significant disadvantage for teams Nunez has been on in his career (Pittsburgh and St. Louis). I’m not going out of my way just to pick on Nunez, but the sentiment that having a “proven” guy is just a weak security blanket for a GM to cling to. Bringing Nunez in appeases the average fan; giving an unknown like Sandoval a shot would raise questions and open up the general manager for criticism if the unproven guy falls on his face. I was hoping Pat Gillick would be secure enough given the Phillies commitment to him and his impressive big league track record of success to think outside the box in Philly.


Anonymous Braveswin said...

Here's some Phillies news, asst. GM Mike Arbuckle is going to interview for the Reds GM vacancy. Is Arbuckle a big influence in Philly mgmt, or is he expendable?

Also saw where Mike Schmidt has a book out in March. Clearing the Bases:Juiced Players, Monster Salaries, Sham Records, and a Hall of Famers Search for the Soul of Baseball.
It could be interesting to here is take on the game today.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Braveswin said...

I can guess what your next post will be about. The rumors about the Abreu/Floyd for Contreras/Dye swap. From my view this doesn't sound too bad for either club.
It just seems inevitable that Abreu will traded one way or another. His name is brought up whenever a deal with the Phillies is mentioned.

11:13 AM  
Blogger XXX said...

I'm a big fan of Arbuckle's work with the Phillies - he always has been a good drafter and he has a good reputation at evaluating young players in general (the prospects the Phils have dealt away have, for the most part, not amounted to much). I think the Phillies are in good enough shape in their scouting department where they could lose Arbuckle and be fine, but it is always nice to keep a smart guy around if you can. I still hope he gets the job though - being a GM has got to be the dream for so many and if he can achieve it more power to him.

I haven't heard about that Schmidt book - very interesting stuff. I'll have to look into it a bit more for sure.

I hate the Abreu trade rumors. The latest one with the White Sox just isn't enough for me. I really hope they don't panick and move him for the sake of moving him.

1:41 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home