Sunday, February 05, 2006

Weekend Update

Something to read during the Super Bowl halftime show this year...
  1. The Philadelphia Inquirer had an article on Friday about Phillies SP prospect Cole Hamels. If one didn't know much about Cole Hamels then this article appears to contain nothing but the most worrisome news for Phils fans regarding the health of the most talented minor leaguer in the organization. Luckily, I consider the majority of Jim Salisbury's article to be just restating what many Phillies fans already know about the future of Hamels. I personally wouldn't worry about this specific article - it contains no real new news about Hamels and his injury status. There are no new reasons to worry about Cole's health for the upcoming season only the same old ones that were reported on months ago. Note the italics of course - no new reasons, but plenty of old ones (a pitcher with a bad back is scary stuff). The health and progress of Cole Hamels will make for one of the most intriguing storylines within the Phillies organization in 2006 and beyond.

  2. It isn't really news or anything, but it deserves to be mentioned - Bill Conlin is a dope. On Friday in the Philadelphia Daily News, Conlin addressed the "Hot Internet trade rumor du jour" that has been discussed in this space before - Jermaine Dye and Jose Contreras for Bobby Abreu and Gavin Floyd. Some of Mr. Conlin's thoughts on the idea:

    The deal-breaking question could be: Why would Chicago settle for Gavin Floyd? Whatever, it rates a solid 6.0 on the trade-rumor Richter Scale and even makes a little sense for the Phillies. When you factor the intangibles, I'm not so sure Abreu would be an upgrade for the Sox. But Dye would certainly fit well here. He led all rightfielders last season with 31 homers.

    Funny that many Phillies fans (myself included) cite the addition of Gavin Floyd in the deal as a very, very bad idea from the Phillies perspective; Bill Conlin can not figure out why the White Sox would "settle" for the still 23-year old former 4th overall pick. I also wonder what precisely Conlin means by "intangibles" when writing that Abreu might not even be an upgrade for the Sox in right. He call talk about "intangibles" all he wants; I tend to think that the kind of production Bobby Abreu has put up over his eight full seasons as a Phillie more than makes up for any perceived lack of "intangibles" the media wants to call him out on. By the way, Abreu's worst year of a pro happened to be his 2005 season - he had an OPS+ of 123. Jermaine Dye has bested that only once in his 10 big league seasons (2000) and during his major league leading 31 homers as rightfielder season in '05, his OPS+ was 118 - obviously very good, but still no Bobby Abreu. The arguments for trading Abreu just get weaker and weaker with every attempt. Some Philly journalists don't seem to even bother trying anymore. Pathetic.

  3. This article from the Chicago Tribune on Friday makes me happy as a Phillies fan:

    White Sox general manager Ken Williams shot down Internet reports that the team was on the verge of trading pitcher Jose Contreras and right fielder Jermaine Dye to Philadelphia for All-Star right fielder Bobby Abreu and pitching prospect Gavin Floyd. Williams, through a team spokesman, said there is nothing to the report, adding he hadn't spoken to the Phillies in eight or nine days and that no proposal was tendered.

    Does this kill the Abreu to the White Sox rumors for now? I hope so.

  4. Halo's Heaven, a very good Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim blog, reports that Jeff Weaver will officially be an Angel on Monday. This is important for a few reasons. If this report is true, then everybody out there still holding out hope that the Phillies will change their minds about signing Weaver and sticking him in the '06 rotation can now officially be disappointed. In addition to that, if this report is in fact true, we have yet another example of a very well run, independently operated, MLB team blog beating all other major media outlets to a story. Inside information can be a beautiful thing sometimes - I'm hoping that by tomorrow we will all recognize the good info that only a site like Halo's Heaven can sometimes get and appreciate the medium a bit more.

  5. It was a slow news weekend, so reporting on the happenings of two blogs is a rare treat. I personally consider Athletics Nation to be the gold standard when it comes to an independent team site - the community of fans that frequent that site and leave comments is astounding. That community of A's fans came together over this past week and raised $4,450 (with still some cash left to be sorted out) to buy season tickets for two Bay Area charitable organizations. The final purchase of the tickets is on Monday and the tickets should be delivered to the charities by Wednesday. The guys who run A's Nation say that they'll be able to buy 8 season tickets with the money raised plus food vouchers for each game. It may sound corny but it is true - the power people can wield when united in a good cause is really something extraordinary. It's great to be able to point to a shared love of a baseball team being the reason for these good people coming together and helping others.

  6. Following the minor leagues and trying to pinpoint the next big superstar in low A ball has become sort of a hobby within a hobby for many baseball fans. You build a major league organization through great drafting and smart trading while using free agency to fill in the pieces to push the team over the top. Based on that logic, it only makes sense that following the minor leagues has become such a big deal for baseball fans everywhere. For most fans, the minor league process goes something like this: a team drafts a guy, waits up to six years while he develops in the minor league system, and then finally unleashes him onto the big league scene only when he is ready. Fans with an interest in the minor leagues now can get all kind of information on a kid before he is drafted, track the amateur draft each year in June live online, keep tabs of the contract negotiations between player and team, follow the player every step of the way throughout his minor league career (through checking stats online or by actually going to see him in person as often as possible), and then, finally, when the team deems the player ready for the bigs, fans who have followed the prospect through all the ups and downs over the years can finally enjoy the fruits of the organization's labor. I tend to get all excited about every big prospect out there, but the Cleveland Plain Dealer offers a well researched word of caution when it comes to the gamble that is developing baseball talent. Keep in mind all these quotes come from Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro - a guy I consider to be a top 5 GM in all of baseball.

    Here are quotes Shapiro made about other recent, celebrated prospects - not long after acquiring them in major trades: 1. "He's a talented player with a lot of tools."
    2. "He has the potential to be a dominant offensive player. We think he could be a core player for years to come." 3. "When he pitches, you put aside the radar gun and just watch the hitter's reaction. He's a winner." 4. "He's competitive, isn't afraid to work inside and he's intelligent."

    In order, Shapiro was talking about outfielder Alex Escobar, infielder Brandon Phillips and pitchers Billy Traber and Ricardo Rodriguez. But today, Escobar, Traber and Rodriguez aren't in the organization. And Phillips may not be much longer: He's been buried in the minors for two straight seasons, and could be gone by April.

    Escobar and Phillips were both supposed to be superstars - I remember many Barry Larkin comparisons in particular for Phillips. Traber and Rodriguez were at least being counted on to be dependable big league starters. At least we now know how "competitive" and "intelligent" Ricardo Rodriguez is. Those traits could really come in handy for him and the Phils this year...if he even makes the team.


Anonymous braveswin said...

Atlanta tried to get Phillips back in December. Schuerholz offered Obermueller but the Indians wouldn't budge. That would have been a good deal for the Braves.

The Abreu deal turned out to be just a rumor. I don't doubt the WhiteSox interest in Abreu but this isn't going to happen. Regardless, we are still 2 months from Opening Day, and at the rate the Abreu rumors churn out expect 2 or 3 more to show up.

11:09 AM  
Blogger XXX said...

I did not know about that Phillips to Atlanta from back in the day...very interesting stuff. Taking a chance on him would have been a great move for the Braves if they could have pulled it off. It never hurts to grab low risk, high reward failed prospect types on the cheap when possible. Plus if JS has an interest in him, you gotta believe something is there.

12:54 AM  

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