A Phillies Hot Stove Primer


You’re probably still bummed, but if the Phillies are going to become the first National League team to play in three consecutive World Series since the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals they are going to have to have a good offseason. So let’s take a look at what’s ahead in the coming months.

The Phillies, who have the salaries of Adam Eaton, Geoff Jenkins and Jim Thome finally off the books, already have $97.75 million committed to 11 players in 2010: Greg Dobbs ($1.35 million), Cole Hamels ($6.65 million), Ryan Howard ($19 million), Brad Lidge ($11.5 million), Ryan Madson ($4.5 million), Jamie Moyer ($8.75 million), Jimmy Rollins ($8.5 million), J.C. Romero ($4 million), Chase Utley ($15 million), Jayson Werth ($7 million) and Raul Ibanez ($11.5 million).

The Phillies have nine potential free agents:

  • Paul Bako
  • Miguel Cairo
  • Scott Eyre - Type B free agent
  • Pedro Feliz (pending $5.5 million club option)
  • Cliff Lee (pending $9 million club option) – Type A free agent
  • Pedro Martinez
  • Brett Myers
  • Chan Ho Park – Type B free agent
  • Matt Stairs

They have seven players eligible for salary arbitration:

  • Joe Blanton
  • Eric Bruntlett
  • Clay Condrey
  • Chad Durbin
  • Carlos Ruiz
  • Shane Victorino
  • Tyler Walker

Let’s look today at the two players with club options: Lee and Feliz.

We know the Phillies will pick up Lee’s option, which pushes the payroll to 12 players at $106.75 million. Asked last night if he would like to talk about a long-term deal with the Phillies in the off-season, Lee said, “I haven’t really thought about it. It’s not up to me. It’s up to … yeah, I’d like to, but I can’t force anything. That’s out of my control.” I’m guessing both sides will talk about an extension, but I also believe Lee is going to be very interested in testing the free-agent market after the 2010 season. If he pitches like he pitched the past two seasons, he is line for a major payday. I think a deal might be tough to reach, but I thought the same thing about Howard last offseason.

Do the Phillies pick up Feliz’s option? They could, but if they don’t there are options. Chone Figgins easily is the top free-agent third baseman on the market. Adrian Beltre, Juan Uribe, Mark DeRosa, Melvin Mora, Troy Glaus, Hank Blalock and Joe Crede also are out there. How good would Figgins be in this lineup? Fantastic. He hits, gets on base, runs and plays good defense. He sure would look good hitting between Rollins and Utley. Another name is Placido Polanco. He also would look good hitting between Rollins and Utley. He has played third before. In fact, he played there for the Phillies. But is he more comfortable at second base, where he has been since he joined the Tigers? He has not played third since 2005, so would the Phillies even think he can still play there?

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25 Comments

Figgins is the best name there and he is going to be way overpaid, mainly because he is so versatile and is not just a third baseman. The Phillies have to be judicious and smart with ther payroll, mainly because they are going to have to make a solid play for Lee, IMO.
A guy I find intriguing is Mark DeRosa. Not a spectacular defender, but tough as nails. He would fit right in with the Phillies, not to mention getting him away from the Cardinals.

I think they pick up the option on Feliz. His bat isn’t special but the lineup covers for that in other areas. His defense makes him a perfect fit for this team. They are going to have to find a 3B prospect somewhere soon. I don’t think they really have any corner infield prospects in the system that anyone is high on anymore so keeping Feliz around for another year gives them some cover there.

It would be great to lock Lee up for a couple of years but I agree that he may want to test the market when that time comes.

What’s the story with Ben Francisco? He doesn’t appear in any of your lists above.

I’m going to make the case for Figgins…
1) JRo is not a leadoff hitter. Even in his MVP year his OBP was only .344, good for 103rd in the majors. This year is was a pitiful, atrocious .296, close to the worst in the majors. Leading off is all about getting on base. It’s not about steals or power. JRo is not getting the job done. He should be #2 hitter when playing well (like in 2007) and a #7 hitter when playing poorly (like more of this season).

2) Pedro Feliz, while excellent defensively, is an offensive liability. Not just this postseason, through most of the second half. He’s a career .254 hitter with waning power numbers. Figgins would be a huge upgrade.

3) Options. Figgins gives them to you. He can play 3B,SS,2B and all OF positions. He would give the Phils insurance if any of their others starters go down, or if JRo’s production drops further and they decide not to pick up his ’11 option. His versatility also means that Charlie doesn’t need to keep a guy like Bruntlett just because he can play so many positions.

I know he’ll cost a lot of $, but he’s worth strong consideration.

I don’t have a great feel for baseball salaries, but I think if Phils can get Figgins for around $10M/year for 3 years, they should. If it’s going to cost them $12M+ (Utley money) then they shouldn’t.

Ben Francisco has less than three years of service time, so he’s under the team’s control. Just like Happ, Kendrick, etc.

This is a little off topic. Ok, way off topic! But has anyone been reading the stuff about Reggie Jackson’s take on Chase tying his WS HR record? Reggie’s giving Chase *some* props, but is definitely not ready to relinquish the title, or his “Mr. October”. The record’s stood for 30+ years. Time for it to be broken. This guy REALLY needs to get over himself! Too bad “Mr. November’s” blast went foul last night!

As long as they keep Chooch, the team will stand a good chance of keeping its heart, in my very uninformed opinion. Whomever they get, it has to fit the very special chemistry we have been blessed to have in Philly.

While Friggens would fit in very well, I think that money will prevent the signing. I think Zach’s numbers are about right and the extra 5-7 million a year over Feliz’s may be the difference between signing Lee long term, or holding onto Werth, rollins etc.

AS for Mr. October, while CHase’s feat is huge, the title still belongs with Reggie. FIrst his team won. Second he hit >350+ that world series. Chase hit under .300 this time. But, who cares, next year Chase can lay claim to Mr. November status again….

The big question in my mind is Werth. Do we try to sign him long term? DO we let hium walk as FA after 2010? Do we trade him mid season for pitching, SS, 3B etc??

f.i.j.: You really have to stop calling him “Friggens.” His name is FIggins. Friggens sounds like you don’t like him, and it’s borderline obscene.
Why would you think of letting Werth walk? He’s a known quantity, unlike those prospects who we know can hit minor league pitching.

I wouldn’t want any part of most of the guys on that 3B list except Figgins. 5 years ago, yes; but not now. I’ll be especially surprised to see Mora get a big contract. He’s practically worthless.

norma: Jackson is self-important and pompous, just like most things that come out of New York.

I’ve heard Figgins might be too pricey and that the next best thing would be DeRosa (weren’t the Phils shopping him at some point this past season?)

Also there was an article in the “Daily News” about opening “talks” with Roy Halladay since as we know good pitching helps win a WS. Wouldn’t that be sweet to snag him!?

Let the games begin!

norma, ignore Reggie Jackson. He’s a pompous *** who just doesn’t get it. I remember him protesting Richie Ashburn getting in the HOF because he was a ‘singles hitter’, while Reggie has one of the worst batting averages of any of the players in the HOF. He doesn’t understand that all players are not alike.
zach, I agree with everything you say about Figgins. He would be a great fit, in every regard except the team payroll. They have multiple players eligible for big arby raises and I really feel that any excess has to be spent on keeping pitching. Lee can be kept by giving him a big raise this coming season and extending him at a rate of around 15-16 million. He’s ‘only’ due 8 million this coming season. so that is the bait. They can pay him around the rate that the Yankees paid Burnett, which is pretty significant. If he wants CC money, forget it. The only guy who might get that is Halliday.
On a side note, I think Halliday will be traded at some point to the Red Sox, Dodgers or Phillies as a one year rental. He will definitely go free agent.

If the Phillies should concentrate any payroll “excess” on pitching the question becomes, what is excess? According to Todd, the Phillies are committed to 12 players for $103.5 million, they have 13 slots to fill. Assuming under the CLB agreement that the Phillies must carry 25 players at a league minimum of $450 K, the Phillies would have a payroll of $112.35 million should the Phillies complete their roster with minimum wage players. Not suggesting that this is what they will do or should do rather this is what they have to do. The true cost of any one player is what he is getting minus the league minimum of approx. $450K. Therefore, Feliz would cost $4.55 million not $5 million. Figgins salary would automatically be offset by $5 million because of his ability to play third and no need for Feliz. Figgins could also spell Rollins at short and Utley at second. We all know how the season wears down Utley. Therefore, Figgins salary would offset Brunlett’s $800K. Dobbs plays an adequate, third, left, right and 1st and is left handed power off the bench. Therefore, at least another $1 million would be offset with a combination of Dobbs and Figgins because Stairs $1.6 million would be gone. This also keeps Dobbs sharper by giving him more work. I like Pedro Feliz but I like the Phillies more. Considering salary, ability and the the Phillies needs, the Phillies signing of Chone Figgins is a win-win proposition. And, getting back to the original inquiry as to what the Phillies can afford, they would not even break a sweat at $150 million and therefore re-sign Lee, pay arbitration increases and shore up the team in any area needed.

I would agree with you that the Phillies can handle 150 million dollar figure pherris, but I guarantee you that the Phillies won’t agree with you. My guess is they are looking at topping out at around 135-138, if they have to.
If you figure Feliz, re-signing Park and Eyre, and expected arbitration figures for Blanton, Victorino, Ruiz, Condrey and Kendrick, they will be around 128-130 million as it is. There are other arby eligibles that they porobably shouldn’t tender (Durbin, Bruntlett, Tashner, Walker) and they will have to pay some bench players. Frncisco is not yet arby eligible so they’ll keep him. That doesn’t leave a lot of money for Figgins if they want to sing Lee.

World F-ing Champs

This just in, Charlie Manuel Addressed the media about the MVP of the ’09 world series, Pedro Martinez:

http://www.wfan.com/topic/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=4141492

tcd133 Go take a dump and eat it. Only a Yankmees fan can conclude that shelling out record numbers on payroll over the last 10 years and winning one WS is good. Isn’t Wall Street in New York. No wonder the country is in so much trouble. See you next year, Putz

This just in: tcd133 is a moron.
Get a life.

phan52 I think you presume too much when you presume the Phillies are going to resign Feliz. Making the moves I mentioned, signing Figgins and extending Lee would bring the Phillies up to $140 million of which $6 million represents the Moyer mistake. The franchise changed the minute it decided to eat a portion of Jim Thome’s contract. It is still cleaning up the mess created by that contract and the signings of Jenkins, Eaton and Moyer. I believe that Amaro only has to ride out these screw ups for one more year and then move forward. If the Phillies are audacious they will go to $150 million this year. But with the right moves, the Phillies can get by with $140 million and continue to dominate the NL. But as we both know, domination of the NL is not the object of the exercise.

While Figgins would be nice, the obvious answer for the Phils at 3rd base is Adrian Beltre. My reasons:

1. Coming off of an off year, we should be able to sign him for not much more than Feliz, maybe 6-7 per for 3-4 years.

2. He is defensively even BETTER than Feliz, which means no drop-off in the field.

3. Offensively, even in a off-year he was just as good as Feliz, yet he played in Seattle, a noted pitcher’s park. If he returns to even his average production @ Citizens Bank he could be a .285/.350/.525 player with 25-35 HR and 90 RBI (very similar to Ibanez production), from the right side, and batting out of the 6 spot. Much more than Feliz is capable of in a good year anymore.

4. At 31 (4 years younger than Feliz) he can hold the position longer than Feliz while we search for a 3b of the future.

I’d love Figgins, but I would be thrilled if they went with Beltre.

Beltre is an interesting thought. If he can be had at a significant discount to Figgins (maybe $6-7M like you say Mike) I would drop Feliz in a second.

tcd…..You sure aren’t very original. Think I’ve heard, “World F-ing Champs” somewhere before. LMAO….at YOU!

I agree with you all, about Jackson. I wasn’t offended at all. Really thought the whole thing was pretty funny! He was just acting like a spoiled kid, who was having his toy taken away from him. LOL! Like I said……He really needs to get over himself! What an A-hole! Definitely fits in with the Yankess organization.

Hey tcd133,

How lonely are you?

Let’s see…Jayson and Adrian Beltre are both represented by Scott Boras, so he’ll be asking an arm and a leg for both. As much as I’d like to see the Phils extend Jayson’s contract, I think that 2010 will be his last year with the Phightins. If he has another year in ’10 like he did in ’09, Jayson will surely be a Type-A FA. With Michael Taylor and Domonick Brown knocking on the door, I suspect that management will offer him arbitration after the 2010 season and take the two draft picks…I can’t believe that Tyler Walker is even on the radar for 2010. OK, he had a good ERA, but he seemed to allow a real high percentage of inherited runners to score, and those runs didn’t count against his ERA…I know that Chopper still wants to start (so he can make a splash in Korea every 5th day), but looking back on this year, he has to realize that he no longer has the stamina to start. On the other hand, he has great stuff to pitch one inning 5 or 6 games a week. (or two)…I’d like to see Bako back next year. When he was getting regular ABs while Chooch was hurt, he really started raking the ball. Besides, Travis D’Arnaud and Sebastian Valle aren’t ready for the Bigs yet.

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