Pitching, Pitching, Pitching and Payroll

polanco.jpgThe Phillies are going to focus on pitching next week at the Winter Meetings.

I mean, what else could they do? They already got Placido Polanco to be their third baseman. They got their backup catcher and utility infielder. Other than pitching help the only thing they need is their last bench player, and Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday they could fill that role internally. John Mayberry Jr. played well in Winter Ball in Mexico. He could be a possibility. The Phillies also signed DeWayne Wise and Wilson Valdez to Minor League contracts with invitations to spring training. I’m sure they’ll get looks, although Valdez doesn’t have much outfield experience.

The Phillies have some holes to fill in their bullpen. They also could use a litttle more depth for the rotation. But the bullpen comes first.

“If we could add some depth to the back end of our bullpen that would be great,” Amaro said. “If not, then … we’ll bring some kids in to try to do that. Hopefully we’ll have some candidates to do that in spring training. But our druthers is to try someone who can help us in the back end.”

The Phillies have Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero, who is coming off elbow surgery, signed next season. Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey are arbitration eligible, so unless the Phillies decide to non-tender them Dec. 12, they will be back.

The Phillies continue to talk with Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre, although Amaro could not say if he is optimistic or not. There are indications the Phillies are not interested in J.J. Putz, who missed most of last season with an elbow injury. Fernando Rodney has been been mentioned previously, but he could be out of the Phillies’ price range. ESPN.com reports that the Phillies have made Brandon Lyon a priority.

Let’s take a look at the Phillies’ 2010 payroll to this point:

  • Juan Castro ($700,000)
  • Greg Dobbs ($1.35 million).
  • Cole Hamels ($6.65 million).
  • Ryan Howard ($19 million).
  • Cliff Lee ($9 million).
  • Brad Lidge ($11.5 million).
  • Ryan Madson ($4.5 million).
  • Jamie Moyer ($8.75 million).
  • Placido Polanco ($5.5 million).
  • Jimmy Rollins ($8.5 million).
  • J.C. Romero ($4 million).
  • Brian Schneider ($1.25 million)
  • Chase Utley ($15 million).
  • Jayson Werth ($7 million).
  • Raul Ibanez ($11.5 million).

They have $114.2 million committed to 15 players. That does not include raises for Joe Blanton ($5.475 million last season), Shane Victorino ($3.125 million) and Carlos Ruiz ($475,000), who are salary arbitration eligible. If Durbin ($1.635 million) and Condrey ($650,000) return they also will receive raises. Park made $2.5 million last season. Eyre made $2 million.

Just figuring in the 2009 salaries for those seven players would put the 2010 payroll at $130.06 million. So I think it’s safe to say the 2010 payroll is pushing $140 million. It sounds like that is about the Phillies’ budget, although nobody will say. That is why I think it might be tough to sign somebody like Rodney for the bullpen, and why Amaro said they might have to count on some youngsters to help, if they can’t get the people they want like Park and Eyre. Of course, just when I think I have a pretty good feel for things the Phillies do something unexpected. And unexpected things can happen at the Winter Meetings.


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Come on, Amaro is playing poker with the agents and other GMs. What GM is going to say they want piece x, y and z and are willing to spend what it takes to get it? As a GM, always cry poor mouth, its what they all do with the exception of the anti-christ Yankees.
In the end the Philswill get what they need. Play, possum, play stupid, cry poor mouth as long as it works. I’ll bet Amaro is hiding in the weeds wating to pounce on Halliday when the price comes down and the Yankees and Sox think its down to just them. The dude is slick.

Halladay’s price is not going to come down that much.

If its only the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies able to bid and they don’t want to trade him within the division, that leaves the Phillies. But, they can’t tell the Phillies that they’re the only option they have, so they play along and talk to the Yankees and Sox to get a better return from the Phillies. The price has to have gone down since last summer. Also, Halliday has his short list of teams he’ll OK a trade to which includes the Phillies. The Phils also have the pieces to make the deal happen. The Phils are the best fit for the people that control the decision. The Blue Jays GM and Halliday himself.

But its all a poker game.

Sorry Joe, I don’t think you understand the Halladay situation. He has a contract for 2010. It is $15.75 million. It is not negotiable. If Toronto trades him whoever takes him pays the $15.75 million. What is negotiable is what Toronto gets in return for Halladay.
But when we are talking payrolll that is still big money and would push the Phillies towards $160 million. I know they don’t get that in tickets so it depends on TV and other revenue sources. Also, unless they are willing to go to $180 million salary there is no way they can keep Halladay and Lee so it would be a one year deal.
It’s not poker, its arithmetic.

Forget Halladay. His 2010 salary would blow up the Phillies payroll. They are looking at ‘low-risk, high-reward’ type players for the rotation and bullpen because they won’t have a lot of money to throw around. I would love a backend guy like Gonzalez but it ain’t happening. More likely someone like Smoltz.

If its arithmetic and not poker then why would Amaro even bother to “kick the tires” on Halliday as has been reported? You’re also assuming the Phils would keep everyone on the payroll that is currently on it. If they performed “arithmetic” and subtracted a contract or two while picking up Halliday they could keep the payroll down to a more comfortable area. It CAN be done.

To Joe- “kicking the tires” doesn’t mean any thing to me and it really shouldn’t for others. To get Halladay, we have to pay in both money and in prospects. Halladay only has 1 year left on his contract. If you trade for him, then you sign him to an extension. I would rather have the phillies give Lee the extension and keep the prospects. And In a perfect world, then yes you can subtract some contracts and trade for Halladay, but whose contracted are the phillies going to subtract? You make it sound so easy as if the front office can just trade a player on our ML team for a pitcher who has 1 year left on his contract. The only players you can possibly trade to subtract and get Halladay, is to trade one maybe two of our everyday players. Not going to happen. Forget about Halladay.

Halladay isn’t going to happen. I do hope though, that Rube is willing to push it past $140 MM if necessary. Primarily because I think the bullpen is going to take a TON of work, not only with internal solutions but external ones.

You guys crack me up. Joe just mentioned the possibilty of a Halladay deal to show how savy Ruben is as a negotiator. Then everyone posts telling him it’s impossible, which I’m sure he knows in his heart, and he turns around and gets defensive……. If Ruben is looking for starting pitching, I hope he considers Rich Harden. I read somewhere that the Mariners and Redsox were looking into signing him. Let the Bosox have Halladay. Let’s grab Harden while he’s still affordable!!

Well, the Redsox have locked up Marco Scutaro at SS. Boston is not that big a city and much of New England is for the Yankees, aren’t they? Am I the only one who wonders how the Redsox were able to turn their ’04 WSC into such a national phenomenon- the so-called “Redsox Nation”, while the Phils only increased their Phanbase a fraction of that in the last two years? Expanded fanbase= higher team revenues= more money for top free agents. I know the media has an anti-Philly bias, but that doesn’t explain everything.

The Phils can’t afford Halliday in terms of salary. The Phils don’t have the TV / Radio deals lucrative enough to pay his salary for even ONE year based on the projected salary costs for this year. Ticket sales don’t support the teams Salary costs. It’s all about the TV revenue. The Phils also can’t afford to trade the prospects that the Blue Jays would likely want because that would VERY likely mean trading one or more of players like Brown, Taylor and/or Drabek. It would not take all 3 BUT, the Phils can’t trade any of these guys because at least 2 of them will be needed in Philly THIS year. Now IF the Phils COULD find the money to pay Halliday (Unlikely) and the Blue Jays would take Mayberry, Kendrick and Savery or Bastardo, in trade – ( equally Unlikely), MAYBE Halliday would be a Philly. Otherwise, Halliday in a Phillies uniform, NOT happening.

erichh: As far as the Red Sox, they’re created something called Fenway Sports Group
and a lot of their money comes from that. The team reported $269 mil in revenues in 2008. It’s Rousch-Fenway Racing (NASCAR) and the Salem Red Sox, among other things.
New England Sports Ventures is a holding company for the Red Sox, and part of their MLB marketing means that they make money from every team, including the Yankees.
That’s where the money comes from. It’s more than just ticket sales.

Halliday IS a possibility, thats all Im saying. I didn’t say it WILL happen, I said it COULD. Take the salaries of Hamels and Werth off the books and suddenly, there is room. How do you take those salaries off the books you say? You trade them. Toronto wants prospects you say? Make it a 3 way trade. There is an article in this mornings paper saying Halliday in a Phils uniform could still possibly happen. And you all know sports writers know a lot more than me. Hamels and Werth combine for $13.65 million. Werth’s contract is up at the end of next season. Werth has high value. Hamels might not have the mental fortitude to play in Philly as a #2 starter and has high value. It CAN happen. That doesn’t mean it WILL happen. Amaro seems to me the type of guy that would pull it off. You all know the businees about a small window now that will close in a few years when Rollins, Howard, Utley and Victorino are gone. Just think outsode the box for a second.

Don’t forget the outfielders (Taylor, Mayberry and Brown) waiting for a roster spot to open and come up and that Drabek is suppose to be ready to come up by the end of this year.

joebridgenc, Halladay will not be a Phillie, and there was really nothing in that article in the Inquirer that suggested it could happen. Did you actually read it outside of the headline? The headline was pretty disingenuous to say that it was still a possibility, when the article pretty much related why it can’t happen.

joebridgenc: And I COULD wind up in a hot tub with Julia Roberts – that’s thinking outside the box too.

Ok, Ok, I understand the Halliday situation now. It can’t and won’t happen because of simple arithmetic and it wasn’t suggested in the article headline which I didn’t read past. I read it and all the comments and know reality now. Thanks all.

Joe, I misunderstood you. You really are clueless. The main objectives of trading Halladay are: (1) dump his salary from the books and (2) get low-cost, elite minor league talent for the future. They are not trying to get a two-for-one salary deal. They have to cut perceived losses for next year. They may take hamels’ salary on, but they would expect to get at least Drabek and one of the Phils’ top outfield prospects. That alone will keep this deal from happening. Also, the Phil’swould incur an additional cost of Halladay’s salary diffence over Hamels’. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

Sorry, Joe. I wouldn’t have posted my harsh rebuttal if I had read your retraction first.

You guys are tough. This is a Phillies blog, this one is about pitching. My comment was about pitching, Halliday specifically.
I actually do understand that the Blue Jays appear to be in a rebuilding mode and are looking for elite prospects. Thats why I mentioned a three way trade. One guy said it couldn’t work because of simple math. I looked at it in a way that the math could work. Of all the information I have from reading rumors and sports pages I came up with something. I read that the Phils were interested in Halliday last year but the asking price was too high. They got Lee instead and kept all their elite prospects. I saw the world series where a better performance from a #2 starter and bench players might have changed the outcome. Ive read that Halliday want to go to a team that is a perennial contender and trains in Florida since his home is there. The Phillies fit that description. I also read that the Blue Jays don’t want to trade him within the division. That would rule out Boston and NY. There are other teams interested like LA and maybe someone else but so far, from what Ive read, there is no other team that trains in Florida that has the payroll room and or prospects to make it happen. I threw out a scenarion where it could work with the Phillies. Thats all. Its a sports blog and this one was about pitching. Made an argument and supported it, or tried to. Thats all.

The latest I’ve read about the Bluejays said that they are willing to trade within their division. It’s all about the prospects NOT JUST about Halladay’s salary. I already apologized for being so harsh to you. You’re right about having the right to freely express your opinion here, without being insulted. I just don’t understand how anyone could think that the Phils would go after Halladay now when they could have had him for the same pieces at the end of August but said NO WAY. Back then the Phils would have had him for a fraction of his ’09 salary going into the playoffs. Plus they could have traded him before the end of his contract next year. If they get him now, they’ll just have him for one playoff instead of two, but Hamels/Happ, Drabek, and Taylor/Brown will be gone forever. It won’t happen because Ruben is not an idiot!

joebridgenc: They ARE tough here on this blog but most of the regulars DO know what they are talking about on the topic that brings us here — the game of baseball. I’ve felt humiliated occasionally by some but it was usually earned…at times there has been compassion extended as well. Mostly, I’ve enjoyed listening, learning and laughing along with the bunch and TRY to keep my posts to a minimum along with develping a thicker skin. Those who live in the Philly area have many outlets to get info regarding the team and how it all fits into the larger game picture. Those of us who don’t, have to rely on the net and, for me, this is the best place I’ve found to date. I hope you will keep posting but now you know you will be held accountable for every jot and tittle that emanates from your fingertips.

Here, just read this to start with. http://phillies.scout.com/2/926842.html

Why do you think a different GM would insist on the same pieces as the first one when the first one did not get the pieces and got fired? Its clear the Phillies will not give away the farm system.
It was made clear in the summer that the Phils had a limit as to what they’d give away for Halliday. Yes, Amaro is not an idiot, that is obvious, so if he did make a deal to get Halliday you can bet it won’t be without signing him to longer than one year. Why would the Phillies make a trade and trade him away after only one year as you stated in your post?

This goes all the way back to my first post, and my poker game analogy. If the Blue Jays do not make a trade, they get only a draft pick when he walks after next year which would be the equvilant of folding in a poker game. Other teams have an advantage knowing the Jays have to deal him to get SOMETHING. The teams also now know, Halliday insists it happen before spring training, so, the clock is ticking on them to make a move or risk getting nothing but a draft pick in return. The closer it gets to spring training without a deal happening, the lower the price will go.

Remember, this is just talk, an idea, a perspective. I explain why i think it can work and you and everyone else disagree with me. I keep reading articles such as the one I posted a link to that says they are not out of the mix for Halliday. As stupid as everyone thinks i am for even suggesting it, there is not one sports writer that has said the Phillies are completely out of it and not interested. Again, it goes back to my poker game analogy. You never let the oposition know what you’re holding or what your intentions are. Just…..like……a…..poker game

And another thing…..OF COURSE the Jays are going to say they’ll trade within the division. Who else but the Yankees and the Sox will drive the price up? If they stick to the stance that got the first GM fired, (We won’t trade Mr. Halliday within the division), that leave the Phillies as the only team that Halliday WANTS to go to (a perennial contender that trains in Florida) and is not in the AL East. The Blue Jays are ALSO playing this poker game. Maybe they really have absolutely no intention of trading Halliday within the division but why oh why oh why would anyone with half a brain tell every other team that they won’t trade him to the two teams that will bid the highest? THAT is why he got fired. It was ridiculous bargaining.
It was the equivalent of telling the other players at the table 4 of the 5 cards you’re holding.

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