Looking Down the Road: Bullpen 2012

Hola, amigos.

I’ve recovered from a three-night trip to Seattle, which included the redeye home Sunday night. If you missed it, yesterday I wrote how the team’s cheap, young relief pitchers could help the Phillies spend money elsewhere in the offseason. That could be big with Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson, Raul Ibanez, Roy Oswalt, Brad Lidge, Brian Schneider, Ross Gload and Danys Baez eligible to become free agents after the season. The Phillies literally could be looking for a new shortstop, closer and leftfielder, along with a replacement for Oswalt and more.

Before spring training started the Phillies’ bullpen projected like this: Lidge, Madson, Baez, Jose Contreras, J.C. RomeroAntonio Bastardo and Kyle Kendrick.

Bastardo was the only pitcher making less than a million.

I’ll go on a limb and say the Phillies resign Madson. If that happens the Phillies’ bullpen could look like this in 2012: Madson, Contreras, Bastardo, Michael Stutes and David Herndon taking up the first five spots. Some combination of Michael Schwimer, Justin De Fratus, Mike Zagurski, Phillippe Aumont and other inexpensive relievers taking up the final two spots.

The Phillies would go from six of seven relievers making $1 million or more to just two of seven making $1 million or more. Now, that’s not going to allow the Phillies to go out and sign the most expensive free agents on the market, but a couple million here, a couple million there, can help them replace some of the talent they’re certain to lose.

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12 Comments

Other than Rollins and Madson, I do not see anyone the Phillies cannot live without on the list. of the soon to be departed. As long as the Phillies are willing to maintain the status quo on payroll, they should be able to sign one quality free agent in absolute terms or even a better one who wants to go out a winner. It nothing else the current system encourages the blind, crippled and insane to stick around beyond their expiration dates.

The bench needs to be completely reconstructed, outside of Wilson Valdez. And there’s nothing on the farm ready to play SS so I don’t see how they can do without Rollins, unless the failing experiment with Michael Martinez is in their plans. Just what we need, another Steve Jeltz.

The strongest part of the Phillies minor league system right now is their bullpen:

Phillies & MLB Debut in late April 2011: Mike Stutes (promoted from AAA)
AAA – Michael Schwimer – and just promoted from AA – Justin De Fratus & Phillippe Aumont,
AA – B.J. Rosenberg, Mike Cisco and just promoted from High A: Justin Friend
High A – Eric Pettis ,Tyler Cloyd, John Esposito

Suffice it to say that the Phillies farm system is loaded with promising young relievers.

The player I follow in the Phillies system is Joe Savory. I believe he has been promoted to AA ball as a position player after not doing well as a pitcher and starting over in A ball as a position player. Who knows what can happen. Good luck Joe. Besides, he is still only 25.

I hope they bring up that guy Brian Schneider, who’s killing the ball in AA. :-)

Zo, what talent are we going to lose? Ibanez, Baez and Lidge have underperformed the last 2 seasons and we have an opportunity to upgrade in those positions. Gload is a solid pinch hitter but hampered by injury. Schneider is a decent backup and probably worth retaining. Oswalt’s retirement could sting a bit (though as you noted he’s struggling lately as well) though it’d be hard to complain about a rotation with “only” three ace pitchers.
The only big whole I see would be losing J-Roll at shortstop. He’s declined over the last few season but who could replace him? We don’t have a prospect at SS and I don’t know who the other available free agents will be. We’re not going to get Reyes… Can the Phllies even consider NOT re-signing Jimmy? I’d love to hear your take on this.

No J-Roll?!?! Loosing Jason was bad…loosing J-Roll will be heart breaking. If Yankees sign washed up Jeter out of loyalty (not saying we need to pay J-Roll what he wants either), why not show the same. This is the guy that alone trying to get talent in Philly when no one wanted to play here. HE IS PHILLIES!

This is the list of potential free-agent shortstops for 2012:
Yuniesky Betancourt MIL *
Ronny Cedeno PIT
Adam Everett CLE
Rafael Furcal LAD
Alex Gonzalez ATL
J.J. Hardy BAL
Cesar Izturis BAL
John McDonald TOR
Augie Ojeda ARI
Jose Reyes NYM
Nick Punto STL
Edgar Renteria CIN
Jose Reyes NYM
Jimmy Rollins PHI
Ramon Santiago DET
Marco Scutaro BOS *
Jack Wilson SEA

Betancourt and Scutaro have options for 2012. I see some interesting names, but the bigger problem is that the Phillies have no heir-apparent in their minor league system.

Freddy Galvis is probably the closest thing the Phillies have to a MLB SS prospect, but he is at least a couple of years away. He can pick it with anyone, but MLB pitchers might knock the bat out of his hands.
Now that I think about it, what’s the difference between him and Michael Martinez at this point other than the fact that Galvis is only 21? Heck, Galvis is a better fielder.

Is Jose Reyes so good you had to put him twice? lol…j/k

Give Madson the money!!!! And offense aside, we need to keep J.Roll, in order to keep the best double play combo in baseball!

One other name to factor into the off-season contact discussions – though he’s not a free agent, Cole Hamels is entering his final year of arbitration and I think we all want him locked up to a long-term deal. That’s going to eat up a (large) chunk of the money coming off the books.

Re-upping Rollins would be, imo, the second priority, as the free agent class isn’t very impressive, and the minor league options are worse.

Madson is third priority, and actually gets a bigger contract than JROll. The young arms are good, and cheap, but it’s nice to have one track record in the bullpen, and Madson’s been among the best relivers in MLB for several years running.

After that, I’d love to keep Oswalt if the price were right, but I think it unlikely given the team’s payroll and raises for Howard, Lee and Cole. Schneider and Gload are useful bench players at the right price; I can see maybe bringing one or both back on a one-year deal. Personally, I’d let the rest go and look to get younger and more athletic.

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