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Yahoo! Sports Ranks Sexiest GM's in Baseball, Amaro Ranks as Seventeenth

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Ah, finally, something positive came out of the GM Winter Meetings for all teams. And, may I add, it's about time someone took notice of this.

Yahoo! Sports' David Brown of Big League Stew came up with this list yesterday, and much to our dismay, Ruben Amaro, Jr. did not make it in the top ten. He may be extraordinarily smug and mighty bronze, but was unfortunately cut short.

To recap, Kevin Towers, GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks ranked as the sexiest General Manager in Major League Baseball. The complete order:

  1. Kevin Towers, Arizona Diamondbacks
  2. Billy Beane, Oakland Athletics
  3. Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals
  4. Brian Cashman, New York Yankees
  5. Jed Hoyer, Chicago Cubs
  6. Dave Dombrowski, Detroit Tigers
  7. Ben Cherington, Boston Red Sox
  8. Neal Huntington, Pittsburgh Pirates
  9. Chris Antonetti, Cleveland Indians
  10. Sandy Alderson, New York Mets
  11. Josh Byrnes, San Diego Padres
  12. Frank Wren, Atlanta Braves
  13. Mike Rizzo, Washington Nationals (Side note: Fake sexy?)
  14. Jon Daniels, Texas Rangers
  15. Michael Hill, Miami Marlins
  16. John Mozeliak, St. Louis Cardinals
  17. Ruben Amaro, Philadelphia Phillies
  18. Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay Rays
  19. Rick Hahn, Chicago White Sox
  20. Jack Zduriencik, Seattle Mariners
  21. Terry Ryan, Minnesota Twins
  22. Walt Jocketty, Cincinnati Reds
  23. Jeffrey Luhnow, Houston Astros
  24. Jerry Dipoto, Los Angeles Angels
  25. Doug Melvin, Milwaukee Brewers
  26. Dan O'Dowd, Colorado Rockies
  27. Brian Sabean, San Francisco Giants
  28. Alex Anthopoulos, Toronto Blue Jays
  29. Dan Duquette, Baltimore Orioles
  30. Ned Colletti, Los Angeles Dodgers

Now, I understand how this list could be ranked differently by, say, a woman, but, the fellas at Big League Stew gave this list a sublime order, so my hat goes off to them. Coming from a teen-aged girl, I would say that a few men on this list (Alex Anthopoulos, Jerry Dipoto, John Mozeliak) would rank a bit higher. Personal opinion. Whatever you're into, Big League Stew. 


Placido Polanco Takes His Talents to South Beach; May Be Highest Paid Miami Marlin

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The Miami Marlins are THE premiere destination for older ex-Phillies.  With Greg Dobbs already on board, the Marlins added Juan Pierre earlier this offseason.   According to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, Placido Polanco will be the latest addition to the Marlins' infield.

The Marlins are still expected to trade starter Ricky Nolasco, due $11 million this upcoming season.  Nolasco has requested a trade and the Marlins appear eager to oblige.   Since the Marlins already traded Yunel Escobar, acquired in the trade with the Toronto Blue Jays , Polanco will be the highest paid Marlins player at the $2.75 million Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports he will earn.   The second-highest salary will go to former Phillie Juan Pierre at $1.6 million, followed by former Phillie Greg Dobbs at $1.5 million. 

Polanco will likely be the Marlins' starting third baseman.


The Kids Are Alright: Brown and Ruf deserve chance to become starters

Photo: Kevin Durso / Philliedelphia

Many of you who came to the site last night caught Jake's excellent article on Domonic Brown and how the Phillies have handled the 24-year-old. And, quite frankly, I didn't want to let too much time pass without offering my take.

On our Facebook page on Monday  - Baseball Talk: Philadelphia - one of my articles from my self-run site Phillies Network was shared. In it, I suggested that Cody Ross was the perfect fit for the Phillies. I want to elaborate on that post before making my point today.

Aside from maybe Josh Hamilton - and that's a big maybe - there was no true perfect fit on the market this offseason. And quite frankly, Hamilton may not have even been a fit for the Phillies. Just because someone is the best player on the market hardly makes them a fit for most teams.

I'll be honest. I'm in the minority of Phillies fans by saying I like Cody Ross. Why? Because he's a baseball player. Ross and Michael Young are players like Chase Utley. They play hard, they play with passion and they leave it all on the field. Grit goes a long way in a marathon season.

Additionally, Ross is likable to me because he isn't a Phillie. It's that situation where you always want the players you can't have. I categorize him with the Michael Cuddyers and Josh Willinghams that the Phillies have desired for years but never been able to get.

Before the offseason began - at least before signings started to happen - I had been asked the question quite a bit who I thought the Phillies would sign. Before anything went down, I truly thought the Phillies would sign B.J. Upton for centerfield.

Now think about this. If the Phillies had outbid the Braves and signed Upton at their offer, we might not even be having this current discussion. We might not be talking about the Phillies and their attempts to acquire another outfielder this offseason, especially when you consider the other moves made this offseason were about the best they could do at each position.

If the Phillies had signed Upton, I would be very comfortable going with Upton in center and filling the corners internally. But the Phillies have Ben Revere, not B.J. Upton.

Because Revere is vastly different from Upton or even Michael Bourn, the current players likely won't cut it. However, that isn't to say it isn't worth a shot.

Yesterday on my site I wrote a piece about the possibility that the Phillies are done this offseason, that what you see is what you're going to get.

This is not me changing my tune. I would still like the Phillies to make a wise signing for a corner outfielder only if it's for the right price. What this was more about was my conceding to the possibility that this is the way the 2013 Phillies look. 

I wrote it because I did and didn't agree with Ruben Amaro Jr. said at Tuesday's press conference introducing Michael Young. In the same sense, this is where I agree and disagree with what Jake wrote yesterday.

I don't think the Phillies mishandled Domonic Brown early on. The fact that they held onto him through two major trades? Brilliant. The call-up and major-league debut in 2010 was fine, but he was never expected to do anything that season. It was a call-up based on a necessity combined with performance. He was the top minor-leaguer at a time when the Phillies needed to fill a roster spot due to injury. Certainly makes sense. That said, in 2010 I'm glad the Phillies didn't trade Jayson Werth away mid-season just to give the kid a chance then.

2011 was really one of the years to get a look at Brown. Brown should have started 2011 on the roster, but a hand injury derailed that. Once he returned, he should have been getting regular playing time. Instead, he was a late May call-up who got a two-month tryout before the Phillies traded for Hunter Pence.

Most of all, the Phillies did mismanage Brown in 2012. He wasn't called up until the trade deadline and despite playing consistently through August and September, again it was basically a two-month tryout. 

Regardless of what the Phillies saw, or if fans think Brown didn't bring anything to the table, his confidence has been altared too much. In what action I saw from Brown last season, I noticed a sizable difference. 

Perhaps Brown's problems at the plate don't stem from himself or Charlie Manuel. Maybe having coaches like Ryne Sandberg and Steve Henderson around will make a difference as well.

But Brown has also been brought into trade discussions rather unfairly. Keep in mind the Phillies are trying to trade an MLB-ready, 24-year-old outfielder just weeks after acquiring one. Would it add some experience if the Phillies traded Brown for, say, Alfonso Soriano? Sure. Would it be worth it? Too soon to say.

But the Phillies could enter 2013 with the most inexperienced outfield there is - with the 24-year-old Revere, 24-year-old Brown and 26-year-old Ruf. The key to using that method is simple: play those three everyday. If the Phillies want to use younger players, they need to do so regularly.

If the Phillies stay put, there really isn't reason to question how the outfield would look. John Mayberry Jr. is not a starting outfielder - at least not in Philadelphia. It is an experiment that started in 2009 and hasn't worked out since. And Laynce Nix serves roughly the same purpose.

So, maybe it is time to give the kids a chance. The Phillies infield may be quickly turning into a nursing home, but the outfield could be the much-needed youth movement the team needs.

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.


The Phillies Have Wronged Themselves, Dom Brown

 

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Photo via Wikipedia

If you close your eyes and remember a player, the first thing you see in your mind is their swing. Babe Ruth would drop his hands before sending a baseball into the next stratosphere. Sammy Sosa would almost jump into the pitches he belted. Ichiro has made his living with his low and in tight swing. And when you saw Domonic Brown's swing, where he projects his bat through the baseball in the windmill like motion only he possesses, that's a swing that gets burned into your brain forever.

The Phillies selected Brown in the 20th round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft out Redan HS in Georgia, the same school that produced SS Brandon Phillips. He was a relatively unknown prospect until the year 2009, where people began to see the talent he possessed. By 2010, Brown was working his way to the forefront of the Phillies farm system. He tore it up in Reading, then proceeded to dominate AAA Lehigh Valley for the remainder of the 2010 season. Brown wasn't just captivating Phillies fans, but baseball junkies across the states. Baseball America had rated Brown their #4 prospect in America after the 2010 season. 

And in the offseason of 2010, the minor league legend that had become Domonic Larun Brown was truly beginning. That offseason, the Phillies were looking to add starting pitching help via trade, and certainly had the prospects to do so. When the Phillies became linked to then Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay, they certainly had the prospects to pull off the trade. Yet the one minor leaguer who would've been a deal breaker: Domonic Brown.  Despite the notion of being able to add a former Cy Young winner to an already championship caliber team, yet Brown was the only prospect in which Ruben Amaro Jr. refused to give up. The deal eventually got done, as the Phillies sent fellow top prospects Travis D'Arnaud, Kyle Drabek, and Michael Taylor in return for Halladay. It was a work of genius by Ruben Amaro Jr. Here you add one of the top pitchers in the game and keep Brown. He was just biding his time in the minors, waiting for an opportunity. He was destined to be a middle of the lineup hitter for the Phillies. It was just a matter of when. 

Two years later, we're still waiting. However, it's not about when he'll be given a chance. It's about if he'll ever get a chance. He's played in just 112 games since 2011, his time fluctuating between the Phillies and Lehigh Valley. He's had just 433 ABs with a stat line of .235/.316/.396, and 12 HRs and 58 RBIs. Yet the Phillies seem quick to rush him out. Charlie Manuel essentially said he doesn't want Brown, before attempting to backtrack from his comments. The Phillies pursuance of a Right Fielder to leap frog Brown in the lineup has been well documented. They've been tied to Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, all big name free agent right fielders. But if that wasn't enough to prove that the Phillies have no hope in the 25 year old (he's only 25!), then the rumored Soriano for Brown deal would. The Phillies and Cubs discussed a trade which would send Brown to the Cubs, and Alfonso Soriano to the Phillies, as well all but $10 million of what's left on his deal. Soriano, whose career OBP is an atrocious .323, was almost a more viable option than Domonic Brown.

It certainly isn't Brown's part. He went from "future starting Outfielder" to "busted prospect being dumped for a 36 year old at the back end of his career" without playing one full season in the Majors. The former top prospect is now a guy whose manager doesn't want to play him, and the fans don't want to watch. Frankly, it's disturbing. That's simply the only way to describe it. It's disturbing that a player you refused to trade for Roy Halladay isn't being given a chance to start. It's even more disturbing that the organization is so willing to give up on him. 

If you look at the Phillies minor league system today, it's a shell of its former self. Top prospects like Drabek, D'Arnaud, Taylor, Anthony Gose, Jonathan SingletonJarred Cosart, and others have all been traded so the Phillies could win now. The only man left standing from the pack fo talented youngsters? Domonic Brown. 

There's a hole in Right Field, and the Phillies are keeping Dom Brown for filling it from them, instead pursuing older and much more expensive options to play the position. Sure, he's not the most aesthetically pleasing player to watch. His swing is awkward, his defense is questionable at times, but he still possess the talent that the scouts saw just a mere two years ago. It is impossible for a player to blossom into any sort of effective player without uninterrupted time in the Majors. How is any player expected to get into any sort of rhythm splitting time between the pros and the minor league system. This is player mismanagement on an epic proportion, and it's saddening to see such apparent talent put on the back burner. 

Philadelphia can continue to stick Domonic Brown in the minors. They can continue to trade for guys like Hunter Pence, or sign an overvalued, expensive free agent like Cody Ross. Yet if Brown does not get the playing time he certainly deserves, then there is nobody to blame but the Phillies themselves. 

Jake Pavorsky is a contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @JakePavorsky.


Add Vernon Wells to the Mix of Possible Phillies Outfield Acquisitions

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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported tonight that along with Cody Ross, the Phillies are also considering Vernon Wells of the now rather stacked outfield in Anaheim. The Halos are looking to move Wells after acquiring Hamilton and there is obviously a fit in Philadelphia. The subject of how much of the rather ridiculous salary Wells makes will be eaten by Anaheim and how much the Phils will have to part with from a system that is finally starting to fill in a bit after a few huge trades the past few seasons.

Wells has been around a while. In his prime, he was quite a slugger for Toronto. Injuries have slowed him down but he's still a half decent stick when healthy. The problem is the money and he also has a no trade clause on top of that. He figures to be buried in the Anaheim bench in '13 so I wouldn't worry about the no trade.

At first I really didn't like the sound of this. When one does some homework though, it seems a move that definitely makes sense if it plays out the right way. The free agent market being what it is has forced some outside the box moves. I mean how much do they really want to spend on Cody Ross if Vernon Wells comes cheaper, assuming Anaheim swallows a bunch of cash?  Hey, sign me up, even if I do kick and scream a bit.

 


Newly Acquired Mets Prospect Noah Syndergaard Upsets Fanbase With Anti-Gay Slur

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This is not a good way to greet a new team.   Thanks to the attention from being included in the Blue Jays - Mets trade for pitcher R.A. Dickey, Noah Syndergaard, his Twitter account has gotten much more attention.  One tweet, posted December 9, is one that would have many people offended, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

The controversial tweet was directed at Blue Jays minor leaguer Dayton Marze.    Marze can be found on Twitter here, though he has since protected his tweets.  His message to Marze?  "@DMarze89 nice crocs f-- lol".

I must say, having once been 20 years old once like Syndergaard is, I may not have thought twice about calling a friend an offensive name.  Had Facebook or Twitter existed back then, I may have posted something offensive myself.  But as a professional athlete with the attention of many, it's simply not a good idea.   Now, Syndergaard will have to shake this stigma as he begins his career in the Mets organization.  

As Martino points out, though, the tweet was public and he is an adult:

 As one fan replying to Martino points out, Syndergaard was employed at the time by the organization who suspended shortstop Yuniel Escobar for an anti-gay slur on his eyeblack last season, so he could have known better:

 

 

If you wish to follow Syndergaard on twitter, you can find him at @Noahsyndergaard.  Check out video of him warming up from www.mlbprospectportal.com, a great site to learn about prospects.

 


Ruben's Worst Move- Trading For Pence?

It's an article of faith: Ruben Amaro's worst move as GM was signing the five year, $125 million deal with Ryan Howard. It was signed at least a year earlier than needed, overpaid by no less than $5 million a year on what he could have hoped for on the open market, and ultimately signed him to a deal that started just after Howard's biggest injury. Not only is all of that true, but Howard's also 33 years old, and started the deal at 32. It will cost the Phillies $10 million to pay Howard to not play for them in 2017 (assuming that's their choice), when Howard will be 37 years old. Yes, Howard has two home run and three RBI titles to go with his MVP, World Series ring, and NLCS MVP, but this was not a very good extension.

I will make some minor defenses of it. Howard hit 14 homers in 292 plate appearances, and had 56 RBI's with just 57 hits in 2012, a year where he put up his worst OPS, so clearly he can still be productive if he doesn't ever reach the heights of his earlier career. If he puts up a couple of 100 RBI/30 homer seasons going forward he can make the contract at least less than a total on-field failure. Also, the Phillies ultimately gave less years and raw dollars than teams did who got first basemen considered by many to be better. Even with that said, there's very little chance that Howard will play up to a level that equates to his contract, so it's not good.

I will argue that it is not the worst move that Ruben Amaro has made though, and no I'm not referring to the Papelbon contract, or even Joe Blanton's absurd post-2009 contract. The truth, on the whole, is that Ruben has not been beaten on many big trades. He did very well in hindsight on the original Cliff Lee trade, got Roy Halladay for a totally reasonable price, essentially stole Roy Oswalt in 2011, and got a solid return on Shane Victorino this past summer before letting him walk (and for that matter by moving the rest of Blanton's contract at all). You can dislike his trade of Cliff Lee to Seattle (I do), but with Lee returning and Aumont's rise to the majors (and the possible rise yet of Gillies), that one's mostly forgiven. Even if you think his trade of Hunter Pence to San Francisco got a light return, Tommy Joseph is one of their top rated position prospects.

The one trade I don't like in hindsight is the original trade to get Pence. It seems that the Phillies bought a version of Pence that didn't quite show up. Yes, he played very well down the stretch in 2011, as a complimentary piece, but with an aging squad beyond that season already on the books, Pence showed in 2012 that he was not the feature piece the Phillies paid for. Pence was a very nice player, but hardly the kind of MVP contender that you build a team's future around. I do understand that he was an All-Star in Houston, but hey, every team has to get one.

Jon Singleton, the "blocked" first baseman we sent to Houston is a top 50 prospect in almost every ranking out there now, and Jarred Cosart is not far behind. Domingo Santana, the "player to be named later" in the trade hit .302 with a .921 OPS in 2012, smashing 23 homers. He is 20 years old.

I know at the time the Pence deal excited people, but the Phillies were cruising to the post-season at the time, and didn't need to replace Dom Brown at that time with Pence. Aside from the damage it did with Brown's confidence, it also did not guarantee anything in the post-season as we saw. If anything, use this as a cautionary trade. There is always going to be a team that makes the big trade in-season, close to the deadline, for a position player who's supposed to deliver the parade that city wanted. You know the trades- Carlos Beltran to San Francisco, Rich Harden to the Cubs, and yes Pence. How many of those trades work out?

Even amongst pitchers the track record isn't good- Schilling to Arizona, Cliff Lee to the Phillies and the Rangers, Harden, Greinke to the Angels, and on and on. Not many of these moves deliver the title. Joe Blanton to the Phillies, Javier Lopez to the Giants, or for that matter Marco Scutaro's trade there- these moves work. Getting the pieces that fit into holes in your team, building deep bullpens and benches, and building depth. A great player can get cold for a week in October anytime, and your season can end if you sell everything to get them. Yes, that can happen to a team too, but it's less likely when you build depth. Bottom line though, I'm hoping the Phillies have learned their lesson from this trade. This off-season's collection of smaller moves suggests that they have.


My Preference: Raul Over Ross

Let me just start by saying this- Raul Ibanez is not a perfect fit in Philadelphia. He's another lefty, he really isn't much of an outfielder anymore, and he's another older player. He's also an older player who would take a one year deal, just had a reasonably productive (even if not great, 19 homers in a part-time role isn't bad.) season in New York, and would take less playing time.

Contrast this with the situation with Cody Ross. He seems to want multiple years, I'm guessing three, would probably require a nice pay raise on his $3 million salary last year. Ross will be 32 years old this year. He did hit 22 homers and drive in 81 RBI's this past season.

Ross is not a bad player, and signing him will not mean the Phillies stink this year. I just wonder that the Phillies will be stuck with a player they don't need, and can improve on, going forward if they sign Ross. I wonder how much guarantee he really offers the Phillies over going into the season with Darin Ruf and Dom Brown on the corners? Even if he is an upgrade over them, which is probable on paper right now, would not guaranteeing him a contract force the Phillies to either dump him for little (and pay him to play elsewhere) or pass on potential better players available in the coming years? Ross is a nice player, not a great one, and i'm just not sure that's worth the commitment.

Re-enter Raul Ibanez. One year, a million or two dollars, and a platoon spot in left with Ruf seems to make more sense with me. Sure, it does create a six outfielder crunch in numbers that could force them to consider Nix as the "second infielder" and send down Galvis early on. That's not ideal, but neither is sending Ruf to AAA if you sign Ross. After the season, you can part ways with Ibanez, or for that matter you could during the year pretty painlessly if it doesn't work out. If Ruf continues to break out with his bat and plays his way into the job, Ibanez simply sits the bench, something I think he's fine with at 40 years old.

I'm not sold on either of these options, nor am I sold on anyone else on the market, especially Nick Swisher. If the Phillies make a move, I'd love to see it be for someone younger with upside, like a Peter Bourjos, however I do realize how difficult that could be. I just think if the Phillies feel they must add a veteran corner outfielder for opening day, I'd actually prefer it be a part-timer like Raul to a full-timer like Ross, or worse yet, a wannabe full-timer who belongs on the bench. Save the money, try the youth, and see what you have. I would be totally fine starting the year with Ruf in left, Revere in center, and Brown in right.

The Phillies Top Prospects, and the 2013 Iron Pigs Roster

While all the attention has been on the Major League roster this winters, there has been plenty of action within the minors this winter. Baseball America is out with their new rankings, and they are very interesting:
This year's list:
1. Jesse Biddle, lhp
2. Roman Quinn, ss
3. Tommy Joseph, c
4. Jon Pettibone, rhp
5. Adam Morgan, lhp
6. Ethan Martin, rhp
7. Cody Asche, 3b
8. Maikel Franco, 3b
9. Darin Ruf, 1b/of
10. Carlos Tocci, of
I think the most notable part of this list is just how new it is. Even in a season where they did not make a major trade and send out talent, they return just three from last year's list- Biddle, Pettibone, and Franco. Sebastian Valle was dropped completely off the list from third last year, despite being an All-Star and getting promoted (thought it's worth noting his offense was down from 2011). They also dropped Justin De Fratus and Phillippe Aumont, both of whom were called up in September and threw well, I guess presumably because they believe they will make this team, though that is not the normal standard here. Brody Colvin, who was even in MLB.com's top 100 last year, was dropped due to poor performance. Freddy Galvis is no longer eligible.

While we're at it, it's worth noting that Jesse Biddle is on MLB's top 100 list at #75, just ahead of ex-Phillie prospect Jarred Cosart. Ex-Phillies prospects Jon Singleton (#25) and Travis d'Arnaud (#11) are both high on the list. Catchers Joseph and Valle rank at #7 and 8 (d'Arnaud is first) at their position on MLB.com. Darin Ruf ranked eight at first base, where Singleton was first. Lehigh Valley Second Baseman Cesar Hernandez ranked sixth at his position. Biddle is the seventh highest rated left-hander.

MLB's Phillies top 20 list is very different as well. They rated Biddle at the top again, followed still by Colvin, Joseph, 2011 top pick Larry Green, Aumont, Valle, Martin, 2012 first pick (compensation round) Shane Watson, Hernandez, and Pettibone in the top ten. Quinn, De Fratus, Reading righty Julio Rodriguez, Williamsport third baseman Mitch Walding, 2012 second pick pitcher Mitch Guellar, Asche, Franco, Ruf, Aaron Altherr, and Lakewood catcher Gabriel Lino (picked up in the Thome deal).

How this all shakes out in 2013 should be interesting. All 22 of these players will not be on the same level in 2013, so how they shake out should be interesting. It's almost impossible to project where they all will be in in 2013, but in the upper levels we can start to project the teams a little bit.

Lehigh Valley projects to be packed with familiar and well known faces. The rotation should have lots of familiar faces, anchored by Pettibone and Martin, and possibly 2012 International League Pitcher of the Year Tyler Cloyd if he doesn't make the Phillies. If I had to guess, B.J. Rosenberg and Austin Hyatt would finish out the Opening Day rotation, though I would not bet against Adam Morgan yet, and Zach Miner could be considered. The bullpen should also be filled with options to work with. While Jeremy Horst, Phillippe Aumont, and Justin De Fratus could be down, it's more likely that the Phillies are looking at sending Raul Valdes, Michael Schwimer, Joe Savery, Mauricio Robles, J.C. Ramirez, and Jake Diekman down to compete with Cesar Jimenez and Miner, both of which are non-roster invitees, and current Iron Pigs' roster members Juan Morillo, Michael Cisco, Rule 5 Brendan Lafferty, and Colton Murray. If anything, pitching should not be a problem, and some will spin down into Reading.

The infield will also be full of players who have been or are part of the Phillies plans. Cesar Hernandez at second and Sebastian Valle at catcher both were called up in August, and both would be presumed to begin as starters in Lehigh Valley this season. Josh Fields, a non-roster invitee to camp is a third baseman and may fit very well here, as would returning first baseman Cody Overbeck, and returning shortstop Andres Blanco (who's also invited to camp) will compete with Michael Martinez and Pete Orr  for time. Tyson Gillies had a very nice season in Reading (and was somehow left off all the lists after hitting .304 in Reading with an .809 OPS) and will occupy center for the Iron Pigs this year. Jermaine Mitchell, a non-roster invitee to camp is a year removed from posting a .960 OPS in the A's system and being rated as one of their best athletes. Derrick Mitchell and Steve Susdorf both return on the current roster and could provide depth too. I think Cody Asche will make it up during the year to Lehigh Valley, and that the same could happen for Tommy Joseph. Jiwan James is a name that will come up, but I'm not sure he did enough in 2012 to show he's ready.

It's very hard to project much beyond AAA ball before spring training even begins. I would guess that Biddle will take a promotion to AA Reading this year, and Quinn will go to mid-A Lakewood to start the season. Franco is likely to start out in high-A Clearwater.

Lots will happen between now and when the teams come north with their new rosters. For now, we have a whole new set of ratings to work with.

For What It's Worth: Raul Ibañez is in Philadelphia Tonight

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Photo: Philliedelphia/Frank Klose

 

Twitter was abuzz during the Sixers-Lakers game tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, not so much because of the game (the Sixers lost to the Lakers 111-98) but because of who was at the game.  Sitting courtside was former Phillie and possible future Phillie Raul Ibañez.

Here is a sampling:

RaulTweets
Okay, so Rachel's tweet is unrelated.  But Ibañez's presence was indeed felt.

Many began to speculate that Ibañez was in town to sign with the Phillies.   As I've said before, I do not get the move unless the Phillies are ready to ship Domonic Brown out of town.  But, the more I think of it, Ibañez may just be a better option than Cody Ross.

Gone are the days when Ibañez makes $11 million a year and starts in left field.  But in the right situation, Ibañez could be an extra outfielder and pinch hitter.   Looking at the Phillies outfield as constructed now, they have:

  • Ben Revere
  • John Mayberry
  • Darin Ruf
  • Domonic Brown
  • Laynce Nix

Do not put Nix on the infielder side of things, since Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis both will likely serve as backups.  If the team carries 12 pitchers, they will have room for five outfielders, the four starting infielders, two catchers, and two reserve infielders.   Assuming that the Phillies do add a right-handed outfield bat (Cody Ross? Alfonso Soriano? Other?) the Phillies would have to remove two different players from this list.

Brown could head out in a deal if the Phillies make a trade.  Ruf could easily be optioned to the minor leagues.   Mayberry's defensive ability makes him a good bet to stick around and fill in at all three positions.  Would the Phillies let Nix go to bring in Ibañez?  I tend to think no, but maybe someone would take him in trade.

If the Phillies do NOT add another outfielder, an Ibañez-Mayberry plattoon in left with a Brown-Ruf plattoon in right would cover the positions.   The Phillies made it to the World Series in 1993 with Milt Thompson and Pete Incaviglia in left field and Jim Eisenreich and Wes Chamberlain in right field.   For this to happen and Nix to stick around the Phillies would have to do without Galvis and leave Frandsen as the lone infield backup.

The more time that passes, I believe more and more the Phillies will do the outfield on the cheap.  Would Ibañez-Mayberry give the Phillies as much as a Cody Ross would?  Here's a rough sketch of some 2012 numbers:

Ibañez vs. right-handed pitching: .248, 19 home runs, 57 RBI in 323 at bats
Mayberry vs. left-handed pitching: .271, 8 home runs, 19 RBI in 166 at bats
Total, combined:  .251, 27 home runs, 76 RBI in 489 at bats
Cody Ross, 2012:   267, 22 home runs, 81 RBI in 476 at bats

Maybe an inexpensive Ibañez and Mayberry compared to an expensive Ross isn't that bad.  Then, right field could be a Brown/Ruf plattoon, Nix/Ruf plattoon, all Brown, all Ruf, or who knows.  Ibañez will play less than the past, but combined with Mayberry, the duo could spare the Phillies the high cost of Cody Ross.