Previous month:
June 2013
Next month:
August 2013

As the Trade Deadline Passes, So Does the Phillies Winning Streak

AscheSave us, Cody

As the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline came to a close three ours prior to game time, the Phillies did exactly what just about everyone expected them to do: absolutely nothing. What role would that play going into tonight's game? Absolutely none. But, it's fun to blame it on that. Yes, there was a game to be played, and literally hours after the birth of his child, Kyle Kendrick would be taking the mound for the Phillies. For the Giants, Chad Gaudin, the bullpen pitcher turned spot started, would look to shake off his last start.

This game was difficult from the get-go. Kendrick gave up a one out double to Marco Scutaro, who was immediately brought home on a Pablo Sandoval single. Later, Brent Pill would single to bring home both Sandoval and Buster Posey. The fourth and final run of the inning was scored off the bat of Roger Kieschnick, who was making his major league debut. 4-0 Giants early on.

After the Rangers Red Sox Yankees Phillies Michael Young lined into a double play, Chase Utley made noise by popping a solo homerun. 4-1 Giants.

An eruption occurred once again for the Giants in the third. Kendrick began the inning by allowing five straight batters to reach base (error, single, hit by pitch, single, single). The final two singles, one each by Pill and Kieschnick, scored two more runs to put the lead at 6-1. This spelled the end of Kendrick's night, and the start of Raul Valdes'. Despite allowing an RBI single to the pitcher Gaudin, Valdes pitched quite well. 7-1 Giants after three.

We move things ahead to the top of the seventh inning with the Giants batting against J.C. Ramirez. He was able to record a fly out, a pop out, and a groundout. However, sandwhiched between each of those outs was two solo homeruns by Pill (his fourth RBI of the night) and Brandon Crawford. Make that a 9-1 Giants advantage.

 Despite scoring a second run on an Utley groundout in the eighth, the Phillies really never had much momentum in this game. The Giants take Game Two of the series, 9-2.

Another day, another Phillies loss. As we head off into the final two months of this 2013 campaign, fans can only look forward to seeing the future of the team take the field. Names like Ruf and Asce are finally getting solid playing time, and it is quite refreshing. There is still a chance the Phillies make some moves during the August waiver period, but it seems less likely. Tomorrow night, the Phillies and Giants will wrap up this series with Cole Hamels and Matt Cain. It will also be Brad Lidge's retirement ceremony night at the ballpark, so if you're headed down, get to your seats early and properly honor the 2008 World Series-clinching pitcher!


Phillies Stand Pat

6a01348829760c970c01538f1854cf970b-800wi

In what was gearing up to be a rather uneventful trade deadline in the first place, the Phillies made zero moves.

As the day went on we heard of the various teams Michael Young would approve deals to but by that point, those teams had all the leverage and appeared not very willing to send much of anything the Phillies's way.

Cliff Lee remains with the squad after the Phillies asked for the moon for him and Boston went and acquired Jake Peavy instead.  I still think he could be in play after the season.

Carlos Ruiz who I felt was a dark horse for a deal also still among us. Papelbon was never going anywhere once it was clear Detroit was not interested.

It's disappointing. I really do not see the point of this team the way it has performed going into the trade deadline and not making any moves. I still think eventually there will be waiver deals to be made in the next month. It appears with the new playoff set up that that is where the action is now. It also wouldn't hurt to move the trade deadline. But the Phillies have to know they are out of it and they had an obligation to make adjustments and they did nothing when they had a chance.

Even with the Chase Utley case. We hear the buddy buddy stories of the two sides working towards an extensino. Here we are at 4:50 ET and no extention was announced and Utley still heading into free agency. He holds the cards now and could very well take an offer elsewhere come November. Who stops him?

Nothing is not very acceptable for Ruben Amaro Jr. who has wowed in the past on days like today. Today he came up less than short in a season that needed some shaking up. There is no exuse for it. We now are officially looking towards the off season and it's not even August.


Kendrick, Phillies Look For Second-Straight Win Against Giants, Gaudin

Kendrickcards
The Phillies snapped their eight-game losing streak last night with a 7-3 win over the Giants in last night's series opener. The Phils got a jump start on Barry Zito, who allowed five earned runs in four innings. Carlos Ruiz and Michael Young went deep last night. Young went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run. John Lannan went seven strong, allowing three runs to earn his third win of the year. Tonight Kyle Kendrick (9-7, 3.96 ERA) will take on Chad Gaudin (4-2, 2.77 ERA) in game two tonight.

Kyle Kendrick is looking to notch his 10th win of the season tonight. In his last time out, Kendrick was the victim of a tough-luck loss. Allowing three earned runs on five hits through six, Kendrick took the loss as his offense was unable to mount more than a run. In his last three starts, Kendrick owns a 4.82 ERA and has a 2-1 record. Back on May 7th Kendrick held the Giants to two runs on six hits through seven innings in winning effort. In his career, Kendrick is 2-1 with a 2.81 ERA.

Chad Gaudin was knocked around for six runs on seven hits and five walks in just 3 2/3 innings against the Reds on Wednesday. In his worst start of the season, Gaudin was unable to make it out of the fourth inning and suffered his second loss of the year. In his last three starts, Gaudin is 2-1 with a 4.o2 ERA. Gaudin has a 2.03 ERA in 13 1/3 career innings against Philadelphia, but owns a 5.79 mark at Citizens Bank Park.

Game Notes:

  • At the time that this was written (3:00 PM ET), Michael Young, Carlos Ruiz, Cliff Lee, and Joanthan Papelbon are all Phillies.
  • Domonic Brown underwent more concussion tests this afternoon. Manager Charlie Manuel expects Brown to be out for "another week or so."
  • The Phillies are 50-56 entering tonight.

UPDATE: As of 4:35 pm, the Phillies have announced no trades and Michael Young is still in a Phillies uniform playing first base tonight.

 

Phillies lineup:

  1. Rollins 6
  2. M. Young 3
  3. Utley 4
  4. D. Young 9
  5. Ruf 7
  6. Asche 5
  7. Mayberry 8
  8. Ruiz 2
  9. Kendrick 1

Giants lineup:

  1. Blanco 8
  2. Scutaro 4
  3. Sandoval 5
  4. Posey 2
  5. Pence 9
  6. Pill 3
  7. Kieshnick 7
  8. Crawford 6
  9. Gaudin

First Pitch Forecast: Cloudy - 80° - 0% PoP

TV: CSN
Radio: 94 WIP, 1210 WPHT.

Erik Seybold is a writer for Philliedelphia. Follow him on Twitter. 

 


Report: Michael Young Would Waive No-Trade Clause For New York Yankees

Mikeyoung
Yesterday, it was reported that Michael Young would waive his no-trade clause in order to be traded to the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox, who landed starting pitcher Jake Peavy, seem to be off the board for Young and it seems that although they really like Young, no rumors have been reported.

Another team, however, may earn the acceptance of Young. The New York Yankees have been reported to be a team that the Phillies' third baseman would waive his no-trade clause for.

Young is hitting .279 with 8 home runs and 34 RBI in 99 games this season - including a two-run home run in last night's 7-3 win over San Francisco.

There is less than an hour and a half left until teams are able to trade players without waivers.

Erik Seybold is a writer for Philliedelphia. Follow him Twitter.


Deals must be worth it for Phillies

MichaelYoungHR2

Michael Young could be on the move as the trade deadline rapidly approaches. (Kevin Durso/Philliedelphia)

The big splash of the deadline took place 17 hours before the trade deadline hit. As the clock was ticking on the amount of time left to make trades, the Boston Red Sox jumped in on Jake Peavy, picking up the pitcher from the Chicago White Sox in a three-team deal with the Detroit Tigers.

Boston had been discussing the possibility of trading for Cliff Lee. As the day progressed, more signs pointed to the Phillies passing on a deal.

Any trade for Lee would have to include a top prospect. The Red Sox were not willing to part ways with theirs - 20-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts. 23-year-old outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. - the team's No. 2 prospect - was removed from his minor-league game early. That sent trade rumors swirling around Lee. When it was learned that his removal was due to an elbow injury, all trade talk with the Phillies appeared to be cancelled out for good.

The Phillies, to this point, have handled the trade deadline with a conservative approach. If the offer is there and worth taking, the Phillies will do it. If they don't get exactly what is desired, the Phillies will gladly pass.

As Ruben Amaro Jr. said on MLB Network on Tuesday, the Phillies have had discussions where they would be considered buyers and sellers. Charlie Manuel admitted that the Phillies were "a ways off" from being a team in contention.

The Phillies don't really have an identity at this season's deadline. They are 50-56 with 56 games remaining. They are eight games back in the wildcard race, more than they could claim a season ago when they trailed by 13 games on deadline day.

Therefore, both Amaro and Manuel are correct.

Amaro still held out some hope for the current season. If the Phillies continue to play the way they did on Tuesday night - their most complete team effort in over a week - they can make a run, just as any other team can. Baseball is as unpredictable as they come and Amaro certainly knows that, especially in a week when teams' approaches to acquire or trade players changes every five minutes.

Manuel's statement was more realistic. For once, he didn't give the same line about needing one big hit, making mistakes or all the other miscues and shortcomings that have cost the Phillies in recent weeks. Instead, he acknowledged the ability of his team in the now and did it with the most straight-forward and honest approach you will find from anybody this season.

The Phillies certainly can't hide from the eight-game losing streak that came to an end on Tuesday. It changed the whole complexion of the season.

What the Phillies won't do is freely sell. They won't give away players to gamble on prospects that aren't the most highly-anticipated in baseball. They won't stay put and slowly fizzle out for the purposes of getting a top draft pick. They won't ignore the fact that the season still goes on after this day is over.

So what you can expect to see is something similar to last season. At just six games below .500 - a far cry from the 11 games they were in 2012 - they will play out the season just the way they did last season. If they make any form of a run in that time, that will be the reasoning for whatever actions, if any, are made today.

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

Michael Young Changes His Mind, Will Accept Trade To Red Sox

MichaelYoung

Michael Young has made it easier for the Phillies to trade him, reports Ken Rosenthal:

Perhaps the "Rangers-only" message wasn't supposed to come to light but did.  It only made it harder for Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro to trade him.   The return should be light, but playing time for Cody Asche would be worth it.


Chase Utley And Phillies Are Talking Extension; Price Surprisingly Reasonable

ChaseUtley

The Phillies and Chase Utley continue to work towards an extension, reports CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.   The price, if correct, is surprisingly reasonable:

Leading up to the trade deadline, the Phillies have been telling teams Utley is unavailable as they aim to lock him up on the multiyear deal. People familiar with the negotiations suggest the offers were modeled after Carlos Beltran's $13 million a year deal with the Cardinals, though Beltran's is a straight two-year deal.

I always thought the Beltran deal was a nice value, though one could argue that he has played better than the $13 million a year he is getting.  Considering that Utley makes $15 million this year, the number shows that Utley could be willing to take a little less to stay with the Phillies.

Of course, it's entirely possible that Utley, who averaged 101 games over the last three years, could end up playing less second base than Cesar Hernandez.   But this contract should not be so prohibitive to the Phillies to do other things, so I like it.


Missing an Opportunity?

It appears that Cliff Lee lacks teams that can take his money and afford the prospect price. Papelbon appears to lack suitors, in part thanks to his contract, but also his big mouth. Michael Young is throwing around his no-trade clause weight to direct his market to a select few teams (if not one). For some reason, Ruben is not shopping Carlos Ruiz, Kyle Kendrick, or even Delmon Young (though he's basically worthless).

Could the Phillies stand pat?

The sad answer is yes, and I think that would be disastrous. It's not 100% certain that the Phillies will do anything, and it appears that there are no surprises in the making (even with no contract right now, Utley won't be shuttled off suddenly). Even if they do manage to move Michael Young, it won't wildly change how we should view this deadline.

The Phillies are not a good team. They were 81-81 last year. They are 50-56 this year. They are 11.5 games out of first, and 8 games out of the second Wild Card. Sure, the names might be similar to 2011, but the players aren't those guys anymore. I do understand the need to extract the best value for your players, but there has to be some realism here. Maybe your players aren't worth what you think. If you don't clear a big contract (here's looking at you Papelbon), or clear room for some of the advanced minor league talent (Cesar Hernandez should join Asche and Ruf, and all should play), this is a big failure. This team will not get better playing Delmon Young or John Mayberry Jr., or for that matter, Michael Young.

Inaction is a defeat. Ruben needs to get on with this. And with that, I have IronPigs tickets today.

Chase Utley, The Part-Time Player

[caption id="attachment_787" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Chase Utley, master of farting on players.[/caption]

The Phillies are in an odd situation with moveable pieces and the need to re-tool, but leadership that refuses to commit to a rebuild and dedicated to holding on to their assets.  While there are players that are likely to move (i.e. Young, Young, Ruiz, etc.), those players are unlikely to bring back anything of impact value.  The Phillies have two players in Chase Utley and Cliff Lee that could bring back high-level, top prospects, but they refuse to make those players available.  While you can argue Cliff Lee’s availability, it is clear that the Phillies have no intention to trade Utley and, instead, wish to retain him long-term, thereby perpetuating the fact that we are going to continue to push forward with the same core for the next few years.

There are many arguments that could be made as to why Utley should be traded, including the potential return of prospects (assuming you have faith that Amaro will acquire an adequate return), change for the sake of change, Utley injury history, and his declining ability with his increasing age.  For the sake of argument, I am going to focus on the latter two, ignoring the opportunity cost of the return you could get from trading Chase.  Instead, I hope to focus on showing that his injury history and age should not impact our decision for Chase’s future by examining the value of Chase Utley, the part-time player.

It was not long ago that Chase Utley was a legitimate Superstar in MLB.  In 2009, he may have had the best year of his career, posting 8.0 WAR (according to fangraphs.com), hit 31 HRs, stole 23 bases, while having a career high 12.8% walk rate.  Since that season, he has not played in more than 115 games, with a season WAR peak of 5.1 and steady decline since.  The last few seasons, he has had a salary of $15M a year, while playing roughly 50-60% of the season.  For a team that is looking to get younger and healthier, Utley seems like a peak target for change.  However, Utley should not be the focal point of organizational change, when his value still far exceeds the other aging veterans on the team.




























































Games



WAR



WAR POS Rank



WAR$$



Salary



Value



2009



156



8.00



2



$35.80



$8



$27.80



2010



115



5.10



4



$20.40



$11



$9.40



2011



103



3.80



7



$17.00



$15



$2.00



2012



83



3.10



8



$14.10



$15



$0.90



2013



77



2.90



6



$14.50



$15



$0.50




Looking at his numbers over the past five years on a season by season basis, Utley has or will exceed his contract value in all years, excluding his 2012 season.  In that season, having played only half the season, he was still worth 3+ Wins above Replacement, ranked in the top 10 among all 2B (most of whom did play a full season), and only fell short of his contract by $900K, despite missing almost 80 games.  In 2013, he is on pace for a 4.6 WAR (assuming he plays 80% of the remaining games), which would make him worth roughly $23M on the season and provide a surplus value of $8M.  Based on that, even with all of the injuries, Utley will be worth roughly 25 WAR over the past 5 years, which would equate to about a $22M a year player, and will provide the Phillies with a value of roughly $46M over the last five years, roughly $16M of which would be over the last four years.

Even with playing so few games over the last few seasons, Utley has still ranked among the top 2B in all of baseball.  His peak season of 2009 had him as the 2nd best player at his position, behind only Ben Zobrist, whose value is enhanced by positional flexibility as well as time spent at Shortstop.  Since then, in his decline years, he has ranked as the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 6th best 2B in baseball.  In each of those years, the players ahead of him had played full seasons, while Utley had played significantly fewer games over those years.

The optimist in me would like to consider the fact that Utley can be healthy and play a full season again.  The realist in me knows that it will never happen again and, when considering this, needs to evaluate him, his future contract, and his role within the organization on the basis that he will only play 80-110 games in a season.  That being said, just for fun, below is the data above annualized to show what could have been with Chase Utley, had he been able to play full seasons at that seasons level.  The result would have been a $25M a year player who would easily have been a top 3 player at his position for roughly $14M a year, providing the Phillies with a surplus value of $77M over the last five seasons.

 




























































Games



WAR 150



WAR POS Rank 150



WAR 150$$



Salary



Value 150



2009



156



8.00



2



$35.80



$8



$27.80



2010



150



6.65



1



$26.61



$11



$15.61



2011



150



5.53



6



$24.76



$15



$9.76



2012



150



5.60



3



$25.48



$15



$10.48



2013



150



5.65



3



$28.25



$15



$13.25




The last thing I wanted to look at was the value of the players who have exceeded his WAR over the past five years, specifically looking at their total value, peak value, and contract status as compared to Utley and the rumored negotiations.  Even accounting for the injuries, over the past five years, Utley has been the 4th most valuable 2B, while playing a fraction of the games of all 2B in the league.  The difference between him and Pedroia, who is ranked 3rd, is .1 WAR.  He has also registered the 2nd highest single season WAR over that time, but that came as his last full season in 2009.







































































Age



5YR WAR



Peak WAR



Zobrist



32



27.6



8.5



Cano



31



27.4



7.8



Pedroia



30



23



7.6



Utley



34



22.9



8



Kinsler



31



19.4



7.3



Phillips



31



17.9



5.6



Kendrick



30



15



5.7



Uggla



33



14



4.5



Hill



31



11.4



5.4



Weeks



31



11.4



5.8




 

This led me to strip out that season entirely, and look at those same players over the last four years, the years that Utley has been injured.  The order changes slightly, but Utley’s status does not.  He still remained the 4th best 2B according to WAR.  His annualized numbers would have made him the best 2B over that time, as Cano has had a 23.4 cumulative WAR, and Chase’s annualized numbers would put him at 23.44.  That is more of a statement of what could have been, as opposed to what has happened and the basis for evaluation.

 








































































Age



4YR WAR



Peak WAR



Cano



31



23.4



7.8



Zobrist



32



19.1



6.3



Pedroia



30



18.3



7.6



Utley



34



14.9



5.1



Kinsler



31



14.9



7.3



Phillips



31



14.9



5.6



Kendrick



30



12.9



5.7



Uggla



33



11.5



4.5



Weeks



31



10.1



5.8



Hill



31



7.6



5.4




Because of his injury history the last four years, he has the second lowest peak WAR value among those considered, yet still is tied for 4th on a cumulative basis.  This emphasizes his consistency as an above average player, despite his injuries.  When he does play, the injuries have little impact on his ability to contribute to the organization.

As the Phillies discuss a contract extension with him, the figures they are throwing seem absurd.  The current rumor is a three year contract extension at $13M per year.  That might seem frightening for a player who has had a checkered history recently, but consider the fact that his lowest value season in 2012, he was still worth 3.1 WAR and $14.1M, despite only playing 83 games.  His four-year average WAR would value him at roughly a $17M a year player.  Assuming only a 25% decline across his 35-37 year old seasons is risky, but his numbers this year, including his defensive performance, actually reflect a potential upswing in performance relative to his 2011-2012 seasons.









































































































Age



2013



2014



2015



2016



2017



Cano



31



$15M



FA



Utley



34



$15M



FA



Kinsler



31



$13M



$16M



$16M



$14M



$12M



Pedroia



30



$10M



~$13.75



~$13.75



~$13.75



~$13.75



Uggla



33



$13M



$13M



$13M



Phillips



31



$10M



$11M



$12M



$13M



$16M



Hill



31



$5.5M



$11M



$12M



$12M



Weeks



31



$10M



$11M



$11.5M



Kendrick



30



$8.8M



$9.4M



$9.5M



Zobrist



32



$5.5M



$7M



$8M




 

Looking at the contracts of comparable players, I think it is very reasonable based on how the market dictates paying players at his position and status.  It is reasonable to think that Cano will become the highest paid 2B in the league this off-season, with good reason.  The rumored contract, therefore, would make Utley 4-5 highest paid 2B in the league, comparable with his performance to date.  I would rather pay Utley that contract than the contracts given to Hill or Weeks that are only slightly below the rumored Utley contract, with significantly less return from the players.

It may seem absurd to pay an injury-plagued 2B at $13M a season, but even if he only plays 100 games a year, he should provide value in those games in excess of the contract cost.  There is of course risk involved, but the Phillies may be willing to take on that risk as a result of the intangibles Utley brings as well as the marketing value he offers during that time period.  Ultimately though, Utley for 100 games, plus a replacement player for the remaining 62 games, still would provide more value and performance than 80% of the 2B in the league.  One thing that I cannot dispute, is that Utley has become the most successful and highest paid part-time player in the majors.

 


A hockey fan ' s take: Amaro vs. Holmgren

[caption id="attachment_771" align="alignnone" width="640"] Kneel before RAJ.[/caption]

I'm a big Phillies fan. Really, I am. I swear. It may not seem like that this year, though.

Unlike previous years, I have a hard time sitting through a game this season. It's not that I don't like the team or don't want to see them win/go down with the ship. I have a problem with the man at the helm, Ruben Amaro Jr.

I've been known to repeat myself over the years with similar lines. "He's a company guy!", "He's a stubborn narcissist who would rather be known as the guy who makes a big splash than the guy who makes the small, helpful move!", "Mike Arbuckle would have been the right choice!", "Damnit, Pat Gilllick, why did you have to retire!"

It happens. Right?

Well, for all the things I have to say about Amaro, there is one you will never here me say:

"Ruben Amaro is just like Paul Holmgren!"

I hear that a lot and, frankly, I don't see it.

Sure, neither the Phillies nor the Flyers have a farm system worth mentioning and both GMs typically have their names tied to the biggest available players during the trade deadline and offseason but the similarities stop there.

If you take a close look at Paul Holmgren's tenure in Philadelphia you will notice that, while he is not without flaws, he is capable of recognizing and addressing the team's needs. Perhaps it involves what is perceived as a lopsided trade or bad contract but Holmgren get the players that he believes the team needs. Amaro gets the players that he wants.

In the nearly five years since Amaro has taken over for Gillick, I have yet to see him prove on even a semi-consistent basis that he is capable of recognizing needs and then addressing them.

You may ask: But what about the farm? The Flyers don't have any prospects either!

This point is open for debate but, for the most part, the Flyers biggest prospects are currently with the team. The Phillies do not have a Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, or even a Erik Gustafsson playing at any level as far as I can tell. Nor do they have a Samuel Morin, Robert Hagg, or Shayne Gostisbehere waiting in the wings.

The one thing they do have going for them, though, is that they're not in the poorly named Metropolitan Division, whatever the hell that is.