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The future is “murky at best” for the Philadelphia Phillies

Aug 31, 2011, 11:33 AM EDT

Ryan Howard dark skies

Yeah we have even more Phillies-related posts today than usual. But if Rany Jazayerli is correct in the column he just wrote for Grantland, it will all even out very soon when the Phillies suck and no one cares about them.

The problems: An aging roster which is getting more expensive as it declines, a relatively fallow farm system and a division in which the competition is younger and on the rise. Money quote: “But the Phillies’ biggest concern in the near term is, as always, the Atlanta Braves …”  Ahhhh.

All of which leads to this payoff:

“… for a team on the verge of its greatest season ever, the future is murky at best. The Phillies have climbed to the top of the mountain. There might be a cliff up ahead.”

We’ll accept “he’s just a hater!” responses for the first few minutes after this post goes live because I know you guys can’t help yourselves when it comes to mistaking criticism for bias. But then you all are going to actually have to read the article and explain how, exactly, Rany is wrong.

314 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. deep64blue - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    As a Phillies fan who loves Rany’s work I think he’s spot on – but if we win the World Series this year it will definitely have been worth it!! Even if we don’t the last few years have been amazing and if that means we struggle for the next 10 I’ll happily take that trade off.

    • jnks10 - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:37 PM

      It’s also funny how they fail to mention the number 4 ranked farm system in baseball. They forgot to mention how old Hunter Pence is. They forgot to mention how old Dom Brown is. What about John Mayberry who appears to be an emerging star? Hamels? Worley? Stutes? Bastardo? Madson? And I’m sorry that i don’t just assume Rollins, Utley, and Howard will continue to decline. I’m sorry but isn’t that what they said about Jeter before he started to come around again? And the fact that Howard was on pace for over 100 RBIs with the likes of Ben Fran and Raul hitting behind him is a testimate to how good he is at driving in runs.

      • kopy - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:46 PM

        Clearly you did not read the article. They mentioned a lot of those things, and even made multiple points about Pence’s age.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:47 PM

        It’s also funny how you failed to mention that the #4 ranking is based on players mostly in low-A ball, some of whom were traded away for Hunter Pence, and the rest of whom are years from contributing.

      • nategearhart - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:51 PM

        Mayberry is NOT a rising star. He’s on a hot streak. And when did Jeter “come around again”? You mean when he had that one great-for-his-age season, before he tumbled?

      • uberfatty - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:24 PM

        My favorite part of this post is that Ryan Howard apparantly now has the gift of driving in batters that hit behind him in the lineup. Didn’t know he was that good so thanks for enlightening me.

      • bleedgreen - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        Nate, in the 1.5-2 months since coming off the DL, Jeter is hitting over .400. He’s brought his average up to ~ .300 for the season.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      They forgot to mention how old Hunter Pence is

      Nope, it’s in there. Specifically he says Pence is 28. On this team, that qualifies as a youth infusion.

      What about John Mayberry who appears to be an emerging star?

      The guy has 122 MLB games played, a 7.6% walk rate and strikes out 22% of the time. He’s shown decent power, but A, he’s 28 years old already, and B, hasn’t played a full season yet. Let’s slow down on the emerging star talk.

      Madson

      FA after the season. Going to get expensive if he continues as the closer

      And I’m sorry that i don’t just assume Rollins, Utley, and Howard will continue to decline.

      Why not? This isn’t a one year thing. Howard has been in decline for years. So is Rollins (who is also a FA after this year). Utley is still really good, but his power is dropping (probably due to injuries) and so is his walk rate. His once other-worldly defense is also declining (again probably due to injuries).

      I’m sorry but isn’t that what they said about Jeter before he started to come around again?

      Because he was declining. His power dropped tremendously from ’04 to ’10 with a blip in ’09. The big issue is all the morons in the NY Media thought ’09 was representative of how Jeter played and not the surrounding years. His bounce back this year is largely due to a BABIP inflation from last because he’s walking far less, hitting with the worst power ever in his career, and his defense is mediocre to bad as always.

  2. FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Ahh typical Craig Bait. It’s why he’s the Master Baiter. What else do you think he does when he’s sitting in his Brave’s bathrobe in the high chair and the bubble pipe? Ok don’t answer that.

    Anyway for the best information on the farm system I think the Phuture Phillies blog is excellent. And not too long ago had a well written rebuttal on why the times have changed. I think it’s ludicrous to believe they will be on top forever, but I don’t believe we’ll see them languish like the Pirates have for the last 18 years. Even the 70’s team had a “down” year in ’79 finishing third before winning it all the following year. The Yankees were 3rd in ’08 before rising to the top again in ’09. I would wager we won’t see the Phillies finish dead last and stay that way for quite some time if ever. I can certainly see them have a bad season and finish 3rd when 3 to 4 years from now they start making some painful transitions between aging stars and new unproven talent. But that’s about it. Even the Braves finished 3rd in ’08 but their dip was temporary and here they are again in contention.

    If the Braves rose to NL Superpower status during the 90’s and continue to be relevant today with winning baseball seasons why can’t the Phillies do the same into the late 2010’s early 2020’s? :)

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      That’s why you have to read the article. A big part of the Phillies issue is money. In 2013, the Phillies have the following payroll commitments:

      Ryan Howard: $20 million (will be 33)
      Cliff Lee: $25 million (34)
      Chase Utley: $15 million (34)
      Roy Halladay: $20 million (36)

      That’s $80 million on four players who will be past their primes. 2 of those players (Howard and Utley) have shown clearly shown declining numbers. With age also comes increased risk in injuries.

      • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        I’m well aware of those numbers and also well aware of how much payroll is being sliced off in the off season, which that article umm… fails to mention. If that’s supposed to be an in-depth analysis of payroll state it’s woefully inadequate. A great GM can work around these numbers. This year we were told there would be no mid-season moves, and yet there’s Hunter Pence. Ruben has proven adept at getting the right talent at the right time.

        Also like many articles that focus on one team they assume the rest of the NL east teams will do better and maximize their $ value. They won’t make mistakes or bad signings and their own prospects will pan out 100%. In depth analysis of ALL teams together and projections would lend some meat to it.

        This reminds me of that NY article that used WAR to predict the Phillies would only win 90 games and miss the playoffs…great predicting right there…(never mind that the meticulous attention wasn’t applied to other teams in the same division, the article hand-waved that away by ASSUMING the competition would automatically be better!!!!)

        So I take everything in there with a pinch of salt.

      • dbick - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        Yeah they have a lot of money tied up in aging players. But for some reason people still look at the phillies like the team from the 90;s/early 2000s who don’t spend money. This is the new Phillies, in the age of Citizens Bank Park, they practically print money in south Philly these days. They play in one of the biggest markets on the east coast and ownership is learning what the yankees and sox learned long ago: You have to spend money to make money. They areM finally acting like a big market team (i.e. getting pence for 2 good prospects, when back in the day that would never happen with this team). This decline the author speaks of is still a few years away (if only because halladay and lee show no signs of slowing down, and hamels is in his peak) which means at least a few more years of sold out stadiums, playoff revenue and jersey sales. Money is not a concern with this team.

      • jnks10 - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:39 PM

        So your saying Halladay in 2013 won’t be one of the top pitchers in baseball. Same goes for Lee?

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:55 PM

        How much money are the Phillies slicing off this offseason? Did you account for arbitration raises? Hamels is going to get at least $12 million, Pence $10 million (and those are conservative estimates). Rollins needs to be re-signed, and Oswalt, Lidge and Madson need to be replaced. That actually leaves Philly very little room to do anything other than bring back the same team a year older. Is Amaro finally going to trust Brown, or does he need to spend on somebody else to replace Ibanez?

      • dbick - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:21 PM

        @KevinS: Phillies do need to re-sign Rollins. Even though he’s not a great offensive SS, there really aren’t that many good ones out there anyway. They’ll probably over pay but I’m ok with that because he’s still a fantastic fielder.

        Oswalt – depending on his health I wouldn’t mind letting him walk and getting a cheaper decent option.

        Lidge/Madson – Stutes and Bastardo can easily fill their roles.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:21 PM

        How the hell do you know what the Phillies 2012 payroll will be? You and I can guess all we want, but until we see how the season goes, we won’t know what the payroll will be so why even bother speculating?

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:24 PM

        Because we’ve had several indications from the organization that they’re right up against their max, and until the Phillies actually go out and field a $180 million team next year, I’m working under the assumption that payroll stays at its current level.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:32 PM

        Sorry Kevin, but when the last 4 years look like this…I tend to think that anything can happen next year…

        Phillies Opening Day payrolls
        (Major League contracts plus pro-rated signing bonuses):

        2011: $165,976,381
        2010: $138,178,379
        2009: $113,004,046
        2008: $ 98,269,880

      • CJ - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        Those “several indications” have always come right before a big move. Thye said they couldn’t afford a guy like Pence and got him anyway.

        They cry “poor mouth” just long enough to let you believe them and then they catch you napping and make a big move, it’s happened with every major acquisition they’ve made in the last 3 years and there have been a few. How can you assume payroll stays flat when it’s increased every year since CBP opened?

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:03 PM

        I assume you’re referring to the Pence and Oswalt acquisitions? In both cases, Houston paid much of the salary through this season – Philly is on its own for next year, though.

  3. bdawk20 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. We all know the Phillies window for winning is rapidly closing, but on the other hand, a weak farm system has produced a stunning start to Vance Worley’s career and still has some bullets left in certain positions. The Phillies should have the pitching to remain competitive, but it’s the hitting that we should be worried about (but the hitting hasn’t been great this year either).

    As for you Craig, we all know the difference between criticism and bias, but you go out of your way to take shots at the Phillies because you are mad at the Braves for winning the division all those years but only winning 1 championship. Rany’s article has validity to it, but like another poster said, winning the world series makes it all worth it. You, however, have a sad sad grudge that you point out when there isn’t a story as well as where there is one. The Phillies have been great since 2007, that is 5 years, so if things go south in 2013, that will be 7 years of dominance in the division which is a pretty good shelf life if you ask any baseball fan.

    • bdawk20 - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:10 PM

      Craig, stop hitting the thumbs down button.

    • bleedgreen - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:45 PM

      They’ve been averaging 4.54 runs per game this year. That puts them @ #8 in all of baseball. The only teams with DRASTICALLY more runs are the Rangers, Yanks and BoSox. They are .1 runs/game away from being 4th in that stat. Thats crazy to say they haven’t been hitting that well. Offense is down across all of baseball the past few years. You can’t compare the stats from now to the stats from 2002. Its just not relevant. You have to compare to the rest of the league and the rest of baseball to get a true barometer of how a team is hitting. You don’t have to score 10000000 runs to lead baseball. You need to score 1 more than the guy in 2nd place.

  4. thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    An argument I keep seeing Phillies fans make is that their farm system is great and was unaccounted for in this article. They are falling into a folly that every fan does. Everyone overrates their own team’s farm system. To you, there are 10 or 12 can’t miss prospects in there. In reality, if you’re lucky, a couple with become good everyday ball players. Go back through your teams minor league history. For every Cole Hamels and Chase Utley, there are a dozen guys like Taylor Buchholz, Brad Baisley and Ryan Brannan’s.

    • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:36 PM

      That’s because they ARE or great or GREAT trade bait. In that sense the farm system has great value! See Ed-Wade for what I’m talking about :)

    • everybodyhitswoohoo - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:09 PM

      So it’s either “the Phillies traded their top prospects for Hunter Pence” or “their good prospects aren’t actually going to be any good”? Sucks to be them…

  5. philsgamer - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    I partly agree with him. As currently constructed, the Phillies’ window for success isn’t open that wide. However, the willingness of Amaro to make earth-shattering moves and the willingness of management to keep upping the payroll will allow the Phils to skirt the issues this team will face in the future due to age.

    Also, the boisterousness of the fans and their ever-increasing ability to interact directly with the team through social media will keep the pressure on the organization to remain a major competitor for years to come. At least, that’s my hope…

    • Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:42 PM

      I also partly agree with him, even though I feel his article ignores the fact that the Phills do have a decent farm system, with enough talent + money to keep the team strong over a period of time. With their pitching alone they could pull off a WS Like the Giants did with their aging team. I’m not too worried.

      • philsgamer - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:46 PM

        I’m not worried either. There are more factors that go into keeping a team at the top or close to it that Rany fails to mention. I was just naming a couple of the more important ones.

        You would think with the way that some people talk about the Phils’ minor league system that we have trouble fielding full teams sometimes.

    • philsgamer - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:43 PM

      EDIT: “willingness of ownership to keep upping the payroll…”

  6. delawarephilliesfan - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Didn’t he write an identical article in 2009?

    Hah! Made you look, and that is my point. Phillies have cahs, tons and tons of cash, and continuely pull rabbits out of the hat. 2012 is hardly “murky at best”, and I would plan on seeing October baseball in Philadelphia in 2013. After that, we will see.

    If one looks at Amaro’s track record and the Phillies mountain of money, then claims they know with certainty the Phillies are heading down the tubes…..well, I have to say that person is just speculating

    • gogigantos - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      same genius let Lee go, gave him away, in what kind of genius move? and you all were ok with that then???

      • delawarephilliesfan - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:00 PM

        gogigantos – I don’t believe I said every move he has ever made was Golden. However, you are deep in denial land if you think Amaro has not been far more good then bad.

        And what of Lee? How many GM’s would have admited they were wrong, and reversed course?

        I don’t know what the future holds, but to act as though the Phillies are about to become the Royals is a joke

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    I’m trying to figure out the author’s definition of “future”? Does he mean 2015? Then yeah, sure isn’t EVERYBODY’S future a little murky? I can’t imagine he means anytime in the next 3 years for the sheer fact that the Phillies rotation will contain the following players who are under contract…

    2012 – Doc, Lee, Hamels, maybe Oswalt
    2013 – Doc, Lee Hamels
    2014 – Doc, Lee, Hamels

    If you want to say that injuries or age will affect Doc, ok. That’s your prerogative. He doesn’t day that though. He just talks about Howard’s big contract, tries to be funny and bad-mouths him like the rest of the sabremetric fools do, and he says Utley, Rollins, Polanco, etc, etc are all getting old. Yeah. So?

    I have a tip for this guy and the rest of the people burying the Phillies…This team is built around the best starting staff in the history of the game. The future won’t be murky until 5 years before Doc’s plaque is being placed in Cooperstown. And even then, after a couple World Series Championships, this team may not have to worry about it because they will be replacing a guy like Ryan Howard with a guy like Freddie Freeman.

    Hate on…it will make it all the more exciting when the Phillies win another “World Championship of Baseball”

    • gogigantos - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      gonna ask a few more times,,,,,,
      same genius let Lee go, gave him away, in what kind of genius move? and you all were ok with that then???

      • bdawk20 - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        1 bad move doesn’t define a GM. Take a broader view and ask that question and the answer is that he has been a great GM.

      • cowboysblowgoats - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:20 PM

        “same genius let Lee go, gave him away, in what kind of genius move? and you all were ok with that then???”

        The same genius that managed to get Oswalt, Halladay, and Pence for couple prospects, a six pack and bag of rocks.

        Oh, and went out and brought back Cliff Lee. Name one other GM in all of baseball who has done a better job in the last five years.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        Andrew Friedman and Alex Anthopoulos, without even looking hard at the rest of the field.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:34 PM

        lolz just more Phillies hate. Which of them won a World Series? Oh yeah, neither.

      • gogigantos - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        in ’93 he convinced me he isn’t and idiot,, maybe Kent and Mitchell did that on their own
        time passes and I am sure he is a fool
        are you so so so sure Amaro is “The Man”
        search your soul brothers,, and remember,, how did you feel about letting Lee go to sign the Doc?
        made little to none sense to me then,,,, the stars align and you get the Lee back, so,, all is good, or is the man lucky,,, it is always better to be lucky,,, tejajajaja
        check back in a few and let us all know how you feel about the Amaro,,
        for now,,,
        enjoy enjoy enjoy your run
        and hope it doesn’t run into the Giants
        Tejjajajajajajajajajajaja
        go Bravos

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:10 PM

        And yet if I’d said Cashman and Epstein, I’d get some kind of sputtering about more money. Not surprised in the least.

      • robolundgren - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:42 PM

        @ Chris Florentino

        And a team that Amaro assembled has won a World Series? Nope. Can thank Ed Wade for that.

  8. dasher521 - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Add to the “old” list Polanco. That the Phillies are getting older is not secret, nor was it a secret last December when they signed “Old Cliff Lee”, but I’ll happily take him for the next few years. The Phillies still have a window to win this year and for a couple years to come. Pence just made them younger. And, there may be opportunity that Mayberry will make them younger (time will tell, jury still out). The Phillies will lose about $12 million in Ibanez salary after this year. They will also lose about $12 million in Lidge salary this year. Yes, Cole has to be signed. Yes, Jimmy has to be signed. Yes, Madsen has to signed. Prospects? Eh? Who knows? Isn’t it a crap shoot? Slou Marston & Jason Donald Donald (for Lee) back up players. Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabeck (Halliday), both in the minors after unsecessful major league stints. I’ll bet on Ruben! What team would you rather be.

    I’ve spent so long at the bottom of the hill (still have my ’64 World Series tickets) and under everyone’s radar. I don’t mind being near the top of hill and deflecting all the shots. Far nicer place to be!

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:33 PM

      Dasher, I still am trying to figure out a couple things…

      1) Why was this article written? The Phillies haven’t even WON the World Series in 3 years, yet their “imminent demise” can’t stop being written about. Can they at least win the frigging thing this year before people start showing so much jealousy???

      2) What is this guy’s definition of a “murky at best” future? Is it that in 2015, the Phillies may not win 105 games? Is it that when Doc Halladay is 44 or 45, he will likely be getting his plaque in Cooperstown and the Phillies may not be the best team in baseball? WHAT THE @%#%# DOES MURKY FUTURE MEAN?

      Cause he cant mean the next 3 years, as I explained already…as long as the top of the rotation is Doc, Lee, and Hamels, you could field a triple a team and still win 90 games with those guys. And 90 games is plenty to get you in to the dance.

      • dasher521 - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:41 PM

        Chris – 1) It was written because the Phillies are on the top of the hill and that is who people take shots at and 2) his definition of murky, must be murky (or no patients todays). And I wouldn’t rule Vance out of that rotation (again, time will tell).

      • CJ - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:44 PM

        Perhaps by “Murky future at best” he was referring to the fact that at this time, the Phillies don’t have any players under contract for the 2027 season.

        Wait, what? We don’t have any players for the 2027 season yet? What the #$@$@# is our @#$@#$ GM thinking? How are we going to complete?

        Oh no! We’re screwed!

      • phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        Why can’t he write the article? Because as Phillies fans certain people can’t take critiques of their team?

        What if he does mean the next 3 years? Halladay will be 35 and Lee 34 next year. Yea sure they’ll still be awesome pitchers next year but will they be as dominant the year after? I’d bet yea but it’s at least worth addressing. And isn’t there room for concern about the offense? I’m not saying that the Phillies are terrible offensively but having older players generally means a decline in production. They’re 11th in runs scored right now (down from 7th last year and 4th in 2009). We can’t assume that Mayberry Jr is suddenly going to be a star. The offense has to come from somewhere.

        Sure pitching can win you the world series (Giants 2010) but only having pitching can also keep you (maybe) out of the playoffs (Giants 2011).

        These are valid criticisms. I don’t understand why you can’t just go with the flow. You always talk about enjoying watching your team win but then you come crying on here when a writer says ‘hey the Phillies aren’t perpetually awesome!”

      • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:29 PM

        @phillyphreak – because it simply wasn’t a very well-researched or comprehensive article, that’s why, and if he can’t do that, then he shouldn’t have written it. For an apparently lauded journalist, he gives a very shallow basis for making his claims, concluding things without evidence some places while not even mentioning things in others.

        It’s all well and good to throw the debate out there, but there’s a word (or several) for writers that twist or ignore facts to fit their own paradigm, and those that support them.

      • gogigantos - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:43 PM

        win now Phitins
        now is the end

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:52 PM

        phreak, this article is just flat-out wrong in so many ways that evo621 pointed out better than I could have. You quote the Phillies offense being down this year, but fail to mention that they are AVERAGING 5 runs a game since Utley’s return. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Also, Utley appears to be fine and his peripherals are fine and he is 13 for 13 in steals. His defense has been above average as well. I don’t get where all the murkiness comes in.

        Let me put it this way…the Phillies future is no more murky than the Red Sox, Braves, Yankees, Marlins, Tigers, etc. Everyone’s future is murky. Look at the Red Sox…they thought they had the greatest rotation, then Dice-K and Buchholz went out and they have un-gatzzz right now. Beckett and Lester and pray for rain. Yankees thought they were going to be a disaster when Pettite retired on them. Yet their staff on a whole has been better than the Red Sox staff with Cy Colon and Cy Garcia…Cy Nova and Cy Hughes have been good and AJ has been AJ while CC has been CC. So you could have written a “The Yankees future is murky” and talked about how they have CC and then pray for rain…but they would have been wrong so far.

        The Grantland writers are looking for clicks and so they are roweling up the fan bases. I predict Simmons will be on there writing something bashing the Yankees pretty soon, which is his September tradition.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:44 PM

      Cause he cant mean the next 3 years, as I explained already…as long as the top of the rotation is Doc, Lee, and Hamels, you could field a triple a team and still win 90 games with those guys

      I think you mean two, because Hamels is a FA after 2013. The big issue you guys are missing is that with age comes an increased chance of injury. Lee has had issues with his back already. Yes Doc is a machine and, as Keith Law mentioned before the trade, if you had to pick anyone to throw 800IP in the next 4 years you pick Doc, but he’s just one pitcher.

      It’s great to have all that phenomenal pitching, but your offense is getting older and worse as each year goes on. Ask the Braves how having a bunch of starting pitching but not a great offense works out? Or how about the current Giants? It’s great that you can keep opponents to 1-2 runs a game, but if your offense is doing the same due to aging/declining/worse hitters, then what happens?

      Also, for the love of god, stop attacking the writer personally if you disagree with what he/she says. Attack the points in the article. Considering Rany spent half the article praising the pitching, discussed how you’re printing money and have a decent farm system, only to then say you don’t have an impact bat in the minors and your hitters are getting older. Where’s the complaint? Show us where he’s wrong.

      • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:53 PM

        I’ll leave it to Ruben to answer the questions on how to fill the gaps in hitting. Hunter Pence was acquired to fill a need. I have no doubt Ruben (after acquiring a lot of talented pitching) is not blind to filling in specific needs as they occur, whether the moves he makes pan out is open to debate. But based on track record, it’s hard not to be optimistic. BTW I believe Cole Hamels will be signed and pitching in Philly beyond 2012, Oswalt is likely not coming back next year (if the Phillies win it all I easily see Oz hanging up his socks er- cleats.)

      • CJ - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:11 PM

        Though he does “prais[e] the pitching, discussed how you’re printing money and have a decent farm system,” He assumes that not having “an impact bat in the minors and your hitters are getting older” outweighs the former. I think common sense and baseball history would disagree.

        Teams win the WS based on great pitching and mediocre hitting much more frequently than with mediocre pitching and great hitting.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:12 PM

        church, Hamels will get a Weaver-like contract and be here for the next 5 or 6 years. You can take that to the bank…Citizens Bank Park :)

        And for the love of God WHERE DID I ATTACK THE WRITER? Don’t lump me in with bicepts man. I never heard of this guy either, but that doesn’t mean I am attacking him. I am simply asking why write an article about a team that hasn’t won jack shit yet.

        Also, I must have missed the part where he said the farm system was decent. I only remember tapped out.

        I also don’t know what he means by future…next year or 2015?

      • CJ - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        and yes I realize that our very own 08 Phillies could easily be considered an exception to that, but that is by no means the norm.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        Good luck on the Hamels extension. It’s nice seeing prospects stick with their teams for the majority of their careers. He’s not going to come cheap though.

        WHERE DID I ATTACK THE WRITER

        Some samples of comments:

        Chris F – Can they at least win the frigging thing this year before people start showing so much jealousy
        I have a request for all the national writers and others who obviously either hate the Phillies, are jealous of their success this year, or both…can you at least let them win a frigging World Series before you already start talking about their decline from the top…the top of what?

        I was using the generic you in the comment, but everyone should abide by it. Stop attacking people personally for saying things you disagree with it.

        I also don’t know what he means by future…next year or 2015?

        It can mean both, next year and 5 years down the road.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:39 PM

        church, if you think that me saying that the national writers hate the phillies is attacking them personally, then you have a very soft idea of what is a personal attack.

        I didnt attack the writer of this article, nor would I because I don’t know the guy. I think he is wrong throughout the article and those points were articulated FAR BETTER than my self by evo621 in his well-written posts in this thread.

        I just don’t see how anyone could think that next year looks “murky” for the Phillies. Even if they don’t sign hamels long-term, he is going to be here next year. Even if Oswalt doesn’t return you still have Lee, Doc, Hamels, and Worley as a #4 isn’t bad at all. The Phillies have averaged 5 runs a game with Utley and he has been very healthy since his return.

        I remember a lot of the same arguments before this season…that the team was old and saying they were going to win 97 games was dumb because of their age. Well, they are on a pace to blow past 97 wins.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:59 PM

        church, if you think that me saying that the national writers hate the phillies is attacking them personally, then you have a very soft idea of what is a personal attack.

        It’s a personal attack because before you read this article, you had no idea who Rany was, what he did, his background, or who he rooted for. But since reading the article, and being informed by a few people, you’ve stated multiple times that he’s jealous of the Phillies and doesn’t like them.

        I think he is wrong throughout the article and those points were articulated FAR BETTER than my self by evo621 in his well-written posts in this thread

        Wait, first five or six posts by evo were about how the Phillies have joined the Moneyball Sox and Yanks with a huge payroll. Nevermind that Moneyball has nothing to do with it, merely having a large payroll isn’t a guarantee to success (ask the Cubs/Dodgers/Mets).

        The rest of his comments have no bearing on the article. First, it’s not analysts saying the Phillies were maxing out payroll all the time, it was the owners. That’s not writers fault in believing them only to have the Phillies increase payroll each year. Second to the point, it’s one thing to increase payroll to make your team better which the Phillies have done successfully the last few years. It’s another thing to keep increasing your payroll to keep the same playing field. Howard is about to get super expensive. Madsen is going to make a ton of if he’s the new closer. Hamels is going to get a huge raise over his $9M arb salary. Are you going to resign Rollins? All of those moves are lateral and that’s going to significantly increase payroll.

        This is the advantage the Yanks, and to a lesser extent the Sox, have over everyone else. Most teams can afford to keep one, maybe two superstars, beyond their arbitration eligible years and sign a huge deal. The Yanks can keep them all. The Yanks laugh at the luxury tax payments even though it’s a dollar for dollar tax right now.

        [now onto evo's actual comment]

        I won’t even begin to go into the numerous conclusory statements made in his article, as I think the above says enough. Okay fine, just one – the statement that the Phillies farm team is “tapped out.” No support given, no recognition for the fact that prospects traded away have largely failed thus far

        Wait what? Talk about contradictory. First you say the Phillies have a great farm system, but that doesn’t include all the players they traded away that failed. So if those players weren’t great prospects, then the system wasn’t that great?

        Anyhow, that’s not what Rany says. What he clearly says is there isn’t an impact bat in your farm system. How is that not true? In Keith Law’s latest top 50 (I dont have a BA subscription) only two Phillies were on there, both were traded away. In his preseason top 100, here’s his list:

        3 RF Domonic Brown
        27 1B/LF Jonathan Singleton
        34 RHP Jarred Cosart
        76 RHP Brody Colvin
        93 RHP Trevor May

        Brown is in the majors, Singleton and Cosart are gone. Also, most of the high talent is in low A. Their low-A club in Lakewood, N.J., was as loaded with tools prospects as any club in the minors; you could dream on four or five of its hitters, at least three of its starters, and even a ‘pen guy or two

        So how is what Rany said wrong?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:02 PM

        sonofabitch, cleaning this up so it’s actually readable:

        church, if you think that me saying that the national writers hate the phillies is attacking them personally, then you have a very soft idea of what is a personal attack.

        It’s a personal attack because before you read this article, you had no idea who Rany was, what he did, his background, or who he rooted for. But since reading the article, and being informed by a few people, you’ve stated multiple times that he’s jealous of the Phillies and doesn’t like them.

        I think he is wrong throughout the article and those points were articulated FAR BETTER than my self by evo621 in his well-written posts in this thread

        Wait, first five or six posts by evo were about how the Phillies have joined the Moneyball Sox and Yanks with a huge payroll. Nevermind that Moneyball has nothing to do with it, merely having a large payroll isn’t a guarantee to success (ask the Cubs/Dodgers/Mets).

        The rest of his comments have no bearing on the article. First, it’s not analysts saying the Phillies were maxing out payroll all the time, it was the owners. That’s not the writers fault in believing them only to have the Phillies increase payroll each year. Second to the point, it’s one thing to increase payroll to make your team better which the Phillies have done successfully the last few years. It’s another thing to keep increasing your payroll to keep the same playing field. Howard is about to get super expensive. Madsen is going to make a ton of if he’s the new closer. Hamels is going to get a huge raise over his $9M arb salary. Are you going to resign Rollins? All of those moves are lateral and that’s going to significantly increase payroll.

        This is the advantage the Yanks, and to a lesser extent the Sox, have over everyone else. Most teams can afford to keep one, maybe two superstars, beyond their arbitration eligible years and sign a huge deal. The Yanks can keep them all. The Yanks laugh at the luxury tax payments even though it’s a dollar for dollar tax right now.

        [now onto evo's actual comment]

        I won’t even begin to go into the numerous conclusory statements made in his article, as I think the above says enough. Okay fine, just one – the statement that the Phillies farm team is “tapped out.” No support given, no recognition for the fact that prospects traded away have largely failed thus far

        Wait what? Talk about contradictory. First you say the Phillies have a great farm system, but that doesn’t include all the players they traded away that failed. So if those players weren’t great prospects, then the system wasn’t that great?

        Anyhow, that’s not what Rany says. What he clearly says is there isn’t an impact bat in your farm system. How is that not true? In Keith Law’s latest top 50 (I dont have a BA subscription) only two Phillies were on there, both were traded away. In his preseason top 100, here’s his list:

        3 RF Domonic Brown
        27 1B/LF Jonathan Singleton
        34 RHP Jarred Cosart
        76 RHP Brody Colvin
        93 RHP Trevor May

        Brown is in the majors, Singleton and Cosart are gone. Also, most of the high talent is in low A. Their low-A club in Lakewood, N.J., was as loaded with tools prospects as any club in the minors; you could dream on four or five of its hitters, at least three of its starters, and even a ‘pen guy or two

        So how is what Rany said wrong?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:13 PM

        As I said in a response to another post, he bases his entire argument on the downfall of the Phillies offense on the following…

        “We’re almost halfway through this column and I haven’t mentioned a hitter yet. There’s a reason for that — the Phillies’ offense isn’t particularly good. After finishing first or second in the NL in runs scored every year from 2005 to 2010, the Phillies have dropped to sixth this season.”

        What he DOESN’T mention is that SINCE UTLEY’S RETURN, the Phillies are 2nd in the NL in runs. But that would mean…that…they…aren’t as bad as he wants to make them out to be.

        Look, I think it is clear that this is a hit piece on the Phillies plain and simple. He points out how old they are offensively, yet fails to mention they are the second best offense in the NL(since Utley’s return). They are literally one-tenth of a run behind the NL leader in runs scored, yet they are soooo old and sooo decrepit. Please. That’s ludicrous.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:23 PM

        They are literally one-tenth of a run behind the NL leader in runs scored, yet they are soooo old and sooo decrepit. Please. That’s ludicrous.

        Because there’s more about offense than just scoring runs even though the Phillies are 6th in the league in runs. Some stats against the NL:

        OBP – 5th
        SLG – 7th

        wOBA – 6th
        wRC – 5th

        Yes it’s nice to say they lead since Utley has come back, but since he’s faced injury issues the last two years, it’s highly possible he’s starting to break down and you won’t get 150+ games out of him going forward. Add in that Rollins is getting older and worse, Howard is getting older and worse (and expensive), so why shouldn’t the offense be an issue?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:45 PM

        The offense MIGHT be an issue. Or they MIGHT do something else. Maybe they let Rollins go and get another SS. Maybe they make a big free-agent splash as they have done every year. Point is, to say the future is “murky at best” is unfair at best and stupid at worst.

        Let me give you an example…

        The future of the Atlanta Braves is murky at best. Sure, the Braves are younger than the Phillies. But Hudson will be 36, his skills deteriorated this year, and can we count on him to throw another 200 innings a couple years off TJS? Maybe, but it’s murky at best. Derek Lowe still sucks, and next year he STAYS REALLY EXPENSIVE…his $15 million salary will be almost 15% of their entire payroll and he is just atrocious. Jurrgens and Hanson have been hit with injuries, so while they are young, there could be a problem moving forward with them.

        Their awesome bullpen could easily be injured next year because of the historic and I mean historic work they have had this year. They are going to have 3 guys get 80+ appearances this year. I think it is very murky at best to think they will be able to stay healthy once again for another 80 appearances yet again.

        Chipper Jones will be another year older if he even comes back at all. McCann has had his share of injuries this year, and it’s never a good thing when your best hitter is your catcher, who goes through the biggest grind of the season. Freeman is going to be a stud…or is he? Didn’t we say the same things about Heyward last year, only to see his sophomore year decline severely? Freeman is murky at best. Which Uggla will show up? The one who hit .178 through June 29 or the one who hit .318 since?

        Murkiness abounds. Yet I would no sooner write an entire article talking about how the Braves future is murky than I would the Phillies. Yet this guy chose to single out the Phillies future as being murky because they are a full tenth of a run behind the leaders in Runs Scored. He didn’t quote OBP, SLG so don’t you do it after the fact to try to help his cause. I quoted specifically from his article…

        “We’re almost halfway through this column and I haven’t mentioned a hitter yet. There’s a reason for that — the Phillies’ offense isn’t particularly good. After finishing first or second in the NL in runs scored every year from 2005 to 2010, the Phillies have dropped to sixth this season.”

        Now try to twist how the hell that is fair…the Phillies Offense ISN’T particularly good because they have dropped to sixth in the NL in runs scored when they are literally 0.11 runs scored a game behind the Reds…and that doesn’t even include the first 50 games that Utley missed. He’s back now and healthy and they are scoring 5 runs a game. Explain to me how that is fair? How is the Phillies future murky because they are a tenth of a run behind the leaders in runs scored…or, as the author put it, “not particularly good”

      • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:14 PM

        @churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged – Probably easier to go point by point here as you are apt to do.

        “Wait, first five or six posts by evo were about how the Phillies have joined the Moneyball Sox and Yanks with a huge payroll. Nevermind that Moneyball has nothing to do with it, merely having a large payroll isn’t a guarantee to success (ask the Cubs/Dodgers/Mets).”

        The CHC/LAD/NYM is always a fun rebuttal, and that is why I have qualified that spending cash is only as good and effective as the spender himself. In PHI’s case, RAJ/Gillick tandem has unquestionably been the among the best (Gillick’s in the HOF), and at the very least on par with the ownership in place in BOS and NYY. Probably better from a sheer wheeling and dealing standpoint, but that’s debatable. So the CHC/LAD/NYM rebuttal crumbles in comparison, as ownership there has never been mentioned in the same breath as the NYY/BOS/PHI Big 3 (usually quite the opposite, but I will refrain from going there), and the results play out that way. To pretend like Moneyball has nothing to do with success in MLB is well – pretending.

        “The rest of his comments have no bearing on the article. First, it’s not analysts saying the Phillies were maxing out payroll all the time, it was the owners. That’s not the writers fault in believing them only to have the Phillies increase payroll each year.”

        Is the source of the facts really the point here? No – the facts are the points, and the facts are that we don’t know how high their payroll can go, and how easily they could generate more capital to accommodate it. So it’s germane to his article for the reasons I said – there is no reason to assume that more expenditures can’t be made or that payroll has hit a ceiling, yet Rany makes precisely that unstated assumption. Again, it’s a vacuum argument.

        “Second to the point, it’s one thing to increase payroll to make your team better which the Phillies have done successfully the last few years. It’s another thing to keep increasing your payroll to keep the same playing field. Howard is about to get super expensive. Madsen is going to make a ton of if he’s the new closer. Hamels is going to get a huge raise over his $9M arb salary. Are you going to resign Rollins? All of those moves are lateral and that’s going to significantly increase payroll.”

        You inadvertently point out another flaw in his argument here, which is failing to address the money coming off the books post-2011/2012, etc. Despite how it looks on paper, the “cap”, however you define it, is a fluid figure – especially so when writers/posters start assigning arbitrary values to potential payroll. Other posts have given good figures on exactly who is coming off the books and the amount therewith, so check them if you are interested.

        “This is the advantage the Yanks, and to a lesser extent the Sox, have over everyone else. Most teams can afford to keep one, maybe two superstars, beyond their arbitration eligible years and sign a huge deal. The Yanks can keep them all. The Yanks laugh at the luxury tax payments even though it’s a dollar for dollar tax right now.”

        Church, look at our team – we have a slew of superstars (several on the pitching staff alone); we can afford them because Philly now can play moneyball with BOS/NYY, as numerous media outlets have recognized. We’re only $30M behind NYY as it is this season. As I explained earlier, for a long time it was primarily NYY that played moneyball, then BOS got serious about it in the ’00s (then lo and behold, two WS rings), and now PHI has entered that pantheon, surpassing even BOS in ’11. I think most non-PHI people vastly underestimate the rabid obsessiveness the very large PHI/PHI metro-area/PHI Nation has with their teams and the resulting revenue that comes with it, and from the moment CBP opened (several years before they were even playoff-ready), the cash started flowing. The misconception that this is 70s/80s/90s-style PHI ownership that horded picks and money colors a lot of the discussion nationally.

        “‘I won’t even begin to go into the numerous conclusory statements made in his article, as I think the above says enough. Okay fine, just one – the statement that the Phillies farm team is “tapped out.” No support given, no recognition for the fact that prospects traded away have largely failed thus far’

        Wait what? Talk about contradictory. First you say the Phillies have a great farm system, but that doesn’t include all the players they traded away that failed. So if those players weren’t great prospects, then the system wasn’t that great?”

        Look, I am talking to Rany on his own terms here, as by and large I believe lauding or lamenting farms is a waste of time given that a million roadblocks could arise on the road to a given prospect’s success. Personally, I think prospects in farm systems are about as good as the systems that they are in and the people that run them. That being said, Rany makes the statement that every national writer has made about PHI’s farm every time RAJ makes a deal, which is that they are “tapped out,” whether it’s a position player/pitcher, you name it. Just as one example, we apparently had no pitching on the farm after the Halladay deal, yet Stutes/Bastardo/Worley materialized.

        My point is that his worries about the farm, in this case about an “impact bat” (whatever that is from a rookie – does he ever define this?), are disingenuous, because the need may already be addressed (reglardless of what Keith Law thinks). You proved my point above when you said it was contradictory for me to say that many of our “Top-Rated” prospects that we traded away haven’t panned out – doesn’t that make you question the psychic and/or analytical abilities of the “experts” a little bit? Remember, the experts labeled those traded, *current* busts, to be “Top-Rate”. Conversely, does it make you also consider that perhaps our GM, as someone who eats, breathes, sleeps this stuff, knows what he is doing? Depends on what side of the coin you’re on I guess.

        “Anyhow, that’s not what Rany says. What he clearly says is there isn’t an impact bat in your farm system. How is that not true? In Keith Law’s latest top 50 (I dont have a BA subscription) only two Phillies were on there, both were traded away. In his preseason top 100, here’s his list:

        3 RF Domonic Brown
        27 1B/LF Jonathan Singleton
        34 RHP Jarred Cosart
        76 RHP Brody Colvin
        93 RHP Trevor May

        Brown is in the majors, Singleton and Cosart are gone. Also, most of the high talent is in low A. Their low-A club in Lakewood, N.J., was as loaded with tools prospects as any club in the minors; you could dream on four or five of its hitters, at least three of its starters, and even a ‘pen guy or two”

        Don’t worry about getting the subscription, plenty of sites do a better job for free. :-) First, do some follow-up on how those prospects are doing (Dom included), both now and in the future, and you’ll see you proved my point again. Might make you think twice about Keith’s predictions. Second, do some follow-up on the Phillies Phutures site, both now and in the future, and you will see that plenty of prospects abound, whether they have come to Mr. Law’s or anyone else’s attention yet or not. Last, do some follow-up on how the players that we received for said unproven prospects have performed.

        “So how is what Rany said wrong?”

        At the end of the day, his premise may or may not be right, but in my opinion he gave cursory treatment to several areas of his argument in order to make his broader statement. I felt like it was a bit dishonest and manipulative to do that, notwithstanding the other well-written portions of the article. But the biggest thing that irked me is the overarching vacuum he used to write the article; perhaps RAJ and the PHI organization will suddenly do a complete 180 and veer from every tendency and strategy they’ve demonstrated in the last ten years or so, do nothing to address burgeoning weaknesses, and let everything fall apart, but I just don’t see it – though maybe Rany knows something we don’t.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:55 PM

        Holy crap, I’m going to screw up this royally so apologies in advance evo:

        To pretend like Moneyball has nothing to do with success in MLB is well – pretending.

        What does Moneyball have to do with anything? You’ve brought this up multiple times and it doesn’t make any sense. Moneyball was about finding undervalued assets in baseball. How does this line up with Bos/Phi/NYY? You seem to be creating a picture that those teams make a ton of money ergo Moneyball? I’m honestly confused here.

        No – the facts are the points, and the facts are that we don’t know how high their payroll can go, and how easily they could generate more capital to accommodate it.

        Exactly, none of us know. But the ones who do, the owners, are the ones saying they’ve reached the maxim. And it’s our fault for not believing them?

        which is failing to address the money coming off the books post-2011/2012, etc

        As of right now the Phillies are at a $165M payroll for 2011. Before we even get into Arb raises, you’ll lose Ibanez ($12M), Rollins ($8.5M), Madson ($4.8M), Baez ($2.75M), Schneider and Gloss ($3.2M combined). That’s $31.25M coming off the books if you don’t do anything. However, that leaves you without a SS, without a LFer and without a closer. So say you go with an outfield of Pence/Victorino/Brown full-time. Well Victorino gets $2M more expensive, ($29.25M), Pence is Arb eligible so expect probably a $2M raise (27.25M) and Brown is paid in circus peanuts. Rollins will probably be brought back at a nice raise, figure $10-12M a year ($25M). You’ll probably bring back Madson as a stopgap until Lidge leaves so figure a 50% raise to $7M ($22M).

        Now we get to the other players. Cliff Lee gets a $10M raise ($12M). Hamels is Arb eligible and is going to get a nice award adding another 50% so that’s probably $12-13M ($8M). Carlos Ruiz is getting a $1M raise ($7M). So now with the same team you have an extra $7M to play with. That’s not a lot of money.

        Do you bring back Oswalt or let him go with a $2M buyout? Buyout Lidge for $1.5M?

        The rest I can’t really argue against as it’s more opinion based, but please explain this whole moneyball concept you are discussing.

      • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:48 PM

        Apologies, I wasn’t referring to Moneyball in the sabermetrics sense, but to the way the word was thrown around in terms of NYY’s “buying their championships.” Shouldn’t have used caps, I’ve never actually read the guy’s book on it.

        As to your figures, we’ve all seen them, but at the end of the day, it’s the same as with Rany – it’s all a vacuum. Frankly, I couldn’t have pre-conceived all the deals that RAJ pulled off over the years, and that very fact makes me trust that he can sign players for the right amounts, release/trade them where appropriate, you name it, to make the numbers work.

        In re whose “fault” it is for believing management about the cap status, I wasn’t blaming anyone for believing RAJ when he has made those statements – at least in 2009. But when he said it again in ’10, and again in ’11, I would think that at a certain point a well-seasoned journalist or baseball expert would catch on and almost EXPECT a deal, instead of vice versa. I mean any good businessman will play his cards close to the vest anyway, I don’t fault RAJ for doing it that way.

        You say everything else is my opinion, but really it’s not. My inference about the performance of the prospects we dealt that were supposedly “Top-Rated” by various experts, was that they have so far almost universally underwhelmed, which has caused many writers to question whether indeed it is the system that they were in that made them shine. That in itself makes you question the whole worth of assessing a team’s future on farms alone. But if you are so inclined, you can look at the stats on some of the current Phils A, AA, and AAA players, likely ones you have not heard of before, that are doing pretty fine work there. And of course, you can certainly look at how the major league players we received have performed. This is all quantifiable stuff, not opinion.

        Further, “experts” have certainly said PHI’s tapped out in terms prospects before, most recently in my Halladay example. Yet Stutes/Bastardo/Worley have arisen, just as Happ did before that. Again, quantifiable, not opinion.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 6:09 PM

        Ok gotcha regarding the moneyball phrasing. You need to add like a moneyball(TM) or something so we know it’s not referring to the book :)

        Also I don’t necessarily agree as I think it’s a cheap shot against all the work the owners/GM’s did in assembling the team. It’s easy to say that the Yanks bought the championship in ’09 due to CC/Tex/AJ, but what about the trades that were made? What about the farm players that were pivotal in the team’s success? And this goes for all the teams. No one wins strictly via the checkbook.

        vacuum

        Except those numbers aren’t in a vacuum. Yes we should change the phrasing. Instead of saying that this is the limit to what the PHillies can do, we should say when are they going to hit their limit because even the Yanks, whose revenue trumps everyone else, have capped their spending. Can the Phillies afford a $200M payroll? What about $225M or $250M? So I’ll agree to disagree, but definitely change the way we go about it.

        The issue with being tapped out is there’s a difference between having no prospects (astros) and not having enough to make a big deal. Also, when you do things like trade a few no-names and a player like Soriano for Arod, it’s more the fault of the Texas GM to not get a big name player in the trade (see Ed Wade for the recent trades with Phillies).

        Could the Phillies players be overrated? Possibly, but doesn’t that prove Rany’s point even more? If people think most of your top prospects are in the low minors, and then those don’t have success after trading, doesn’t that make your farm system worse off?

  9. dbick - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    The window of all out dominance is certainly closing, but is still a few years away. Halladay and Lee are not fireball pitchers that rely on 100mph heat to get batters out. They are command oriented pitchers and age shouldn’t have much of an issue with their stuff, and each should have at least 2-3 more years of excellent-dominant level pitching. Our farm system isn’t what it used to be, but Brown is coming up next year and I salivate when thinking of Trevor May. We don’t have many super star prospects other than those 2, but we have a bunch of decent-good ones that could be used for trade bait, and Amaro is not shy about trading away talent for good players. Also they print money in Philly now, they no longer act like a small market team. They’ll probably resign both Pence and Hamels, who are both in their primes. This is the main reason I’m not overly concerned with the future, Phillies actually act like they have money now and aren’t afraid to spend because they see the revenue winning brings.

    My main concern is Utley though, that does scare me. Having an offensive force at 2B is somethign that gives the Phillies an advantage over almost any other team. While most teams have a black hole offensively at 2B the Phillies have been blessed with one of the best of all time, and easily the best of the last decade. Once he’s done that will be glaring issue with the squad.

  10. nategearhart - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    And now I can’t wait until Roy Halladay goes into Cooperstown as a Blue Jay.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:20 PM

      I am sure he will be in there 5 years after he retires…just depends on when he retires. And I don’t think there is any question that they will pick the Blue Jays, although, if he wins a few championships with the Phillies, he may be wearing a P on his cap.

    • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:32 PM

      Until Halladay completes his body of work we won’t know. Right now I’d say Blue Jay, but nothing breeds fame like Success, he already tossed a no-no in the Post-Season as a Phillie, and the perfect game. If he does en up winning a WS while in Philadelphia or reaching significant career milestones while wearing the P then it becomes more iffy.

  11. sportsdrenched.com - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    Chill out Philly Phan, Rany has been telling us this about the Royals for years.

  12. hateradeonrocks - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    mayberry is not on some “hot streak” he’s not going to hit .350 but he’s a 270 25 85 guy AKA Jayson Werth.

    also this author has wrote some amazing gems such as this one. http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6827109/the-case-carlos-beltran

    carlos beltran is clutch lol.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:28 PM

      how is beltran not clutch? Going to love to hear this argument.

    • nategearhart - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      Dude, under any comment to which you want to reply, there is a button that says “reply”. Just a heads-up.

  13. Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Jayson Werth hit .282/.380/.506 with the Phillies while being a hyper-efficient base stealer and providing quality defense in right field. If you think John Mayberry can do any of that, you’re looking at the wrong John Mayberry.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      I think it has become quite clear this year that Jayson Werth overachieved for the Phillies his last 2 years here. I guess only time will tell. Maybe he bounces back or maybe he becomes another Barry Zito. What he doesn’t do is knock in runs. It’s hilarious that we hear about how easy it is for Ryan Howard to do what he does. Oh really? How about Jayson Werth? Could he do it? Um, his RBI % this year is 10%. He has come up with 331 men on base. 10%. LOL.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        Werth’s obviously having a shitty year, and the biggest reason he didn’t have high RBI totals in Philly? Ryan Howard hitting in front of him and rarely being on base.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:20 PM

        Not totals, Kevin…%. Everybody said “Oh, Werth will do great when he is hitting with men on base, since Howard was always knocking them in before him” So he got the chance to be the man this year, and his RBI % is 10. LOL. Howard’s is 18 and A-Gonz is 19. Werth’s is 10. He’s having a pathetic year anyway you want to look at it, and it doesn’t get any better when you realize that he is getting a bazillion dollars. If Howard is “declining” then what’s next for Werth?

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:24 PM

        And my point is that he’s not hitting poorly situationally, he’s just hitting poorly period. We would expect bad hitters to drive in a lower percentage of baserunners.

  14. a125125125 - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    While the future of their baseball team is “murky,” the prospects of Philadelphia fans is even worse. Most will end up washing cars, shoveling fries, or digging ditches.

    • philsgamer - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:16 PM

      Clever…

  15. bravesman1983 - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Does anyone else scroll down to the comments and give Florentino a thumbs down before they even read the actual blog post? I know I can’t be the only one . . .

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      +1

  16. phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    If you don’t feel like reading all 200 posts here is a summary

    1) Uncalled for attacks on the author of the original article linked to by Craig
    2) Phillies fans who can’t take anything negative being said or written about their team complaining that once again the national media is after the Phils. On a related note, there is a sale on Kleenex this week.
    3) Phillies fans/MLB fans who understand that there isn’t one team in MLB that is immune to criticism.

    Multiple choice exam next Wednesday.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:17 PM

      It’s a hit piece. Plain and simple phreak. The author is wrong about the offense, and he bases his entire article on how old the offense is.

      THEY ARE ONE-TENTH OF A RUN BEHIND THE LEADER IN RUNS SCORED AND HAVE THE SECOND HIGHEST TOTAL RUNS IN THE NL SINCE UTLEY’S RETURN!!!

      And yet, in the author’s words “the Phillies’ offense isn’t particularly good…the Phillies have dropped to sixth this season.”

      I don’t need Kleenex…I need a barf bag to throw up after reading the nonsense put forth in that article. I’m not attacking the author…just the nonsense he put out there. I’m sure he’s a helluva guy.

      • phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:37 PM

        Wrong because that’s your opinion? I think he’s accurate in saying the offense is in decline. Are you contending that Utley will be injury free and playing at this level for the next few years? I’m not really willing to bet on that; I’m not willing to bet Utley doesn’t tweak his knee again. I hope he doesn’t.

        And if he doesn’t: What about Polanco? What about Rollins? Howard? They’re getting older and declining.

        Runs scored (for the season, ya know, because the whole season is important not just an arbitrary point; though I agree Utley’s return helps but could be mitigated by extended loss of Rollins- Valdez and Martinez yuck): Yankees (727), Red Sox (720), Rangers (688), Reds (629), Blue Jays (627), Cards (626) …Rockies (624), Tigers (609), Arizona (608), Brewers (602) Phillies (596). So that puts them 11th in the ML and 6th in the NL.

        Runs scored/Runs allowed: Yankees 5.5, Red Sox 5.4, Rangers (5.1) Reds (4.7), Cards (4.6), Toronto (4.6) Rockies (4.6) Phillies (4.5). So yea that’s 1/10th of a point. But still 8th in the ML and 4th in the NL.

        But I think the RS/RA metric is skewed because of the awesome pitching staff the Phillies have (They are leading the league in RA and second in Rdiff).

        So I’m okay with saying this offense is declining. The only barf bag I need is when I read your comments…..ooohh burrnnnnnnnnn (I’m just messing with you; friendly jab).

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:49 PM

        I’m debating the same points with church above and don’t feel like re-posting…just answer up there as soon as you brush your teeth to get the puke taste out of your mouth :D

  17. halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    I ask a simple question about this Rany guy that wrote the article and was so offended that I called him a clown and a moron. Are you people that responded to me with vitriol related to the guy? My god. It’s ridiculous. There is no purpose to this article other than to rip the Phillies out of jealousy from a Royals perspective. There is a tight group on this site that spells nepotism at it’s finest. I give my opinion and immediately attacked by the nepotism following. Why? Because I am “Common Fan”.

    The Phillies future is bright with their great scouting/farm system and their unlimited payroll. That’s the bottom line. The Phillies are the class of the national league now and in the future. Get use to it. I don’t need a Royals fan that is a blogger to tell me how a good organization is run. It’s laughable.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:32 PM

      Or is it possible you are wrong?

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:34 PM

        Do you want an answer to that question or are you being rhetorical?

      • ditto65 - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:58 PM

        Probably just some idiotic moron, since you don’t know him and he doesn’t agree with you, Bicepts.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:12 PM

        I’d like an honest answer. It’s fun debating with people who are respectful to others, like Chris has been. You make all these assertions without any facts or evidence to back up what you are saying. So is it possible you are wrong?

    • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      I can’t believe the disconnect here. You called your attacks “opinions,” but people telling you that you were wrong was “vitriol.” Seriously, tell me whether these comments seem to be personal and vitriolic or opinion:

      “The sabermetricians are like some religious cult”

      “Here’s this clown’s bio”

      “Stick to treating skin diseases, moron”

      “His opinion means as much to me as a fart in the wind”

      Most people were eminently reasonable in their responses to you, which is quite honestly more than you deserved, and when you did get what you deserved, from TCM, you went into full-blown persecution mode, ignoring the fact that you were the one who brought the level of the thread down to the gutter in the first place.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:08 PM

        Yeah, that’s what I did, Alex. I did bring the thread into the gutter. Just like Sabermatricians do to a Phillies thread everytime they post nonsensical metrics.

        They were reasonable in their responses? Re-read the thread. It speaks to nepotism at the finest degree. All you saber-heads (and I know most of them on this site by now) were the ones to respond with anger. I know how the politics of this site works now. You offend a player or a manager by calling him a moron or clown, that’s OK. But, if you call one of their HBT cronies a moron or clown, then you are killed to the nth degree.

        Debate that. You know I’m right.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        Debate that. You know I’m right.

        Challenge accepted!

        Just like Sabermatricians do to a Phillies thread everytime they post nonsensical metrics.

        oh shit what did I just get myself into?

        So posting metrics = nonsensical, but that comparison makes sense how?

        It speaks to nepotism at the finest degree

        That word, it doesn’t mean what you think it means. Or at least I doubt any of us are related to Rany.

        I know how the politics of this site works now. You offend a player or a manager by calling him a moron or clown, that’s OK. But, if you call one of their HBT cronies a moron or clown, then you are killed to the nth degree

        Or how about some people maybe justified in calling a player or manager a clown? Like if you say something akin to “I don’t want my player to take walks because he clogs up the bases”?

        Writing a column praising the Phillies pitchers (and dear god I need to repeat this every time because it’s amazing how a hatchet job has half the article praising a team), then discusses, rightfully so, how many of the players in the next few years are getting older and experiencing a decline, is being a moron? How is that justified?

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:25 PM

        Is the false equivalency fun? Because using different ways of evaluating players and teams than you’re used to is NOTHING like repeatedly attacking an author simply for coming to a conclusion you dislike. The fact that you insist on seeing the backlash against you as nepotism and not you being way out of line makes it impossible to argue with you rationally. Most people DID NOT respond with anger, they responded with dismay that you’d choose to attack the author instead of the substance. There’s no point in debating you, because I can’t convince someone he’s wrong when he’s so utterly and irrationally convinced he’s right.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:30 PM

        church, now come on. He doesn’t just say that a couple of the offensive players are getting old. He says, quite clearly, that the future of the Phillies is “murky at best”. That’s the money quote, and that’s why Craig put it into his headline…he knew it would get a rise out of the Phillies fans. Had the article just been about how the Phillies offense is aging, then I don’t think anybody(I won’t speak for bicepts) would have had an issue with it. He chooses to say they are getting old, and they are declining(leading the NL in runs scored since Utley came back), their offense is not good, and their future is murky at best. I’ll repost the definition of murky…

        murk·y  [mur-kee]
        1. dark, gloomy, and cheerless.
        2. obscure or thick with mist, haze, etc., as the air.
        3. vague; unclear; confused: a murky statement.

        Yes, the Phillies decrepit offense is .11 off the leaders in runs scored. Their future is dark, gloomy and utterly cheerless!!!! Let’s all jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge after this season Phillies fans!!!!!

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:31 PM

        Church,

        You are the typical saber guy on this site. You preach your metrics to kill any aspirations of even watching the game. Why watch the game when you can just look at the stats in the morning? You are no better than me. You say I like to argue/debate to excess. You and your kind love to throw these metric stats at baseball people like myself to feel self important. Guess what, we don’t care.

        I love how you took what I wrote, quoted it, and had a dumb response to each line. I have a response to your question. This Rany fellow wrote the article because he’s bored and is pissed at his lowly Royals.

        And I know nepotism. This site, including people like yourself, are full with it. This site can include more opinions from people like myself as opposed to the stat-centric point of views from people such as yourself.

        Look at your username, church of the perpetually outraged? What the hell does that mean, anyways? Are you perpetually outraged? If you are, you have more issues than I do.

      • ditto65 - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:40 PM

        Evaluating teams and players using statistics is far lower than calling people names. After all, numbers can be manipulated, while calling someone a clown or a moron is pretty straight forward.

        And dismissing someone’s opinion just because you don’t agree with it is a great way to end an argument. Not win, but end.

        Put the “t” back in “‘Bicepts”, because over the last week you have reverted.

      • halladayspronatorteres - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:40 PM

        To all,

        Please ignor halladaysbiceps. He is an imposter. He knows not of what he speaks. Our arm would never type such ignorance on this or any other website.

        Kind Regards,
        Pronator Teres (acting as muscle in chief of Halladay’s arm).

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:51 PM

        Your post was full of fallacies, ‘cepts, but we’re going to address the most egregious one:

        “You are the typical saber guy on this site. You preach your metrics to kill any aspirations of even watching the game. Why watch the game when you can just look at the stats in the morning?”

        From experience, I’d argue CotPO and I are pretty much in lockstep when it comes to advanced metrics and how we use them. If he’s the typical saber guy here, then so am I. Would you care to explain to me then why I went to the Bank earlier this year and cheered my head off when Utley made his season debut? Any idea why I went to a Braves-Giants game last month and was mesmerized by the duel between Lincecawesome and Minor? Have a clue as to why I’m hitting up two Nats games and an Os tilt on three successive days next week? It’s because my wanting to understand what makes teams win in no way affects the sheer, unbridled joy I get out of taking in a live game, of going to a new ballpark, of keeping an accurate scorecard (see, I can be an old-school geek too!), of savoring a local craft beer. We don’t analyze the game because we love numbers. We analyze the game because we fucking love baseball, to the point of it probably being unhealthy. That doesn’t mean you have to buy into advanced metrics to love the game, but using them doesn’t mean you hate it.

      • Alex K - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:56 PM

        How did I get brought into this?!?!?!?!?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:05 PM

        @Chris

        He says, quite clearly, that the future of the Phillies is “murky at best”. That’s the money quote, and that’s why Craig put it into his headline…he knew it would get a rise out of the Phillies fans.

        Well it’s obvious they did that, to drive page views. And yeah I hate it just as much as you, but that doesn’t mean what he’s saying is wrong, per se. Looking at both aspects of the team, you have three phenomenal starting pitchers in Doc/Lee/Hamels and a very good Oswalt. Problem is 3/4 of them are on the wrong side of 30. Two have had injury issues and one is a machine. It’s highly possible none of them get injured in the next four years (assuming you bring back Oswalt), but better on older players to stay healthy is what gets the Yanks into trouble.

        He chooses to say they are getting old, and they are declining

        Except your best players are declining. Utley can’t stay healthy, Rollins’s and Howard’s power and walk numbers have been declining for years (Jroll possibly due to injury, or at least I seem to remember him having hammy issues the last few years).

        Could Rany have chosen a different word than “murky”? Probably, but I think his point still stands. Most teams can’t spend their way to a championship every year. They need help via the farm system or via trades. Most analysts have the Phillies system stocked at the lowest levels, but outside a GM like Ed Wade, how often can you trade those pieces for established stars?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:11 PM

        @biceps:

        Why watch the game when you can just look at the stats in the morning?

        Because I enjoy watching the game? Is that not allowed?

        You are no better than me

        Never said I was. This is what gets you in trouble. You think people are saying one thing when they aren’t, and then you respond with some asinine comment.

        You say I like to argue/debate to excess

        When did I say that?

        And I know nepotism. This site, including people like yourself, are full with it. This site can include more opinions from people like myself as opposed to the stat-centric point of views from people such as yourself.

        It’s obvious that you don’t. I’m in no way related to anyone on this site which is the very definition of nepotism. I think I’ve sent an email or comment directly to Craig once, back on shysterball but that’s about as much direct interaction I’ve had with anyone. Oh and I commented on TCM’s blog once and I felt dirty for doing it!

        As for your second comment, not sure where that’s coming from…

        Look at your username, church of the perpetually outraged? What the hell does that mean, anyways? Are you perpetually outraged? If you are, you have more issues than I do.

        Yes, can’t you see by my writing! I’m always outraged! Won’t someone please think of the children!

  18. nolanwiffle - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    This is truly remarkable. I’m not sure what this entire exercise says about Phillies fans…..but Craig is an absolute diabolical genius.

    • cur68 - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:02 PM

      @nolan: I don’t know about diabolical but he seems to have a gift for making the most from the affections of fans for their teams.

      As for the linked article it does have some flaws, as others have pointed out, but it’s also on point for a guy who’s got the Royals nearest and dearest to his heart. The Royals are young and stacked with talent at low cost. But right now, they don’t win (in spite of Jeff Franceour). Hold that up to the Phills and you get this article. A Jay’s writer could have produced such a piece about the top ranked, most wining team in baseball this season, because the Jays are also stacked with young talent but not winning. There is juuuuuust a whiff of sour grapes about the piece. But only a whiff. It’s pretty accurate in most respects, IMO.

      What I’m amazed at is how easily manipulated some Phills Phans are by this. Doesn’t perspective come into this anywhere? Don’t you just have a laugh and go back to enjoying your team’s excellent season? As a Jay’s fan I wish this had been written about my team. It would be the confirmation that yes, indeed my team is great. Not just great, but one for the ages. A team that will be remembered as one of the best ever. Like the ’92, ’93 Blue Jays.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        cur, my biggest complaint is with the author’s use of the words “murky at best”.

        murk·y  [mur-kee]
        1. dark, gloomy, and cheerless.
        2. obscure or thick with mist, haze, etc., as the air.
        3. vague; unclear; confused: a murky statement.

        So what he is basically saying is that because the Phillies “old” offense is one stinking tenth of a run behind the #1 offense in the NL, they are declining to the point where the next few years will be dark, gloomy, cheerless, obscure, unclear, or confused. Even though he admits they have 3 pitchers who will fight each other for the Cy and doesn’t deny that fact.

        I won’t go as far as bicept and call the guy names. But I will say that his article is wrong, pointless, and completely biased against the best team in baseball.

        Is he jealous because his Royals suck every single year and the 80 Phillies kicked his team’s ass in 1980 and probably brought many tears to his young little eyes? Maybe…maybe not. The answer is murky ;)

      • cur68 - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:34 PM

        re. “murky”. There’s the whiff of sour grapes I was talking about Chris. Every team (Yankees notwithstanding), at some point or another, will have to mortgage their future to win NOW. The Phillies did that to some degree. They are blessed with a smart GM an able coach, and they do have some legit prospects, so they might not be that mortgaged but they’ve definitely risked some of their future. However, to balance that they are winning now, so Peter pays for Paul IMO. Who knows what might happen in the future anyways?

        This article by Jazayerli is little more than what could be said about any team that makes a serious run at winning the WS by stacking with the best available guys in key positions. If anything, it’s a tribute piece to how clever the Philles were to get the right guys, in the right positions and to manage them well. Written by a guy who’s barracking for the Royals, who are the exact opposite, and you can see why most Phills Phans aughta just laugh this one off or say “thanks Rany Jazayerli, our GM IS pretty clever, indeed. Maybe we’ll see the Royals in 2 or 3 seasons up here in the Majors with us. Or maybe not. We’ll probably still have that clever GM that your boys don’t”.

      • uberfatty - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:47 PM

        Chris, I’ve seen you quote that one tenth of a run stat a hundred times already on this board. I think you are off base though. Obviously with everyone healthy the offense is one of the top in the league. But Rany also pointed out that Utley has been injured and out for over 25% of each of the past two seasons.

        This ties into the point that as players age they are more likely to be injured and miss time. So it is actually disingenuous of you to keep quoting that “2nd highest runs since Utley returned” and acting like the expectation is for Utley to play 162 games next season.

        Stop shortening the sample of your statistics to exclude those which may undermine your argument. Older players = more likely to miss time = lower expected production on offense = murky future.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        Well cur, that sure is one way of looking at the article :)

        I didn’t look at it that way though…it started with this gem “There’s never been a better time to be a Philadelphia Phillies fan. Granted, the bar has been set pretty low. The Phillies, after all, are the losingest franchise in major league history. ” I mean, if that isn’t foreshadowing to a hit piece to come, then I don’t know what is.

        Yeah, then he strokes the Phillies for their pitching, when in all honesty, that is a given. Throughout, though, the crescendo is building for that J-LO sized BUT and here it is…”But even as the Phillies enjoy their lofty perch, there are plenty of reasons to worry about the future.”

        I’m sorry, but I just can’t get past this line…
        “We’re almost halfway through this column and I haven’t mentioned a hitter yet. There’s a reason for that — the Phillies’ offense isn’t particularly good. After finishing first or second in the NL in runs scored every year from 2005 to 2010, the Phillies have dropped to sixth this season.”

        It is so wrong on so many levels that it goes past being stupid to the point where I wonder if the writer of this line was a 4th grader. The Phillies have “dropped to sixth” this season in the NL in runs scored, so the “offense isn’t particularly good” Really? Even though they are only a tenth of a run behind the leaders and didn’t have one of their best players for the first 50 games…but now he is back and healthy and hasn’t missed anything except his power? The offense “isn’t particularly good”? Really?

        OK. Even IF you want to give him the benefit of the doubt and say OK let’s look at the whole season then…forget the 50 games Utley missed. Being 6th out of 15 teams all of a sudden “isn’t particularly good”? Really? That’s just being unfair for the sake of writing an article that HAS to have the Phillies offense declining when it really isn’t while Utley is healthy…and again…he is healthy.

        Then he goes through a history of other teams and says maybe the Phillies will spend money maybe they won’t. Then he ends with “the future is murky at best”. I would hate to know what he thinks the worst the future could be…

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:57 PM

        OK uber, although Utley does look 100% healthy, other than the power numbers. Is 6th out of 15 “not particularly good”? Or is it above average? Especially since they scored 40 runs more than the league average?

        And again, before anyone starts spouting OBP, SLG…I don’t want to hear it. I am debating the facts of the article, which uses runs scored and ONLY runs scored as its bases for writing that the Phillies offense
        isn’t particularly good”.

        If I had to guess, since I think the guy is probably smart, he didn’t factor in the acquisition of Pence and also hasn’t seen that Utley has been fine health-wise. He isn’t the Chase of old, but don’t forget he came into this season cold. I believe he will be BETTER next year, after having an entire Spring training of working out. I don’t think that’s a stretch by any means. And declining Ryan Howard will just knock in 115 and hit 35 bombs again. Oh woe is us.

      • cur68 - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:32 PM

        Chris, man, the thing’s a tribute piece by a knowledgeable guy rooting for a terrible franchise, plain and simple. Can’t you see it for what it is? The sourness of his grapes are in proportion to the lofty heights the Phills are on. Once again, I WISH this was the Beaver Boys he was writing about. Anyone writing such an article is doing so about a damn good team. A legendary team. A team which is not his own. He’s going to say all that because he has to say all that. No way else he can really criticize them. Don’t get fooled by the eloquent writing, the excellent grammar or the erudition; man’s jealous. Damn well should be.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 8:13 PM

        Be careful about saying he is jealous cur. I said that and was accused of hurling personal insults. Lol. But seriously, I said earlier that he was either a hater or jealous or both. I agree that he is probably just jealous. Glad we can agree!!!

  19. xmatt0926x - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    I guess I’m missing the point. So whats the alternative for an organization? To be pretty good for 10 years but never really have a chance to win it all? Honestly answer that for your own favorite teams. Do you want your team to go for it when a window is there or are you ok with some competiveness for a while but never really having a chance to win it all? A lot of us Phillies fans can remember 20 years of futility with absolutely no shot every year. I’ll take what the organization is doing now. The 2008 title may be the only title for the Phils in the last 28 years but it has taught me one thing. At the end of the day winning it all is all that counts. Nobody cares who finished 2nd or 30th. This isn’t the Tampa Rays having 1 shot at it because they can’t spend money. Yeah I wish they didn’t have to trade so many prospects but a $180 million payroll covers up alot of problems. There may be 2 or 3 down years but the free agents will still be coming here for the money. Go ask the fans of most of the leagues teams who will never have a shot at the title if they’d take what the Phillies do.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:26 PM

      So whats the alternative for an organization?

      There are lots of alternatives to the situation, some more amiable than others. You can take the Rays approach: draft well, trade away high valued overpriced talent for cheaper talent, try to hit the lottery jackpot and be successful every few years. Or you can be the Cubs and just throw tons of money at high priced talent and do god knows what with the farm system. Or the late 90s Yankees: sign away free agents and trade away the farm for talent while watching payrolls explode.

      There’s tons of different options. The problem is that resources are finite as baseball is a zero-sum game. Phillies pitching is awesome, so let’s talk about the hitters. Rollins, Utley and Howard are all declining. What can you do? Howard is signed to an absurd extension so he’s not going anywhere. With no DH in the NL, he has to play every day. Utley you can hope he gets healthy or let him go in ’13? Rollins is a FA after this year. Do you let him go or sign him to a new deal? If you let him get away, are you going to pay Reyes the monster contract he’ll want? Do you have the money for it?

      In the non-Yankee division there’s a limit to how much every team can spend. The Phillies are going to butt against the Luxury Tax, and that’s when things start getting hairy. The Sox have had to pay the tax once, and used some shenanigans to get around it a second time this year. The Mets have paid it once as well (I think). The Yanks have paid it every year because they have a magic jar that fills with money every time it empties. The Phillies don’t have an RSN (as far I know). They split the gate with the opposing team. Merchandise sales are split amongst MLB. At a certain point they’ll either have to continue to raise ticket prices or cut payroll. I think Chris and biceps have mentioned that they can just keep adding payroll, but even the Yankees payroll has plateaued and they print money.

  20. xmatt0926x - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    also, if the future is murky for a team like the Phillies then what is the future like for the majority of teams who will never have the ability to spend enough to really compete with the top few teams? Ohh but thats right. Those teams kept their prospects. Congrats to them!! Phillies fans will be enjoying October baseball yet again. Congrats to all the teams who future is not murky but will be dreaming of what it must be like for their teams to one day make the playoffs.

  21. Ihatecraigcalcaterra - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Craig calcaterra is classic phillies hater. Always basing phils. He hates the phils more than he likes the braves

    • ditto65 - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:32 PM

      I hate the basing he does.

    • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 6:10 PM

      Say what? Noooo Craig is a great guy. He does these things to get Phillies fans (and the media) riled up. I take it for the good fun he means it to be (and the page hits).

      Somewhere, Craig is in his bathrobe laughing maniacally….

      • ditto65 - Aug 31, 2011 at 7:03 PM

        His Braves bathrobe…

  22. growyourlocks - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    How about we stop worrying about the Phillies impending demise and enjoy the time at the top… It doesnt last long for many teams and most never make it there.

  23. schmedley69 - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    All good runs come to an end eventually, but there is no expiration date on the Phillies. The run could end next year, the year after, or 10 years from now. How many people pre-maturely predicted the end of the Braves run long before it happened? Keith Olbermann called the Phillies “non contenders” before thiss season started. He is looking incredibly stupid right now.

    Yes, the Phillies are aging, but they aren’t *that* old. We’ll see how it plays out. One factor this writer failed to take into consideration is the fact that the Braves are a bunch of pansies who fold down the stretch every year. Until they prove that they can do it over the course of an entire season, they should not be given the benefit of the doubt. You can talk all you want about prospects (The J Hey Kid is looking like just as much of a flop as Dom Brown). Another factor is money. The Phillies have a lot more of it thanks to their huge fan base. The Braves fan base is spread around the country (thanks to TBS). They aren’t a big deal in Atlanta.

    It should also be noted that, as Craig can attest to, baiting Phillies fans can generate a lot of traffic to your website. Craig re-tweeted a tweet by the author of this column a few days ago that basically said “I’m going to replace you as the most hated man in Philly.”

    I for one plan to file this one away and call out this guy if he turns out to be wrong (which he probably will be). I will be letting Keith Olbermann know how stupid he looks at the end of this season as well.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:07 PM

      schmedley…knowing that this guy is a royals fan, it is obvious that he has 31 years of hate built up for the Phillies after his team got their asses kicked in the 1980 World Series. He probably sat in the fetal position and cried his eyes out all night after Tugger got the final out. As cur says above, the guy is just jealous. I conCUR.

      • schmedley69 - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:41 PM

        Could be. I still hold resentment towards the Orioles for beating us in ’83, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that I was a freshman in High School in the Baltimore suburbs and took a ton of flack from Orioles fans.

        More than likely, this guy is trying to make a name for himself. He sees how Craig whips the Phillies fans into a frenzy and he probably wants a piece of it. His back and forth tweets with Craig are a good indicator that this might be the case. He might truly believe what he is writing, but let’s face it, anyone trying to throw a bucket of water on the Phillies when they are on pace for their best record in franchise history is a either a hater or a baiter. I’ve seen enough of Craig’s posts to know that he is a combination of both (which is fine. at least he’s honest and doesn’t hide his true feelings). Haven’t seen enough of this guy to know where he stands.

        Anyway you slice it, it’s all good. The Phillies are the talk of baseball. And as Ric Flair used to say, “whether you like it or don’t like, learn to love it, because we’re the best thing going there is today! Whoooooooooooo!!” We’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes.

      • nategearhart - Sep 1, 2011 at 11:33 AM

        “knowing that this guy is a royals fan, it is obvious that he has 31 years of hate built up for the Phillies after his team got their asses kicked in the 1980 World Series”

        Chris, why can’t you take the article at face value, and “consider” that maybe Rany genuinely believes what he says in it (you don’t have to agree with it to do this). This happens too much: “I don’t agree with this article, therefore I deduce that the writer has ALTERIOR MOTIVES for writing it. He’s pissed about something that happened involving his favorite team 10/20/100 years ago and is extracting revenge ON THE INTERNET!” It’s lame. There’s no conspiracy here. He just thinks the Phillies are gonna start getting worse. That’s all.

      • Alex K - Sep 1, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        schmedley69- Trying to make a name for himself? He was a Co-Founder of Baseball Prospectus! That more than makes a name for him.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 1, 2011 at 2:37 PM

        Nate, I just think that everything happens for a reason. For instance, I am replying to your post not because I randomly decided to post, but because you referenced what I wrote. There had to be some reason for the writer to randomly choose the Phillies, a team that hasn’t won the World Series in 3 years, as the team whose future is “murky at best”. Like I wrote somewhere else in this monstrous thread, you can write any of the 30 teams future is “murky at best” columns. Why choose the Phillies? Especially since their future is a helluva lot less murky than probably 27 of the other teams?

        Look, the column was completely inaccurate about the Phillies offense. He says the offense is “not particularly good” and in the interest of common sense, that is a stupid statement to make. ESPECIALLY since he uses Runs Scored to prove his statement. They are 6th in runs scored and have scored 30 runs more than the average. If that is “not particularly good” then I guess there are only 5 teams with good or better offenses? Plus, for the season, they are a tenth of a run behind the leaders. One tenth of a run. And hey “aren’t particularly good.”

        Again, everybody wants to say he is allowed to write an article and that Phillies fans are sensitive. Fine. But at least write something intellectually honest and not a hit piece on an offense, that has been the best in the NL the last 3 months. That’s all I ask. When he says something as stupid as “the Phillies offense hasn’t be particularly good…ranked 6th in runs scored this season”, then I will call him or anybody out on it.

      • phillyphreak - Sep 1, 2011 at 2:50 PM

        Chris, I don’t think it was a hit piece. I think his reason for writing the article was that over the past few years the payroll has increased, they’ve dealt a lot of their prospects away (not all of them but a lot of them), and the core group right now is aging.

        It’s not a personal attack or revenge of any kind. It’s an article about the Phillies that’s not super positive. It’s okay for this stuff to be written.

    • phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:17 PM

      “One factor this writer failed to take into consideration is the fact that the Braves are a bunch of pansies who fold down the stretch every year..”

      – Come on really? You’re going to knock his article and then add this gem of analysis? Sheesh.

      And I keep seeing people say Heyward is a flop/bust etc. He hurt his shoulder and that totally messed with his swing. You can’t say someone is a bust after one bad year that had injuries (just like you can’t say someone is going to be the next Babe Ruth after one really good season).

      The Braves have some good pitching prospects and a killer bullpen (provided Freddie Gonzalez doesn’t drive most of them to the OR for Tommy John). They’re a good franchise. I just don’t see how the Phillies fans can be so confident about the Braves always finishing behind them.

      And I also don’t get where this the Phillies have all the money in the world mentality comes from. Yea they’ve increased payroll the past few years but, as many pointed out, they have arbitration coming up and maybe Rollins to resign…plus the Howard deal. The Yankees have the YES network to generate a lot of revenue. The Phillies don’t have that and there will probably come a point soon when they stop signing superstars because of the payroll limitations.

      I’m sure Olbermann will be heartbroken….

      • schmedley69 - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:48 PM

        I have a lot of respect for the Braves. They are a fine organization. That being said, this current crop of players haven’t proven that they have “it” yet. The Phillies have “it” and they’ve proven it time and time again. They have that special something that makes them great and puts fear into the opposing team. The Braves look good on paper, but watching them play, they are missing something. They don’t have that killer instinct and haven’t proven that they have what it takes to be the top dog. The Phillies were once in that same position, but something clicked in the pennant race of ’07 and they have had that mojo ever since. It won’t last forever, but they probably won’t lose it over night like that haters/baiters are predicting.

        I loved Olbermann on Sports Center in the ’90’s, but let’s face it, the guy has gone off his rocker and is now nothing more than a condescending douche who wears out his welcome wherever he goes.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:51 PM

        phreak, I agree that the money situation won’t last forever. And I agree that the Braves, and especially the Nationals, will definitely be formidable opponents in the next few years. All of that is 100% true.

        However, there is no way anybody in their right minds can say that the future is “murky[which means dark, gloomy and cheerless] at best” for the Phillies. Those are the words of someone who either hates the Phillies or are jealous of their success. As cur convinced me above, I agree that the writer is simply a jealous Royals fan.

        If you want to say the Phillies offense is declining…OK, even though they are still an above average offense in the NL, I’ll give you that they aren’t the best offense in the NL as they were. For the writer to say that their offense “isn’t particularly good” is ludicrous and he needs to be called out on that.

        I’m sure the time will come when the Phillies aren’t the best team in the NL East. Just as there are years when the Yankees aren’t the best team in the AL East. But the Phillies are at the point now where they are in the conversation with the Yankees and ahead of the Red Sox in the payroll business. The Yankees made the playoffs, either by winning the division or getting the Wild Card, like 15 of the last 16 years. I don’t see any reason why in 2022 we won’t be saying the same thing about the Phillies.

      • phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:14 PM

        @schmedly.

        What is “it”? When does one acquire “it” etc etc? Maybe if Brooks Conrad isn’t the 2B in game 3 last year against SF the Braves would have “it.” The it concept isn’t something I buy into, but that’s just me. I also don’t think the “haters” are saying they’ll lose it overnight, just that they are declining, aging and could be in a tough spot in the future (next year , 3 years, 2034 wahtever it may be).

        @Chris. I agree with the Nationals thing. I think they could be really good in the next few years. Harper, at least now, seems like he could be a monster. We will never agree on the offense. The Phillies offense can look really good or really bad. And against the Giants (who I’m hoping miss the playoffs) they look pretty bad. I think they are in a decline and that is evident when you look from year to year. But the good news for this year is that they are the clear team to beat in the NL and the Yankees and Red Sox don’t have rotations that can match the Phillies. I’m hoping for another WS for this group. It’d be nice to see them get another.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:35 PM

        I think that when the lineup is all there and healthy, they will be one of the better lineups in the playoffs. Once Rollins gets in, this lineup will be just fine…

        Rollins
        Polanco
        Utley
        Howard
        Pence
        Victorino
        Mayberry
        Chooch
        Ace

        How can that go wrong?

      • phillyphreak - Sep 1, 2011 at 7:14 AM

        Chris,
        I think that you are being overly optimistic about the Phillies lineup. Yea they’re good but it’s not like they are the offense they were a few years ago. I think that if you can’t see that there is at least the opportunity for things to go wrong, it’s no wonder you don’t like the article.

        1) Does Rollins come back at 100% and/or does he stay at 100%? Does Polanco stay at 100%
        2) What happens with Mayberry and Ibanez, particularly if Ibanez has a hot month? I think it could be a platoon situation. Even then, the question is can Mayberry keep up his production? The point with this is that Mayberry is kinda “unproven” right now and we can’t bank on him.
        3) I think Victorino needs to be moved up in the order to the 2 spot. Legit MVP candidate, best OBP on the team, and can steal bases. Let him get on base and others bring him home.

        But the Phillies have great pitching that can carry them in the playoffs.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 1, 2011 at 8:32 AM

        Your last line is exactly what my point has been…it doesn’t matter that the Phillies are a tenth of a run behind the NL leader in runs scored. Because they are so much better pitching-wise the miniscule difference in Runs Scored is overshadowed. And there’s no further proof than the Phillies shutting out said #1 team in Runs Scored two nights in a row :)

  24. leftywildcat - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    Craig is just a petty and pathetic Phillies-baiter who has nothing else to do some days except twist his envy into a whine. He throws out this type of drivel on many a slow news day.

    If many of us good Phillies fans grew so tired of his nonsense that we moved to an alternative website, the total posts on this site would go way down, and his ad revenue would go in the same direction.

    Any suggestions for a better site to move to?

    • phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:40 PM

      You know, you don’t have to read and post here. No one is forcing you to do that.

    • schmedley69 - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:56 PM

      Craig is a Braves fan, so you can’t blame him for being anti-Phillies. Don’t take it too seriously. This is probably the best baseball blog on the net.

    • nategearhart - Sep 1, 2011 at 11:34 AM

      So git.

  25. sauey2000 - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    86 wins with 30 games to go……all I have to say

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