Offseason In Review: Philadelphia Phillies

Next in our Offseason In Review series, the Phillies.

Major League Signings

Notable Minor League Signings

Extensions

  • Roy Halladay, SP: three years, $60MM.  Includes $20MM vesting option for 2014.
  • Joe Blanton, SP: three years, $24MM.
  • Shane Victorino, CF: three years, $22MM.
  • Carlos Ruiz, C: three years, $8.85MM.  Includes $5MM club option for 2013 with a $500K buyout.

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Summary

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. had a baffling offseason.  He pulled off a huge deal for one of the game's best pitchers and signed him to a below-market extension, only to turn around and trade another ace to replenish the farm system.  Amaro gave out three other reasonable extensions to his own players, but overpaid for the majority of his free agent signings. 

The Polanco signing is a candidate for the worst of the offseason.  The Tigers were unwilling to offer arbitration to their Type A free agent second baseman, presumably because they felt the risk of a one-year deal in the $6-7MM range outweighed the prospect of two draft picks.  The three-year, $18MM commitment the Phillies gave Polanco in early December was the polar opposite of the one year, $1MM deal the Cardinals gave Felipe Lopez two months later. 

Amaro is aggressive in pursuing free agents he likes.  The approach made sense with his three-year, $24MM offer to Adrian Beltre, but there was no indication Polanco drew similar strong interest from other clubs.  Amaro also handed out two-year pacts to three marginal players who deserved one-year deals in Baez, Schneider, and Gload.

The Halladay trade was a huge win for the Phillies, especially when Doc signed for far less than his market value.  They gave up a couple of Top 100 prospects, but that's what win-now teams should do.  They also received $6MM, enough to go over slot on a big name or two in the June draft and help make up for the farm system hit.

On the same day as the Halladay deal, Amaro took off his "win-now" hat and decided to think about 2011 and beyond.  Lee was shipped to Seattle, costing the Phillies several wins in 2010 no matter how the prospects pan out.  Lee is hardly expensive at $9MM, and there is no indication Amaro shopped him around to get the best deal. 

The extensions to Blanton, Victorino, and Ruiz seem reasonable enough; Amaro netted cost savings and certainty over the next three years.  Extensions have become the Phillies Way in recent years, with few missteps.

Despite my complaints about their offseason, the Phillies are 2010 contenders.  They've got two aces even without Lee and an offense that should be among the NL's best.


56 Responses to Offseason In Review: Philadelphia Phillies Leave a Reply

  1. bjsguess 5 years ago

    They slightly overspent on some players but all in all it was a good off-season outside the Lee move. Halladay is huge and his contract is pretty sweet considering what he would have made on the open market.

    The Phillies are clearly the class of the NL East. It’s going to take all of the stars to align in order for the Mets or Braves (or Marlins I guess) to take them down.

  2. johurwitz 5 years ago

    they were a contender before they made the holliday trade think it was a stupid move on their part killing the farm for a slightly better pitcher Lee
    their win now attidute could have lasted with the team they put on the field as a mets fan im happy they killed their farm this way i only have to watch them win for another two to three years

  3. Polanco for 3/18 could be the worst signing of the offseason? Seriously? Brandon freaking Lyon got 3/15..

    Polanco’s posted WARs of 5.2, 3.0 and 3.1 in the past three years. Even if you factor in the positional adjustment, he’s still likely to be an above average defender and it wouldn’t be shocking if he benefited from the move to Citizens Bank and the NL.

    I totally disagree with the notion that Polanco’s deal is a contender for the worst of the offseason. Lopez signing for $1M says more about teams undervaluing Lopez due to character questions than it does about teams overvaluing Polanco.

    • alxn 5 years ago

      It is just the nature of the market. If the Phillies were patient then maybe Polanco’s price tag would have fallen off a cliff. Clearly nobody valued him as much as they did. Were any teams even showing interest?

  4. Wrong Account 5 years ago

    Truthfully, they didn’t improve anything. Halladay for Lee is a wash. But then again, they didn’t need to. Like the Mets they have bad offensive catcher and a terrible infielder (Murphy for Mets – Polanco for Phillies).

    Even though, I am a Mets fan, if the Phillies can get the old Lidge back, they will win it all.

    • Muggi 5 years ago

      “terrible infielder” is a bit of a stretch…yes Polanco is moving positions, but he’s still a GG winner and a FAR better hitter than Murphy. The big thing is Polanco tends to put the ball in play…something the Phils sorely lacked the last couple of seasons.

      In regards to Ruiz…yeah he’s not going to put up fantastic numbers, but he still had the 4th-highest OPS of any starting catcher (300PA+) in the NL last year.

      • jaydh 5 years ago

        just curious, but in what way is placido a far better hitter based off last yrs numbers?

        • Muggi 5 years ago

          You’re right, I shouldn’t have said “far better”…but I WOULD say Polanco FITS in the Phils’ lineup far better than the guy he’s replacing.

      • schmenkman 5 years ago

        Also, just as an aside, in the Phillies’ last 76 games, incl. 15 postseason, Ruiz has the 2nd highest OPS on the team (behind only Howard). Granted it’s only about 200 PA’s, so we’ll see whether he can maintain anything close to this, but a very nice run nonetheless.

    • Polanco destroys Murphy, and Ruiz is a significantly better catcher than Santos or Barajas will ever be. Thole has a chance, but the Mets probably won’t give him playing time anyways.

      And you should probably be focusing on New York’s starting rotation. The lineup will probably be good if everyone’s healthy. That rotation is in some serious trouble.

      • jaydh 5 years ago

        phillies rotation has just as many question marks after halladay.

        • Muggi 5 years ago

          I keep seeing that posted…but I don’t understand why.

          In his worst year ever, Hamels WAR was higher than the best seasons Pelfrey, Maine, or Perez have put up in their careers (excepting only Perez’ freak ’04 with the Pirates). Blanton is the same pitcher every season…the only questions are will Happ be any good, and who will start in the 5…and whomever wins the 5-spot is going to have to perform, because they have at least two guys lined up to take the job.

          IMO the Phils have less questions, by quite a bit.

          • NL_East_Rivalry 5 years ago

            This is in consideration of having one of the top Rotations I am guessing. Halladay, 08 Hamels, and 09 Happ would be an excellent trio, but there is no guarantee Hamels will be the Hamels of 08, but I certainly believe he will be better than his 09 year. Same thing goes for Happ, will he produce in 10 what he did in 09? I can’t think of anyone who thought he would become ROY at the beginning of the season, but there ya go.

            It’s true that the Phillies don’t need much from there pitching side when they have that offense and 2 Aces, but whether or not their Pitching will be the top 5 or even 10 of the NL depends on Happ and Hamels with the other 2 spots providing Innings but maybe not ERA.

        • myname_989 5 years ago

          I doubt that. Lol. Joe Blanton is probably one of the most consistent starters in the game, not as in he’s going to go out and put up All Star numbers every year, but that you know what you are going to get out of him. I wouldn’t consider him a question mark at all. Coming off of his rookie year, Happ is primed for another strong, full season as a starter. Many consider him to be more than a number 4 guy. (Hell, at one point, the Blue Jays wanted him as the centerpiece of any Halladay deal. Amaro stuck to his guns and wouldn’t trade him.) There isn’t a question mark about him. I guess Hamels could be considered a question mark, but to what extent. Even in his “worst year” to date, he put up good numbers. I think that there are more “headlines” then “question marks” surrounding Hamels. For example, “Will he rebound?” “How good will that new cutter be?” Sure, they’re question marks, but they are questioning if he has the gusto to pitch in the Majors. He can be an ace on any given day.

          The only real question mark in the Phillies rotation is the 5th starter’s spot, and even that’s not a huge question mark. We know it’s going to be either Kyle Kendrick or Jamie Moyer. It’s really nothing more than figuring out if Kendrick (now being mentored by Halladay) has what it takes to continue pitching in the Bigs, and if Moyer is healthy. Like Blanton, he puts up consistent numbers, although declining.

          I’m not one of those “I despise the Mets” kind of Phillies fans, (but I certainly don’t like them… Lol) but it’s hard to even say that the two pitching staffs are comparable, especially the starting rotations. To be honest, I can’t even name the 5 guys set to be in the Mets rotation.

          • NL_East_Rivalry 5 years ago

            Blanton may not have a ?, but he does give the rotation one. You are basing Happ on his rookie year, if he repeats, there aren’t any worries. Hamels should come back, but if He AND Happ don’t, there will need to be a trade down the line if one of the other teams nips at your heels.

            Looking at: 1. Best Pitcher, 2. Rebounding Ace, 3. Stellar&Unproven Sophomore, 4. Long Innings/Mid ERA, then 5. ?Health or Rookie

            Most definitely serviceable, but if Happ and Hamels both have a bad year, your offense will have to carry the team.

          • myname_989 5 years ago

            I was vague on purpose. Haha. I don’t like to jump into confrontations, but my aggressive baseball nature leads me to do otherwise. Lol. That being said, I agree with you, the fifth starter’s position is a huge question mark. As you said, do you start near 50 year old Jamie Moyer, who’s health is a concern and quality has come to question, or do you take your chances with what appears to be a Kyle Kendrick who has rediscovered himself? (I’ll take Kendrick, Haha.) But that’s certainly a question mark. Other than that…

            I don’t understand why Blanton gives the rotation a question mark. You know what you’re gonna get from Blanton. You’re gonna get an ERA at or under 4, and a guy who throws a ton of innings. He’s become reliable as the prototypical “horse”, and shores up the 3rd spot in the rotation. There’s no question mark about him or what he contributes to the rotation.

            Now Happ and Hamels are surely different cases, but for reasons I stated above, I (which you can take with a grain of salt, since it’s my opinion, Lol) don’t believe that either of them are question marks. Even in his worst year, Hamels is still an above average starter. He may be in question as an “ace”, but he’s certainly not a question as a talented starter. Even if you do consider Happ as a question mark, the Phillies offense more than makes up for it.

            My point in the first place was to disagree with jaydh. Haha. I think we can agree that the Phils’ have far fewer question marks than the Mets.

          • jaydh 5 years ago

            Actually hamels worst year was last yr, and he wasn’t above average.

        • I don’t like to be confrontational, but that simply isn’t true based on recent events. All five Mets pitchers could have great seasons and all five Phillies pitchers could struggle, but that’s not what the facts are saying.

  5. I see a disturbing trend with Amaro handing out contracts a year or two too long. You shouldn’t have to do that when you are winning team like the Phillies. The Moyer contract probably cost you Cliff Lee, the Ibanez contract is going to cost you Werth and the Polanco contract won’t look very good by the end. Giving the bench guys two year deals isn’t the end of the world, just looks unnecessary. They keep saying “we’re not the Yankees”- well if you are going to live on a budget stop over spending!

    • alxn 5 years ago

      I think some of that is knowing that the window will close eventually. It is easy to be patient and look for bargains if you don’t plan to compete. But being patient sometimes yields nothing, and the Phillies can’t really afford to miss out in free agency with a team that needs to win now. That being said, I have no idea why anyone would ever have given Moyer a multi-year deal, and the Polanco deal is still a huge overpay in my opinion. Trading Lee also seems to contradict the whole win now idea.

  6. pennbigtime 5 years ago

    Good analysis. Both Ibanez & Polanco will probably decline during their deals, which sucks. Yet in a win now mode, I can understand locking up Vets rather than getting unproven, cheap players during your window of success. They upgraded a very good team by adding a 2 hole hitter, getting better backups, & signing 3 key contributors to reasonable 3 year deals, while getting an ACE at below market value.

    Also, enough with this shopping Cliff Lee around. If the Phils put out in the open they were shopping Cliff Lee for prospects, they lose all of their power in both getting Halladay & getting something in return for Lee. In negotiating such a deal, you don’t want a great player like Lee going to the Yankees, Sox, or any of the usual suspects, so you find a partner who is least likely to hurt you & who has prospects of interest. They got a good deal, which allowed them to lock up an ace for 4 years, get some prospects, & keep payroll @ a decent level. Not a great situation, but trading guys w/ one year left on their deal, who everyone knows will get megabucks in FA is tough business. Look at Halladay leaving Toronto. JP got fired for not being able to get a deal done (among many of his issues).
    Ideally, the Phils wanted to trade Blanton away & keep Lee as Blanton was in a similar situation contract wise at the time. However, no team was willing to bite, so they had to trade Lee to keep payroll @ a reasonable level, while getting some much needed prospects. The Phils philosophy on pitchers/role players is 3 year deals. They live by it. Lee, like any player of his talent, is looking for a Zito/Sabathia type deal. Also, people underplay that $6 million they got in the Halladay deal. It shows how much they had to stick to their below $140 payroll philosophy. Like everyone, I’m sad to see Lee go, but get that it was a business decision predicated on long term payroll constraints.

    • bflaff 5 years ago

      One thing continually overlooked is that the Phillies added Benny Looper to the GM’s office after the 2008 season. Looper was the Mariners VP in charge of Player Development at the time, and he had been in the Mariners organization for 20+ years.

      So rather than assuming the Phillies are incompetent, and that they ignored due dilligence in chasing the first off-brand deal they saw for Cliff Lee, a more plausible explanation is that they actually *wanted* to cut a deal with the Mariners, specifically for the players involved. The Phils’ front office knew the Seattle system extremely well, thanks to Looper, so I’m sure they feel better working with Seattle rather than some other organization whose system and prospects they don’t know as much about.

    • athletic4ws 5 years ago

      Stop with the payroll garbage! It was 9mil for one year. It had nothing to do with “payroll constraints”. Stop drinking the kool-aid.

      I’m a huge Phillies fan too, but I know a bad move by my GM when i see one. The return we got on Lee was horrible. I would have rather had the 2 picks in the draft. If

      • pennbigtime 5 years ago

        The Phils are at over 100% of capacity attendance wise every home game, they don’t have an ownership deal of a tv network like the Yankees, & they have about as dedicated a fan base as anyone out there. They are running @ capacity, exploiting all revenue streams, & keeping a competitive team on the field. Yet, year over year they are not making immense profits b/c their costs are rising. Rule of thumb is payroll should be 1/2 of your revenue from games. For the Phils, I garauntee they are well over this for the players on the field. Top teams run their franchise at break even, while the overall value increases year to year. Without owning a network, they only get a fee from their distrobution deal rather than equity in a network that earns $$$ from selling the broadcast rights to cable/satellite providers (aka what the Yanks do). So when the Phils say that $140 million is their limit, it’s their limit. Payroll limits dictate your team on the field. You can only pay so much & $9 million over budget was too much for them to have both Halladay & Lee. People need to get over it. This isn’t fantasy baseball & WAR projections don’t balance budgets. RAJ has real constraints year to year that he can’t go over. He had to secretly ship Lee off b/c he got a sweetheart deal for Halladay & needed to free up money. Now, I don’t love his pechant for multi year deals for vets, but when your team is winning, you need cost certainty to make the trades/fa signings/extensions to keep a good thing going. The $6 million they got for Doc was a clear signal of the cost issue. The move was about shoring up the team for the next 3 years rather than shooting for one big year like other franchises. Their expenses were too high to justify spending more for this year & they simply had to make a tough business decision for the future.

        In regards to the draft picks. Who do you think signs guys like Lee? The Yanks or Sox. So those picks aren’t like you’re getting Strasburg in the 1st round w/ a #1. You are getting picks who are years away from the bigs with no track record to judge other than their hs or college games. It’s a crapshoot. The phils atleast got some prospects who were 1 to 2 years away from the bigs. Also, they have a ton of younger guys, but they need AAA depth right now rather than taking a chance in the draft. This is a good organization that has been able to use the draft, trades, rule 5s, & fa to build a perrenial powerhouse in the NL, which will hopefully be great for many years to come. However, like any business, they have to do it on a budget.

        • phillyjeffsr 5 years ago

          Great analysis, and I agree 100%

        • pherrisphain 5 years ago

          I’ve read elsewhere that the prospects received for Lee all played at the high A level last year so I am not sure why you conclude that they got prospects 1 or 2 years away. Plus, between the two Lee deals and the Halladay deal the Phillies probably traded away at least 4 major league ready players to say nothing of the total, at least 10, I believe.

          Your points concerning the budget are well taken. However, almost the first thing out of Amaro’s mouth after trading Lee was the need to replenish the farm system. He is his own worse enemy. Lee indicating that he and the Phillies had only just began negotiating a new contract and had in fact swapped some numbers put a damper on the “Phillies would not have been able to sign Lee” meme.

  7. exactlytwentyletters 5 years ago

    They should have gone ahead and locked Brad Lidge up for the remainder of his career, that kid is LIGHTS OUT!

  8. AngeloCerilli 5 years ago

    For what Cliff Lee did for them in the post season and the fact that we arent sure what Roy Halladay has in the off-season I would consider it an improvement in the Regular Season but it could be end up bad in the off-season lol. Than again bad for Roy Halladay would be an ERA around 3.00 which isn’t bad. When your Cliff Lee and posted an ERA in the 1.00s you feel sort of disappointed, even though the M’s are a playoff team why didnt the Phillies put more faith in him? Oh well he could make them pay in the World Series if it happened lol.

  9. bflaff 5 years ago

    I don’t really have a problem at all with signing Polanco for $6 million per, especially considering that he is almost sure to be an upgrade. In addition, the organization has no 3B prospects in the minor leagues, so they need an organizational fix at 3B for more than just a year or two. And even if none of that were true, $6 million per feels extremely far from being a bad contract for a third baseman, especially considering that we’re not talking about someone whose skills have disappeared, like Garret Atkins or Hank Blalock. Calling it one of the worst signings feels like missing the forest for the trees.

    Does Ruben have a habit of tacking on an extra year? Probably, and it’s something to worry about. But maybe he is applying his own fetish for cost certainty to his players. Maybe he thinks they’ll perform better when they have security and aren’t chasing a year to year contract.

    • $1529282 5 years ago

      You can’t look at a signing like Polanco in a vacuum in order to justify it. Polanco is 34 years old and is switching to a position he hasn’t played in years. He also signed for three years when there likely wasn’t another team willing to offer more than two, and signed at $6MM annually, despite the fact that comparable hitters signed for less years and less annual salary down the line.

      His glove at third is a huge question mark, as is his productivity moving forward into the twilight of his career. You said yourself “$6M per feels far from bad for a third baseman…” Polanco isn’t a third baseman, nor has he been one with any regularity since 2002.

      There was nothing to show that the market for Polanco demanded a three-year pact. In the meantime, Miguel Tejada signed for one year and $6MM, and can likely put up better offensive numbers than Polanco.

      There’s no logic behind signing a 34-year-old, Gold Glove (and deservingly so, surprisingly) second baseman to a three-year deal to switch positions.

      It’s like the Raul Ibanez signing the previous year. A glut of outfielders on the market then (as there were infielders this season), but the Phils jumped early and overpaid, only to watch comparable players sign for less years and dollars later on.

      • bflaff 5 years ago

        Those are all good points from an analytical perspective, but I disagree with the argument that the Phils should be pretty indifferent to who plays the position, so long as that guy signs an efficient contract. As in the Ibanez situation last year, the Phils seem unimpressed by the idea that they *could* sign other players for cheaper deals, simply because those other players aren’t the players they want. So getting Miggy for two years less at the same price per year doesn’t seem like a missed opportunity to the FO. You could argue whether or not that’s wise (i.e., should Polanco be the Phils’ preferred choice at 3B?) but I don’t have a problem with the logic that makes the Phils pay a premium to ensure that they get the player they specifically want.

      • raysbait81 5 years ago

        And then the Phillies went to the World Series. They gotta clear house in that front office!!!! Fire them all.

        • $1529282 5 years ago

          Phillies already had a very strong team before signing Ibanez; going to the World Series last year doesn’t make the move a good deal, especially not with Raul’s ice-cold second half.

          World Series berth or not, it’s still a bad signing.

          • raysbait81 5 years ago

            It’s especially bad when you actually decide to look at Ibanez’s full season numbers… The career highs in HR, OPS and SLG are just terrible. Fire them all. Fire them all.

          • raysbait81 5 years ago

            Also ticks me off that he only hit .304 in the WS. He is soooo not clutch.

      • nyphilsfan 5 years ago

        You should probably stick to commenting about the Twins, because you obviously know nothing about the Phillies.

        Ibanez had 1 atrocious month last year – he had a .594 OPS & 1 HR in August. He played through an injury (although he will never say it publically) and his stats suffered greatly. BUT, he came back and had a great September – .907 OPS & 7 HRs and a very good post season – 13 RBI in 15 games and a .815 OPS.

        So this first half/second half BS doesn’t tell the true story of his season. In comparison, Jason Bay had 2 bad months – .701 OPS in June & .689 OPS in July. But, because he had 1 bad month in the 1st half and 1 bad month in the 2nd half, his 1st half/2nd half splits look better than Ibanez. For the season, Bay had a .921 OPS and Ibanez had a .899 OPS. Ibanez’s deal pays him an average of $10.5M per year for 3 years. Bay’s deal pays him an average of $16.5M per year for 4 years. So, please tell me how the Ibanez deal was a bad value for the Phillies?

        • nyphilsfan 5 years ago

          Yikes, that should say “publicly”, not “publically” – god only knows what that means!

  10. j6takish 5 years ago

    The question isn’t, is Polanco worth 6mm? Because he is, the signing is atrocious becuase he could have been signed for way less money, or could have been WAY more valuable to a team needing a 2nd baseman (Twins anyone?)

    • R_y_a_n 5 years ago

      Completely agree. I don’t think they overpaid him year to year drastically, but committing 3 years and 18 mil while he probably could have been signed for something closer to 1 yr/4 mil makes it a bad move.

      • pennbigtime 5 years ago

        Well, here’s the major thing about Polanco, the Phils knew what they were getting. He played there before, doesn’t have a history of major injuries, is an excellent 2 hole hitter, & a class act (ask Utley who took the guy’s job). It gave the Phillies a glaring thing they missed in that potent lineup, which is patience at the top of the order. Now on D, he’s not Schmidt or anything down there, but Polanco should be fine. Rollins has great range & what for what Polanco lacks in D, he makes up in his ability to have quality abs. I think RAJ looked @ the market & realized that he wanted to sure up 3rd for a few years. They have no depth in their system & Beltre foolishly took pretty much a 1 year @ 10 mill in the toughest division vs. 3 @ 24 mill in a much easier division. I still don’t get why he turned down the Phils, but he likely thought there was a bigger market for him. Regardless, I don’t love 3 year deals when the market clearly shows a 2 year deal ala Derosa would have sufficed, but it’s nowhere near as dumb as the Lyons’ deal. They obviously value Vets b/c it’s their window to win. In a lineup with four 30 home run guys, having someone like Polanco makes them that much better.

  11. cheez13 5 years ago

    I agree that the Polanco (3/18) signing isn’t as bad as the Astros signing Brandon Lyon (3/15)…but, they were bidding only get themselves…they weren’t patient enough. I guess with a win now attitude, they didn’t want to take a chance. With their line-up, it seems like they could put anybody at 3rd with a decent glove and still win. Then, kept Lee for a year and he would have brought them an extra draft pick if he left after the season.

    I completely disagree with the comment “even without Lee, they still have 2 aces”…..really? Who is the 2nd ace? Hamels? Not sure about that…he certainly has the tools but after last season and the play-offs….he has to prove to me that he is an ace.

    Phils have the best line-up in the NL and arguably the best pitcher in the NL…so, no reason to think that they won’t be there in the end.

    • Muggi 5 years ago

      Agreed, I think we’re seeing a real trend with Amaro…he’s after cost certainty and continuity on the team, and he’s going to overpay a bit (mostly in years) to get it.

      Good philosophy? Remains to be seen.

  12. VinnyG917 5 years ago

    By the way, Schneider isn’t worth $2.75 million.. he isn’t worth $1 million.. He is worth about a bag of practice balls. As a Met fan, i can guarantee you, even without the crappy mets training staff,he will get hurt somehow, even without being the starting catcher.. also, polanco is definitely not worth $6 million per year.. as a 3B or a 2B..

    • nyphilsfan 5 years ago

      How much does Castillo make per year?

      • VinnyG917 5 years ago

        I would say good point. Except, that contract was signed what. 3 years ago? I’m pretty sure we are talking about this off season. Trust me, we Met fans hate that contract as much as anyone. (to answer your question $6mm a year)

  13. alxn 5 years ago

    Just because the Halladay contract is below market value does not mean that it is a great contract. I don’t think any pitcher over 30 deserves that kind of money, and only a handful of teams would have really given him that contract.

    To be fair, I believe Halladay has a pretty clean injury history.

    • pennbigtime 5 years ago

      Yes it was a great contract. The contract including this year comes out roughly 4 years, $70 million total. The guy has been the best pitcher in baseball the past 3 or 4 years not named Lincecum. Just b/c guys are over 30 doesn’t mean you are overpaying for their talents. I hate that sabermetrics has changed how people think in this regard. You don’t become a star in the Majors & not get paid. The Phillies are paying a certified ace who just came from baseball’s toughest division much less than he could have gotten on the free market. Sabathia got 7 years, $161 million & he’s got comparable talents. Granted he’s 3 years younger, but he’s at a size that gives you problems as you age. Halladay is a workout freak who keeps in great shape all year round. Getting him for 4 years at that price tag was a steal. Any team in MLB would’ve signed him for that money if they had it to spend. Guaranteed, Lee goes for 100+ when he hits the market next year. So the Phils got an equivalent talent for a substantially lower commitment.

      • alxn 5 years ago

        Sabermetrics didn’t change anything in that regard. A history of pitchers receiving massive contracts and then falling apart did. I couldn’t care less about Sabathia or what other pitchers will make, as I already acknowledged that Halladay’s contract is below market value.

  14. silverence 5 years ago

    I think that this entry is a little harsh on Ruben Amaro Jr’s decision this off season.
    To start with, to call the Polanco pick up “the worst of the off season” is just insane. Yes, Polanco is moving to third, but he’s got around 320 games experience there over his career. And he’s proven to be the kind of athlete that just excels at mobile infield defense. He’s got the gold gloves to back that up. He also represents a very difficult out in the lineup. Having a patient, consistent, and pitch-eating batter behind a more aggressive hitter like Jimmy Rollins gives the Phils one of the better 1-2 spots in baseball, and is very likely going to provide a ton runners to the most powerful line up in the National league. Were there players on the market more talented then Polanco? Definitely. The Phillies would have been dominant with, for example, Chone Figgins. However, team chemistry is very important to the Phillies and for obvious reasons, Polanco is the best choice at 3rd in that department.

    I’m gunna try to be quick about the Lee-Halladay issue. If you consider where the Phillies were this time last year, its not even a comparison. They went out in picked up the best pitcher in baseball. In the meantime they got help from another great (but not as good) pitcher to take them to the World Series again. During which he provided excellent pitching against the best line up of maybe… the decade? Do I, as a Philly fan, miss Lee? Oh yes. Could we have gotten better prospects for Lee? Yes. Would I have rioted in the streets if they waited to trade Lee for a better price and I had some time to get used to the idea of a Halladay-Lee-Hamels line up? Like you wouldn’t believe. The best line up in the national league now has the best pitcher in base. Lee who?

    Besides. If Lee had stayed baseball wouldn’t really have been that interesting this year anyway. No sense of competition.

    • jaydh 5 years ago

      rollians and polanco one of the best 1-2 in baseball? is that supposed to be a joke?

  15. therevxxx 5 years ago

    if people agree that tejada is worth 6mil a year, then polanco has to be worth that much.

    The Phils needed a legit #2 hitter which polanco is:

    PP OBP> Tejada OBP
    PP Ks < Tejada
    PP has slightly more speed, is a good fielder, and has played more games at 3B than Tejada.

    Power is the only part of Tejada's game that is better that Polanco, which the Phils don't need seeing as how they had the most HRs in the NL last year.

  16. chrismichael 5 years ago

    I’m actually baffled by some of my fellow Phillies fans. Stop with the entire Lee trade was bad tirade. That trade allowed a handfull of things to happen in addition to receiving some prospects that should be ready to contribute a lot sooner than a late, LATE 1st round pick and a sandwhich pick. 1.) without the uncertainty of Lee hanging over the team – Amaro could get to work. knowing what he has -payroll wise for the next three years, he could then work on extending Victorino, Blanton (well below market) and Ruiz. He also has an entire season to figure out how to keep J-Werth. Which he wouldn;t have had if they didn’t know if Lee would be resigning or not. 2.) In keeping Lee this season – Blanton would have had to be traded. Should Lee walk following the 2010 season – the Phils would now have to compete with signing two or three starting pitchers to replace Lee, Blanton and their #5 starter and also have to find someone to replace Jayson Werth. You guys tell me which scenario you rather have. 1.) trading Lee, keeping Blanton, extending Blanton, Victorino and Ruiz and having an entire season to figure out what to do with Jayson Werth or: 2.) keeping Lee – possibly winning another WS, trading Blanton, not extending Victorino or Ruiz and also potentially losing one of the best rightfielders in the game because Cliff Lee’s cost uncertainty screws the entire process up.

    Which one? – please tell me.

    • I could not agree with you more. Another thing people are missing with the Lee trade is gaining tradable prospects in the system for this year. In 08 the Phils traded a few prospects for Joe Blanton. Last year they traded 4 for Cliff Lee. Each year they made the world series they had to trade prospects to sure up a problem that inevitably arises throughout the year. Without trading Lee I’m not sure how this would even be possible. Who knows what will happen this year? One thing I do know, something will go wrong and RAJ will have to make a deal to try and fix it.

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