Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/30/14
Using 20/20 hindsight, players were available on the market for the Philadelphia Phillies besides Mike Adams. There were other third basemen, outfielders and relievers. Why didn’t Ruben Amaro Jr. corral them? TAL’S HANDY CAPS   Welcome, Newcomers: This article represents the thinking of a baseball man in my opinion. Most fans do not consider the budget, prospects on the radar, the organization’s weaknesses, the track record, the competition and the other intangibles. There will be a published storyline each week. This review is an additional posting. Check out this complementary review: Storyline: Amaro’s Fingerprints on the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies   Cameron Rupp Strokes a Two-Run Single During the First Inning in Atlanta on September 28. (AP Photo/David Tulis)   NITECAP INSIGHT       Retooling Puzzle: Despite the stat sheets and scouting reports, general managers play a lottery for prize acquisitions. Amaro paid $5 million for five months of Michael Young, who is now a .275 hitter. He was the perfect stopgap giving Cody Asche four months to mature at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The rookie has impressed everyone as Chase Utley 2.0, but he has grown since his arrival in Philly. He’s revised his goal to staying in the majors and increased his effort subconsciously: He might even hit .290 by season’s end. The Squad Celebrates Its Final 2013 Victory in Atlanta on September 28. (AP Photo/David Tulis) According to a self tally of AAV (Average Annual Value) from Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the front office only had $24 million before touching the competitive-balance threshold of $178 million. There were holes at third base and all three outfield positions, but a eighth-inning setup man was priority number one. Management’s plan was an average of $6 million for four slots and a hungry cub in the fifth spot. With hindsight as an advantage, Chris Branch of the Courier Post wrote that Amaro exposed the entire franchise to failure. Opining that this path to mediocrity was the direct result of large contracts to older veterans, Branch mentions Utley and Ryan Howard but implies Jimmy Rollins, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon and Adams. However, scrolling to the bottom line, other clubs are inking stars before their free agency, which means the talent pool offers less. Secondly, even without the signings and the trades for Halladay and Lee, the Phils would not have a new core four from their farm system because that requires high draft picks after an extended period of cellar dwelling: Pat Burrell, JD Drew and Wil Myers (the Kansas City Royals) are examples. The Hitters: Michael Young had 36 extra-base hits out of 129 knocks here for 2013. That projects to 43 extra-bag blows out of 154 hits for 2013. He had 38 extra-base knocks out of 169 hits last year. This table includes completed stats through 8/31. * AAV (Average Annual Value). PLAYER & AGEGMSABAVGHR - RBIBB-IBBSB-CSSALARY Michael Young, 36126468.27608 - 04242 - 401 - 0$16.00M * Young Projected 150558.27610 - 05050 - 501 - 0---- Young 2012156611.27708 - 06733 - 302 - 2$16.00M * Ben Revere, 25088315.30500 - 01716 - 122 - 8$00.52M Revere Doubled176630.30500 - 03432 - 244 - 16---- Revere 2012124511.29400 - 03229 - 040 - 9$00.49M Delmon Young, 28080272.26108 - 03114 - 000 - 0$00.75M Young Doubled160544.26116 - 06228 - 000 - 0---- Young 2012151574.26718 - 07420 - 100 - 2$06.75M   Cody Asche’s Last Play for 2013 Occurs During the First Inning in Atlanta on September 29. (AP Photo/John Amis) Reflexes Required: The easy out is to blame the decision-maker; however, factual exploration might yield a different outcome. The general manager sent Josh Lindblom to Texas for Young, and the hurler only saw action in call-up starts. He, however, could not succeed above Triple-A even with several rotation jobs available. On the other hand, Young was a concrete solution before the swap with Los Angeles. That stated, the hot corner had two other possibilities: Kevin Youkilis and Scott Rolen. Youkilis inked a one-year deal with the Yankees and has seen limited playing time due to his physical difficulties. He’s been out since mid-June following surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back, and–at 34–he is on the scrap heap. The injury-prone Rolen wanted a starting role, did not get one, and retired. Alternative Hitters: Final stats. * Last game was on 6/13. ** Last game was on 8/11. PLAYER & AGEGMSABAVGHR - RBIBB-IBBSB-CSSALARY Scott Rolen, 38, 2012092294.24508 - 03930 - 002 - 1$06.50M Kevin Youkilis, 34 *028105.21902 - 00807 - 100 - 0$12.00M Youkilis 2012 122438.23519 - 06049 - 200 - 0$12.00M Cody Ross, 32 **094317.27808 - 03824 - 103 - 2$08.67M Ross 2012130476.26722 - 08139 - 302 - 3$03.00M Josh Willingham, 34111389.20814 - 04864 - 201 - 0$07.00M Willingham 2012145519.26035 - 11072 - 403 - 2$07.00M Ryan Ludwick, 35038129.24002 - 01210 - 000 - 0$07.50M Ludwick 2012125422.27526 - 08039 - 300 - 1$02.00M B.J. Upton, 29 126391.18409 - 02642 - 212 - 5$15.00M Upton 2012146573.24628 - 07845 - 031 - 6$07.00M   Cesar Hernandez Scores During the First Inning in Atlanta on September 28. (AP Photo/David Tulis) Warning-Track Patrol: There was no shortage of available jobs beyond the base paths, but limited funds were the biggest obstacle. The red pinstripes offered Vance Worley and Trevor May for Josh Willingham, who was under contract for 2013 and 2014. However, the Twins countered with Ben Revere instead, which gives Ryne Sandberg  a center fielder who is a .300 hitter and base stealer in the leadoff position. Worley’s demotion by Minnesota was on May 22, but his right shoulder inflammation disabled him at the Triple-A level on July 18. Willingham, on the other hand, missed six weeks or 25 percent of the campaign, while Revere went down eight weeks ago. The other possibilities for right field did not create envy. Atlanta agreed on five seasons with BJ Upton, but he has been an expensive disappointment. Arizona signed outfielder Cody Ross–whose preference was other than right field–but disabled him on August 11 in his first of three years. Ryan Ludwick returned to Cincinnati for two tours, but his campaign did not begin until August 12. The Pitchers: Final stats. * The adjustment deducts the results from the two injury-removed starts before his DL stints. ** Worley's last appearance was on 7/7. HURLER & AGEERAW - LINNGMSSALARY Mike Adams, 353.961 - 4025.028$6.00M Adams Doubled3.962 - 8050.056---- Adams 20123.275 - 3052.161$4.40M John Lannan, 29 5.333 - 6074.114$2.50M Lannan Adjusted *4.173 - 4071.112---- Lannan 20124.134 - 1032.206$5.00M Vance Worley, 267.211 - 5048.210$0.53M Worley @ AAA **3.886 - 3058.009---- Josh Lindblom, 26 5.461 - 3031.108$0.50M Lindblom @ AAA3.088 - 4108.020---- Trevor May, 24, @ AA4.519 - 9151.227---- Chad Durbin, 359.001 - 0016.016$1.35M Durbin 20123.104 - 1061.076$0.90M   Papelbon Dodges a Ninth-Inning Bullet in Atlanta on September 28. (AP Photo/David Tulis) Path to Papelbon: Adams was the premier setup man in baseball, but Amaro’s first choice was a younger option. Wilton Lopez was on the radar despite his elbow concerns, but his worrisome physical voided his trade here. He has not duplicated his 2012 success in Colorado, which means even Antonio Bastardo was a better fit. The bullpen prediction here is that Papelbon will have a bounce-back 2014, and Adams will pay dividends on his costly contract. Where the grass is always greener in many minds, Brandon Lyon and Jon Rauch inked team bargains before their discharges led to Triple-A innings for other organizations. Each has since requested a release and remains available. Koji Uehara has excellent numbers, but the brain trust was not looking for a one-season solution from an aging vet. Jason Frasor has been productive, but he is behind four others in the Rangers’ bullpen staff. Despite the recent glimmers of hope from the relief corps with BJ Rosenberg, Jake Diekman and Ethan Martin, the higher-ups will add an arm or two for the next 162. Until a fortune teller can assist Amaro, he can weigh the statistics, scout the talent, and pray he doesn’t pick a booby prize. Alternative Pitchers: Final stats. * Lyon exercised his opt-out clause on August 1. ** Rauch opted out of his minor league deal on July 3. HURLER & AGEERAW - LINNGMSSALARY Brandon Lyon, 344.982 - 234.137$0.75M Lyon @ AAA *1.690 - 005.104---- Lyon 20123.104 - 261.067$5.00M Wilton Lopez, 304.083 - 475.175$1.76M Lopez 20122.176 - 366.164$0.52M Koji Uehara, 38 1.094 - 174.173$4.25M Uehara 20121.750 - 036.037$4.00M Jason Frasor, 362.614 - 348.160$1.50M Frasor 20124.121 - 143.250$3.75M Jon Rauch, 357.561 - 216.215$1.00M Rauch @ AAA **2.891 - 009.110---- Rauch 20123.593 - 757.273$3.50M   Martin Hurls a First-Inning Dart in Atlanta on September 28. (AP Photo/David Tulis) Squeeze Play: A rotation spot opened with the barter for Revere, which swapped two major leaguers near the minimum salary. In other words, Amaro wasn’t looking for an expensive replacement in the five slot, and he had three options: a farm product, an inexpensive free agent or an acquired veteran. From the pipeline, Jonathan Pettibone and Martin were the possibilities, while the unsigned hurlers were John Lannan and Jeff Karstens. Meanwhile, Los Angeles (NL) had three vets among their eight starters: Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang. The general manager had a spending range of $2 million to $4 million, but the management from Hollywood was in no hurry to part with pitching. In the end, they waited until April 6 to deal with the Rockies for Harang. Passing on Karstens, the head honcho inked Lannan for $2.5 million plus easily reachable incentives of $1.3 million (from $2.5 million total); however, the hurdles to reach $3.8 million were producing his average and staying off the disabled list. Influencing Amaro’s decision for the home park, Lannon is a ground-ball producer and Karstens does not have an out pitch. Starting Pool: AAV: Average Annual Value is the amount figured for the competitive-balance tax of $178 million for 2013. * Rehab starts. PITCHER & AGELEVELAAV $W-L & ERASTARTS & INN RHP Jeff Karstens, 31A/AA *$02.5M00 - 00, 1.2902 - 007.0 Karstens 2012MLB$03.1M05 - 04, 3.9715 - 090.2 RHP Jonathan Pettibone, 23MLB$00.5M05 - 04, 4.0418 - 100.1 Pettibone 2012AAA-----04 - 01, 2.5507 - 042.1 Pettibone 2012AA-----09 - 07, 3.3019 - 159.2 RHP Ethan Martin, 24MLB$00.5M02 - 04, 6.5508 - 033.0 Martin 2012AA-----13 - 06, 3.4827 - 157.2 LHP Chris Capuano, 35MLB$05.0M04 - 07, 4.4620 - 101.0 Capuano 2012MLB$05.0M 12 - 12, 3.7233 - 198.1 RHP Aaron Harang, 35MLB$06.0M05 - 12, 5.4026 - 143.1 Harang 2012MLB$06.0M 10 - 10, 3.6131 - 179.2 LHP Ted Lilly, 37MLB$11.0M00 - 02, 5.0905 - 023.0 Lilly 2012MLB$11.0M 05 - 01, 3.1408 - 048.2   Loading Up a Four-Seam Fastball, Rasmussen Was Originally with the Marlins Before the Astros and the Dodgers.   The Rental Charges: The Rule 5 Draft consists of players who did not fit under the protective shield of their club’s 40-man roster. These athletes are trade bait for their teams to pick up pros for a postseason push. That stated, a franchise loaded with prospects, cannot protect them all, and deals the more expendable ones for temporary help in the final month or two of the year. Otherwise, the competition will select them in the draft for only monetary compensation. Rob Rasmussen (the Dodgers), Tommy Kahnle (the Yankees) and Nefi Ogando (the Red Sox) were on the table for Young and John McDonald. Boston settled for McDonald and parted with Ogando, who did not succeed as a starter at the lowest rungs of professional ball. The Phils waited an additional month for Rasmussen instead of Kahnle, who has only relieved in the minors. A pitcher who switches to the pen at a later point in his career has more upside, which may happen to Rasmussen at Lehigh Valley next summer. Miguel Gonzalez Dials Up a Two-Seam Fastball for Havana. The southpaw reported to the FIL (Florida Instructional League), and management will decide if he warrants protection on the 40-man roster. The games end this week. Four disabled hurlers who will command a 2014 roster spot are Adams, Jonathan Pettibone, Kyle Kendrick and Jeremy Horst. Currently, Joe Savery, JC Ramirez, Luis Garcia and Cesar Jimenez are among the 40. There will be one open spot after those four arms are healthy, but the organization will bring in others before spring training begins. To earn protection, Rasmussen must–at least–unseat either Ramirez, Garcia or Jimenez. Maximum Offers: Type is STR (Starter), CLSR (Closer) & REL (Relieve). * His last four games are after his demotion. TYPEPITCHER & AGELGEW - LERAINNGMS LH STRRob Rasmussen, 24AAA0 - 76.4654.112 LH STRRasmussenAA3 - 42.5581.116 LH STRRasmussen (Aug.) *AA0 - 13.0018.004 RH CLSRTommy Kahnle, 24AA1 - 32.8560.048 RH RELNefi Ogando, 24A2 - 34.0955.033   Phillies e-mail notification for Tal’s Handy Caps: Message me at talvenada@hotmail.com   Related Articles: Storyline: Youth Infusion Mirrors 1980′s Philadelphia Phillies (Stats for Miguel Gonzalez in this article) Storyline: Amaro’s Fingerprints on the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: Evolving into 2014′s Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: Maneuvering, Amaro Style with the Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: Seller’s Remorse and the Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: Front Office Decisions for the Philadelphia Phillies   TAL’S HANDY STATS Final 2013 ERA for the NL East and the Philadelphia Phillies Final 2013 ERA for the Most Eyed Staffs and the Philadelphia Phillies
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