Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/16/14
Phillycopycat
Cole Hamels is on the career-decision path toward the Philadelphia Phillies. Are the days of the general manager returning in importance? Is the era of life-long one-club superstars around the corner? TAL'S HANDY CAPS   Cap-Size Foresight:   In-House Possibilities:  2 Freddy Galvis had been accumulating the bulk of time at 2nd base, taking hot-corner grounders, and he was providing some offense in the process. Polly Polanco was mostly healthy, Chase Utley needed a fill-in for a number of early games, and Michael Martinez had not been completely sure-handed–albeit not an overwhelming concern. Galvis was solid defensively and could envision a lot of appearances in 3 spots during June. Also, Utley could play first base with Galvis in the 4 field position. In fact, that might be less stressful for Chase. That was the thinking before last Monday afternoon: Utley went to a specialist for prescribed stretching exercises. They are tailored for his balky knees. Tuesday it was Mini Mart who was hit on the right foot by a pitch, and the X-rays revealed a broken bone. Juan Pierre Swipes 2nd In The 5th On March 24 Against The Sox At Fort Myers Freddy is solid with the glove, has a quick release, has strong baseball instincts, and he would be batting 8th. March stats aside, he has knocked in runs, but the icy breezes of April have led to frigid performances from youngsters. That said, this is the moment he’s waited his entire life for, and Utley may only miss half of April. Hurlers are not familiar with the rookie, it takes 3-4 months for exposure, and he can create his place on the squad. Pete Orr is probably the best reserve alternative in the present tense. Obviously, Rube Amaro will seek a trading partner, an available out-of-options fielder, or a waiver-wire nugget. It’s only a temporary hole with Chase, but a slick back-up infielder is a preference for aging regulars.   BATSORDER VS. RHPBATSORDER VS. LHP 1 - SSS Jimmy Rollins1 - SSS Jimmy Rollins 2 - R3B Polly Polanco2 - R3B Polly Polanco 3 - SCF Shane Victorino3 - SCF Shane Victorino 4 - RRF Hunter Pence4 - RRF Hunter Pence 5 - R1B John Mayberry Jr.5 - RLF John Mayberry Jr. 6 - LLF Laynce Nix6 - R1B Ty Wigginton 7 - RC Chooch Ruiz7 - RC Chooch Ruiz 8 - S2B Freddy Galvis8 - S2B Freddy Galvis   Juan Pierre Swipes 2nd In The 5th On March 24 Against The Sox At Fort Myers Joe Savery and Jake Diekman are 2 southpaws with a decent shot for a final seat in the ‘pen. A second left arm would be nice but it is not an absolute necessity. Michael Stutes, David Herndon, Brian Sanches and Raul Valdes are in the mix for a job as well. Savery is determined to make the majors in any capacity, while Diekman is experiencing concrete notice for the first time at this level. Herndon was streaky last year and Stutes struggled after the end of June. Sanches has 3 successful summers in the MLB to lean on, which could be a deciding factor. Valdes is the 3rd lefty in the competition and the only experienced one.   WELCOME, NEWCOMERS: I am doing a weekly Baseball-Fix Monday until the end of March. Also, I’ll publish after every game that is not washed out during the season. The updated format is in 4 sections. Cap-Size Hindsight features highlighted elements, good and bad, from the last battle through a variety of mostly house-themed devices. They are: Penthouse Occupancy with the Crystal Champagne Toast, Cholley’s Doghouse, the Outhouse, the Glass House, Miniature Mansion, the Kangaroo Court House, Fun House Of Mirrors, Rally Tal & Cap, Full House Warming, the Big House Key for The Rising Son, Animal House, and the Frat House. Nitecap Insight, Precap Pitch, and The Apocalyptic Horsemen are the 3 other parts. J-Roll Steals 2nd In The 7th Against The O's At Bright House Field On March 25   BASEBALL-FIX MONDAY:       Competitive Balance:   The monetary ceiling is now set at $178M for 2012 and $189M during 2013 through 2015. The Yankees and Red Sox are the only 2 organizations that need to control their payroll by next year. Boston isn’t spending big at this time to hopefully limbo under the luxury-tax bar now. New York can achieve that for ‘13. It’s a combination of expensive players in their walk campaign who may not be back. The Sox will wave goodbye to Big Papi Ortiz and Daisuke Matsuzaka, which will create room under the threshold, and there will be an increase of $11M on the foreseeable horizon. However, that barrier will be the same for 3 consecutive tours. The Yanks, meanwhile, will view the ending commitments to Mariano Rivera and Nick Swisher differently than in the recent past. ***For Incentives Achieved PLAYERSTOTALSTARTERS'PEN & BENCH ARMS$89.07M$71.23M$17.84M STICKS$81.53M$75.30M$06.23M TOTAL$170.60M($146.53M)($24.07M) PLUS***$3.00M   When I read that New York may not be able to keep both Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, I saw parity again. Andy Petite only got $2.5M and that required ownership approval. Since free agency entered the baseball lexicon, there has not been a level playing field until now. Originally, the amateur draft of 1965 had achieved that the first time, and both systems were aimed specifically at the Bronx Bombers. The reason for the success of the competitive-balance tax is the over $200M paid by NYY. George Steinbrenner would not have changed his approach, but the hurdles have increased. They are the CLS (1969), the DLS (1995) and now the second wild card, because a third of the World Champions did not win their own division. That has proven to irritate some elite proprietors. AVERAGE ANNUAL VALUE: *Prorated 2 Months (Or Scott Podsednik), **Prorated 2 Weeks ARMS$71.23M'PEN$17.84MREGS.$75.30MBENCH $6.23M Halladay20.00MPapelbon12.50MRuiz02.95MWigginton02.25M Lee24.00MContreras02.75MHoward25.00MNix01.25M Hamels15.00MQualls01.15MUtley12.14MThome01.25M Blanton08.00MBastardo00.48MRollins11.00MSchneider00.80M Worley00.48MStutes00.48MPolanco06.00MGalvis00.48M Kendrick03.75MHerndon00.48MPence10.40MPierre00.16M* Victorino07.33MOrr00.04M** Mayberry 00.48M   1B Jim Thome Swats A 2-RBI Double In The 3rd Against The O's At Bright House Field On March 25.   The Yankees have won 1 title and 1 AL pennant in the 9 seasons with the penalty for overspending. That’s what $22.9M per summer got to essentially compete for October gold. The 7 other years included: 5 AL East flags with 2 LDS advances and 1 wild card. George’s sons are not willing to swallow empty dollars for a lottery ticket, where 2 teams have a 1-game playoff. There are now a handful of clubs (5) that can sit at the whale’s table: New York (AL), Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and Los Angeles (AL). Chicago (NL), Miami, Texas and Washington might be able to join the upper echelon, as well. Los Angeles (NL) and New York (NL) could end up with deep-pocketed management, which would increase the big-city buyers to 11 franchises. That would make shelling out $20M or more annually a poor business venture.   Jim Thome Mans The Bag Against The O's At Bright House Field On March 25     That is not the only dynamic that has changed. A.J. Burnett’s $33M albatross was lightened by $13M, when taking on salary from rotation-deep franchises is mostly undesirable. That means Joe Blanton might create some interest from pitching-thin organizations, who feel that he is healthy. Roy Oswalt would be able to slot 3rd for the right-left alignment. Both Blanton and Oswalt are 1-tour wings: Each has 6 months to re-establish his value. Personally, I’d like to see the Wizard compete with the other 3 aces. Little Roy has received a couple $5M offers, but he could get those in late June also. That said, Amaro could offer $7-8M guaranteed in an incentive-laden deal with health clauses. Kyle Kendrick is a solid 5 in the event that Vance Worley struggles, while Roy and Kentucky Joe are both injury concerns. There is also 1 emergency possibility with Scott Elarton. Rube’s style is to maximize his arm strength, which is why he would prefer Oswalt over Blanton in the 4th battle of a postseason series. That is even more important after the last 2 Octobers of slumbering lumber. A bid of $6M guaranteed with $2M in an appearance-related incentive would protect management from barking-back issues. Plus, it would benefit Os under the blanket of 25 starts for $8M. Then, you add $2M for performance clauses, sweetening the pot to the $10M vicinity. Ryno Stretches From The Utley Stool On March 23 In Clearwater The top 11 teams will only be able to afford their own superstars, and eventually all of them will be at their purchasing limit. It is also why Cole Hamels, like Granderson and Cano, will stay put. Amaro signs homegrown mega stars, like Ryan Howard and Hamels: It is the philosophy of this front office.   Tal’s Handy Caps on Facebook features an advance view of Cap-Size Foresight and photos that are not in Baseball-Fix Monday.  Join for notification and you’ll also know immediately when the weekly post goes up.  I usually load it on Sunday evening or night. It might be worth your while because I have seen delays of 2 hours on feeds. See link below. My contribution to the MLB-30 series (3 Up and 3 Down) is for isportsweb & Fox Sports.  The other links are to my previous publication (Rediscovered Strength), and the 16 storylines–so far–for 2012 on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Tal’s Handy Stats is daily coverage. The 2012 MLB 5 may feature the Halos, Yankees or Cardinals, while the Sox and Dodgers may be replaced. I alternated the 2011 ERA For The NL East and the 2011 ERA For The MLB 5. A site format change slightly distorted the original ERA postings (#161 is less so), but the new table–like the ones featured above–will be used for the ERA publications. Thank you, to all who bookmarked the Phillies page, because feeds are erratic at times.   TAL'S HANDY LINKS   TAL’S HANDY CAPS Philadelphia Phillies: 3 Up and 3 Down Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: Utley’s Corner Philadelphia Phillies Tal Venada Philadelphia Phillies: 2011 ERA For The NL East At Game 162 And Final Philadelphia Phillies: Final 2011 ERA For The MLB 5 At Game 162 Philadelphia Phillies: 2011 ERA For The MLB 5 At Game 161
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