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Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Black Monday 

Goodbye Cory Lidle, Bobby Abreu, Sal Fasano and David Bell. The Phillies have been active here at the trading deadline and I suspect that they will continue to be active today. Look for the Red Sox to scoop up some pitching from the Phils: e.g., Rheal Cormier and/or Arthur Rhodes. And maybe even for the White Sox to pick up Pat Burrell. Or David Dellucci will be dealt. It is hard to say. I suspect many teams have evaluated the Yankees wheeling and dealing and will design countermoves to try and respond.

What do I think of the deals? Basically good, though I suspect that the Phillies didn’t quite get what they could of from the Yankees. Here are my thoughts on the Phillies weekend trades …

Goodbye David Bell: The Phillies said goodbye to David Bell over the weekend, sending him to the Milwaukee Brewers for a minor league pitching prospect. I’m not a huge fan of the deal, given that the Phillies dealt away maybe the best defensive third baseman in the game for a minor league pitcher with a +4.00 ERA. Candidly, I don’t know anything about Wilfrido Laureano, but it strikes me as being a bad deal for the Phils. Yes, Bell wasn’t going to figure in the team’s plans for 2007 anyway, but I don’t think the Phils got much and they are going to replace Bell with Abraham Nunez, a player whose offensive output this season can charitably be stated to be pitiful. Here is the offensive downgrade the Phillies have suffered:

GPA / ISO*:
Nunez: .139 / .079
Bell: .258 / .122

* Gross Productive Average (GPA): (1.8 * .OBP + .SLG) / 4 = .GPA. Invented by The Hardball Times Aaron Gleeman, GPA measures a players production by weighing his ability to get on base and hit with power. This is my preferred all-around stat.

Isolated Power (ISO): .SLG - .BA = .ISO. Measures a player’s raw power by subtracting singles from their slugging percentage.

Seems to me to be a terrible deal.

Goodbye Sal Fasano: Let’s just call this addition by subtraction. I’ve got nothing again Sal Fasano the man, but Sal Fasnao the catcher was batting a .224 GPA. I don’t know what the Phillies got for him, but they made a smart move by moving him.

Adios Ryan Franklin: Lost in all of this momentous news was the fact that the Phillies designated Franklin for assignment, meaning they have to deal him quickly (within 10 days). Another terrible decision from the off-season washed away: Franklin was a flyball-tossing starter being asked to pitch relief on a team that plays in a hitters park. It was a lethal combination and the Phillies are lucky they only asked him 52 & 1/3 innings in 2006. Unsurprisingly, Franklin surrendered more than his fair share of home runs: 1.75 per nine innings. Good riddance.

Goodbye Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle: Let’s start by making three observations. One, the Phillies are going to save a lot of cash by dealing Abreu. Two, they didn’t really get a lot of talent for him. Three, they are going to save a lot of money.

Let’s be honest here: the Phillies weren’t looking to get a lot of value for Abreu. After spending a decade dealing away their farm system to pursue the World Series, the Yankees seemed reluctant to part with any major talent like Phil Hughes. Might one of the four prospects the Phillies got turn into a starter / contributor? Maybe. I’d peg Matt Smith, who hurled 12 scoreless innings with the Yankees last year and possesses an impressive slider, as being the player with the biggest upside. The position players, C.J. Henry and Jesus Sanchez, aren’t likely to make it: Shortstop Henry is considered a busted first-rounder who is struggling to live up to his talent in Single-A ball (bad sign), and Catcher Sanchez can’t hit (though he’s got a nice arm), so he is a poor bet to replace Mike Lieberthal.

I agree with the Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury: this deal was really about ditching Bobby’s paycheck.

The Phillies are giving up a great player. Seven consecutive seasons with 100+ bases on balls. Career .411 OBP. Career .313 GPA. Eight consecutive seasons of 100+ Runs Created. However, the Phils were due to pay Abreu another $4mil this year and due to give up $15 mil next season. Bobby is 32 and probably due for a decline. Players hit the wall at this age and nobody can argue that Bobby hasn’t been the same player since winning the home run derby in Houston last year.

The Phillies are giving up a good pitcher too. Cory Lidle has had a decent season with the Phillies and will strengthen the Yankees rotation. Cory’s problem is that he relies on the fielders to make plays and the Phillies defense has been lousy in 2006. I don’t think he’s going to enjoy playing for the Yankees: he’s going to have Bobby in right, Derek Jeter’s over-rated glove at short and A-Rod’s mastery of disaster at third. He’s not going to enjoy himself. The Yankees may have upgraded the team for their pennant run, but they've taken on a big albatross for the future.

So there you go Phillies phans. I’ll be back tomorrow morning with the rest of the trading deadline deals and some thoughts on the future of the franchise.

Comments:
When you consider that the Yankees may very well have been the only team willing/able to take on Abreu's salary for this year and the next, how can we say this is a bad trade? Other than keeping Abreu and likely Burrell, and not changing anything about the team... what was the alternative? They got a bunch of prospects, if even one is decent it's a bonus. If not, they are completely free and clear of the salary and can look to the future and changing the way the team is structured.
 
I don't see how you can call the David Bell trade "terrible." The Phils are clearly giving up on this season, and Bell's in the final year of his contract, so what's wrong with trading him for a prospect? Laureano may have an ERA of 4.10, but he also has 62 strikeouts in 63 innings, so there's promise. I would also disagree that Bell is "maybe the best defensive third baseman in the game." This may have been true a few years ago, but in the last three seasons, his Zone Rating has been decidedly in the middle of the pack as far as third basemen go. Nevertheless, I'll grant that Bell always brought an agility and grace to the position that made him a pleasure to watch in the field. And of course, no one can deny how bad Nunez has been this year.
 
Plus / Minus rating, the system John Dewan introduced in The Fielding Bible last year, rated David Bell #1 amongst NL 3B's: I tend to think that Bell is still a terrific fielder. Plus, Bell is a better bat than Nunez. My problem with the Bell deal is that it leaves the Phillies with Nunez as the 2006 3B and maybe (gulp) the '07 3b. I see your point - it is David' walk year and all -but I don't see much of an upside to laureano. Well, what do I know? You are probably right after all...

I suppose what disappoints me is that the Phillies didn't seem to get the sort of talent that they ought to have gotten. To deal one of the best hitters in the game, I would have expected the Yankees to part with Hughes. Instead, we got a collection of B-listers and we had to toss in a good pitcher to do it. If the Phillies utilize Abreu's salary well, this could be a good move, but I fear the worst.
 
Hmm...I'm not familiar with the Plus/Minus Rating. I'll have to give The Fielding Bible a read - it sounds interesting.

God help us all if Nunez is the 2007 third baseman.
 
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