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.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Free Agency Time... 

Thanks to locking up younger players in multi-year contracts, the Phillies haven’t had a significant free agent defection in years. Thus far this season six Phillies have made the move to file for free agency. I’ll give a quick overview of how they did and what the Phillies ought to do.

David Dellucci – I am a big fan of David Dellucci. Used primarily as a pinch-hitter last season, Dellucci got to play regularly down the stretch once Bobby Abreu left for the Yankees and the Phillies decided they had little faith in Pat Burrell. Dellucci swings a good bat: he had a .530 slugging percentage with 13 home runs and 32 extra-base hits in just 301 plate appearances, and about a fifth of those were pinch-hitting situations, which are always difficult to do (coming into a game cold, the pressure to get a hit). Dellucci is also a good fielder and did a nice job replacing Burrell and Abreu. I'd love to see him back as a Phillie in 2007. If the Phillies can ship Burrell out this off-season, I'd love to see Dellucci slide into his spot as the Phillies everyday left fielder. He made just a little under a million bucks in 2006. I don't see why the team can't have him back for a little more than that.

Arthur Rhodes – Arthur Rhodes threw 45 & 2/3 innings for the Phillies in 2006 before being injured and vanishing for most of the season. Rhodes was expected to be the Phillies main set-up man for Tom Gordon, but things didn’t work out that way. When Arthur did pitch, he didn’t pitch well: allowing a 5.32 ERA with an 0-5 record. Rhodes is going to be 37 next season and I don’t see the utility in trying to re-sign him for 2007, especially at the salary he got last season: $4.8 mil. Let him walk.

Aaron Fultz – I like the job Aaron Fultz has done for the Phillies over the last two seasons: working as a set-up man, Fultz contributed 70+ solid innings of work the last two seasons. While Aaron’s ERA spiked from 2.24 to 4.54, his Fielding Independent Pitching ERA (FIP) remained constant at 3.64 to 3.68, very good numbers. Fultz made roughly $1.2 million last season, so I think it would be worth it for the team to try and bring him back.

Rick White – Rick White came over to the Phillies mid-season from the Cincinnati Reds and pitched decently well, only allowing three home runs in 37 & 1/3 innings of work. He’d be worth re-signing, given that his salary for 2006 was just $600,000 and he could probably be gotten for something similar.

Randy Wolf – Randy Wolf came back from Tommy John surgery and proceeded to go 4-0 with a 5.56 ERA in 2006. I’m really torn about trying to bring Wolf back, because oftentimes pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery come back greatly improved in their second campaign after the surgery, but I worry that Randy isn’t worth the $6.6 million that the Phillies spent on him in 2006. To put it bluntly, his 4-0 record is a mirage. He didn’t pitch well at all: his FIP was 6.39. He gave up 13 home runs in 56 & 2/3 innings of work. He gave up five walks every nine innings he pitched. Based on those stats, bringing him back would be a mistake, but you have to factor in Wolf’s past: he’s been a solid pitcher for the Phillies. The team that signs him might get a great, All-Star caliber pitcher, but I don’t think the Phillies can take the chance, not with big new contracts being needed for Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels. Let Randy walk.

Mike Lieberthal – I really hate myself for what I am about to say, but the Phillies need to let Lieberthal walk. His 2006 price tag – $7.5 mil – is just way too high, and the Phillies have less pricey options waiting in the wings. Oft-injured in 2006, the Phillies played Sal Fasano before dealing him to the Yankees – who wanted him for some strange reason – and going with the platoon of rookies Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz. Coste and Ruiz both played very good baseball and suggested that they could platoon and give the Phillies good production from the catchers slot.

Runs Created / 27 Outs:
Lieberthal: 5.0
Ruiz: 5.4
Coste: 7.3

Oh, and Ruiz and Coste together cost the Phillies $654,000 in 2006, far less than what they paid Mike Lieberthal, who turns 35 in January. I hate to say it, because Lieberthal had played so well and is such a competitor, but I think the Phillies need to let him walk.

The A.L. Gold Gloves were announced yesterday and, as usual, baseball decided to ignore fact and evidence and award the Gold Glove for short to Derek Jeter. What exactly is the criteria for a Gold Glove anyway? I ask because Jeter falls short on every demonstrable fact I know of. Sigh. Let's hope the N.L. gives Chase Utley his today

Anyway, enjoy the weekend. Monday check in for Part 1 of my Season in Review series. I’m talkin’ my favorite subject: Fielding. Tuesday I am taking a break from baseball to predict the election results, then Wednesday I am back to the Wiz Kids with Part XII, the climatic game between the Phillies and Dodgers on October 1, 1950, that saw the Phillies take the pennant in dramatic fashion. Thursday I’ll break down how the Phillies won the N.L. in 1950.

It is time for Mike Lieberthal to leave. I was never really a fan of his, although I understand why people do/did like him. But you're correct in your analysis of the position for next season, where as we don't really need Lieby anymore. I wish him well, just as long as he doesn't become a Yankee.
I wish him well too, and I agree that it would be kind of galling to see him as a Yankee, but I see him as a backup catcher with a contender in 2007.
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