Monday, November 20, 2006

Plan C

Remind me again what Plan C is.

The Chicago Cubs have snatched Alfonso Soriano from the beckoning arms of Pat Gillick and if the Phillies’ GM has any sense and decorum he should send the Cubbies his congratulations and heartfelt thanks.

Eight years and $136 million!!?? Precisely the kind of contract the Phillies should be avoiding. Frankly, precisely the kind of contract any team should be avoiding, but that is another story. Eight years and $136 million!!?? That’s essentially a no-trade contract. Who’s going to take on Soriano’s $17 million per year if things go sour in, say, year four or five let alone six or seven? Well, we don’t have to worry about that outcome any longer.

MLB’s haves are flush with cash and many of them are spending it like sailors on shore leave.

The Phils still have a lot of problems to address, particularly protection for Ryan Howard (sorry, Wes, but you ain’t the man) and pitching, both starting and relief. There are still a number of options out there via trades but the Phillies don’t have many bargaining chips other than Aaron Rowand. They are unlikely to move Ryan Madson given their own shortcomings in the pen and they will no longer get anything for Gavin Floyd. Who else can they offer? The other worrisome prospect is that the Phils will overspend the money they just saved to re-sign Randy Wolf. While I am a fan of Wolf the battler and athlete, I am not a big fan of Wolf the junk ball-throwing hurler. My guess is he is looking for at least a three-year deal at $5 – 7 million per. That’s too much for a veteran guy who has never shown me he knows how to pitch.

At this point the Phillies don’t need to save salary by dumping Pat Burrell for .50 on the dollar or less. I’d rather see Pat bailing out on pitches over the inside corner of the plate and taking other ones right down Broadway than have the Phils unload him for next to nothing. As much as he infuriates us, Burrell’s bat is due for a decent season if his on-again-off-again pattern holds true. It would be nice is someone, perhaps Pat himself, let us and his current team in on the status of his feet. That wouldn’t be asking too much, even from a guy who is far from loquacious.

Inquirer columnist Jim Salisbury raises an interesting question in his piece today. He wonders when the Phillies might ask Jimmy Rollins to move to third base and open up shortstop for someone the likes of Miguel Tejada, perennially unhappy playing for the sad-sack Orioles. This may be the only bad idea Jim has ever come up with, publicly. Jimmy is too valuable up the middle, where Utley is steady but hardly spectacular. Moreover, having just signed Wes Helms, it would seem that this discussion’s time has passed. Finally, by all accounts Tejada, never a spectacular glove man, has lost more than a step or two in the field. Back to the drawing board on this one.

* * * * * * * *

Ryan Howard finds out today whether or not he sweeps the post-season awards when the Baseball Writers Association of America announces its NL MVP. The bet here is Albert Pujols nudges Howard for the award. It would be hard to vote against Pujols whose home run and rbi totals might very well have exceeded those of the Howard had he not lost time to injury. In every other respect, Pujols’ credentials equal or surpass those of Howard including as Erik Grissom among others would point out, his fielding.

But there is one factor that weighs more heavily in Howard’s favor and a lot of the voters, being human, will have a difficult time ignoring it. No one, not even King Albert, captured the imagination of the nation as much as Howard did. Not a single baseball fan wanted to be caught getting a cold one from the fridge when Howard came up to bat during his tremendous run. In that respect, Howard was more than the NL MVP; for a long stretch of time he was MLB’s MVP. Albert can't say that. Nor can the voters whatever their ballots may say.


gr said...

3 yrs, $5-7 mil? If only. Wolf is probably looking for more like 3/30. He's essentially the only quality lefty on the market and the yanks are in play for him.

Tom Goodman said...

Yeah, I guess that is low, but he made $9 million last year from the Phils and I don't believe they will go even that high in their bid. The Yankees would pay that and Wolf would be better suited to that park than CPB, but he is still something of a gamble.

Oisín/Wizlah said...

I'd have to assume that the phils know what the market was for Wolf and *if* they're committed to getting him (and they've been remarkably consistent in saying they are), they will try to bid the best for him. Not saying they wouldn't get beaten by the yankees, but they surely know what they're getting into.

Should they make the gamble? I've said elsewhere I'm torn on it. All the evidence suggests control is the last thing to return after tommy john, so its not an unreasonable gamble to make. if our rotation had someone better than leiber, I'd definitely take the chance. I'm not too sure that we should have 3 question marks in him, moyer (should be good but always unpredictable) and then wolf.

egrissom said...

I can't believe you would dis Howard's defense like that. I rememeber one time when he drove to his right and laid out to catch a screaming liner in his teeth and still had the presence of mind to leap to his feet and double the runner off of second. It was great.

Tom Goodman said...

I remember that play, too, Erik, in fact better than you do. He never removed the ball from his mouth. Instead, he launched his entire body to second base to double up the runner.

Pujols won the GG, but he is hardly the second coming of Keith Hernandez or, for that matter, Nick Johnson. Remember this: Bobby Abreu won a GG last year. One never need say more after that.

Joe said...

What do you guys think about trading for a Scott Posednik type hitter (I think the CWS want him out) and hitting Rollins 5th behind Howard? Posednik / Victorino / Utley / Howard / Rollins is not a bad 1-5. And no way to Carlos Lee... Geno's is too close to the ballpark, he might hit 300. Pounds.

Tom Goodman said...

Prior to Podsednik's trade from Milwaukee to Chicago I thought the Phillies should have taken a run at him. He had a fine first season in Chicago but appears to have struggled quite a bit since. Don't know much more about him than that, but he does appear to have fallen out of favor in Chicago. He wouldn't help the Phils much. Good speed and glove but a suspect bat. They have enough of those qualities already.

Tom G said...

"He never removed the ball from his mouth."

That's from right?

egrissom said...

The saddest thing about it, Tom, is that Tom neglects to mention the most imporant part. On his way to second base with the ball in his mouth, Howard, if memory serves, stopped to run into a burning building and save an old woman's cat. Not sure how I forgot that part. It left quite an impression.

Tom Goodman said...

OK, grissom, you topped me this time, but don't say I didn't warn you when Howard makes an unassisted triple play on Opening Day in 2007, then flies to Japan on the off day to be named MVP there and arrives back at the Bank just in time for the second game of the season in which he homers twice, is walked intentionally twice and cooks the entire post-game dinner for his teammates and the 43,000 fans in attendance.

George S said...

I believe Paln C is closer to Plan 9 (in deference to Ed Wood).

Anyway, with Glavine now free and looking to return to Atlanta, the Braves might be looking to move a starter to make room in their budget for him. Tim Hudson was one name mentioned as available for the right package. That would be Rowand and change. Acquiring Rowand would also free up the Braves to shop Andruw Jones, who they feel they will not be able to afford next season. Shipping Jones off to a team like the Angels for pitching or prospects leaves the Braves in a great position: Glavine, Rowand, perhaps someone like Ervin Santana from the Angels, and a lower payroll. It also gives the Phillies the starter they need.
Just speculating.

Tom Goodman said...

I am not a real big Hudson fan but in this era he looks like a decent alternative. I cannot imagine the Braves would want to send him to a team in their own division, however.

J. Weitzel said...

Hudson is tailing off sharply. Very hittable now - just ask Ryan Howard. I tend to think he's due for a major surgery. Oakland really wore him down.