A blog about the Phillies and Major League Baseball (MLB).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Free_AEC has been removed from Twitter.

Here are screenshots of tweets made to me from John Powers Middleton ( @johnmiddleton). They of course come in reverse order so read bottom to top.

I found this one morning. Apparently this was triggered by a retweet the previous evening from a bizarre Twitter account composed of retweets.

I then sent a tweet to @johnmiddleton which he responded to directly and then favorited.

If you were holding out hope for a Yankees style buying spree to celebrate the Phillies $6 Billion TV deal with Comcast then you can go ahead and cancel your season tickets. The Middletons are back stabbers and bloodsuckers.

The war with Scott Boras continues. A new war is waged against Rusney Castillo's agent Jay Z, and the buscones in the Dominican Republic and their counterparts in Venezuela are in the crosshairs as surely was my Twitter account.

If you enjoyed the Phillies 2014 season then you're going to be thrilled with what they have for you in 2015, which will be year four of the Phillies 20 year rebuild to be conducted exclusively through the MLB plantation slave draft.

Throw your arm up in the Roman salute to your leader John Powers Middleton.

Let's not forget Dad - John S. Middleton - and his war criminal girlfriend Condoleezza Rice either.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Are PHILLIES Planning a TEN YEAR Four Billion Dollar RIPOFF?

As the news hit of the Phillies new TV deal it was craftily revealed that the PHILLIES have been pulling in HUGE TV dollars all along.

All that was previously reported - especially by that fat pedophile BILL CONLIN - is the CASH FEE that Comcast paid the Phillies directly. That is $35 million every year. Turns out this is like the naming rights fee paid to the Phillies by Citizen’s Bank. The Phillies sell and receive all the advertising revenue from their TV broadcasts according to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News. 

All those ads from car manufacturers, Apple, Samsung. That’s all Phillies money. That’s the whole deal there. The Phillies not only own their TV broadcast they get paid $35 million annually just so Comcast can put their name all over it and draw in some viewers for their pre & post game shows. 

The new TV deal raises the annual cash payment to at least $100 million, plus advertisement revenues AND an equity stake in NBC Universal. The Dodgers much hyped deal is for cash. The value of those payments decreases with time as dollars become less valuable. The Phillies deal is NOT frozen as they get advertisement revenues which go up and the equity stake should also increase over the course of the 25 years. 

The advertisement revenues are the core of the deal. Without producing complete copies of the contract between NBC Universal and the Phillies no one can claim the Phillies are not Major League Baseball’s richest team. 

On Sunday January 12, 2014 Matt Gelb reported in the Inquirer that as I had been stating on Twitter from day one of the announcement, the deal is worth at least twice the reported $2.5 Billion price, probably SIX BILLION DOLLARS. The cash portion of the deal is subject to a 34% revenue sharing tax. That’s where the Dodgers went wrong. Their deal is all cash and all taxable to the Commissioners Office. The other half of the Phillies deal is the Equity stake and the advertising dollars which are not taxable. The Phillies keep it all. That part of the deal is also INFLATION PROOF. Not only is the Phillies deal on the same plane as the Dodgers now, but ten years from now the Phillies deal is likely to be worth MORE than the Dodgers. 

So why did the Phillies sit out the free agent market…again?

I mean it’s not bad enough the Phillies finished 73 - 89 last year. No they were actually LUCKY to finish that well. Their Run Differential predicted a 66 - 96 finish for them.

This Phillies roster looks more like the Camden Riversharks than a big market MLB team. 

Why do the Phillies look like they are preparing to live FAT off of TV revenues and perhaps more REVENUE SHARING from the Commissioners Office?

Like the Phillies did before.

Just 13 years ago at the Vet. 

You remember that. Curt Schilling screaming to get out of town so he could win.

As Cliff Lee is doing now.

Scott Rolen then holding a press conference to trash the Phillies invisible ownership for “lack of commitment to win”. Rolen was then shipped to St. Louis, where he won a ring with the Cardinals in 2006. Schilling won three rings elsewhere. 

Curt Schilling
Scott Rolen
Jonathan Papelbon
Cliff Lee

I don’t remember any other MLB team holding stud players hostage like this and they in turn screaming to get out in public. 

And this is happening 13 years apart.

After a new ballpark was built for the Phillies with tax payer money.

This isn’t baseball. It’s ORGANIZED CRIME. 

Celebrating Ben Wetzler "pinch"

And let’s not mention BEN WETZLER again.


Remember the end of last season, after we endured a farcical team with a roster loaded with Camden Riversharks dressed as Phillies players. We thought “well at least the Phillies first round pick is protected”.

David Montgomery is still laughing at us. Shin-Soo Choo is a Ranger. Jacoby Ellsbury is a Yankee. Brian McCann is a Yankee. 

Only three MLB teams out of thirty scored fewer runs than the Phillies in 2013. 

While the Phillies are one of those ten MLB teams with a protected first round pick, the Phillies are the only one of those ten teams that told their fan base before the 2013 season began that they were a “Championship team”

That is FRAUD.

No one in the Phillies organization thought the 2013 edition of the team was capable of making the playoffs.

If an art dealer tells you a copy of a Van Gogh painting is the real deal it’s FRAUD and the dealer goes to PRISON.

The Phillies LIED to the public to sell millions of dollars in tickets and food at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Where’s the PERP WALK?

And David Montgomery continues to laugh at us. He tells Ruben Amaro to work on his smirk. Montgomery has turned Amaro into a smirking WWE “Bad Guy”. 

And the Philly and MLB media sells the Amaro big lie to us. 

ED WADE is still here.

PAT GILLICK never left.

Wade and Gillick are both highly paid Assistant GM’s to Amaro. 

When Amaro is finally “fired” he will end up as another Assistant GM to whoever is the next GM.

Along with lying about the TV money the Philly media will soon go full out to “fire” Amaro. They will resurrect their “Next GM has to be from outside the organization”.

Yeah, like Pat Gillick, who is now a “made guy” in the Phillies organized crime OUTFIT. 






What the Philly media will never do is call for a BOYCOTT of the Phillies. Never demand a return of the hundreds of millions in taxpayer money given to these criminals to build Citizens Bank Park. Never call for a BOYCOTT of Citizens Bank and all Phillies advertisers

I’ll save you the trouble of wondering what the Phillies “next” GM will think, what his “strategy” will be.

How many major Free Agent players have the Phillies signed in the thirty-two year history of this ownership group?


Jim Thome and Cliff Lee.

That’s one big time free agent every sixteen years. The next Phillies GM won’t see any problem with that.

And Cliff Lee wasn’t even a “clean” big time free agent. He was only gone one year from the Phillies roster.

Jim Thome was signed only to cover the Phillies epic fail with Scott Rolen who called a press conference to denounce the Phillies owners for having


The video of Scott Rolen’s press conference has been hidden from the public twice as long as the Zapruder film was. Eighteen year old Phillies’ fans have never seen Rolen’s press conference. A transcript of it does not even exist on the Internet (Google it). 

BILL GILES father was the President of the National League. Back then there was no free agency. Star players were mocked by owners when they attempted to hold out for more money. There was no way out and that’s how Bill Giles believes it should be.

The Phillies would not pay Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino or Hunter Pence. That would have been a great outfield in 2013. The Phillies could have been close to a wild card berth with them. Sign Masahiro Tanaka and another of the quality starters available and there you go, playoff team in 2014.

Phillies fans are dreaming of Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout.

Trout will require a contract far more than Pence, Victorino and Werth cost together. Maybe twice as much. Stanton will cost more than those three former Phillies outfielders as well.

Then there is the biggest hurdle.


Bill Giles believes if you pull down Mike Trout’s pants you will see tattooed on Trout’s ass “Property of Arte Moreno”

Same goes for Giancarlo Stanton except Jeffrey Loria is the owner of Stanton. 

Bill Giles believes MLB players are like slaves sold at auction. Once a MLB plantation owner has that player under control he should never be able to free himself unless that owner gives his consent. 

Unless Bill Giles dies before Stanton and Trout hit the free agent market there is no chance of either let alone both being signed by the Phillies. 

How many Scott Boras players have the Phillies signed….ever?


Scott Boras is the face of the free agent market, exactly what Bill Giles believes should not exist. 

The next Phillies GM is going to hate Scott Boras as well. You can bet your families life on that. 

The “Phillies GM” is a SCAM. A scam run by the Philly and MLB media on the public. 

David Montgomery has been the Phillies GM ever since he “replaced” Bill Giles as President and CEO.

John Gotti claimed he was just a “plumbing parts salesman”. David Montgomery claims he “just runs the finances and has nothing to do with the Phillies roster”. 

Whoever controls the money runs the business. The Phillies business is managed by David Montgomery who answers to John S. Middleton who has over four billion dollars in cash. 

Amaro, Wade and Gillick have lifetime employment. They get paid and they keep quiet about what they know. MLB General Managers never write tell all books. They do not do so because their paychecks never stop posting. 

The major issue we are dealing with as Phillies fans is the institutional corruption of the Philly media which will not oversee a BOYCOTT of the Phillies which would force them to change how they run the team. 

The Plan

So what is stopping the Phillies from doing what the Astros have done? You know the Astros, they are the Phillies favorite trade partner, the team Ed Wade was last GM for before he returned to the Phillies. What’s stopping the Phillies from just moving everyone and playing farm guys at the MLB minimum salary while they “rebuild”?


In fact, the Philly media is setting the table for the Phillies to feast off the blood of Phillies fans for TEN YEARS.

The Philly and MLB media is bashing the Phillies for being “old”. 

What a perfect setup. The Phillies farm system has very little talent, but their farm - like all 30 MLB teams farm systems - is loaded with young guys. Why not bring them all up? Just clear out all the money and lose over a 100 games.

Just like the Astros

Phans money in the front door

And while doing so the Phillies can feast on over a $100 million in yearly cash payments from NBC Universal, over $50 million per year in national TV money and whatever they can get from suckers still willing to buy a ticket and advertise on TV for games that few are watching. MLB minimum salaried payrolls are $13 million per year. A ten year rebuild in Mafia Burnout fashion could yield the Phillies more than $150 million per year in profit.

Werth, Victorino & Pence out the backdoor

The Dodgers recently sold for $2 billion. Ten years from now the Phillies could easily get that just off their market size and the rise in value of MLB franchises. They could get three billion. And running their Mafia Burnout plan on the payroll could yield them significantly more than an additional billion dollars.

John S. Middleton and his criminal crew might ripoff the Philadelphia market for over four billion dollars in the next ten years alone to go with the blood they have sucked out of us already. 
Now set a match to it

Saturday, October 26, 2013

2014: Another SCAMMIES Season?

Scott Boras announced to Phillies fans more than a year ago through the Philly “news”papers that the TV deal coming the Phillies way would be worth at least as much as the Dodgers, and could be for more money. This is due to the humungous market the Phillies control. The three media markets in front of them - New York, Los Angeles and Chicago - are shared by two teams. The fifth largest market is Dallas/Ft. Worth which is 14% smaller than the Philadelphia market. 

We all know the personal wealth of the Phillies ownership group lead by John S. Middleton (and the Buck and Betz families) is at least eight billion dollars, and the money is in liquid assets. This is how blue bloods do it. They have it, they hide it, and they do so in profitable, yet conservative investments. 

The Phillies were purchased for just thirty million dollars n 1980. By the end of this decade they will be worth at least three billion dollars. 

That’s a lot of zeroes added to the investment. By that time the group will likely have cleared about a billion dollars in profit over the four decades as well. That’s more than one hundred times the initial investment. 

How would you have liked to have invested ten thousand dollars 40 years ago and have it return more than one million dollars today? 

That’s what the Phillies ownership group has done.

And what did they give us this year of two thousand thirteen? 

JOHN MAYBERRY (Special Olympics Bronze Medalist)
BEN REVERE (Toothpick bat, no arm, freezes on balls hit at him, Cooperstown bound!)
CASPER WELLS (Camden Riversharks cut him)
The BIG WHIFF ($25mil windmill)
PETE ORR (painful to watch, scrappy tweener. Riversharks starting 2B)
MICHAEL MARTINEZ (conspiracy theories surround him & are too obscene to publish)
ERIK KRATZ (Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!)
CAMERON RUPP (First baseman for Apple softball team)
ROGER BERNADINA (Nats cut him, pointed him toward Camden, Amaro grabbed him)
LAYNCE NIX (Another signee from the Nats scrap heap)
JOHN MCDONALD (????? Waivers from Cleveland)
EZEQUIEL CARRERA (how could we forget you Ezequiel? Waivers from Cleveland)
DELMON YOUNG (Amaro claims dusty scouting report he found said he was a stud)

Those are just the Camden Riversharks position players on the roster.


John Lannan (Um....another Nats castoff)
Jeremy Horst (left’s a lefty...)
Tyler Cloyd (Riversharks ACE!)
Raul Valdes (no one puts more effort into throwing an 86MPH fastball & he’s a lefty!)
J.C. Ramirez (Phillies actually traded Cliff Lee for this Rivershark)
Joe Savery (1st round pick, obvious dud on draft day, passed on Giancarlo Stanton)
Cesar Jimenez (lefty...he throws left handed...uses left hand to throw ball...)
Chad Durbin (yeah he was good in 2008, but that was 5 years ago)
Mauricio Robles (see above comments on throwing with left hand)
Casper Wells (He pitches too! And sucks just as much!)
John McDonald (he pitches as well, and SUCKS BALLS!)

That’s 25 Camden Riversharks. If I recall correctly 25 is the regulation MLB roster size. I believe that is more than enough evidence to convict John S. Middleton and his fellow owners of felony fraud given that his spokesmen David Montgomery and Ruben Amaro declared this bogus roster to constitute a “championship team” before the 2013 season began. 

You don’t even need to accept my evaluation of the talent, the Phillies record was an abysmal 73 - 89 and while there were just six MLB teams with a worse record than the Phillies, the Phils seem to actually have been lucky as their run differential of -139 was only better than that of the Astros and Twins. If we wish to discuss “championship teams”, the Red Sox run differential was 336 runs better than the Phillies. 

That’s a lot of runs to make up for the “Phightens” in 2014. Anyone who thinks one stud bat and one stud starting pitcher is going to even make a sizable dent in that run figure is either too stupid to be executed or they have a medical emergency between their ears. 

Many people around the game are somewhat stunned at how the Phillies have collapsed. It’s not every year that you see a 102 win team sink to 73 wins in just two seasons. There is a lesson to be learned here.

The 2011 Phillies were all about pitching. Their lineup was barely enough with a MLB game high pitching staff. The Phillies worst starter was clearly Roy Oswalt with a 3.69 ERA and 104 ERA+ In contrast, in 2013 Cole Hamels ERA was 3.60 and his ERA+ 106. Hamels was clearly the 2nd best starter on the staff. The 2011 Phillies had a 5 man lights out rotation backed by a deep bullpen. If that team had had the Phillies 2007 lineup they probably would have set an all-time record for regular season wins. 

The 2011 Phillies also delivered the lesson that if you can’t hit, you can’t win in the postseason. The Phils Game Five first round loss to the Cardinals was 1 - 0. 

So what did the Phillies do since 2011? They listened to the Phantards and did what they scream for, they “got rid of” players, good players who make money. In 2010 they had “got rid of” Jayson Werth, but they realized early in 2011 that they couldn’t survive with that hole in RF and traded the farm for Hunter Pence. That was the Phillies last move as a contender. Since then they have followed the voice of the Phantard, the same species that booed Mike Schmidt, and before Schmidt booed Chuck Klein. 

Phantards never scream for the Phillies to drop money bombs on the best free agents. Phantards love money, something they will never have and while they can’t begin to understand how much money John S. Middleton has, they have little trouble wrapping their tiny minds around player contracts. 

So even though the Phillies have the Dodgers dollars to spend and need to spend that kind of money this winter to have any chance of contending for a playoff spot next year,  Phantards aren’t screaming for Shin-Soo Choo, a catching tandem of Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz, winning the bid for the best pitcher in Japan (and just 24years old) Masahiro Tanaka and signing Matt Garza. 

No, the Phantards are still screaming for the Phillies to “get rid of” the few good players they have left. 

So what are we looking at this winter, a 2014 Phillies season that sees them capture the NL East division flag or another SCAMMIES season? 

If the Phillies are to return it will cost a lot of money and make very large waves throughout the game as every player the Phillies must sign is coveted by either the Yankees or Dodgers, and in some cases both of those teams. So who are those players?


Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz

Everywhere I’ve looked this is described as a choice. It’s not. Neither of these guys are 135 game catchers anymore. 100 games for either is realistic. For the Phillies that means in the neighborhood of 60 games started by either Erik Kratz or Cameron Rupp. That’s another egregious hole in the starting lineup. A lineup that was 27th out of 30 teams in runs scored. A lineup so bad that Cole Hamels record was 8 - 14. 

A team like the Tigers could roll with this sort of arrangement as they have Miguel Cabrera and his 1.078 OPS in their lineup. The Phillies best hitter was Chase Utley with an .823 OPS and he only played in 131 games. Domonic Brown was almost identical with an OPS of .818 and playing in only 139 games (Brown has always spent a lot of time on the D.L.). 

McCann and Ruiz also have platoon splits making this arrangement a power move.


.636 OPS vs RHP

.836 OPS vs LHP


.869 OPS vs. RHP

.616 OPS vs LHP

Assuming the same kind of season for each this gives the Phillies an .800+ OPS from the catching position, putting them at the top of the game there. If the Phillies are going to chop away a big portion of that 336 runs they trail the Red Sox by then this is the type of moves they have to make, and it is indeed plural.


Outfielders figured prominently on the Camden Riversharks roster compiled above. This is an area for a major upgrade. The most obvious move is also likely to be the most powerful move the Phillies can make, signing Shin-Soo Choo. 



SHIN-SOO CHOO 112 walks


Does anything else need to be said? With the exception of Choo’s HR total every figure there would have been tops on the 2013 Phillies, and Domonic Brown’s team leading 27 HR isn’t very far ahead of Choo. Given that Choo is replacing Ben Revere and the other dregs who filled CF this is a real and powerful boost for one of the most anemic lineups in MLB. 

Carlos Beltran

An .830 OPS for the Cardinals and he had 60 more PA than Domonic Brown ( so much for age being important ). Almost as important, Beltran can actually catch balls hit toward the RF area. Choo is much better defensively than anyone the Phillies had in CF last year so these two would make a noticeable improvement in the Phillies defense. That’s secondary to the need to upgrade the run scoring but a nice bonus. 

If we’re being realistic this is the best the Phillies can do to upgrade their lineup. That is a noticeable improvement over 2013, but forget the playoffs, it’s not even going to make the team a winner.


The Phillies are better here only because they have two legit top-of-the-rotation starters in Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. However, once past them things fall apart. Kendrick is a huge question mark. His second half was a nightmare and we know that a shoulder injury was behind it. There is no reason to believe that his shoulder will be sound next year. The history of bad pitching shoulders in MLB is very bad indeed. Elbows can often be fixed via surgery, but the track record for shoulder recovery is on the opposite end of that spectrum. We should assume that Kendrick’s 2014 will be no better than 2013, and there is an excellent chance that it will be worse.

Recall what happened to Roy Halladay.

So clearly the Phillies must sign two reliable starting pitchers, but remember that 336 run differential with the Red Sox. The lineup moves have not recovered half of that. This means the starting pitchers must be elite, not far removed from Lee and Hamels or the 2014 season will be another SCAMMIES season. 


1.27 ERA


W - L Record

24 - 0

24 years old

Is he Yu Darvish? No, he’s a different pitcher. However, no one knows exactly how good he’ll be here. At 6’ 2” he’s not small so those trying to knock him on that measure are clearly biased in some way. Tanaka’s splitter has been described as "arguably the best splitter in the world" by Baseball America’s international expert Ben Badler. 

Tanaka is also good at finishing games and his fastball has hit 96 MPH in the ninth inning this year, so we know his arm is truly strong. He is also described as smart in that he goes for strikeouts when he needs to but otherwise, in Roy “Doc” Halladay fashion, Tanaka induces weak contact early for outs which keeps his pitch count down. 

Tanaka is a STUD. He is the best pitcher available this winter. The Yankees want him. The Dodgers want him. The Phillies had better bid at least $81 million to win the posting. It’s long past time that the Phillies won one of these deals. 

The next best pitcher available is Matt Garza. 

I’ve never been a big fan of Garza, he’s not elite by any means, but his stuff is still very good even if his medicals are not. He’s five years older than Tanaka with the milage on his arm that goes with it, yet he’s clearly the 2nd best pitcher available unless you like A.J. Burnett at his age. 

Garza can’t field his position well and is very emotional. He can blow up. But he doesn’t have to be an ACE, just be solid in the 4th slot of the rotation. He’s more than qualified to do that. 

And what about Burnett? He would certainly be better than Kendrick. The Phillies don’t have to put Kendrick in the rotation anymore than they need to put Ethan Martin or Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Kendrick has another year to go before hitting the market so the Phillies can make him the sixth starter and sign Burnett to fill out the rotation.


Combine that with Choo, McCann/Chooch, and Beltran and we’ve made a huge hole in that 336 run figure. Probably chopped close to 280 off it. That’s enough to get rid of the SCAMMIES and see the return of the Phillies in 2014.

What would all this cost? Way more than any Phantard is going to consider. Way more than those lamers known as “beat writers” are going to consider and especially a non-starter for those loudmouth Eagles fans that host the talk radio shows in Philly and hate any player who gets paid.

But they’re all scum. They all get paid to watch those Camden Riversharks in Phillies uniforms. There’s no reason to ever listen or read any of them. They are actually hostile to all real Phillies fans. Those of us who watch all 162 games, even the games that last over seven hours. 

As for the money to make this happen, well that’s never been an issue. The ownership group of the Phillies has at least eight billion dollars in liquid assets (cash in the bank). John S. Middleton has over four billion. If Bud Selig gave Middleton permission to do so he could write two checks and buy both the Dodgers and the Yankees.

The Phillies coming TV deal is rumored to be as much as $275 million per season. That means the Phillies could easily run a $400 million payroll and be very profitable. 

A $400 million payroll and be very profitable. 

Yes it’s true. 

The Phillies currently receive just $35 million for their TV deal. Their payroll this year was $159 million.

Subtract $35 million from $275 million.

$240 million
$159 million
$399 million

So when Mike Trout hits the market and the price is $50 million per year for ten years, it’s not going to be a problem. 

Welcome home Mike. 


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Send In The Rendition Team

So how are all you Philles fans enjoying your team this spring? I find it agonizing to sit through three innings. I simply can't deal with more than that. I cannot watch a team that cannot hit. I don't care if it's the Phillies and they win 95 games somehow. I can't watch them if they cannot hit.

I suspect that I am far from an outlier on this topic.

I would love to be a fly-on-the-wall around John S. Middleton while he's watching Phillies games. I'm sure Mr. Middleton is also watching the TV ratings. The Phillies TV contract will be coming up for renewal in a few more years and Mr. Middleton and the Buck family will be looking for the huge dollars, and those dollars exist in abundance. The Texas Rangers just began a new deal that pays them Eighty million dollars every year. If the Rangers in that backward market are worth $80mil per year than the Phillies should have no trouble getting a hundred million. “Should” being the key word.

To get TV ratings in this market the Phillies need to keep people interested. They don't even have Harry and Richie anymore, and with each passing 1-2-3-go-the-Phils inning I'd like to blast that green puppet with both barrels of a twelve gauge and watch the feathers fly, and so would you.

So that leaves the team. Are you excited about watching Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino swing a bat? Those two might be the Phils 2nd and 3rd best hitters. Basically the offense is hoping that Rollins and Victorino get on base (which they aren't that good at doing) and then watch Hunter Pence try to drive them in. This is a recipe for finishing at the bottom of the game in scoring and generating TV ratings lower than reruns of Gilligan's Island.

And why is the lineup in such sad shape? It's not as if the problem is unexpected. The Phillies run production has been in a state of free-fall since the end of the 2007 season. Every fan of the team is aware of the problem. So why hasn't anything been done about it? Why am I still looking at Pete Orr and John Mayberry Jr., and before his injury Michael Martinez? These three guys are not MLB players. This is not my opinion, it is a certifiable statistical fact. So why are they here?

There are two possible answers to this and their names are Dave $$$ Montgomery and $$$_Jr., otherwise known as Ruben Amaro Jr.

Frankly, to me these guys look scared. They can't bear the thought of missing the playoffs. The best way to make the playoffs is to have the best pitching staff in baseball, and the Phillies probably have that. However, if your goal is to win the World Series then your team has to be able to hit. This was painfully evident against the Cardinals last fall. So painful I won't even go into it further.

So why did a Tigers team that could hit a lot better than the Phillies sign Prince Fielder to a huge contract while the Phillies brought back John Mayberry Jr., Pete Orr and Michael Martinez? Clearly the Tigers want to win the World Series. And maybe they want some TV ratings that outdraw nick@nite.

It seems to me that the $$$ twosome are operating under the belief that as long as the Phillies make that opening round of the playoffs their considerable paychecks are safe. This perception must change or the Phillies could languish for many years. In fact they could be looking at a disaster down the road in terms of both rating$ and wins and losses. This is due to the egregious mismanagement of the Phillies farm system which is detailed below in a previous post. This destruction of the Phillies farm system has not ceased. They are continuing with their polices of not paying top talent and boycotting any Scott Boras represented player no matter how good or how great the Phillies need.

Team 2011 Bonuses
Pirates $17,005,700
Nationals $15,002,100
Royals $14,066,000
Cubs $11,994,550
Diamondbacks $11,930,000
Rays $11,482,900
Mariners $11,330,500
Padres $11,020,600
Blue Jays $10,996,500
Red Sox $10,978,700
Orioles $8,432,100
Indians $8,225,000
Brewers $7,509,300
Mets $6,782,500
Reds $6,378,900
Yankees $6,324,500
Giants $6,266,000
Twins $5,902,300
Astros $5,545,800
Phillies $4,689,800
Cardinals $4,554,000
Rangers $4,193,000
Marlins $4,135,000
Rockies $3,967,900
Braves $3,735,700
Dodgers $3,509,300
Angels $3,318,100
Athletics $3,067,300
Tigers $2,878,700
White Sox $2,786,300

Average $7,600,302

Last year the Phillies used their first pick in the draft -1st round supplemental pick– to take not the best position player available in the entire draft -Jeff Bell who was still available– but some guy named Larry Greene. Mr. Greene seems ticketed for firstbase. Not a big problem given Howard's decline and length of contract. If Greene develops into a desirable 1B prospect the Phils can simply move Howard's contract that will be in its last year or two. However, Jeff Bell is a big-time five-tool outfielder whose hit-tool is outstanding, and he's also a switch-hitter.

Greene is a long-shot, Jeff Bell is as close to a sure thing as is possible for a high school position player. So why didn't the Phillies draft Jeff Bell?

Scott Boras.

As detailed in a past post on the destruction of the Phillies farm system, boycotting Scott Boras is a major part of that carnage. David $$$ Montgomery simply does not care about the farm system. David $$$ Montgomery is on a mission to destroy Scott Boras, the most successful agent in baseball history. David Montgomery has had zero effect upon the success or failure of Scott Boras, and Dave $$$ Montgomery never will have the slightest effect upon Scott Boras, but still $$$ persists in his insane, hate filled quest to assault Scott Boras no matter how negatively the effects upon the Phillies organization.

And the effects have been extremely negative.

Team 2007-11 Bonuses
Pirates $52,057,400
Nationals $51,084,600
Royals $45,204,900
Red Sox $44,097,250
Orioles $41,219,700
Rays $40,582,200
Blue Jays $38,429,600
Mariners $36,055,900
Padres $35,768,100
Diamondbacks $35,261,000
Yankees $33,699,000
Indians $33,179,300
Giants $33,162,400
Cubs $32,407,100
Rangers $31,384,300
Tigers $31,269,200
Brewers $29,351,500
Reds $27,668,850
Cardinals $26,818,200
Athletics $25,210,500
Astros $25,162,630
Mets $24,919,300
Rockies $24,503,900
Dodgers $23,608,050
Twins $23,603,698
Phillies $22,802,700
Angels $22,694,400
Braves $22,011,050
Marlins $21,711,050
White Sox $18,327,450

Average $31,775,174

In the draft tables included here you can see where the Phillies rank in their draft spending since 2007. It's not a pretty sight. I've highlighted the Red Sox, Yankees, Braves and Marlins for different reasons. The first two are the Phillies select peer group. There are three elite teams in terms of finances in MLB and the Phillies are one of them. Then we have the Phillies two division “rivals” in the Braves and Marlins. The Braves were once the king of division titles, but have not taken that title since 2005. The Marlins haven't made it into the playoffs or even sniffed a Wildcard since 2003.

Is it really a coincidence that the Braves and Marlins have fallen so far while spending so little on the draft? Do you see any other perennial powerhouse teams in the chart who happen to be in the bottom of draft spending? Even the Yankees with their massive payroll which has been that way for the last several decades spend above the average on the draft, and their spending is understated because the Yankees are one of the biggest spenders in the international market where the Phillies are again one of the most frugal. And yes the Red Sox also greatly outspend the Phillies in the international market so do an upward projection for them also (not that it's needed).

The consequence of this lack of spending is evident in the Phillies aging, dull, simply incompetent lineup. I cringe every time I hear the Phillies referred to as “The Phightens”. What kind of fight can a team put up with a lineup as punch-less as the Phillies?

So have a look at this picture. That is Condoleezza Rice standing next to Phillies owner John $ Middleton (the four billion dollar man). I imagine both David Montgomery and Ruben Amaro Jr. live in expensive houses, possibly with private security. However, when the Rendition Team comes calling late into the night the private security won't help at all. John S. Middleton probably has a big fancy private jet he can loan to the CIA for the task, but if not they can call Red Sox owner Philip Morse and borrow his jet again. I'm not a big fan of the Rendition team, but this is an opportunity for them to redeem themselves.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Phillies Draft History and Dave Montgomery

This sad story begins in 1999. It was not an unsuccessful draft for the Phils. In the 1st round they selected Brett Myers out of high school. A pitcher with a bad reputation already his great arm fell to them as the 12th pick of the 1st round.

Unfortunately, this was the only player of that draft who ever gained any notice. When your draft is about the 1st round pick and nothing else, it was not a good draft.

But it didn't have to be that way.

In the fifth round the Phillies chose another high school pitcher, a lefty named Joe Saunders. You may have heard of him. Three years later the Angels chose him again in the first round out of college.

Why didn't Saunders sign with the Phillies out of high school?

Saunders says the Phillies offered a $150,000 take-it-or-leave-it signing bonus the day after the 1999 draft. When that offer was rejected, Saunders insists he never heard from the organization again.

'To get drafted was such an honor and the whole way they handled it was such an awkward experience for me,' Saunders said Friday before the Phillies and Angels began their weekend interleague series. 'You never see an organization come in with one offer and you get 10 minutes to make your decision, then not talk to you the rest of the summer.'

Members of the Phillies scouting department say Saunders’ story is ridiculous. In their version, repeated follow-up attempts to get a deal done were made. But it was Saunders’ advisor and parents, the Phillies say, who refused to negotiate or even permit the club to speak to Saunders again, in person or over the phone.

'It’s frustrating because obviously we thought we had a chance to get him into the system,' Phillies director of scouting Marti Wolever said.

...Saunders laughed when hearing Wolever’s version.

'What they told you was a fish story,' he said.

The following year the Phillies drafted Chase Utley in the 1st round. Good pick again.

In the sixth round the Phillies drafted Taylor Buchholz, a Pennsylvania high school talent and perhaps after the Joe Saunders experience they had some second thoughts, or maybe it was just the Pennsylvania background. Anyway, they signed Taylor Buchholz for $375,000.

Good move. Taylor Buchholz would later become the key talent in a trade for Billy Wagner. If you want to acquire a prime time MLB talent you need top minor league talent. The better the talent and the younger that talent, the more top minor league talents you need in order to acquire that player.

In 2001 the Phillies received their reward for the 2000 “Bring it On!” Phillies season, one in which they did nothing but trade for Andy Ashby, who we were told would be an “Ace” equal to Curt Schilling (!). Even if he was the team had no chance to be a contender, but Ed Wade and Dave $$$ Montgomery insisted otherwise.

The Phillies lost 97 games, traded Curt Schilling for the “sack of crap” that at least netted them a surprise in Vincente Padilla.

It was also the end of Scott Rolen's time as a Phillie. He had seen enough and wanted out. Made it clear to everyone that there was nothing more to discuss. Curt Schilling being dumped overboard was the last straw.

So now the draft. And who should be there? Why Third baseman Mark Teixeira. That's correct, Gold Glove MLB first baseman Mark Teixeira once was stationed on the hot corner.

But the Phillies took Gavin Floyd, even though Phillies draft talent guru Mike Arbuckle wanted Teixeira and said so before the draft.

The reason for Arbuckle being overruled?


Dave $$$ Montgomery turned thumbs down on Teixeira and his agent Scott Boras who the Phillies have boycotted since Boras became an agent.

Once, and only once the Phillies have chosen a Scott Boras client. J. D. Drew in 1997. Before the draft that year Boras informed the Phillies as is customary as to what the parameters of a deal would look like. The initial asking price would be a multi-year Major League contract for eleven million dollars.

Not only did the Phillies have no intention of paying Drew and Boras that much money, they were determined to not allow anyone else to pay him that much. Immediately following the draft Bill Giles came out of hiding and announced that the Phillies would pay Drew the same as Kris Benson was paid the previous year, $2.8 million.

And the Phillies never moved from that figure and Drew went into the independent leagues and back into the next years draft where he was picked by the Cardinals and paid almost $8 million on a Major League deal.

The Phillies got a supplemental 1st round pick that they squandered on a slot money college outfielder named Eric Valent, who today works as a scout for the Phillies.

And you wonder why Scott Rolen bailed?

So Mark Teixeira went on the following choice in the first round by the Texas Rangers who were ecstatic with their good fortune and happily gave Teixeira a $9.5 million Major League deal. The Rangers also had 3B Hank Blalock who took to 3B faster than Teixeira, and that is how Teixeira became a Gold Glove first baseman instead of a Major League 3B.

The Phillies scouts though were getting better as a crew as the years went on. In the fifth round they took Ryan Howard and hit the ball out of the park. He didn't even cost any money to sign.

That's why he's here today.

But oh what could have been. Today the Phils could have Howard at 1B and Teixeira at 3B. A draft for the ages.

But Dave $$$ Montgomery had other ideas. And unfortunately those ideas have not changed.

Phillies draft spending
2003 $1,417,000 Rank: 30th
2006 $4,842,500 Rank: 16th
2007 $4,092,000 Rank: 22nd
2008 $6,875,000 Rank: 10th
2009 $2,755.000 Rank: 29th
2010 $3,927,900 Rank: 27th

In 2002 the Phillies took a chance on Cole Hamels, who lasted until the 17th pick due to an extremely serious arm injury, the breaking of the humerus bone in his pitching arm (that is the bone running between your bicep and tricep muscles connecting your elbow to your shoulder). Hamels has a metal wire running through that bone into his elbow, he is the only pitcher to have fully recovered from that injury.  He also demanded a few hundred thousand over slot money even with that history.

Later in the 17th round the Phils selected Scott Mathieson out of a British Columbia high school at age 17. His draft bonus has never been disclosed, but it's believed to have been quite reasonable. That's why he's in the Phils farm system. 

Mathison's fastball topped out at 89 MPH on draft day, but Phils scouts projected him to throw harder due to his size and perfect arm motion in delivering his fastball. The scouts were right, and today even after three years of recovering from two Tommy John surgeries Mathieson still lights up a radar gun at 98 MPH. His breaking pitches never developed unfortunately, but Bruce Sutter has been hired to work with him on a split fingered fastball and he's showing some promise, so we might see him come out of the Phils bullpen in 2011.

The Phils did something they had previously not done much of in the 14th round when they took Stanford football star Darin Naatjes. He was 6'9” and 245 lbs and could bring it in the high nineties. His control was suspect but the Phils saw a bullpen roll for him. Unfortunately, like Mathieson he landed on the surgeons table, but did not recover.

So of the three major pitching talents signed by the Phils, two who were healthy had very serious arm injuries subsequently. Cole Hamels, who should have gone in the first three picks of the draft, dropped to the Phils because teams were scared of his previous arm injury, and after several years of scares in the minors -Hamels spent a huge amount of time on the D.L. before arriving in MLB – Hamels has been a top-of-the-rotation workhorse of the first magnitude.

Such is baseball.

In 2003 the Phillies spent less money on the draft than any other team in MLB. Still they came up with Michael Bourn and Kyle Kendrick. Bourn fronted the trade for Brad Lidge, perhaps making the Phillies 2008 season into a World Series winning year as Lidge was perfect, never blowing a save.

However, in the 41st round the Phillies selected Greg Reynolds, a 6'5” RHP with a Stanford scholarship. Mike Arbuckle wanted to pay him. Dave $$$ Montgomery as is his custom said “NO!”. Three years later Reynolds was the third player chosen in the draft by the Rockies. He subsequently developed shoulder problems (possibly from overuse at Stanford). But the lesson is that the Phils scouts knew a stud talent when they took him, but were denied the opportunity to sign him through the interference of Dave Montgomery.

The third overall pick. Snatched three years earlier by the Phils in the 41st round.

2004 was a draft year that nearly brought on a stroke for me when the Phillies picking 21st took Greg Golson, a consensus 2nd round talent due to a suspect bat, solely because he was happy to sign a slot money deal before the draft. Two picks later the Yankees at #23 took Phil Hughes – you may have heard of him – who was the consensus best high school pitching talent in the draft. Hughes would not agree to a pre-draft slot money deal, which was Dave Montgomery's goal before the draft. Golson's bonus? $1.475,000. Phil Hughes? $1,400,000.

Yep, once again as in 1997 the Phillies brass were going out of their way to please Bud Selig. Immediately following Golson's quick signing announcement – rare – Chris Wheeler went on a rant during the TV broadcast of a Phils game talking about how great it was that Golson signed so quick and for slot money and how “poor small market teams like San Diego, Pittsburgh and Kansas City couldn't afford to sign their top pick because of raising bonuses, and something had to be done to send a message”.

Do you care about the price of signing bonuses and whether those teams that live off revenue sharing “can” sign them? Do you want the Phillies to miss out on Phil Hughes to “send a message”? Do you want to miss out on the next J.D. Drew to “send a message”?

Even worse, it's bullsh*t. In 2008 the Kansas City Royals spent $11,104,000 on the draft. The most money ever spent by a MLB team. The Royals spent almost as much in 2008 as the Phillies spent in 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined.

Today the Royals have the best farm system in MLB.

The Phils in the later rounds – without money to spend – selected J. Happ and catcher Lou Marson. Happ fronted the deal for Roy Oswalt, and Lou Marson was the third talent in the package that brought Cliff Lee to the Phils.

Time and again Phillies scouts have proven themselves worthy of being given a blank checkbook, but Dave Montgomery does the exact opposite.

For some reason draft spending by teams for 2004 and 2005 is not available. That's too bad because 2005 has to have been a bigger drop off the graph than 2003 when the Phils were dead last in spending at $1,417,000. The Phils did not spend over slot for anyone and they did not have a 1st round pick. Mike Costanzo as a 2nd round pick got $570,000 as the Phils top pick. In the following round the Phils selected LHP Matt Maloney and in the 10th round Josh Outman. Both were later used in trades, Outman for Joe Blanton and Maloney for Kyle Lohse. The scouts came up big again and Dave $$$ Montgomery did not.

Oh yeah, the Phils also drafted highly regarded RHP Vance Worley. Dave Montgomery put a stop to him becoming a Phillie though. And yes we're talking about the same Vance Worley who is now a good Phillies pitching prospect. Three years later the Phils drafted Worley again, out of college in the third round and he signed guessed it, slot money.

How else would the Phillies get him?

2006 was a good draft year for the Phils though no thanks to Dave Montgomery. Kyle Drabeck who later fronted the Doc Halladay trade was taken in the 1st round and signed for...slot money. The Phils had a supplemental 1st round pick and took 2B Adrian Cardenas who later fronted the Joe Blanton trade. The 2nd round pick is still floating up and down in the person of Andrew Carpenter. Next was Jason Donald who became part of the Cliff Lee trade. Round 20 was again interesting as the year before as the Phils selected five tool outfielder Domonic Brown out of high school. Brown has gotten smarter since 2006 and is now represented by Scott Boras. Then he was not and the Phils signed him for just $200,000.

Scouts came up real big again, Dave Montgomery was no where to be found with the dollars though. In fact Dave Montgomery sabotaged this draft. In the 36th round the Phils drafted 6'5” RHP Kyle Gibson. Over a pittance that would never be noticed in the bottom line at the end of the season Montgomery pushed Kyle Gibson into college where he quickly became a 1st round talent and was picked by the Twins. Right now Gibson is the Twins #1 prospect and is awaiting a place in the Twins rotation to open up.

2007 was a big draft year for Phillies scouts, though no thanks to Dave Montgomery. In fact, Dave Montgomery once again sabotaged the scouts insisting on a fast slot money signing in the first round. This yielded Joe Savery, once a good LHP prospect who burned his shoulder up at Rice University. This was evident with just a glance at his pitiful stats that branded him at best a sixth round pick. All the reasons given for drafting Savery actually applied to Brett Cecil who was still on the board when the Phils chose, but the Phillies didn't have a pre-draft agreement with Cecil so the Phils picker had to choose Savery, who has been a massive bust as a pitcher, so much so that he is now trying to do a Rick Ankiel and become a position player. Savory is off to a blazing start at Clearwater this year so his story could still have a happy ending, but it remains a major screw-up and a continuation of interference by Dave Montgomery that prevents the Phillies' farm system from becoming all it could be.

And it could have been a lot. Rick Porcello was available when the Phillies chose Savery. Of course, he had a $7 million dollar Major League contract price on him, and he was a Scott Boras client and the Dave $$$ Montgomery has forbidden his farm team from ever again drafting a Scott Boras client.

And it did not stop there. Scott Boras had another talented client named Matt Harvey who had a $4 million price tag attached and he was not taken until the 3rd round, so the Phillies could have drafted and signed both Porcello and Harvey (who became a #1 pick of the Mets and may soon be ranked as their best prospect).

If the Phillies had made these signings they could have afforded to make the deal for Roy Halladay after acquiring Cliff Lee in 2009 and had Doc and Cliff in their rotation against the Yankees. Dave Montgomery and his “hate Scott Boras” campaign may have cost the Phillies the 2009 World Series.

In the supplemental 1st round the Phils took Travis D'Arnaud who is now a Blue Jay along with Kyle Drabeck in the Roy Halladay trade.

In the 3rd round Dave Montgomery again exerted his influence stopping the Phils from signing Brandon Workman who was chosen in the 2nd round by the Red Sox last year out of college.

Then the Phillies hit on Michael Taylor in the 5th round and he too became part of the Roy Halladay trade.

Next was 1B Matt Rizzotti who tore it up at Reading last year and for some reason was sent back there again to begin 2011 and is off to a scorching start.

All of that for slot money. What could the Phils farm team have done if they had an open checkbook like the Red Sox farm team?

In 2008 the Phillies had one of their highest spending totals ever, yet 9 teams spent more. The reason was not going over slot either, the Phils simply had extra high selections that carried high slot bonuses.

In round one Dave Montgomery did his thing again and it once again flushed a 1st round pick and the money that the pick cost to sign Anthony Hewitt down the toilet. That's the thing about this policy, it not only screws the franchise out of talent but has wasted millions of dollars by overpaying prospects to enforce the draft slotting system that even teams like the Kansas City Royals have been ignoring for several years.

Zach Collier was a 1st round compensation pick who has been stopped by injuries. He was followed by two 2nd round picks in Anthony Gose and Jason Knapp. Gose went in the Roy Oswalt trade and Knapp was either the 1st or 2nd highest rated talent to go in the Cliff Lee trade.

Then in round three the Phils again took Vance Worley out of college after they gave him the Dave Montgomery “you're not getting paid by us!” treatment out of high school in 2005.

Then another compensation pick who the Phils turned into 17 year old Jon Pettibone who is now part of the highly anticipated 2011 Clearwater rotation, immediately followed by 4th rounder Trevor May who is also part of this years Clearwater rotation. And it doesn't stop there. In round eight the Phils picked 17 year old Julio Rodriguez out of Puerto Rico, and he is part of the 2011 Clearwater rotation.

In the 11th round they plucked Mike Stutes out of college and he is at triple-A Lehigh Valley and likely part of the Phillies pen before the season is over.

And then all the way down in the 38th round the Phils made their one over slot money pick, surprising everyone by giving Jarred Cosart $550,000, and he is considered the ace of this years Clearwater staff after missing the 2009 season with Tommy John surgery.

In round 12 the Phils drafted, but would not pay Ryan Weber out of a Clearwater high school. The next year he was drafted out of a community college and signed by the Braves and is off to a good start in the Sally league this year.

What players did the Phils not draft because of bonus demands? Six picks after Anthony Hewitt the Red Sox chose Casey Kelly. He cost $3 million deferred over five years. About twice what Anthony Hewitt cost. But Casey Kelly is a real talent and was used by the Red Sox this winter as the number one talent in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. I really liked Gerrit Cole. The Yankees took him three picks after Hewitt. He didn't sign and I suppose we have to assume that the Yankees didn't hold to slot money, but they got the pick over next year and getting to pick over is a lot better than wasting one and half million dollars on Anthony Hewitt.

2009 was another grand slam Dave $$$ Montgomery year. The Phils were 29th in draft spending. They did not have a 1st round pick and for the first time they took a talent out of the 1st round and paid supplemental 1st round money to sign him. His name is Brody Colvin and he is the last mentioned of this years well regarded Clearwater rotation. He received $900,000 as a 7th round pick and that was the highest bonus by far that the Phillies paid in this draft.

But the Phils scouts had a big year too, not only convincing Dave Montgomery to do something that most other clubs will do, but the Phillies never did, but finding another gem in the very next round after Colvin, and he was someone that Dave Montgomery loved too because Jonathan Singleton, like Domonic Brown years earlier, signed for just $200,000. Today Singleton is the Phillies best hitting prospect, a can't miss 19 year old.

Think about this: Just $400,000 for both Domonic Brown and Jonathan Singleton. That's less than third round slot money! Imagine what the Phils farm team could do if they were given some real money to spend every year?

There were other “tough signs” looking for money who the Phils picked in 2009. Jake Stewart is now at Stanford in his 2nd season starting for the Cardinals. Stewart is a five tool CF type of prospect.

Then there is the one who is likely to hurt for a long time. Catcher Andrew Susac – highly regarded pre-draft – was taken in the sixteenth round. He tore it up at Oregon State to the point that he looks like a potential Joe Mauer bat. He was recently injured but is still expected to go in the 1st round. Jim Callis of Baseball America can't stop Tweeting about Andrew Susac.

2010 was not a good year for the Phils in the draft. Dave Montgomery wrapped both hands around the throat of the Phils farm staff and choked them unconscious. The Phillies spent less than than $4 million on the entire draft, placing them 27th in draft spending.

The Red Sox spent $10.6 million.

Once again the Phillies overdrafted their 1st round pick. Jesse Biddle is a good LHP prospect, but was probably destined to go in the 2nd round. From here on it gets ugly.

Fifth round, 6'7” 220lb RHP Scott Frazier wanted to sign, he also wanted in the neighborhood of $1 million. Dave Montgomery told him to go find another neighborhood to play in. He did. Frazier is currently being moved into the starting rotation at Randy Wolf's old college Pepperdine University.

Then in the ninth round five tool outfielder Brenton Allen was told to take his talent to UCLA.

In the 19th round Georgia Tech recruit Daniel Palka, a 1B/OF/LHP who was highly regarded and expected to be paid accordingly found out that Dave Montgomery was not swayed by such high opinions. Palka was moved into the Georgia Tech lineup from day one as a freshman and is profiling as a 1st round pick in two years.

The Phillies blew off more talent then they signed.

The top four spending teams and what they spent:

Nationals $11,927,200
Pirates $11,900,400
Blue Jays $11,594,400
Red Sox $10,664,400

Yes even the Pirates and Blue Jays, two notorious low spenders have learned the futility of choking the farm.

Totaling the spending for the last three years the Phillies are 28th in MLB. The future does not look bright. The history of teams that operate like this is poor. The baseball odds say that the Phillies farm system will sink into quicksand and disappear if Dave $$$ Montgomery is not stopped.