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

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. 


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