Tag: michael taylor

Stupefied in Seattle

Apparently the fans aren’t the only ones who were surprised when the Phillies traded Cliff Lee away. Lee said yesterday that he was shocked and that he fully expected to sign a long term deal with the Phils and spend the rest of his career with the team. He also said that he and his agent made a counter offer to the Phillies offer of an extension on the day that he was traded.

With another day to reflect I’m still feeling really good about the deal for Halladay, but still curious about the Lee trade.

On the Halladay deal I don’t think there’s a whole lot you can complain about. If Michael Taylor turns into an All-Star and if the Phillies can’t afford to bring back Werth after 2010, maybe they’ll be sorry. That’s two ifs in one sentence, though. Halladay is just phenomenal and the Phillies have signed him to a fantastic extension. I think you have to stretch pretty hard to find something to worry about with Halladay. Maybe the innings pitched — 266 when he was 26-years-old in 2003 and at least 220 for each of the past four years. But I think that’s a reach. He has just been outstanding and I think it’s reasonable to expect he will continue to be.

The Lee trade seems worse. Yesterday my mood on the Lee deal was mostly frustration that the Phils were unwilling to keep him along with Halladay. Forgetting that, at this point I’m wondering why the Phillies didn’t get more if they were going to trade him. How many teams would have been interested in Lee for one year at $9 million? I don’t know the answer, but I think it has to be a lot. I don’t understand why the Phillies weren’t able to get higher profile prospects that were more likely to help the Phils in the short term if they were going to trade him. That’s not to say that the guys that they got back don’t have a chance to help the Phillies. I think they do. I’m just surprised at what the Phillies got back considering the talent that they traded away. Anybody watch the World Series last year?

Halladay could pitch for the Phillies in 2014 at $20 million if he throws 415 innings between 2012 and 2013 combined, including at least 225 in 2013.

Tyson Gillies, who the Phillies acquired from Seattle, is legally deaf. He reads lips and wears hearing aids in both ears. The linked articles suggest that the biggest challenge this presents comes in running the bases as he has problems hearing instructions from coaches and teammates. Gillies shined on the bases in 2009, though. He had a monster year in the Class A Advanced California League last season, hitting 341/430/486 with 14 triples and 44 stolen bases. He led the league in stolen bases, was third in batting average and tied for second in triples.

There won’t be any new posts at Philliesflow until after December 27.


The doctor is in

Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are among the elite pitchers in baseball, but there’s no question that Halladay has had the better career to this point. Halladay is less than a year and a half older than Lee, but has thrown 850 more innings than Lee. His innings have been better, too, as the numbers Halladay has put up overall are simply better than Lee’s.

Lee had a miserable 2007 season. He strained his groin in spring training and things got worse from there. He ended the year with a 6.29 ERA. He was fantastic in 2008 as he won the AL Cy Young award. Even over the last two years, though, Halladay has been better. Here’s what the two did in ’08 and ’09 combined:

  IP ERA Ratio
Halladay 485 2.78 1.09
Lee 455 2.89 1.18

That includes 2009, when Lee pitched about 35% of his innings in the National League.

Halladay has certainly been more the more consistent of the two. Lee has had two disastrous seasons out of the past six — 2007 and 2004. Halladay was awful over 67 2/3 innings in 2000, but that’s the only year of his career he’s put up an ERA+ under 115.

Here’s the rate at which the two have allowed hits, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and triples and home runs per 100 plate appearances over their careers:

  H/100 BB/100 XBH/100 (2B+3B)
/100
HR/100
Halladay 23.7 5.4 6.8 4.7 2.0
Lee 24.1 6.5 8.0 5.4 2.6

Halladay comes out ahead in all five categories.

It tightens up a little if you just look at the last two years. Important to remember is that Halladay has had five seasons in which he threw 100 innings or more with an ERA+ that was better than his ERA+ the year that he won the Cy Young award (2003). Lee’s Cy Young came in 2008 and he hasn’t had another year that was nearly as good. Here are their rates for the same five categories for the past two years:

  H/100 BB/100 XBH/100 (2B+3B)
/100
HR/100
Halladay 23.3 3.8 6.6 4.5 2.1
Lee 24.7 4.1 6.5 4.9 1.6

Halladay still was better at preventing hits and walks, but did allow home runs at a slightly higher rate than Lee.

One obvious difference between the two pitchers is that Halladay is right-handed and Lee is a lefty. It’s Halladay that’s been the better of the two against lefties over his career, though. They’ve both been good, but Halladay has held lefties to a puny 240/270/377 line while lefties have hit slightly better, 268/309/405, against Lee. Halladay, as you would expect, has been better against righties (278/305/389 compared to 262/318/415 against Lee).

The series of moves that brings Halladay to Philadelphia and sends Lee to Seattle are done. First the Phillies traded Lee to the Mariners for right-handed pitchers Phillippe Aumont and JC Ramirez and center fielder Tyson Gillies. The Phillies then traded Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis d’Arnaud to the Blue Jays for Halladay and $6 million.

The article linked above says that Halladay has signed a three-year extension that will make Halladay a Phillie through at least 2013. Halladay will make $20 million a year for three years after making $15.75 million in 2010.

It’s great to have Halladay on the team. If he’s not the best pitcher in baseball he’s definitely in the conversation. The frustrating thing, of course, is that the Phillies were unwilling to keep Lee for 2010 given how reasonable his contract was. When you think back to how much the Phillies have paid Geoff Jenkins and Adam Eaton not to play in recent years, and how much they will be paying Moyer to play this year, the failure to keep Lee for reasons that seem to be purely financial is even a little more frustrating. The prospects the Phillies traded away are better and more likely to contribute at the big league level in the next few years than the ones they got back. It’s great to have Halladay for three more years, but if you’re willing to pay your ace $20 million a year you’ve got a really good chance to get someone fantastic.

On the other hand, the Phillies are better today than they were before the trade. Halladay seems to clearly want to be in Philadelphia. He would have gotten a much better contract somewhere else if he had waited. If you’re willing to pay your ace $20 million you’re going to get someone really good, but you’re not going to get Halladay to sign a short three-year contract.


Halladay shopping

A trade may be in the works that would bring 32-year-old right-handed pitcher and former Cy Young winner Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. Maybe you’ve heard.

Speculation abounds, but the best guess at this point seems to be that the Phillies will get Halladay, cash and some prospects. The Seattle prospects the Phillies get may include right-handed pitchers Phillippe Aumont and Juan Ramirez and center fielder Tyson Gillies.

The Phillies may trade away Cliff Lee and some combination of players that could include Michael Taylor, Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and JA Happ. It has also been speculated that the Phillies would also need to trade Joe Blanton to clear away payroll.

Nobody seems to know for sure. We’re going to have to wait and see what happens.

I think we do know these things, however:

  • Both pitchers have been very good over their careers, but Halladay has been better than Lee.
  • Lee was outstanding for the Phillies in the post-season last year. Halladay has never pitched in the playoffs, but it’s hard to imagine that he could contribute more than Lee did in 2009.
  • Lee has the much better contract for 2009, but Halladay appears to be more willing to sign an extension to pitch for the Phillies beyond 2010 than Lee.

Again, we’re going to have to wait and see what if anything happens. Halladay is fantastic, but so is Lee. And Drabek or Taylor or Happ is a lot of talent to trade away. Hopefully the price for the opportunity to pay Halladay $20 million a year or more in 2011 and beyond isn’t too steep.

In other less dramatic news, the Phillies did not offer a contract to Clay Condrey before Saturday’s deadline, but will be bringing back his fellow right-handed reliever Chad Durbin. Here’s what the two have done for the Phils over the past two seasons:

  IP ERA Ratio
Condrey 111 3.16 1.40
Durbin 157 1/3 3.55 1.39

And here are the rates the two have allowed hits, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and triples and home runs per 100 plate appearances over the past two seasons:

  H BB XBH 2B+3B HR
Condrey 25.6 6.9 7.3 5.2 2.1
Durbin 20.2 12.1 5.6 3.7 1.9

Condrey gave up more hits and Durbin walked batters more regularly. Durbin had a monster walk rate last year. His rate of allowing hits per 100 plate appearances was better than any pitcher on the team except for Eyre and Romero. He walked way too many, though, his rate of walks per 100 plate appearances was the worst of any Phillies pitcher except for Romero.

There’s no question that Condrey had the better 2009 of the two. Durbin held opponents to a .220 batting average against, but walked 47 in 69 2/3 innings and posted a ratio of 1.48 for the year. While Condrey was solid in both 2008 and 2009, Durbin’s 2008 was the best of the two years for either of the two. Durbin was outstanding in 2008. He faded a bit in the second half but threw 52 1/3 innings with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.20 ratio in the first half of that year and was a stabilizing force in a very good Phillies bullpen as the Phils won it all.

Over the past three years, Durbin has seen the rate at which he’s allowing hits decrease and the rate at which he’s walking batters increase dramatically. It’s certainly great to see him allowing fewer hits, but he’s going to have a hard time being successful if he continues to walk batters at his ’09 levels.

The bottom line for me on this one is that I’m a little disappointed that the Phillies will not be bringing Condrey back. The reasoning was no doubt that he had pitched well enough in recent years that he would have been given a pretty significant raise in 2010 had the Phillies offered him a contract. I don’t think it was a mistake to bring back Durbin, but I think the Phillies are going to wind up paying him more than someone else will be paying Condrey and there’s a good chance that Condrey will have a better year.


Brother, can you spare $115,384 so we can beat the Nats 6-2 instead of 5-2?

The rise to super-stardom by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard has helped bring the Phillies a championship and a whole lot of spectacular moments. It has also brought a payroll challenge. Utley and Howard have been fantastic offensive players over the last four seasons. They were great four years ago, great last year and the Phillies are counting on them to keep on being great in 2010. But while the amount of offense they are producing hasn’t improved over the past four years, the amount of money that the Phillies have to pay them to produce it has.

The chart below shows the number of runs they each created in 2009 (as calculated by Baseball-Reference), their ’09 salary and the salary over runs created. It also shows the same information for the 2006 season.

  Runs
Created
Salary $/RC
Howard ’09 130 $15,000,000 $115,384
Howard ’06 169 $355,000 $2,100
       
Utley ’09 130 $11,285,714 $86,813
Utley ’06 136 $500,000 $3,676

The point here is not that Utley and Howard are overpaid. It’s also not that they’re anything but great offensive players. They are — in 2006, Howard led the NL in runs created and Utley was fifth. In 2009 they tied for fifth in the league with 130 runs created.

The point is that in 2009 they created about the same or less offense and it cost the Phillies about 55 times as much for Howard to produce a run as it did in 2006 and about 23 1/2 times as much for Utley.

Last year the Phillies spent about $57.1 million to pay their offensive players and scored 820 runs. Let’s pretend that for each of the past four years the Phillies had spent $57.1 million on offensive players and also tried to score the 820 runs they did in 2009. Using runs created as the measurement, the amount of offense produced by Utley and Howard is not improving. It’s high, but has stayed very much the same for Utley since ’06 and gone down a little for Howard. So to get to 820 every year they get similar offense from Howard and Utley, but need to get the same contribution from the players who aren’t Utley and Howard and have a lot less money to pay them.

The Phillies didn’t pay their offensive players $57.1 million in 2006. If they had, though, the $855,000 they paid Utley and Howard would have accounted for about 1.5% of the offensive payroll. In 2009, the $26,285,714 was about 46% of $57.1 million. With Utley and Howard producing at about the same rates in both years it would leave the Phils about $56.2 million to pay non-Utley or Howard players in 2006 and about $30.8 million to pay them in 2009.

If Utley and Howard do the same thing every year, that’s about half the money to acquire players from whom you need the same result.

Of course, the Phillies payroll isn’t staying the same year after year. It’s rising. With help from USA Today’s Baseball Salary Database we see that in 2006 the Phillies payroll was about $88.3 million and in 2009 it was about $113 million.

The problem is, though, that it wasn’t rising as fast as the salaries for Utley and Howard. The table below shows the payroll for each of those years, how much Utley and Howard combined to make and how much all of the players on payroll other than Utley and Howard combined to make:

  Payroll Utley and
Howard
All
players other than Utley and Howard
2009 $113,004,046 $26,285,714 $86,718,332
2006 $88,273,333 $855,000 $87,418,333

So despite the fact that the Phillies spent almost $25 million more on payroll in 2009 than in 2006, they spent less to pay players that were not Utley and Howard.

Again, Utley and Howard are great but they’re not getting better. If the goal is to get the same or better results from the rest of the team it leaves the Phillies with less money to do so.

Good news, though. Just about everyone seems to think that the Phillies payroll for 2010 will be about $140 million. Let’s pretend it is exactly that. Knowing that Howard will make $19 million in 2010 and Utley will make $15 million, we can add 2010 to the list:

  Payroll Utley and
Howard
All
players other than Utley and Howard
2009 $113,004,046 $26,285,714 $86,718,332
2006 $88,273,333 $855,000 $87,418,333
       
2010 $140,000,000 $34,000,000 $106,000,000

Nifty. So compared to 2006, the Phillies didn’t spend more money on players other than Utley and Howard than they did in 2009, but they sure will in 2010 (if their payroll really is $140 million).

Finally, a payroll jump from $113 to $140 million would be a huge one for the Phillies. By total dollars the jump of about $27 million from the 2009 payroll would be the biggest for the team in more than 20 years. By percentage things get weirder — remember that the Phillies went to the World Series in 1993 with a payroll under $27 million. So things have changed. Still, $140 million is about 123.9% of $113 million, which would be the biggest percentage jump for the Phils since 2004. In 2003 the payroll was about $70.8 million. In 2004 it rose to about $93.2 million — the ’04 payroll was about 131.7% of the ’03 payroll after a jump of about $22.4 million.

This suggests that the Phillies might be offering JA Happ and one of Domonic Brown or Michael Taylor in a deal for Halladay. Really? I would be surprised if that happened.

The Phillies took 24-year-old right-handed pitcher David Herndon in the first round of the Rule 5 draft. John Sickels writes about him here. You can see the results of the Rule 5 draft here.

Pedro Feliz and Brandon Lyon will both be Astros.


And this year if you could win the World Series twice I think everyone will be happy with that

Did Ruben Amaro take a Phillies team that won the World Series and make it better? I think he did. Whether or you agree with that opinion or not, the Phillies are on pace to win more games in 2009 than they did in 2008. After last night’s game the Phillies are on pace to go 95-67 on the year, which would give them three more wins than they had in 2008.

With a win on Tuesday night the Phillies also did something they hadn’t done since the 1993 season. They went 23 games above .500. Here’s the most games above .500 they’ve been for each of the last 17 years:

Year Most games
above .500
1993 35
1994 3
1995 19
1996 5
1997 1
1998 5
1999 13
2000 0
2001 17
2002 3
2003 16
2004 10
2005 14
2006 9
2007 16
2008 22
2009 23

After topping out at 22 games above .500 in 2008, the Phils hit 23 games above .500 this week. But is the team better than the other teams in the last 17 seasons? Better than last year’s team? For each of the seasons through the last time they were 23 games above .500 or better, here’s the average number of runs the Phillies have scored and allowed per game, the difference between those numbers and how that difference compares to the other seasons in the group:

Year RS/G RA/G Diff Diff Rank
1993 5.41 4.57 0.85 1
1994 4.53 4.32 0.21 9
1995 4.27 4.57 -0.30 13
1996 4.01 4.88 -0.86 16
1997 4.12 5.19 -1.06 17
1998 4.40 4.99 -0.59 14
1999 5.19 5.22 -0.03 11
2000 4.37 5.12 -0.75 15
2001 4.60 4.44 0.17 10
2002 4.41 4.50 -0.09 12
2003 4.88 4.30 0.58 4
2004 5.19 4.82 0.36 7
2005 4.98 4.48 0.50 5
2006 5.34 5.01 0.33 8
2007 5.51 5.07 0.44 6
2008 4.93 4.20 0.73 3
2009 5.12 4.36 0.76 2

So, for example, the 1993 team scored an average of 5.41 runs per game and allowed an average of 4.57 runs per game. The difference between the average number of runs they scored and allowed is 0.85 and of the 17 teams in the list the 0.85 difference is the best (ranked one of 17).

After the 1993 team the 2009 Phillies are the team in the group with the best differential between the average number of runs they scored and allowed.

Amaro obviously didn’t do it all himself. The players, for example, deserve most of the credit. Still, just about everything has come up roses for Amaro in his first year as GM. There have been two enormous decisions that Amaro has made so far for 2009 and both of them have worked out really well for the Phillies. First, the Phillies brought in Ibanez to take over for Burrell. Despite the long slump with the bat, Ibanez has been better offensively and defensively. Second, the Phillies needed to make a deal for a pitcher at the deadline and did they ever — Amaro deftly navigated a dicey situation with Roy Halladay and pulled an ace in Cliff Lee without giving up the farm.

It’s hard to get too excited about it when Francisco is on-basing .261 with the team, but I think the addition of Francisco is going to be an important one down the stretch. The Phillies had an enormous need for a right-handed hitter and Francisco was a great fit. The Phils also answered the questions about who would be the fifth starter in Amaro’s first year — whoever was responsible for the decision to plug Happ into the role, Happ has gone 8-4 with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.20 ratio in his 19 starts with the team.

I wasn’t a fan of the Ronny Paulino for Jack Taschner deal, but I think it’s pretty tough to find much criticism for what Amaro has done this year. Even if the Phillies somehow tanked and didn’t make the playoffs or got bounced out of the playoffs early I don’t think I’d feel like that happened because the team was poorly constructed. I think there may be one exception to that and one big test left, which is what they are going to do at the back of the bullpen with Lidge. Lidge has been awful almost all year long and if a weak performance from Lidge costs the Phils in the post-season I think the team will have opened itself up to some criticism.

Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor won the Paul Owens Award for the best pitcher and position player in the Phillies’ minor league system. Drabeck appeared in 25 games between Single-A and Double-A and went 12-3 with a 3.19 ERA and a 1.21 ratio. Drabek turns 22 in December. Taylor played mostly at Double-A but also at Triple-A this season and hit 320/395/549 with 20 home runs and 21 steals. He turns 24 in December.

The article linked above says that Condrey and Bastardo will both make rehab appearances today. It also seems to suggest that the Phillies might have problems finding space for both Condrey and Walker on the post-season roster if there is a post-season roster and both are healthy. If both are healthy I would be surprised if both are not on the post-season roster.


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