Jimmy Rollins and the Philadelphia Phillies are at the threshold of the bank vault. Is there anybody that believes Rube Amaro will not try to do anything with the approximately $10M left in the payroll budget? He may utilize $5M at the trading deadline and that allows $5-6M for pitching. He says he may only chase a 2nd lefty for the relief corps, like George Sherrill, who made $1.2M in Atlanta. He needs 2 hurlers but 2 green front-end relievers cost only $1M total.
I am doing a weekly Baseball-Fix Monday that I’ll start on January 9. Also, I’ll publish after every game that is not washed out during the year. My format will remain the same in 2012 with Nitecap Insight, The Precap and The Apocalyptic Horsemen. The opening will feature certain players plus participants who warrant mention, good and bad, for what they have done in the contest or clubhouse. Penthouse Occupancy will cover all remarkable plays along with solid performances during critical moments by the red pinstripes. The best of those will receive The Crystal Champagne Toast. Cholley’s Doghouse is filled every now and then with a slacking effort. The Outhouse is for something that stinks, like a bad ump call. The Glass House is a stone’s throw away for a man who blows his opportunity to nail a juicier role. The Miniature Mansion is for off-field excellence, like a locker-room influence. However, these houses don’t have visitors after every battle: Some do and others don’t. The Kangaroo Court House will be added to the review for 2012.
The Plan To 25, Conclusion:
An agreement with J-Roll is progressing, and I will venture a $10M guess for his 2012 dollars in red pinstripes. I will update this article after his finances for the upcoming season are announced. There are 2 spots left in the arms race and only southpaw Sherrill has flown above the radar. There are also the possible returns of Roy Oswalt and/or Brad Lidge. Even Sherrill and Lidge would be a $4M tally. There is hidden action behind the front-office facade, which means a surprise or two is around the corner for January.
Oswalt is trying to swing a 3-summer deal with the Nats, but his health is a huge obstacle for contending clubs. He has to chose between the money or the ring with a bounce-back ‘12. Oswalt is comfortable in Philly and isn’t the type to easily change teams, which means another 162 is possible. Lidge has had injury trouble for the last couple of springs, and even the Mets went in another direction. He could be a very valuable 7th-inning set-up candidate, where batters are less selective than in the final 2 frames. Even if he misses the beginning months, he is a plus when the wins get tougher. Sherrill was the third left wing for the Braves but the locals are more balanced this year, which means Atlanta will spend their limited resources elsewhere.
The staff is: Doc Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, and Vance Worley or Kyle Kendrick. Kentucky Joe could have elbow problems, the Vanimal could have been a 1-season wonder, and a whole summer rotation-wise of Kendrick could expose him. Oswalt would provide the 7-man squad that worked well in 2011. Plus, a health issue for the Doctor, General or King would be troubling, but the Wizard would plug that gap seamlessly.
The ’pen is: Jon Papelbon, Jose Contreras, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes, and Kendrick or Worley. Bastardo and Stutes struggled down the stretch in the pressure months without a foe within striking range. Bastardo had 6 of 8 poor outings to finish September, and his confidence was a major concern. His ledger during those 8 read: 4.2 innings, 9 hits, 9 all-earned runs, 7 free passes and 4 strikeouts for a 17.36 ERA. Stutes had 11 bad appearances out of his last 26 to end ‘11 after many solid showings, and he had a 3.63 ERA, which increased from a sparkling 2.45 ERA. His mark for those 26 was: 32.2 frames, 32 hits, 17 all-earned runs, 15 walks (2 intentional), 28 K’s and a 4.68 ERA. The league caught up with him and his swagger took a hit. Growing pains or one and done? Contreras had difficulty staying on the mound, is that a warning sign? Lidge needs ‘12 to revive his bullpen value.
Amaro has $171.5M before he pierces through his ceiling after buyouts and $3M for incentive clauses achieved this year. Ty Wigginton ($2M), Laynce Nix ($1.15M), Ben Francisco ($1.5M), the 12th thrower in the ’pen ($.5M) or an injury will be the determining factor, while Brian Schneider, Wilson Valdez and Jim Thome will not. He also has the prorated 26th man’s salary, which I’ll estimate by the 4-player average above of $1.29M. $.32M will pay for 1.5 months without Ryan Howard, which increases disposable funds to another $.97M. The 14 signed members of the franchise are at $123.15M: 5 pitchers ($63.5M) and 9 sticks ($59.65M). The rest of their returning 10 teammates are at $38.75M: 5 bats ($21.25M) and 5 arms ($17.5M). $161.9M is the amount minus $.97M to equal $160.93M.
The hurlers are at $63.5M: Doc ($20M), Lee ($21.5M), Blanton ($8.5M), Contreras ($2.5M) and Papelbon ($11M). The 9 position players are at $59.65M: C Chooch Ruiz ($3.7M), 1B Ryno ($20M), 2B Chase Utley ($15M), 3B Polly Polanco ($6.25M), CF Shane Victorino ($9.5M), Thome ($1.25M), Wigginton ($2M), C Schneider ($.8M) and Nix ($1.15M). $21.25M accounts for: INF Valdez ($.75M), John Mayberry Jr. ($1M), Francisco ($1.5M), Hunter Pence ($8M) and Rollins ($10M). $17.5M is for: Bastardo ($1M), Worley ($1M), Kendrick ($3M), Stutes ($.5M) and Hamels ($12M). $9.6M plus $.97M prorated Benjamins over 4.5 months leaves $10.57M for 2 wings. Oswalt ($9M) and Lidge or Sherrill ($1.5M plus incentives) reach the tax ceiling. The 2 relief jobs ($.5M each) also could come from: RHP Brian Sanches, LHP Raul Valdes, LHP Joe Savery, David Herndon, Justin De Fratus or Michael Schwimer.
Pitching is the favorite part of Rube’s roster. Gio Gonzalez would be the replacement for Oswalt and the backup plan behind Hamels. For the playoffs Doc, Lee, Hamels and Gonzalez is Amaro’s thinking. He made the MLB minimum ($.5M), and after 2 stellar seasons he is poised to be too expensive for the A’s. He went 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA after producing a 15-9 record and a 3.23 ERA in 2010. I cannot comfortably feel that Amaro is done spending with $6-to-11M available. You can expect rumors about experienced arms between now and opening day. And don’t be surprised by another run at Gonzalez with a package of Dom Brown and Worley or Kendrick plus 2 prospects. Gonzalez, Sherrill and Lidge would be affordable at $6M for the current annual bottom line.
Quick Math Recap:
The dollars are very complicated and can be confusing, which is why I’ll list them here. The $178M Luxury Tax threshold is dropped by $3M (incentive clauses) and $3.5M (buyouts) for $171.5M minus payroll estimate. 24 slots at $160.61M–which includes a 26th-player minus of $1.29M (average)–and a prorated $.32M for that 26th man during 6 weeks without Ryno equal $160.93M. You subtract $160.93M from $171.5M for a $10.57M balance to work with. The $6M for Gonzalez, Sherrill and Lidge is deducted from $10.57M, which leaves $4.57M plus $1M (traded Worley) to equal a remaining $5.57M. You need the checkbook to separate reality from fan-like fantasy.
Francisco ($1.5M) is now a Blue Jay, which changes the 26th man to Scott Podsednik ($.5M). Podsednik’s 6 weeks compute to $.1M, which frees up $1.4M. That is added to the $10.57M at the time of publication. $11.97M becomes the $12M question. I will provide updates in real time.
The Path to 25, Part 1 is ( Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: The Talent Trail ) in my previous publication. This is the second storyline from 2012 that can be found in my author archives ( Tal Venada ).
The Phillies finished 42 games over .500, which equaled a year of many positives. I have many summer-long highlights of puzzle pieces, especially after drubbings and defeats. I alternated the 2011 ERA For The NL East ( Philadelphia Phillies: 2011 ERA For The NL East At Game 162 And Final ) and 2011 ERA For The MLB 5 ( Philadelphia Phillies: Final 2011 ERA For The MLB 5 At Game 162 ) with the last 2 in the links. Check out The Phillies page by placing the pointer over MLB at the top, and click on the name. Thank you, to all who bookmark my page, because feeds are erratic at times. Many visitors come from these outlets, and it is always obvious when one of those didn’t work. Tal’s Handy Stats is daily coverage.