Roy Oswalt might just return to the Philadelphia Phillies. Brad Lidge is also a decent possibility. Could Ryan Madson fall through the cracks too?
I am doing a weekly Baseball-Fix Monday until the end of March. Also, I’ll publish after every game that is not washed out during the summer. My format will remain the same in 2012 with Nitecap Insight, The Precap (restructured as the Precap Pitch), and The Apocalyptic Horsemen. Cap-Size Hindsight 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 ‘12. Fun House Of Mirrors will also be a new wrinkle this year. Big House Key will lock some in and reveal The Rising Son on others.
You might have noticed that I have picked up a detractor, who claims I lack originality. He did me a favor because I reviewed the moving parts, discovering my Precap needed improvement. I will be doing the Precap Pitch this season, which is an innovative non-stat-oriented approach.
It was such a common statement that I missed it at first. Usually, there is no significance to this paraphrased comment: I am done unless something falls in my lap. This time, however, there is more than wishful thinking. There are 3 wings on the market who are running out of landing spots: Oswalt, Lidge and Madson. As more hours drop off the clock, the price tag becomes an interesting element. Unfortunately, certain contract information hasn’t been listed for Jimmy Rollins, which means his 2012 dollars are not in the public domain. Those details were one of the casualties over the holidays, like a few others. J-Roll was inked for an average of $11M per year but his ‘12 pay could be $10M. That $1M difference is important to calculate how much flexibility Rube Amaro has with the checkbook. Without that missing puzzle piece, Amaro has $9.15M or $10.15M at his disposal.
There have been 8 clubs mentioned in relation to the Wizard of Os. The Twins have opted for Jason Marquis, while Texas has paid millions to negotiate with Yu Darvish. The Nats dealt 4 prospects to Oakland for Gio Gonzalez. Miami is gambling on Carlos Zambrano, who will appeal to their substantial Latino community, like Jose Reyes and manager Ozzie Guillen. That’s why Albert Pujols was chased–but not Prince Fielder. Oswalt is down to 4 franchises: the Jays, Sox, Yanks and Cards. St. Louis has a rotation of Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook. Lohse or Westbrook would have to be swapped for that eventuality. In other words, Roy won’t suit up there.
Boston and New York would be saddled with the undesirable luxury tax, which is a percentage that increases each time its threshold is breached. The first overage is 17.5%, the second is 30%, the third is 40% and the fourth is 50%. The Yankees have been assessed penalties of: $25.7M (2009), $18M (2010) and $13.9M (2011). The Red Sox were charged $1.5M (‘10) and $3.4M (‘11). Boston is looking at an inexpensive alternative in Paul Maholm, while New York has said $12M plus tax is too much for Hiroki Kuroda. Both organizations are determined to keep their expenditures at or near the $178M mark, and the Yanks have cut their annual payment almost in half after 2 summers. The young Steinbrenners are not willing to swallow empty payroll.
The Blue Jays are the only destination remaining before that falls-into-my-lap situation becomes reality. So, we’re down to 1 team with a 1-year deal in Canada. I don’t believe that Little Roy is motivated by a few more greenbacks, and feel that reviving his value in the AL East would not be his first selection. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos has a preference for trades over free agency, and he favors acquiring a mid-to-top-of-the-rotation starter that way, like Wandy Rodriguez. Anthopoulos also needs a power bat and should fill 1 of his 2 main vacancies in the next 2 weeks.
The Cardinals are the most likely to sign Madson for their hammer, which is their gaping hole. The Rays may be a strong suitor with the AL East financial goals of their 2 competitors and a 2nd wild card in the mix. The Rangers see him as a fallback plan for Darvish, because Neftali Feliz could switch from closer to the 5-man staff. The Reds are pursuing a 1-season approach with Francisco Cordero. The Halos, however, could be decoying Scott Boras with their budget-related statements. 3 seasons for $30M is the projected sticker price, which means that a 162 at $7M in a set-up role is highly unlikely–but not impossible. Lidge may turn out to be a bargain at $1M plus incentives, because he is not drawing much attention–except for the Rox. He has a recent history of arm miseries in April and May.
|HURLER||W-L||ERA||TOP||BAD||OK||2012 $||LAST DEAL|
Due to space limitations: Top = Good, OK = Fair
I did not include Kerry Wood last week in the group of available relievers. He wants to stay in Chicago and the Cubs have set their sights on him also. That said, will the rebuilding of Theo Epstein change things? Also, he did have arthroscopic surgery after being sidelined during mid-September for a torn meniscus in his left knee. Wood made $10.5M in 2010 but accepted a management-friendly $1.5M to work at Wrigley again. He would be worth inking for more than one 6-month campaign, and would solidify the eighth in front of Jonathan Papelbon. That said, he is a huge if of a wrinkle.
I suspect that Rube is watching these three 2011 Phils very closely and may add 2 to his roster. He may desire that instead of spending $5M for a FA reliever or empting his farm system. The concept here is to see who is left after the dust settles. That applies to other free agents, as well. From a negotiating posture, Amaro is ready for spring training unless someone changes his mind. He never has enough pitching, he can always barter the excess for another need, and prorated benjamins will keep the cost down. That means $5M can be stretched a long way, and he’ll still leave enough for July.
My inclination here is that he will snag Oswalt and Lidge with health-clause-related contracts. Both would prefer to return, revive their respective careers, and have a shot at a ring. Brad’s situation could be based on appearances or percentage of ‘12 without injury, which could produce the $1M number. The Wizard’s payout would be accrued by games started, which means 16 would equal a 3-month commitment. That could end up at $4-5M. If Lights Out is activated for 6 months instead of 4, that would only be a plus. Os for a full 162 would be worth the incentive-laden comeback. I believe that these 2 known hurlers are about to land on Rube’s desk.
One Open Seat In The ‘Pen is ( Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: The Final Roster Spot ) my previous publication. Familiar Reinforcements is the 6th storyline from 2012 that can be found on the Phillies page ( Phillies | isportsweb ) or 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. Thank you, to all who bookmark the Phillies 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.
Note: A site format change slightly altered the original ERA postings, but I’ll adjust my material accordingly for 2012. Two photos were used for game 162 on both, where 1 to 161 (1 picture) experienced only minimal distortion, unlike the finals.