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  1. Two straight World Series *appearances*

    As a Dodger fan I’m eager to see Werth leave the bad guys… and I’m also curious to see what this Domonic Brown fella is capable of in the bigs

    Comment by Asher — July 21, 2010 @ 10:10 am

  2. When can we get Amaro fired?

    Comment by Bill — July 21, 2010 @ 10:10 am

  3. Would this trade make more sense if the rumors about Werth/Utley’s wife are true?? I think so…

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 10:13 am

  4. This all started with Raul Ibanez, then the Cliff Lee trade (the first one.) Yes, they should have made that one, but they also should have traded for Halladay mid-year if they were willing to give up Drabek and Taylor. It wasn’t a one or the other scenario like it was made out to be. It’s only that Amaro thinks one dimensionally. Would have likely won them the world series. That financial windfall might have even allowed them to keep both players (and had they not signed Ibanez) and Werth, so long as they got rid of Blanton in a trade, for nothing if they had to.

    Werth also probably should have been locked into a long term deal two years ago, for well under what he is going to be making now, because, while it was clear he was capable of being a really good regular for quite some time, no one, namely the Dodgers and then the Phillies when they first acquired him played him regularly.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — July 21, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  5. I’ve been kicking Amaro pretty mercilessly ever since the Lee deal (and sporadically since the Ibanez deal, though it was a little tough to face the Luddites after his first four months last year), but at this point, I’m almost getting sick of it. I’m ready to simply write him off as hopeless instead of gnashing my teeth at every blunder.

    Comment by Kevin S. — July 21, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  6. “Here is an exhaustive list of pitchers currently averaging 2.5 WAR per 90 innings pitched:

    Francisco Liriano
    Josh Johnson
    Cliff Lee
    Jon Lester
    Roy Halladay”

    My issue with this statement is that while teams value wins, I have seen no evidence that they use WAR to judge wins. My guess is a lot of teams are looking at players with lower ERAs, or better win loss records, etc.

    Comment by Rich — July 21, 2010 @ 10:21 am

  7. It’s way too early to dismiss the Phillies playoff chances, so any talk of “they should be sellers instead of buyers” is premature, even if it may prove to be correct.

    The Phillies need pitching and not necessarily a 2.5 WAR guy *IF* they can get someone under control for beyond this season.

    Of course, evaluating a trade before it even happens is um….pointless.

    Comment by Megary — July 21, 2010 @ 10:21 am

  8. The question isn’t whether the Phillies would do it, but whether or not the pitcher coming back could equal Werth’s production (which, even assuming Brown produces something above replacement level, would be necessary for the trade to be an upgrade). Given that, Jack’s correct to use his preferred method of production valuation.

    Comment by Kevin S. — July 21, 2010 @ 10:26 am

  9. Ruber Amaro Jr. = Bill Bavasi

    Comment by Joe R — July 21, 2010 @ 10:27 am

  10. Yes, it is very obvious now that Werth should have been signed to a long-term contract two years ago. However, it was not ‘clear’ that he was going to be a ‘really good regular for quite some time,’ as he had a long injury history and it was in doubt that he could hit right-handed pitching. Signing him long-term could have been a huge risk and would have resulted in him getting paid at a higher rate over the past two seasons.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 21, 2010 @ 10:28 am

  11. Ruben Amaro should just become a relationship/marriage counselor then.

    Comment by BX — July 21, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  12. I dont think hes fallen that far yet

    Comment by BX — July 21, 2010 @ 10:34 am

  13. I think the real issue is that it is nearly impossible to find a team that willing to trade a good pitcher for Werth. Any team that is trading a top tier pitcher will be a seller, so why would they want a 30 year old outfielder in the last year of his contract?

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 21, 2010 @ 10:37 am

  14. So dumb, the Phillies should have just traded Werth last offseason instead of Lee and brought up Dominic Brown…or eaten a bunch of salary and traded Ibanez. How much worse is the entire Phillies franchise compared to where they were at a year ago?

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 10:37 am

  15. Also, as a Jays fan, I strongly appreciate everything Halladay did for Toronto, but I can’t help but smirk after he asks out of Toronto, blocks a trade to Texas (and maybe more, who knows), then finally gets his wish to go to Philadelphia, signs an extension in order to win a WS, and will probably be staring up at Atlanta + better teams from other divisions for the next 5 years. Congrats Roy…congrats.

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 10:40 am

  16. If the players have turned on Werth and the clubhouse is fractured, I’m not sure Amaro can do anything about it.

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 10:41 am

  17. You’re kind of a dick.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 21, 2010 @ 10:42 am

  18. “Given that, Jack’s correct to use his preferred method of production valuation.”

    I’m still not sure thats right though. WAR is probably a better measure of long term future production value, but I’m not sure its a better short term value judgment.

    Remember, in stats, “Luck” doesn’t mean “luck”, it means unsustainable in the long term.

    Comment by Rich — July 21, 2010 @ 10:43 am

  19. The Phillies, right now, are 7 games back of Atlanta. It may be that the Phillies can’t evaluate this potential deal the same way as it was done here, but are viewing acquiring Oswalt as the “lightning in a bottle” scenario, like Randy Johnson and CC Sabathia to name some fairly recent examples. Of course, this phenomenon isn’t restricted to pitchers, as Carlos Beltran and Matt Holiday have illustrated. Wins are wins, and while it’s possible Oswalt would make a greater playoff impact by virtue of being a starting pitcher who could go 2-3 times in a 7-game set, it’s unclear that he would actually help them get there.

    One thing that remains certain, is that if the Phillies make a Werth-for-Oswalt deal, they still won’t have Cliff Lee. Oops.

    Comment by Dan Greer — July 21, 2010 @ 10:48 am

  20. i’m calling out the author on his obvios ryan howard bias. how can you call werth the 2nd most valuable position player on the team? is ryan howard pitching? is first base not a position anymore? please clarify/edit/apologize – immediately!

    forget the WAR factor for a minute. the phils need pitching, can essentially “sign” a top line starter for a 2 year/$30 mil deal, and replace werth’s bat to some extent w/ the youngster. also it would be a defensive upgrade. UZR is not wrong about Werth’s defense this year. it’s been just north of pathetic.

    finally, this trade (if done) could potentially help this year as well as help next year and the year after. i’d say it’s a rather shrewd move, as it wouldn’t deplete the farm system (much at least, as we don’t know if the phils would have to kick in some young talent) and adds a front line starter, all while giving the team a boost of energy and potentially replaces a club house problem (speculative).

    Comment by MattyG — July 21, 2010 @ 10:48 am

  21. You must be the virgin dork in those ‘endless debate videos.

    Comment by TK — July 21, 2010 @ 10:50 am

  22. If the Phillies are able to swap Werth straight up (or nearly so) for a guy like Oswalt, it will definitely help them going forward in 2011 and 2012. There’s that to consider. Even if its somewhat of a short-term net loss swapping Werth for the value of DomBrown and Oswalt.

    Note to author: Its Domonic Brown, not Dominic. Only one “i” in his name.

    Comment by NEPP — July 21, 2010 @ 10:51 am

  23. As a Jay fan enjoy staring up at the Yanks, Sox and Rays for, well, the rest of your life. Congrats Brendan.

    Comment by Nick — July 21, 2010 @ 10:51 am

  24. If RAJ gets a great pitcher at an average or below average cost for the next few years for 2 months of Werth, then that is a great move for the future of the Phillies.

    Whether it helps them win now I doubt, but are we realistically expecting him to say to a rabid Philadelphia media that season = over? I doubt it.

    Comment by Heather — July 21, 2010 @ 10:51 am

  25. Chase Utley.

    Comment by Dan Greer — July 21, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  26. What is there to clarify? Werth has been more valuable than Howard this season so far.

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  27. How can you write this entire piece and not mention that Werth is a free-agent to be, while Oswalt or Haren would be under contract for at least 2011, if not longer?

    I would absolutely assume that would affect evaluations of this deal, should it happen.

    Comment by Eem — July 21, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  28. NEPP and Heather:

    feels like a beerleaguer reunion. my handle is conshy matt on BL.

    i echo your sentiments.

    Comment by MattyG — July 21, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  29. I think his (completely unfounded) argument is that Howard is better than Werth, so Werth is the 3rd best position player.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 21, 2010 @ 10:56 am

  30. I think we both missed the sarcasm in that post. At least I’m hoping.

    Comment by Dan Greer — July 21, 2010 @ 10:56 am

  31. @Nick

    That is probably what you would have said 4 years ago, except switching Jays and Rays. The Sox and Yanks are not unbeatable.

    Comment by dutchbrowncoat — July 21, 2010 @ 10:57 am

  32. How can you ask him to a) defend his argument, and b) forget WAR? You’re asking him to defend himself without recourse to the stats on which he’s built his argument. That doesn’t make sense.

    But simply: Werth has compiled 2.2 WAR, Howard has compiled 2.0 WAR. Offensively, they have nearly identical wOBA, though ZiPS sees Howard having a slight edge from here on out. But Howard is a below-average defender at 1B and Werth is an average-ish defender at a more important position, which is where a lot of the value difference comes in.

    Comment by Neil — July 21, 2010 @ 10:58 am

  33. Obviously all of this is pretty hypothetical at this point without knowing the particulars of the deal(s). But I think you are missing something big: having Oswalt under control the next two years after this year. True, the conventional wisdom is that his contract is on the high side. I don’t see it. Looking at the numbers on your site, I see him likely to be worth about his contract numbers over the next couple of years. But IMO for a team with a high payroll, and considering the over-priced market for starting pitchers, getting a starting pitcher of Oswalt’s quality for a price that represents his value, and is IMO below market (i.e., the typical post-FA starting pitcher is priced well above his “value”), is a very good thing. And of course Werth is gone next year.

    In other words, for this year the trade likely will be a wash (assuming they get Oswalt), but helps them next year & possibly in 2012.

    Keep in mind that the current Phillies team probably only has a couple more years before aging players close the window on contending for a few years. Their best starting pitcher prospects are in low A. Oswalt will IMO allow them to contend in 2011 and 2012 if his option is picked up.

    Of course this assumes they get Oswalt, and don’t pay too high a price in prospects (hopefully no net price if the Werth deal is included). Other permutations of the trade might also work. OTOH, sure, they could blow it as well. The devil is in the details.

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 10:59 am

  34. The major question on Oswalt going forward is this: Is he a 4 win player? If he is, then his contract is pretty fair market value and the Phillies are smart to swap a departing Werth (and 2 picks) for him. If the Phillies have to kick in other prospects, then it becomes a bit dicey depending on who they are.

    Having a Top 3 of Halladay/Hamels/Oswalt for 2011 & 2012 is a pretty good situation. Especially when you’re 4 and 5 guys are Blanton and Happ. At least at that point, the rotation is a strength.

    Comment by NEPP — July 21, 2010 @ 11:00 am

  35. lol, should have read the other comments first, I’m not alone. :) Smart readers you have there. :)

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 11:01 am

  36. Steve – only according to WAR. that puts a lot of emphasis on speculative defensive metrics which are based on half a season of imperfect data. if you want to believe that werth’s lower BA, 9 fewer HR’s, fewer RBI’s (just saying), way lower BA w/ RISP, and lower wOBA, make him somehow more valuable, then please, for the love of god, go jerk off your calculator. just know that small chips and plastic will shoot out of it, not real semen.

    Comment by MattyG — July 21, 2010 @ 11:01 am

  37. Also, I wonder if a lot of the MSM will deride the Phillies for bad player analysis and valuation this time in 2012.


    Comment by Joe R — July 21, 2010 @ 11:02 am

  38. Why would a Dodgers fan care about the Phillies? You’ll both be home watching Lincecum on the mound in October. :)

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 11:03 am

  39. Jack, Domonic Brown was rated as the #1 prospect in baseball last month by Kevin Goldstein, Baseball America, and Keith Law, each coming to the conclusion independently. I think you are selling him very short by using his CHONE projection before he hit the lights out of the ball at AA and AAA.

    The move would be to acquire a starting pitcher that could help in 2011 when they have a better chance. While I believe they may MAXIMIZE value by trading Werth in July and trading for an Oswalt-type pitcher in November, you’re missing something if you don’t realize this has to do primarily with bringing up the #1 prospect in baseball who has .325/.388/.586 line across AA & AAA this season, who Amaro has been quoted as saying something to the effect of Brown is coming close to forcing their hand to make room for him. Again– I do think trading for Oswalt in the winter is smarter because they will have to pay a contender premium for him now, but to write this piece as though replacing Werth with Brown and Kendrick with Oswalt is a neutral move is unnecessarily ignoring the fact that only one roster spot is coming from a player remotely close to replacement value.

    Jack, if you want to ask me questions about the Phillies, please feel free. They are very good at some things (minor league scouting, health) and very bad at others (evaluating their own talent level, sabermetric thought), and it’s easy to miss that in the hyperbole that gets thrown around.

    Comment by Matt Swartz — July 21, 2010 @ 11:05 am

  40. hahah wow someones a little touchy, guess my comments hit a little close to home for a phillies fan. otherwise you’d just let the comments slide, wouldn’t you?

    as for your little prediction, guess we’ll see, won’t we?

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:05 am

  41. If pointing out clear, obvious stupidity makes me a dick, so be it. it’s not like everyone can’t already see it.

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:07 am

  42. Domonic Brown was not ready for the bigs going into the season; he’s made that leap this year. Dumb would have been 1) handing him a starting gig with 162 PA in AA ball and an .801 OPS going into spring training, and 2) trading away his replacement in the case that he would struggle.

    Comment by Casey — July 21, 2010 @ 11:07 am

  43. But it was smart to basically do the same thing with their pitching staff?

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:09 am

  44. I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading blogs in which the contributors and the user comments talk about trading Werth. A lot of Philadelphians take a distinctly non-statistically based view when they say he’s a terrible ballplayer. Its fairly sad to watch people badmouth the guy for virtually no reason other than wanting to become a free agent and putting up a good OPS that can’t prop up the entire team. His beard used to be a symbol of the beard inside all of us. But now people are burning beards on the stake outside their homes.

    Ruben Amaro Jr. has been a terrible GM for the Phillies. He’s killing whatever progress the franchise made with 2 straight WS appearances. At least he’s not Ed Wade.

    Comment by Evan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:10 am

  45. No, but enjoying the misery of a former star player of your team is dickish. Thought his chances of winning of the Phillies is still much greater than on the Jays.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 21, 2010 @ 11:10 am

  46. Over the winter, the Phillies won’t hae Jayson Werth to sell…thus, they’d have to destroy their farm system again. If you’re gonna sell Werth, getting a top-line starter like Oswalt is the way to go.

    Dom Brown is the wildcard in all this. If he comes in and goes nuts for 2 months and Oswalt stabilizes their rotation, its a huge win for them.

    Comment by NEPP — July 21, 2010 @ 11:10 am

  47. “Remember, in stats, “Luck” doesn’t mean “luck”, it means unsustainable in the long term.”

    Well, sometimes, yes, but sometimes it does mean “luck”. Anything out of the pitchers control is “luck” – whether that means something his fielders are doing or something the hitter is doing. That said, as you point out, sometimes what often gets referred to as “luck” can be something the pitcher did control and simply cannot sustain – like striking 3 guys out in a row with bases loaded, for instance (unsustainable LOB%, but certainly something the pitcher controlled). So it depends on the situation. If you’re looking to evaluate performance by W-L and ERA, yes, some of that will be legitimate performance that’s unsustainable, but a lot of that is stuff that’s completely out of the pitchers control, too, and anything he doesn’t control at all (like his team’s offense and defense, and the other teams hitting) is luck.

    I do think most teams have figured out a much better method of evaluating pitchers than ERA (and I doubt any team cares at all about W-L record)…

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 11:10 am

  48. That was my thought, too – who’s going to want Werth? Anyone who’s selling has no use for him.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 11:11 am

  49. Just because Brown is the top prospect in baseball doesn’t mean he is capable of contributing at or near Werth’s level *this season*, given his age and experience. All signs point to his being a star going forward, but if Amaro is trying to build a contender for this year, then Brown is not as good a bet as holding on to Werth.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 21, 2010 @ 11:12 am

  50. The structure of this deal remains obscure, though. Surely the Astros aren’t willing to do a straight-up trade (maybe with some cash changing hands), Werth for Oswalt–even with draft compensation, they’d be crazy to trade away a controlled top-of-the-rotation starter for a piece that can’t help them beyond this doomed season. So constructing a deal in which Amaro doesn’t bleed the farm system becomes more challenging–does he flip Werth to some other team for a piece or bundle of prospects that could interests the ‘stros? What would that look like, exactly?

    Obviously, no one has the answers to these questions, but it’s worth keeping in mind that this simple, clean-cut trade that people are talking about is almost surely impossible.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 21, 2010 @ 11:15 am

  51. It’s not like I’ve dedicated the rest of my life to laughing at Roy Halladay, he’s the victim of his GM’s stupidity. Not his fault. Though he should have seen some problems with Amaro dealing away Lee in the same deal for him. Sorry, but I don’t feel bad for him, he didn’t exactly do us any favors on his way out of Toronto.

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:15 am

  52. You don’t need WAR to argue that Werth has been better than Howard this year. I would say that by ANY reasonable metric Werth was better than Howard a couple of weeks ago. Howard’s surge lately combined with Werth’s slump evens things up a bit. But:

    Werth has a better oba. True, this is countered to some extent by Howard’s higher slg, but the conclusion that obp is more important than slg is one of the most solidly supported sabremetric conclusions. As offensive players, they have similar value, and you don’t need exotic statistics to tell you that.

    Werth plays RF versus Howard LF, a huge difference.

    Werth is a better RF than Howard is a 1B. Ironically, for this year at least, UZR (which I agree has it’s problems) sees Werth as below average in that regard. Granted, it sees Howard as even worse, but I think that the difference between their UZRs reflect pretty accurately the conventional wisdom regarding their relative defensive value.

    The only way you put Howard in front of Werth is to put a hugely inordinate weight on (ugh) RBIs. We’ve been down that road before, and I won’t go down it again. I will point out, however, that Werth is no slouch himself in that department, with 50.

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 11:16 am

  53. Jayson Werth (and possibly another player or two [Happ?]) for James Shields and B.J. Upton?

    The Rays can replace Shields in the rotation, though either Crawford or Zobrist would need to shift to CF. Next year they bring up Jennings. The Phillies get two good cost controlled players. Victorino moves to RF, next year Brown replaces Ibanez.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 21, 2010 @ 11:16 am

  54. I think this move is more about contending in 2011-2012 than this year…even if its not as bad this year as some seem to think.

    Comment by NEPP — July 21, 2010 @ 11:16 am

  55. “Domonic Brown was not ready for the bigs going into the season; he’s made that leap this year.”

    It’s even debatable that he’s made the leap this year. Minor league splits has his cumulative MLE so far this year at .266/.314/.445. I mean, I guess that’s probably enough to put him above replacement level, but it seems to me more minor league time for him would not be a bad thing…

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 11:16 am

  56. Er, Howard plays 1B, of course. :)

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 11:17 am

  57. I actually changed my mind. I think the Rays make the most sense as a buyer who can trade a good starter–possibly Shields. As a Phillies fan, I would love to see them try to get Upton involved as well. Next year they would have an outfield of Brown, Victorino, and Upton and a rotation of Halladay, Hamels, and Shields.

    Maybe wishful on my part, but it could be done.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 21, 2010 @ 11:18 am

  58. No wonder my urethra hurts so much!! Thanks Doc!

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  59. ****His beard used to be a symbol of the beard inside all of us. But now people are burning beards on the stake outside their homes.****

    I laughed out loud.

    Comment by NEPP — July 21, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  60. Don’t think so Dan, read below. Now excuse me, I’m going to look at the centerfolds in the Texas Instruments catalog.

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 11:21 am

  61. “I strongly appreciate everything Halladay did for Toronto”

    I don’t know if you really do. The guy gave you the first 12 years (2 of the years being short stints) of his HoF career, and you don’t want to see him win when he goes elsewhere? I can’t imagine a fan feeling that way, regardless of how things ended (and it’s not like the Halladay thing even ended poorly). How can you not support him fully?

    “he didn’t exactly do us any favors on his way out of Toronto.”

    …I’m honestly just completely baffled at how you could possibly feel this way, AND claim you appreciate what he did for you. You might never see another pitcher give your team what Roy Halladay did for the rest of your life….

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 11:22 am

  62. Yeah, this might be the greatest line in Fangraph’s history.

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 11:22 am

  63. (Plus, it’s not like he went to a rival or anything, he went to a team that’s completely irrelevant to the Jays)

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 11:23 am

  64. In terms of trades, I’m really at a loss to see why people are so down on Amaro. Yeah, the Lee trade … except that it seems pretty clear that it was dictated by the ownership’s payroll limitations. What else? Other than that, I see a string of trades that have worked out very well for the Phillies (and without which they might still be 25+ years from their last WS appearance.

    Now, his contract negotiations are another story. Ibanez, Howard, etc.

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 11:24 am

  65. Clearly it will be a 3 way deal and the Rays are rumored to be involved.

    Guessing something like the following:

    Werth to Tampa
    Tampa prospects to Houston
    Oswalt to Philly
    Philly prospects to Houston (hopefully 2nd tier ones)
    Maybe some cash to Philly to balance it out.

    The devil will be in the details and who exactly the Phillies have to give up.

    Comment by NEPP — July 21, 2010 @ 11:25 am

  66. I already told you how I could possibly feel this way – he blocked better offers from other teams, but insisted he wanted out. So, basically, he was sick of honouring his contract here but had specific places he wanted to go.

    I never said I didn’t want him to do well. I was excited to see him pitch in the playoffs and/or WS, back in April. Then Amaro got some bright ideas for the Phillies franchise. Now I can see the reality of Halladay’s situation, and smirk about it. I guess I’m just such a terrible person, aren’t I

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:32 am

  67. Counting number are a bit unfair given that Howard has 32 more PA. But as long as we are going there … Werth has 18 more SB, 12 more 2B, and 6 more SB. They are virtually equal overall as offesive players. Maybe a slight edge to Howard – maybe – but as I said elsewhere, you don’t need WAR to conclude that any small edge as a hitter is outweighed by higher positional and defensive value for Werth.

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 11:33 am

  68. er 18 BB. Sigh, too many typos today. :(

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 11:34 am

  69. Larry – splitting hairs, but Howard’s wOBA is .379 vs. Werth’s .378.

    “The only way you put Howard in front of Werth is to put a hugely inordinate weight on (ugh) RBIs.”

    really? so HR’s don’t count anymore either? homers have now gone the way of the rbi into the pool of inconsequential statistics. pity.

    Comment by MattyG — July 21, 2010 @ 11:34 am

  70. But it was smart to basically do the same thing with their pitching staff?

    Did I come even remotely close to saying that?

    Comment by Casey — July 21, 2010 @ 11:34 am

  71. This. Werth > Howard – offensively, they’re very close to equal, but Werth’s better D at a more valuable position makes him better than Ryan Howard. There’s no bias here, it’s just objective analysis.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  72. Werth for Oswalt in a three way trade isn’t such a bad deal when you look at it in terms of positioning the team for 2011… The Phils could use another solid piece in the rotation with Blanton’s performance looking far less reliably acceptable since coming off the DL. Dom Brown could be a lot better in 2011 if he gets some time in the majors in 2010. Plus I’m like a lot of Phillies fans in that I’m curious to see him play.

    Comment by Evan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  73. Anyone else remember when they tried to put Howard in LF during Spring Training back in 2004 and even 2005. That was a fun adventure. I mean, he made Burrell look like a gold-glover.

    Give the guy credit though, he’s got pretty good speed for a big man as his number of triples will tell you.

    Comment by NEPP — July 21, 2010 @ 11:36 am

  74. He got a much worse return on the Lee trade than he could have. Even assuming he was placating the fans by not dealing with the Yankees after losing to them in the world series (GMs reacting to the fans is a bad move), it’s hard to imagine that he couldn’t have gotten more from the Rangers than he got from Seattle. Plus he turned the money saved on Lee into guys like Danys Baez and Ross Gload.

    I’ll give him a pass on Blanton. I think Blanton was still hurt when he came off the DL and is better than his results this year have shown, and at the time that looked like a market value kind of deal.

    Comment by don — July 21, 2010 @ 11:36 am

  75. I think you guys are being overdramatic about what I said – I said I can smirk about his situation, in a “well, sucks for Halladay” and then move on sort-of-way, not a “HAHAHA FUCK YOU ROY!!! I’M OFF TO EVERY PHILLIES BOARD IN THE WORLD TO LAUGH AT THEM!” kind-of-way

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:36 am

  76. Werth is a 0 WAR player for the Phils in 2011 and beyond, which may be more important to a team playing .500 baseball for months, and without their best position player for another month.

    It is fun to trash Amaro though isn’t it! Fangraphs!

    Comment by Sophist — July 21, 2010 @ 11:37 am

  77. What’s his arm on a 20-80 scale? 15?

    Comment by don — July 21, 2010 @ 11:37 am

  78. I agree, but I was just trying to explain why Jack, correctly in my view, discounts Amaro’s proffered explanation for the potential Werth trade that Brown can basically replace him. Matt Swartz seemed to be confusing a prospect’s potential and ceiling for ability to perform at a major league level right now, and that’s all I was responding to.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 21, 2010 @ 11:37 am

  79. uh no but you really can’t see my point? In the offseason, 99% of the baseball world would tell you that the Phillies would be better off with Lee+Brown (or hell, even Randy Winn for a year) than Werth+Kendrick in the rotation.

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:38 am

  80. Not for nothing, but if his contract had a No Trade Clause, then he WAS honoring his contract.

    It is the Blue Jay’s fault for granting him one.

    Once they granted him that privilege, he had every right to use that NTC to dictate where he was traded.

    Also, I don’t recall Halladay ever demanding a trade. The Jays could have held onto him for one more season.

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 11:40 am

  81. THIS…1 million times THIS.

    Comment by NEPP — July 21, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  82. True Steve, and that’s why it’s not that big of a deal that he left, and my comment wasn’t meant to be viewed like it was a big deal haha

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  83. I’m not sure what your point is, Brendan. But in case you’re open to learning something, I’ll point out that Kendrick was not in the rotation to start the year. The Phillies starting five was Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, and Moyer.

    Comment by Casey — July 21, 2010 @ 11:46 am

  84. I didn’t realize San Francisco traded Lince. What did they get for him?

    Comment by Miles — July 21, 2010 @ 11:48 am

  85. Yes, surely Werth’s beard adds to his WAR value. I’d say at least a win…

    Comment by Oskar — July 21, 2010 @ 11:48 am

  86. A couple of things:

    “getting a starting pitcher of Oswalt’s quality for a price that represents his value, and is IMO below market (i.e., the typical post-FA starting pitcher is priced well above his “value”)”

    First, the whole point in the WAR to $ conversion is to make it match what the market pays, so I’m not sure why you think post-FA pitchers are priced “above” their value? They should be priced according to their market value. I’m also confused how you can get Oswalt for a price that represents his value but then he’d be below market value?

    Next, it doesn’t seem to me like it’s a good bet to think Oswalt will give you any surplus value – $32M a year (I would assume Oswalt would use his NTC leverage to get his option picked up) over 2 years means he has to give you 2 years of 3.5 WAR each or so just to be at market value. Seems unlikely to me.

    Finally, the only possible scenario where it would make sense for a seller like the Astros to trade for Werth is to get out of a contract + the two comp picks. Seems like the Phillies won’t be getting much value from that….

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  87. He’s supposedly major league ready. I’m perfectly capable of understanding translations, and I know that when you hit .325/.388/.586 across AA & AAA, you’re more likely than not ready to be an above average major leaguer. He’s not a top prospect because he’s a guy in high-A with crazy potential. He’s a top prospect because he’s killing the ball like other players killed the ball in AA & AAA before becoming above average major league hitters.

    Comment by Matt Swartz — July 21, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  88. heyyohh!

    Comment by Santoro — July 21, 2010 @ 11:50 am

  89. If they brought in someone like Randy Winn, or Eric Hinske and ran a cheap platoon in RF, yeah, that makes sense.

    Throwing Brown into the fire, we’ve all seen how well that works out, or how big a crapshoot it is.

    Comment by BX — July 21, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  90. That’s right, I forgot…nonetheless, if Moyer wasn’t deemed good enough to be a part of the rotation by the second half of last season, why would he be much better this year? (Looking at this from an off-season POV)…still my point remains, I’m not sure why you’re not picking up on it…the Phillies offense looked legendary while their rotation seemed fairly thin.

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  91. Sorry, that comment makes no sense. You want to go by wOBA? That INCLUDES HR (IMO, horrible name for the stat, since it LOOKS like it is just a OBA type stat. It isn’t.). Sure, give Howard credit for his 8 extra HR. Balance that against 12 more 2B and 18 more BB. That’s a wash, essentially, I’m NOT saying that Werth is a better hitter. Just, this year, roughly equal.

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 11:53 am

  92. if only HR’s were reflected in wOBA!!

    I could tell you how much HR’s impact wOBA but the keys on my calculator are all sticky.

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 11:54 am

  93. they were basically praying that Happ would be as lucky as last year, Hamels would return to form, everyone stayed healthy, and that Moyer was still a servicable pitcher. Or they grossly underestimated their competition this year.

    Comment by Brendan — July 21, 2010 @ 11:54 am

  94. Nah, you don’t need WAR, you only need to understand the framework of WAR. If you understand that the difference in their offense is small, whereas Werth is a better defender at a more valuable position, it’s easy to see why Werth is the better player. You don’t need the actual WAR number, you just need an understanding of what makes a baseball player good.

    Also, are you really going to talk about BA, HR’s and especially RBI’s around here? Come on, we’ve all moved way beyond shitty metrics like those.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 11:56 am

  95. I agree with much of your very well thought out comment but I was hoping you’d clarify if you meant they should have traded for Halladay IN ADDITION to Lee (which yes, might have won them the World Series) or IN LIEU OF (which would not have changed anything).


    Comment by D-Train — July 21, 2010 @ 11:56 am

  96. I don’t necessarily disagree that it is too early to say they should sell. But if the choose is between buying and selling (as opposed to waiting or just standing Pat) then I think you can argue “sell” is a better option.

    Comment by D-Train — July 21, 2010 @ 11:59 am

  97. Shields? Sure. Upton? Not a chance in hell.

    Happ is useless at this point to the Rays, they have a glut of starters (hence their ability to get rid of one).

    Comment by Bubba — July 21, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  98. “I know that when you hit .325/.388/.586 across AA & AAA, you’re more likely than not ready to be an above average major leaguer.”

    Except the MLE on that, as I pointed out earlier, is .266/.314/.445. Minor league numbers can, and often are, deceiving. I think you’re overestimating what he’s capable of right now.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  99. Gotta love Philly fans. He’s only been your 2nd best player during one of your team’s most successful runs ever. But eff that, he’s a jerk.

    Also, who here thinks Werth possibly feels frustrated because he’s been so clearly undervalued by the Philly fans and media? How would it make you feel if some guy who you’re clearly as valuable as (if not more) gets a massive pay raise at work, while you continue to toil away and get put on the backburner? I think all of us have had a situation where our superiors clearly played favorites.

    Comment by Joe R — July 21, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

  100. Or Gord Ash? Or Frank Wren?

    Pat Gillick has a terrible habit of building excellent teams and then having his employers turn them over to incompetent assistants.

    Comment by D-Train — July 21, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  101. Well, it depends, I agree with where you’re coming from unless the Astros view Oswalt as not worth the money he’s owed, in which case getting picks AND getting out of his contract might be a good move for them, even if picking up Werth for this year doesn’t really do anything for them.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

  102. So why not trade him for prospects?

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  103. Stick it to the man!

    while writing, reading, commenting, and giving the site money via hits for the man!

    Comment by Santoro — July 21, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  104. Well, given that if Amaro didn’t dish out ridiculous contracts, and pillage his farm system so he could have Roy Halladay instead of Cliff Lee, and give Ryan Howard about 10-15 million too much a year 2 years before he hit free agency, he would have the money to sign Werth, yes, yes it is.

    So put away your “GOTCHA” attitude.

    Comment by Joe R — July 21, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

  105. Because their window to win is closing shortly with all of their core guys being over 30. Prospects that help out in 2015 wont matter as they wont be an elite team then anyway.

    Comment by NEPP — July 21, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

  106. As a non-Phillies fan but Phillies resident….trust me, it’s worse than you can imagine. I dunno how someone like Utley or Werth does it – to get as little appreciation as they do despite being as good as they are….with Utley, you get the team promoting guys like Howard and Rollins for MVP over you, for Werth it’s situations like the team selecting Victorino to be eligible for the All-Star fan voting instead of you last year, Howard’s contract, etc….it’s really easy to find examples of not just the fans, but the organization, promoting lesser players in place of it’s best players. Add a little bit of “Phillies fans hating everyone that’s ever been on their team” into the mix, and yeah, I’d probably feel a bit frustrated and underappreciated if I was Werth (or Utley), too.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

  107. Okay, getting into some complex stuff here, hard to do this justice in a comment thread, but I’ll bite.

    First, methods that try to assign a dollar value to a player don’t take into account whether the player is FA eligible. Pre-arb players are paid less than their value. If the arb rules are working the way they are supposed to, early arb eligible players will be underpaid and later arb eligible player will get their market value.

    If the above is true, then BY DEFINITION post FA-players will, on average, be “overpaid.” But you can’t build a championship teamwith just pre FA players. So you need post FA players, and (generally speaking) you need to “overpay” them given the above facts. In that situation, a post FA player at a contract that represents his value is a relative bargain.

    Okay, now starting pitchers. My point – and I think that a simple study of salaries versus “value” would confirm this – is that there is a market inefficiency here – teams over value starting pitching (though part of this is simply a reflection of the above GENERAL analysis). What does a team do in such circumstances? Well, conventional wisdom is that you exploit the market inefficiency by “buying” undervalued players & staying away from over valued players. But in this case, you can only do that to a limited extent – you still need 5 starting pitchers, they are almost ALL “overvalued” post-FA, and to contend there are severe limits to how bad they can be. In that situation, a top of the rotation starter at a “fair” (below market) salary is a bargain.

    And why is it unlikely that Oswalt, given his track record, will give you two years of 3.5 win value?

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

  108. Yes, I do think they should be more focused on the present, but 2015 is going to come eventually, it still helps to prepare. In a situation like Oswalt, the production you get out of him this year isn’t particularly beneficial, and you can replace a lot of his production on the FA market, so what’s the value in that? Why not look for a package of prospects that maybe includes one near MLB-ready guy and a couple of other low level guys? The money you save + surplus value of the MLB ready prospect seems like a better value than Oswalt to me.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

  109. HR’s provide ~ 1.4 runs of value.
    Outs provide ~ -0.1 runs of value.
    BB’s provide ~ 0.33 runs of value.
    Doubles ~ 0.7 runs of value.

    Hence Howard is creating about 0.16 runs per PA (about .0435 above average) and Werth is creating about .1598 per PA (about .0434 above average). Hence, not much difference.

    HR is great, but if you told me I could have one of two players (same fielding level), one hits 30 HR and 30 doubles, one hits 15 HR and 60 doubles, each hit 100 singles and walk 50 times in 600 PA, I’m taking the 2nd guy. The first guy goes .291/.350/.509, the 2nd goes .318/.375/.509. So yes, Home Runs are not everything. Even a guy who hits 50 a season, still has another 550-600 to do nothing in.

    Comment by Joe R — July 21, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

  110. That’s not below average, and he’s supposedly a good defender which adds to that. Regardless, you need to consider prospect rankings when you do this. I guarantee MLEs come up short more often for higher ranked players. I’m not saying he’s Jayson Werth, but certainly a 2.5-win player is a reasonable projection for him annually.

    Comment by Matt Swartz — July 21, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

  111. There are other ways to slash payroll and save the 9MM without trading Lee.

    Replacing Danys Baez, Ross Gload, and Chad Durbin with AAA scrubs saves 5.6MM for this year, and a total of almost 10MM, more than Lee’s salary. Add in that you’re spending 2.75MM on Brian Schneider to be your backup catcher, and you see why this is a big deal.

    Comment by BX — July 21, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

  112. @B you are nuts if you think the Phils undervalue Utley. They gave him a 15mm per year deal. For a second baseman! They clearly understand his value. Just because they overvalue Howard, that doesn’t = undervaluing Utley.

    Comment by Nick — July 21, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  113. “the pitchers control is “luck” – whether that means something his fielders are doing or something the hitter is doing”

    Again, this is simply not true.

    A pitcher having good defense behind is not luck. Its good team construction.

    Comment by Rich — July 21, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  114. The only trades that he’s made have been:

    Lee II – Unequivocally awful, particularly in light of Lee III.
    Halladay – Fine trade, nothing Earth shattering, but good.
    Lee I – A steal.
    Ronny Paulino for Jack Taschner – Serviceable backup C for a terrible RP released during the season.
    Jason Jaramillo for Paulino – Backup C for Backup C.
    Greg Golson for John Mayberry – Completely irrelevant.

    So essentially it’s three irrelevant trades, a good deal, a great deal, and a horrendous deal.

    Comment by D-Train — July 21, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

  115. Assuming the Rays trade for Werth, they then have 4 outfielders who are above average defenders (Werth, Upton, Crawford, Zobrist). Playing any of them at DH is a waste. Arguably, Zobrist could be shifted to 1st, and Pena could DH, but I’m not sure if that’s the best usage of Zobrist. Someone else would need to be involved to get Upton (Anthony Gose?)

    Happ could be used in a 3-way deal to get the Rays an upgrade at DH (Cust or Giambi).

    So Rays get: Werth, Gose, Cust/Giambi
    Phillies get: Shields & Upton

    I think the Rays get better and are challengers to win the WS this year, and still in for the next 5 years (offer arb to Werth and Crawford/still have Jennings/add another OF prospect), the Phillies get better this year (now have three very good starters/Upton is at worst a 2 win player with upside) while getting younger and retaining Brown.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 21, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

  116. I like sabermetrics, I really do. I’m also a big fan of Jayson Werth. But I’ve also watched just about every single Phillies game this year. Werth has been a disaster since a great April. He’s completely incapable of hitting with runners on base (which was never a strength of his), and will go on three to four game stretches in which it looks like he’s a little leaguer at the plate. Also, his defense is clearly on the decline.

    Howard, on the other hand, is back to doing what Howard always does. Even though — unlike previous years — he has little protection and the guys in front of him are struggling to get on base.

    RBI’s are meaningless, blah, blah blah. But when there are runners on base Howard drives them in, and Werth does not.

    Howard may (soon) be overpaid, but all the evidence collected this year suggested he is a superior player to Werth, and means a lot more to the Phillies. Even taking into account their positions and Howard’s baffling inability to throw a baseball accurately. Any system that doesn’t acknowledge this is flawed. And I challenge anyone whose watched the Phillies regularly this year to dispute this vis a via Howard’s worth and Werth’s worth. (Although that certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t any value in tools like WAR.)

    Comment by JDT — July 21, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

  117. The first Cliff Lee trade was excellent.

    Comment by Bill — July 21, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  118. B: .266/.314/.445 is pretty close to major league average, which wouldn’t be terrible. If he’s anything worthwhile defensively, he wouldn’t be a terrible player. Maybe not an above average major leaguer, but certainly not unpalatable.

    Comment by Michael — July 21, 2010 @ 12:34 pm

  119. Reason #1 why I think I’d like to play in Tampa Bay if I was a good player: fan base might be smaller, but Tampa Bay fans seem to appreciate anyone that can help their team win.

    Most people, when tasked with listing the Phillies starters, in order of value, will list Werth 5th or even 6th. I think a lot of people would go

    Which is so clearly, unbelievably wrong.

    Comment by Joe R — July 21, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

  120. Joe R: Nitpicking, but outs are -0.3 runs approximately, when compared to average like wOBA is. If you did it as a counting stat, outs are at -0.1 runs.

    Comment by Michael — July 21, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

  121. Yeah, I went with pure counting, I like the 0 baseline more than an average.

    Comment by Joe R — July 21, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  122. Zobrist to 2B, S-Rod to pinesville. Simple.

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

  123. Really Joe R you took a survey and those were the results? Any other bullsh!t anedotal evidence you want to throw around? Give me a break with that nonsensical ranking system you are projecting onto philly fans. By pandering to the lowest common denominator you effectively are using the same simple minded arbitrary thought processs they use.

    Comment by Nick — July 21, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

  124. Utley is revered in Philly. The only guy who compares in the last few years is Brian Dawkins.

    Comment by don — July 21, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

  125. @Joe R — please tell us what team you consider yourself a fan of? I’m curious because of all the Philly bashing rhetoric in your posts, thanks.

    Comment by Q — July 21, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

  126. This article seems to completely ignore the fact that you get 0.5 years of Jayson Werth if you keep him and 2.5 years for Roy Oswalt.

    Comment by NickFromGermantown — July 21, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

  127. Wow,

    There is some pretty spectacular ignorance going on with what Phillies fans think. Utley is generally considered by Philly fans to the team’s best player. At worst, he’s 1A to Howard.

    Werth was held in pretty high esteem too, although that has tapered off (to say the least) since the beginning of May, when he stopped being an effective baseball player.

    While Werth’s swing from hero to zero in the eyes of the Philly faithful is pretty extreme, you are dealing with a guy whose success was based on a fairly small sample. So it’s not completely illogical that his almost three month slump has led fans to reevaluate what they think of him.

    Comment by JDT — July 21, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

  128. “A pitcher having good defense behind is not luck. Its good team construction.”

    It’s “luck” in the sense that it’s totally beyond the pitcher’s control. Some pitchers are blessed to have sharp GM’s with brains and funds who can field a good-fielding (and good hitting!) group behind them, who can score them some runs with their bats AND save them some runs with their gloves.

    Meanwhile some pitchers suffer along with a bunch of lead-footed, stone-handed ogres playing “defense” (loosely termed) behind ’em.

    Comment by Jason B — July 21, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  129. I don’t know if being the consensus #1 prospect is indicative of immediate MLB performance. As anecdotal evidence, consider the #1’s from 2008 and 2009:

    2008: Jay Bruce
    AAA : .437 wOBA ; 174 wRC
    MLB: .328 wOBA ; 96 wRC

    2009: Matt Weiters
    AAA: .391 wOBA ; 145 wRC
    MLB: .330 wOBA ; 101 wRC

    Other notables:

    2009: Travis Snider
    AAA: .462 wOBA ; 182 wRC
    MLB: .327 wOBA ; 100 wRC

    2010: Jason Heyward
    AA: .467 wOBA ; 192 wRC
    MLB: .361 wOBA ; 125 wRC

    2010: Justin Smoak
    AA: .427 wOBA ; 158 wRC
    MLB: .302 wOBA ; 82 wRC

    So, from this admittedly small sample of recent top prospects, only one has debuted above average (Heyward). I would not draw conclusions from such a small data set, but I certainly would not hesitate to agree with Jack that Brown’s chances of equaling Werth *this* season are pretty slim…

    Comment by 198d — July 21, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

  130. Who wouldn’t want to play in Tampa to a half-filled stadium every home game? Screw Philly and its fairweather fans who fill the stadium at 103.5% capacity every game.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — July 21, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  131. It’s funny, but if the Phillies essentially trade Werth for Oswalt you could argue they are sellers. Instead of getting long term prospects back, they would be getting a pitcher who fits in better with the current make-up (read: “expiration date”) of the team.

    Still don’t see it happening, but you never know.

    Comment by Megary — July 21, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

  132. The Braves might, too, but neither team is sending them a “top tier” pitcher for a rental.

    James Shields, with his deal, is a steal through at least 2013, and the option for 2014 is fair if he’s still at least a 3 WAR pitcher. Rays won’t move him for half a year of Werth. The only starter I’d legitimately see the Rays moving (considering how cost efficient their rotation is) is Matt Garza.

    The Braves would obviously be willing to part with Kenshin Kawakami, considering that he has no spot in the rotation. They’d probably part with Jair Jurrjens, too, but given his youth, they’re not sending him to a division rival.

    Comment by Bronnt — July 21, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

  133. Pardon me for not riding the Dom Brown bandwagon to the end of the world, but we do know that high-rated prospects don’t always pan out, right?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love me some Dom Brown. But let’s not go that nuts. His career MiLB line is .295/.372/.461. He came out of high school, so the original lack of power and then growth isn’t surprising, but the sudden onrush is. He slugged .517 at 21 in High-A last year. Okay, pretty good. Then .456 in Double-A. Meh.

    This year, he goes off. He destroys Double-A, and has done well in 85 Triple-A at-bats. I agree, he’s a really good prospect. But let’s not act like he’s the second-coming just yet. Michael Stanton’s Double-A line this year makes Brown look like a B- prospect. Stanton has a .291 OBP and is striking out in 38.5% of his plate appearances. And Stanton has a much better MiLB line than Brown could ever dream of, despite being younger (and also drafted out of high school).

    Brown also has a minor split against lefties. That will surely be exacerbated in the major leagues. I’m completely fine with Jack’s analysis here. You can write “#1 prospect” forever, it doesn’t change the facts.

    Comment by Pat Andriola — July 21, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

  134. You realize those exact same rumors sprout up any time a talented team falls apart, right?

    Comment by Kevin S. — July 21, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

  135. Technically Stephen Strasburg, with his 2.0 WAR in 48 innings, belongs on your list of pitchers the Phillies can’t get.

    Comment by keegs — July 21, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

  136. i could see him giggling cuz of it, mr. holier than thou

    Comment by Lee D — July 21, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  137. It would need a situation like the hypothetical “Yanks get Lee, swap Vazquez for Werth” idea that was floating around. Not sure what team is in that kind of position, though.

    Comment by Kevin S. — July 21, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

  138. Who is going to give that up for two months of Jayson Werth?

    Comment by Kevin S. — July 21, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

  139. Meanwhile you are likely paying Oswalt for 2.5 years at a price he isn’t likely worth.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 21, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  140. Has anybody else brought Wade Davis up in the three-way trade scenarios yet? A young, cost-controlled starter with big potential seems like a very appealing replacement for aging, expensive Oswalt in their rotation. TB can afford to move him with Hellickson in the wings.

    TB sends Davis to HOU
    HOU sends Oswalt to PHL
    PHL sends Werth to TB

    That’s the core of the deal, fill in the cash/mid-tier prospects of your choice to finish things off.

    Comment by Philabuster — July 21, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

  141. No, Nick, I’m going by things like All Star / MVP voting. That’s pretty much been the Fighting Phils’ hierarchy. But thanks for the moral police check.

    Comment by Joe R — July 21, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

  142. Clearly, you have never actually watched Werth over a period of a few weeks. He is one of the dumbest players in the league. Overrated arm, has trouble moving back on balls to wall or going to his right. He has been picked off first base at least two times I have seen. He is as likely to airmail the ball as nail a runner. He can carry a team for two weeks then bury it the next two.

    Your post is a clear example of looking at statistics not the player.

    Comment by Tom Goodman — July 21, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

  143. “It’s “luck” in the sense that it’s totally beyond the pitcher’s control. ”

    Again, thats not what the word means.

    The point is, its silly to use WAR alone when WAR doesn’t adjust for defense, xBabip, etc. Its a decent stat for hitters (but not a great one), and a worse one for pitchers. It assumes too many things are luck that are either skill, or coaching decisions.

    Comment by Rich — July 21, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  144. Gave?

    I must have missed when they stopped paying MLB players exorbitant sums of money.

    Comment by Rich — July 21, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

  145. You make a fair point, but this does jive with me somewhat-above-average claim. Wieters is a catcher. So you have to adjust for the fact that 330 wOBA is above average. Jay Bruce had some BABIP problems. Smoak was never really a #1 prospect, was he? Regardless, I think the claim of Brown being a 2.5-win player to start seems to jive with these numbers. Certainly means that the Phillies would only need to replace Kyle Kendrick with an average pitcher to even in 2010, and the real goal is 2011, which was my other main point as well.

    Comment by Matt Swartz — July 21, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

  146. Certainly #1 prospects don’t always pan out. Expected value, like I was saying, he’s probably got a mean projection of about 2.5 wins this year, maybe a little higher in the future.

    You’re right about the power thing– he was young and hadn’t developed it yet. The real question his whole minor league career was whether he would develop power. He hit moon shots out of the stadium periodically but he didn’t homer regularly. He appears to be doing that now, so you have to discount his minor league line from previous years substantially.

    I am of the mind that you can’t tell anything from splits. I think his recent numbers would make it look like he’s better against lefties, but the batted ball numbers don’t bear that out. Supposedly you need like 1000 PA or something like that to get enough information to make inferecnes about splits.

    Michael Stanton certainly is struggling with Ks. That’s just part of the variance in project prospects.

    My point here is that the drop off is smaller from Werth to Brown than Oswalt to Kendrick, and by a very large margin. Maybe half the dropoff. The Phillies do very much want to call up Brown at this stage. Their goal is 2011 more than 2010, which I personally think means they should wait until the offseason to get a starter and deal Werth now, but I understand the hesitancy to do that. The problem with this article was that Jack left out the discussion about 2011 and I think calling Domonic Brown an average player is taking the under more than I’d feel comfortable doing.

    Comment by Matt Swartz — July 21, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

  147. obviously the couple week stretch where he is playing some of his worst baseball ever should be enough to tell you all about him. ignoring the last two years being the 2nd best player on the team.

    Comment by Captain — July 21, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  148. @Joe — If that is your source of Philly “specific” rankings then you are naïve at best but more likely a troll. Clearly the MVP/All Star voting is not limited to philly fans. Howeeer, Werth had more votes than all other Phillies except Utley…Please re rank that dumbass list you provided earlier you nitwit.

    Comment by Nick — July 21, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

  149. Then structure the deal to be more favorable.

    At the same time, whatever Werth signs for will likely be too much. The Phillies need pitching and moving Werth is one way to get it. Is the answer Oswalt? I don’t know. Haren seems like a good choice and I like that he’s younger. We’ll have to see how it plays out.

    Comment by NickFromGermantown — July 21, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

  150. This is true. Very non-rigorous analysis to follow. Someone feel free to correct this.

    [1] Werth continues his wRC 133 pace.
    [2] Brown is league average, wRC 100.
    [3] Defensively, they’re equals.

    Then, Werth would provide about ~1.5 WAR over the remaining season compared to Brown.

    Now, assume:
    [1] Kendrick is league average.
    [2] Oswalt continues his low-3’s ERA/FIP/xFIP pace.

    Then, Oswalt would provide about a ~2 WAR upgrade over the remaining season compared to Kendrick.

    I don’t think the assumptions are overly unreasonable. (ie. they aren’t a gross misrepresentation) I’m probably missing something obvious, and I’m sure someone will pounce on it, but it appears that this isn’t as clear-cut as I initially thought…

    Comment by 198d — July 21, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

  151. Miles, I think B was suggesting that the only NL baseball played in the Pacific Time Zone in October is more likely to involve Lincecum than, say, Kershaw.

    Comment by joser — July 21, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

  152. RBI’s are meaningless

    Especially if you are the Mariners, their season leader for 2010 might not break 70. I also love sabermetrics, but I think folks confuse the phrases “RBI are meaningless” with “RBI are a misleading stat”. It’s not that RBI’s are unimportant (they’re very important), only that RBIs don’t tell you the WHOLE story.

    We know that 3rd and 4th place hitters will get the most RBI and chances because of where they bat, we also know that some guys will get a lot of RBI just because they get a lot of chances (Carter, Bautista, etc).

    But, there are also guys that get a shitload of RBIs because they hit a lot of home runs and hit with guys on base. We shouldn’t act as if these guys are just products of their environment.

    I don’t particularly like Ryan Howard, but he is a force (especially when hitting the ball the other way).

    Driving in runs is a HELLUVA lot better than stranding runners, and Howard can (and does) drive in runners (because he’s a pretty good hitter, really good power hitter, and PHL gets guys on base). I would love to be able to write him off as unimportant as if Utley and Rollins score themselves and Howard gets credit for it, but Howard is a force in that offense.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — July 21, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

  153. That one player slept with another player’s wife? When has that happened before? Ok, maybe Ryne Sandberg and the Cubs….

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

  154. I think Brown is a bit above average, and I don’t think Werth was ever really a 5-win player, was he? He was at 5.0 and 4.8 in the previous two years, is on pace for a little under 4.5. CHONE projected him at 3.2 but the fans projected him at 4.8. I think he’s about 4.25 WAR. Brown, let’s say 2.25. The difference in any case is almost a win between now and the end of the season.

    Kendrick, however, not even close to league average. He’s replacement level at best. I don’t even really think he’s that. The difference between a replacement level pitcher and Roy Oswalt is about 4.5-5.0 wins per season, so it’s about a 2-win difference.

    They definitely come out ahead. The real issue with your analysis other than me being nitpicky is that Kendrick is replacement level, not even close to league average. He’s had some BABIP luck, but trust me, that wasn’t him fooling hitters or keeping people off balance. The only times lefthanders get out vs. him is when they get themselves out. This move would have a lot to do with getting Kendrick off the mound. They have demoted him, and have promoted two other pitchers in front of him since Moyer hurt himself last night.

    And the real issue is 2011. Brown getting called up now vs. April doesn’t matter at all for arbitration clock. But the difference between Oswalt and Kendrick in the rotation next year is probably 4.5 wins. That’s what this move would be about. My real hesitation is that I don’t think they should trade for Oswalt until the offseason, because he’s just not going to be worth the trade deadline premium to a team with a 12% chance of seeing October as is.

    Comment by Matt Swartz — July 21, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  155. That trade doesn’t really work for the Rays though. At least I don’t think so.

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

  156. I would think Houston would want more for Oswalt. Werth is a rental, Davis is a 5th starter (though has value due to team control) while Oswalt is a frontline starter who’s not a 3 month rental. I think you’d need a pretty good prospect (better than mid-tier) going to Houston to balance things out.

    The Phils get a frontline starter for more than just this year for moving a 2-3 month rental? The Rays/Philly side looks OK as the Rays get 2 picks if/when Werth leaves but I think either one or both would have to kick in something good to Houston.

    Comment by hank — July 21, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

  157. Nah, I was just taking a shot at the Dodgers. It’s what we do.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

  158. Assuming Philly picks up all of O’s salary

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — July 21, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

  159. Rich, you’re missing the point. The point is WAR is trying to figure out how much the inidividuals contributions are helping the team. In the case of the pitcher, he only has control over so many things. If you think there’s a better measure than FIP, that’s fine, there are certainly reasonable arguments to support that. ERA and W-L, however, are not adequate replacements for WAR – they’re worse, when it comes to evaluating what the pitcher has done. I really don’t even know what you’re arguing at this point, we want to know the value of an individual player, which is exactly why we don’t care about things that are out of that players control.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

  160. There is the perception that Werth fails to produce at the plate in high leverage situations. His historical splits seem to support this.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — July 21, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

  161. “but I think folks confuse the phrases “RBI are meaningless” with “RBI are a misleading stat”. It’s not that RBI’s are unimportant (they’re very important), only that RBIs don’t tell you the WHOLE story.”

    RBI’s miss such a large part of the story that frankly, to use it at all when evaluating an individual player, has tons of room for error. Given how much better stuff is out there, why would you use them at all? They add 0 value to evaluating players at this point.

    JDT – frankly, I don’t care if you watch the Phillies. I live in Philadelphia, too. If you have arguments, back them up with facts (facts being stats, which are a recording of what actually happened). In terms of hitting, they’ve hit equally well this year – given their number of PA’s, the average value of each of their walks, singles, doubles, triples and home runs summed have been equal, adjusted for park. That’s what their equal wRC+ tells us. Now, Howard does have a higher WPA than Werth, so yeah, he’s probably done it in more important situations (by a little), but “clutch hitting” is more of a product of random variation than anything else (and in general, tends to be a myth), so who really cares.

    This isn’t about some sort of sabermetrics vs watching debate. This is about making a case based on the facts. If you think Howard is a better player, show the facts that demonstrate this. I can show you how Werth is almost his equal as a hitter, and is better defensively at a more important position, which favors Werth overall. So what actual facts do you have that support your claim that Howard is a better player, and that he’s “more important to the Philles” (in what way…?).

    Howard’s not a bad player, but we need to move past the “driving in runs” mantra of evaluating players. There are more accurate ways, that logically make a lot more sense….

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

  162. Steve,

    That rumor happened in Philadelphia this past January. When the Flyers were struggling, a now defunct website started a rumor suggesting that Jeff Carter was sleeping with Scott Hartnell’s wife. It seems as though another website tried to do the same with the Phillies.

    Comment by hk — July 21, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

  163. …and every move before or since has ranged from bad to horrible.

    Comment by hk — July 21, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  164. I’ll note that the premise behind FG’s $ to WAR conversion is FA salaries – it doesn’t include arb and pre-arb guys.

    Second, all the research I’ve seen suggests starters aren’t overvalued. There’s been a lot of research put into WAR that supports how it evaluates pitchers, and the FA market does tend to relate pretty closely to WAR, suggesting to me there isn’t a systematic bias in favor of starters….

    As for Oswalt, he’s on the decline part of the aging curve, he’s posted 3.6 and 3.1 WAR the last two seasons, he probably won’t continue pitching as well the rest of this season as he has thus far, and there’s always a chance of injury. I guess unlikely probably isn’t as good of a way to describe it as “less likely”. I wouldn’t be too surprised if it happened, but I think the “under” on 7 WAR over 2011-2012 is the better bet than the “over”.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  165. Amaro Jr. inherited a World Champion with a $98M payroll and an excellent farm system and in 2 years turned it into this year’s mess with a $138M payroll, looking at exceeding $150M next year.

    Comment by hk — July 21, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

  166. Sticking with Philly sports, Corey Fisher was supposedly sleeping with Scottie Reynolds girlfriend. And we all know about the Delonte West/Gloria James stuff.

    Comment by Kevin S. — July 21, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  167. “If he’s anything worthwhile defensively, he wouldn’t be a terrible player. Maybe not an above average major leaguer, but certainly not unpalatable.”

    I think that’s probably a reasonable expectation. He’ll likely give you value, I’m just not sure you should expect an average hitting corner OF to be an above average player.

    “Regardless, you need to consider prospect rankings when you do this. I guarantee MLEs come up short more often for higher ranked players.”

    I think it’d be an interesting topic to research. I can see an argument why it might be true, but I’m not sure that it is. The way I view MLE’s is basically an indicator of their true talent level right now. If you compare a good prospect to a lesser prospect with an equal MLE, my thought is they’re probably equally good right now*, the difference is the good prospect is a superior prospect because of age/potential – if a 20 year old is just as good as a 23 year old….well, in 3 years, he’s going to be a whole lot better at age 23 than the current 23 year old is now.

    *One note: of course the MLE is just a sample, meaning it could be that the lesser prospect is playing over his head or something.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

  168. How good is Brown’s D supposed to be, exactly? If he’s a league average hitter, he has to be a +12.5 COF defensively to be a 2.5 WAR player, which basically means a top 5 or so COF in MLB, defensively.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  169. “he’s probably got a mean projection of about 2.5 wins this year, maybe a little higher in the future.”

    I’m assuming you’re saying he’d be a 2.5 WAR player over the full year. I think you’re a bit high. Why do you think he’ll be that high? Can you breakdown what you expect (in terms of mean projection, of course) offensively and defensively out of him?

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

  170. People have noticed Rollins drop in performance. He’s nowhere near the top of the list anymore.

    I haven’t seen any of this Brian Dawkins reverance towards Utley. Maybe you just hang out with knowledgeable baseball fans. None of the Phillies fans I know visit Fangraphs, I can tell you that. It’s still the “Howard drives in runs!” crowd that seems to think his deal was fair. Yeah, people recognize Utley is good, but his contract is a joke compared to just how good he is, and like I said – Rollins and Howard have won MVP’s, yet the far, far superior Utley has not (which reflects a lot of things, from media sentiment, to fan sentiment, to who the organization markets more). Howard/Pujols comparisons are pretty rampant here….

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

  171. Matt,

    I agree with you that the equation in question in Jack’s article should be whether Brown + Oswalt > Werth + Kendrick for 2010 with the added kicker of having Oswalt for 2011 and maybe 2012. However, isn’t the real question that the Phillies should be addressing whether they would be better off (a) doing what is being speculated or (b) trading prospects for a lesser pitcher like Jake Westbrook, keeping Werth for the rest of the year and replacing Ibanez with Brown immediately? If they do the latter, they improve the hitting and pitching for this year, weaken the farm system and receive two 1st round picks (from holding onto Werth) to replenish the system.

    Comment by hk — July 21, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

  172. Not really true, or at least not statistically significantly true. Most of his situational numbers are right about what you would expect given his overall numbers, including with RISP. The only exception is late/close, which is likely why his overall “high leverage” numbers are a little below average, but eyeballing it (i.e., I didn’t run any tests of statistical significance), not low enough to be meaningful. (Given relatively small sample size and numbers which aren’t THAT far from what you would expect). Notably, his numbers in medium leverage situations are HIGHER than expected.

    Now, it IS true that THIS year’s numbers with RISP are low – but sample size is small, it’s at variance with his career numbers, and I’d put no weight at all on the fact.

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

  173. “He [Werth] has been picked off once this year. Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins have also been picked off once this year. Last year, Rollins was picked off five times; Victorino four; Werth three; Pedro Feliz twice; and six other players once.”

    Look, if you have sound arguments against Werth, by all means, make them, but don’t feed us BS. Do you know what statistics are, or how they’re created? People watch the game and systematically record what happens. They’re a recording of actual events. Use them as such. Don’t sit here and say “I’ve watched the game” and then dismiss the recordings of those games you watched. Maybe he does airmail throws sometimes, but you know what? His arm rating comes in at above average (though it’s been worse this year than in the past), indicating he prevents runners from taking bases and/or throws them out more than your average COF….

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

  174. Eh, it might be true to some degree – his WPA seems to be lower than it should. No idea if it’s luck or skill.

    Comment by B — July 21, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  175. Thank god!

    Comment by Crazy Observer — July 21, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

  176. This was my proposal based on knowledge of the Rays farm system and Sky’s TVC, I’d love to hear any feedback, preferably from the Phils fans.

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — July 21, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

  177. Without running the appropriate statistical tests, I guess your conclusion will depend upon your priors – i.e., whether you think that there is really such a thing as clutch “ability” (as opposed to luck based clutch “performance”). Since I mostly am in the “no true clutch ability” camp (though less dogmatic than some on that score), I’m going to need a lot of evidence to conclude that that is a real problem with Werth.

    But that said, even a believer in clutch ability would, it seems to me, have to concede that whatever problems Werth may have in terms of high leverage situations overall, they (a) aren’t a huge problem, and (b) with regard to performance RISP specifically, his poor performance this year is at variance with his career numbers and thus likely just a matter of bad luck.

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

  178. Sometimes I feel like we create this imaginary reality…

    Who wants Werth the rest of the season?
    I’ll take Howard…

    I win at baseball.

    Comment by baty — July 21, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

  179. @B — That is more antidotal evidence from a very small group that you are using to make you claims of ‘philly sports fans’ in general not valuing Utley. You’re postiting subjective claims on a site founded on objective analysis. Go look up top selling Jerseys as a sign of Fan Favorites, as of last year Utley > Howards and Rollins.

    I don’t understand how the ‘marketing’ has anything do with your statements. Do teams really distribute marketing material to the MVP voters? That seems somewhat shady if true.

    From the fervor and number of posts, don’t you think some of these comments are from Philadelphia native sports fans? If so, just because you don’t know any Philly fan that posts on Fangraphs doesn’t mean there isn’t a single one correct? You are falling victim to simple minded statements that are not based on logic.

    Comment by Nick — July 21, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

  180. Marginally above average offensively and defensively. I guess that’s about 2.5 runs each. Of course, this is expected value. The distribution is centered at about 2.5 wins above replacement, but with a 90% CI around talent 1.5 wins in either direction, and obviously even more than that for luck. I don’t think it’s smart to be any finer than that.

    Comment by Matt Swartz — July 21, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

  181. That proposal would not be popular In Philadelphia. Whether it’s fair or not is another question, of course.

    There is IMO a lot to be said for the proposition that, for this type of trade (i.e., a “win now” trade from Tampa’s perspective), the Phillies should expect to get a little more value in return (because the wins added by Werth are more valuable than they normally would be in a close pennant race).

    Comment by LarryM — July 21, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

  182. G –
    Ryan Howard, for his career has a 540 slugging percentage with the bases empty. He has a 622 slugging percentage with runners on base. Jayson Werth, for his career, has a 475 slugging percentage with on base, and a 468 with bases . (Since 2008, when he became a regular, and WAR Hero, Werth’s slugging splits seem to be about 530 bases empty, 475 runners on base.)

    Howard hits fourth for the Phillies, and Werth hits fifth. As they would for most major league teams. Baseball lineups are constructed so that hitters in the middle of the order drive in runs. Howard is excellent at doing this. He is, quite simply, a better hitter with runners on base. Maybe he doesn’t concentrate enough when the bases are empty. Maybe it’s because opponents can’t employ such an extreme shift against him with runners on base.

    Werth not so much.

    Would Werth be a better lead off hitter than Howard? Yup. But he still wouldn’t be a terrific lead off hitter and, anyway, I don’t suspect any baseball team would use him at lead off.

    The phillies offense stinks this year, yet Howard is still leading the NL in RBI, and I wouldn’t bet against leading the majors by the end of the year.

    Somebody mentioned that Seattle won’t have a player to get 70 RBI’s this year. (What’s even crazier is Ichiro is on pace to score less than 70 runs.) If Howard batted fourth for Seattle, I’m fairly certain he’d get 120 or more RBIs. Can I prove this “mathematically?” Nope. And, granted, there are a bunch of other slugging first baseman that would probably be able to put up good RBI numbers in Seattle too. But, again, I like Howard for getting the most.

    I really do value WAR, wCR+ etc in some cases. I do think Howard will so be overpaid, and you could certainly argue a few non-pujols 1Bs are better than him. But you can take your Jason Werths and your Franklin Gutierrezs, and I’ll take Ryan Howard every day of the week and for a day/night on Sunday.

    Comment by JDT — July 21, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

  183. Apologies for the various typos and omissions in my previous post (Werth has a career 475 slugging percentage with bases empty and 468 with runners on base.) I really need to type my posts out on Word, and then paste them into here.

    Comment by JDT — July 21, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

  184. @ Pat Andriola — Leave your anti-Phillies bias for just a second. Should Brown really stay in the minors for any more seasoniing? What else does he have to prove? And no Stanton’s AA line doesn’t make Brown look like a B prospect, that is nonsense, you are some kind of dopey Mutz fan. They are both really really good young players that will have very good careers. If Borwn was on the Fins they’d want to call him up too. (Stanton’s OPS = 1.17 in a hitters league, Brown’s was .993 in a pitchers league in about the same number of at bats) who cares about the comparison to Stanton.

    Comment by Santast — July 21, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

  185. Probably the time has come for him to move on. Just wish him all the best!

    Comment by Sarah — July 22, 2010 @ 12:03 am

  186. LarryM, RAJ has made so few trades that the sample size is too small to judge him in this aspect of GM’ing. However, my criticism of RAJ has to do with his contract negotiations (starting with an extra year to 45 year old Moyer, followed by 3 years to 36 year old Ibanez and compounded by the extra years to Polanco, Gload, Baez, etc.). If anything, the cumulative effect of the bad contracts since he took over for Gillick are the reason why the Phils had to – if you believe ownership limited payroll – trade Lee and now cannot afford to sign Werth for the long-term. If he had only give Moyer 1 year plus and option and Ibanez 2 years plus an option, they could have kept Lee this year and signed Werth for next year and beyond with Dom Brown replacing Ibanez.

    RAJ’s two years as GM can be summed up as…he inherited a World Champion with a $98M payroll and a top 10 (maybe top 5) farm system. Less than two years later, the team’s a few games above .500 with a $138M payroll and the future looks bleaker by the day. The team is already on the hook for $135M of 2011 payroll for 15 players (3 SP’s, 3 RP’s, 7 regulars, Schneider and Gload) and unfortunately one of the regulars is Ibanez and not Werth. Therefore, expecting Dom Brown to be the 8th regular, the payroll will skyrocket to ~$150M if they fill in the rotation, pen and bench with borderline free agents other rookies or ~$160M if they want to sign a legit 4th starter and a few legit relievers.

    How else can you rate his performance other than to say he belongs in the contest with Omar Minaya and Dayton Moore?

    Comment by hk — July 22, 2010 @ 7:08 am

  187. I’d rather keep Werth for the rest of the year and get 2 draft picks as compensation.

    Comment by hk — July 22, 2010 @ 7:21 am

  188. Why is everyone commenting as if Werth’s in a horrible 2 month slump? His OBP was .396 in June. Is it because their comparing his recent production to his incredibly hot April, which was buoyed by a .386 BABIP?

    Comment by hk — July 22, 2010 @ 7:28 am

  189. For clutch ability, the current research suggests it does exist (in both a positive and negative fashion), but almost all players fall into the category of “same in the clutch as normal”. As for the guys that do perform differently in the clutch, the difference isn’t big, and it takes something like 10 years of data before you can actually conclude someone is a different player in the clutch than not. So that seems to support your conclusion, Larry.

    Comment by B — July 22, 2010 @ 10:18 am

  190. Because Phillies fans really think he is slumping because they don’t know much about OBP? Not that applies to anyone here, of course…. ;)

    Comment by B — July 22, 2010 @ 10:20 am

  191. “You are falling victim to simple minded statements that are not based on logic.”

    Nah, you’re just reading more into my statements than you should. Of course I would think there are some Phillies fans on Fangraphs. You have to realize that Fangraphs readers, as much as we like baseball, still represent a small portion of the baseball fanbase. We’re pretty much the opposite of representative of the general population, who still gets their news/analysis from sportswriters and value things like RBI’s….

    And yes, marketing does matter when ti comes to a guy getting his due. I can’t explain “why”, exactly, but I can just tell you….it works. That’s why companies continue to come up with advertising campaigns, why tv continues to have ads, etc….it works, even if it’s not always clear how or why….

    Comment by B — July 22, 2010 @ 10:31 am

  192. Matt, if he’s 2.5 runs above average offensively and defensively at a COF spot, in a full season of PT you get +20 replacement level, +2.5 offense, +2.5 defense, -7.5 positional = 1.75 WAR player.

    “Should Brown really stay in the minors for any more seasoniing? What else does he have to prove? And no Stanton’s AA line doesn’t make Brown look like a B prospect, that is nonsense, you are some kind of dopey Mutz fan.”

    Well, first, Stanton’s MLE from AA was .259/.363/.562 compared to Brown’s MLE of .265/.313/.441, so yes, Stanton does blow him away there. As for Brown staying in the minors for more seasoning, well, he’s still 22, he has all of 80 AB’s above AA, only has 388 AB’s at AA….he’s spent less than a full season total above the AA level while putting up a pretty ordinary MLE….which is good for a 22 year old, and says good things about his future, but that’s kind of the point – his performance isn’t “good” on it’s own, it’s “good” for his age, which is exactly why he could probably benefit from some more time in the minors (especially since, as I said, he’s barely spent any time in the upper minors).

    Comment by B — July 22, 2010 @ 10:43 am

  193. RBI’s are not a stat that adds any sort of knowledge or worthwhile evidence to the discussion. I’m sorry, but it just isn’t worth even discussing. We know the values of walks, singles, doubles, triples, and HR’s. We add up how many of those guys get, multiplied by the value of each one, to figure out a players production. It’s a very, very simple concept, and makes a lot more sense than any of the outdated stats that don’t tell us anything worthwhile like BA and RBI’s. Jayson Werth, has shown he’s very likely close to as good at hitting as Howard is based on this method, that again, is more accurate than anything before it and makes a lot more sense.

    Now, if you want to talk about how guys perform with runners on base, understand this – most players have no “clutch” ability – that is, they don’t raise/lower their game any more than expected in clutch situations relative to normal situations. There are some exceptions. It takes a very, very, very big sample size to figure out who the exceptions are. So….if you want to make the case that Howard is better in the clutch and/or Werth is worse in the clutch, by all means, I’m willing to listen, but you’re gonna have to show me it’s statistically significant (controllnig for expected change in performance) to get me to buy it. In almost every case all that’s really going on is you’re being fooled by sample error.

    And really, saying Howard would have 120 RBI’s in Seattle is absurd. Can’t get an RBI when nobody is on base ahead of you. Also, what’s with the overvaluing of RBI’s like somehow the guy that “drives the run in” gets more credit than the guy who scores the run? In what way does that make sense? Ugh, I can’t wait for RBI’s to finally die. The stat is so utterly useless.

    Comment by B — July 22, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  194. Check his numbers in July boss

    Comment by Brandon — July 22, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

  195. See B — there is always a couple of ways to look at MLEs. First off, you are dealing with small sample sizes. Secondly, if you enter that Brown is going to be playing half his games in Philly, you can arrive at an MLE of .264/.325/.475. With slight modifications these things can jump all over the place. Third, I’m not really sure why you knuckleheads have brough Mike Stanton into this discussion, he is neither a Philly nor a minor leaguer anymore, he had no ABs above AA, he was younger than 22. I don’t get it, why the comparison. Why does his impact/struggles have anything to do with D.Brown and the Phils situation? Just a poor strawman arguement from a college kid that doesn’t like the Phils.

    Comment by Nick — July 22, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

  196. Yes, players experience random fluctuations in their performances. It’s called standard deviation, and it’s expected. What relevance does it have?

    Comment by B — July 22, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

  197. You can trace the Stanton comment back to it’s origins. The point was that Stanton outperformed Brown by a considerable margin in the minors, yet he’s struggled badly in MLB – it’s trying to highlight the possibility of Brown failing really, really badly in his first go-round.

    Second, I don’t know what your point is with “slight modifications”. Yes, if you put a guy into a hitters park, his production should increase (but that doesn’t mean it becomes any more valuable). So? The whole point of bringing up the MLE is that it takes into account the difference in park/competition to compare guys minor league production on a standard level, and also indicate what his minor league performance tells you about his true talent level. In this case, it’s telling us two things – one, that Stanton’s minor league performance was much more impressive than Brown’s, and two, that Brown’s minor league performance indicates he’s probably going to be a below average OBP guy and above average power guy right now, to give you a roughly averageish offensive performance (again, based on his minor league sample).

    Comment by B — July 22, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

  198. As long as they keep game-winning RBIs. Remember those?

    Comment by MBD — July 22, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  199. You are building another strawman, just like you did with your friends equaling the entire native Philly cohort earlier in this thread, please stop doing it. Just because one guy struggled in his first 100 ABs then every guy worse then him in the minors will always struggle too isn’t the best way to think about. Of course Brown will have ups and downs, but in the context of the Phils I don’t understand the hesitaancy to bring him given their other options.

    Comment by Santast — July 22, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

  200. Since when does July = 2 months? Yes, he’s slumping right now. I get that. Rollins, Victorino, Ibanez, et al are also slumping. Hence, the 1-6 road trip. I just don’t understand why the FO feels the need to weaken the already weakened offense by dealing Werth as opposed to keeping him, promoting Brown, benching Ibanez and trading for a decent starter (i.e. Westbrook), who would be an upgrade over Kendrick.

    Comment by hk — July 22, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  201. “You are building another strawman, just like you did with your friends equaling the entire native Philly cohort earlier in this thread, please stop doing it. Just because one guy struggled in his first 100 ABs then every guy worse then him in the minors will always struggle too isn’t the best way to think about.”

    Either I’m not being clear, or you’re misinterpretting what I’m saying, because neither of those are what I’m arguing at all….

    Comment by B — July 22, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

  202. Here is the fairly large sample size evidence:

    In over 3500 plate appearance Howard’s slugging percentage with bases empty is 541 and with runners on is 622. The OPS 883 vs 1024, although that doesn’t have much to do with knocking in runners.

    Howard would get 120 RBIs in Seattle. He’d knock himself in about 40 to 45 times. (Remember he has more career HRs on the road than at home, so he’s no CBP creation.)

    And he’d be able to knock Ichiro and company in another 80. Seattle’s problem is the have the worst middle of the line up I’ve seen in years. But then again, when you have an organization that places no value on RBIs . . .

    Comment by JDT — July 22, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  203. JDT and what about any expected changes from having runners on base (in other words, it might be that everyones performance raises to some degree for various reasons)? And what about using wOBA or wRC+ instead, since they’re better measures than SLG or OPS?

    As for RBI’s in Seattle, eh, whatever, no point in arguing about something as pointless as RBI’s. I’m more interested in the total number of runs each individual is responsible for creating (which is why I use measures that make a lot more sense for evaluating that, like wOBA/wRC+). ;)

    Comment by B — July 22, 2010 @ 5:15 pm

  204. People seem to discount great RBI hitters because RBIs are an inferior stats. What they neglect is that overall, there is a good correlation between RBIs and the quality of power hitter.

    Howard isn’t just any hitter in the lineup, yet we’ll use his wOBA or some other stat to compare him to other hitters.

    Seems to me, his slugging percentage with guys on base (over a career) would be a pretty darn important stat, without deferring to the “clutch” arguement. What the “clutch” research has shown is that there can be wide diversity to an individual player’s clutch rating year to year (small sample size), but I wouldn’t interpret that to mean that a player couldn’t be “clutch” for his overall career (large sample size).

    Quite frankly, if a power hitter wasn’t driving in runs, he wouldn’t be in the middle of the lineup. Howard hits in the middle of a good lineup, and gets a lot of RBIs, because he is an elite level power hitter.

    For some reason, getting a lot of RBIs seem to count AGAINST Howard … like ~50 HR and 140 RBI seasons are a bad thing.

    In the last 4.5 seasons, Howard has 220 HR and 647 RBI (averaging 48 HR and 144 RBI). Sure, we could look at other stats, advanced metrics even, to examine the situation. But where are all these other guys that would average 48 homers a season for ~5 years?

    Howard just isn’t a “decent player” that gets to hit with guys on 2nd and 3rd all the time, driving them in with singles. Howard is an elite power hitter that drives in A LOT of runs, because he parks A LOT of balls over the fence in the heart of a good lineup.

    IMO, we’re sorta knee-jerking to the other direction where having a lot of RBIs and/or leading the league in pitching wins are “bad things” because they are not “complete” stats.

    I also am not sure that things like OBP and OPS or OPS+ should be used for a guy like Howard. Because his value is not in taking a walk (not advancing runners, not scoring teammates), his value is literally in clearing the bases and putting crooked numbers on the scoreboard.

    Certainly I value Pujols more than Howard, but that’s not really a slight since Pujols is one of the top 5 hitters in the modern era.

    Rather than look at it as “Howard is a good hitter because he plays in a good offense”, I’d say “The offense is good, because they play with Ryan Howard” Nobody has to choose between Utley and Howard or anything like that. They are both really good ballplayers, and both do their jobs really well … and I say this as one who hates the Phillies and is not much of a Howard fan. But, still …

    Comment by CircleChange11 — July 22, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  205. “But this isn’t as part of a plan to sell at the deadline, which would make sense given the Phillies status, seven games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East, in a struggle for second place with the New York Mets, and behind Cincinnati, San Francisco, Colorado, and Los Angeles for the Wild Card.”

    3 games out of the wild card with 67 games to play. You honestly believe the 2 time defending NL champs should be sellers? Honestly?

    Comment by Jeff B — July 22, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  206. It just further proves that Ruben Amaro’s style of management seriously sucks dong. Let’s look at the kind of moves that he was supposed to learn from his “mentor”, Pat Gillick.

    Gillick – Below market value deals for Utley and Rollins, mixing cost-controlled talent with established players, finding low cost talent (Victorino, Werth, Dobbs, Eyre, Romero, Durbin)

    Amaro – Above market value deals for Howard, Ibanez, Polanco, Lidge, Blanton, Moyer; overpaying for bench players/mediocre relievers (Gload, Baez, etc.)

    He’s created this monstrocity of bloated, unmovable contracts for guys exiting (or already out of) their prime years. And when he can’t sign Werth long term, he has nobody to blame but himself.

    Comment by Liney — July 22, 2010 @ 8:29 pm

  207. why?

    Comment by shirley — July 26, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

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