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  1. future talent 3rd?…. who besides brown?

    Comment by swag — March 31, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  2. Posted this on the Braves’ ranking but I think it’s insane to have the Phillies ahead of the Braves in future talent. The Braves’ system is waaaay better plus they have more young cost-controlled players-isn’t that the definition of future talent?

    Comment by bsally — March 31, 2011 @ 10:41 am

  3. I believe there are plenty of articles dedicated to that, including on this very site.

    Comment by Nik — March 31, 2011 @ 10:42 am

  4. Small correction: the Phillies made the playoffs in 2007 (not 2008) for the first time since 1993.

    Comment by Michael — March 31, 2011 @ 10:42 am

  5. In what bizarro world is the Phillies system rated #3? The future talent portion of these rankings are pretty poor. Love the rest though and don’t have many problems with the overall list.

    Comment by Lewis — March 31, 2011 @ 10:45 am

  6. A good overview of the Phillies. The NL and AL East are going to pretty much be representing 4 teams in the playoffs every year for the next 5 years.

    But I must ask, how did they receive 90.00 points for future talent while having the 5th best minor league system, and the Braves receive 85.00 points for future talent while having the 4th best system? I know this probably has been asked, but I’m just wondering…

    Comment by alligator — March 31, 2011 @ 10:47 am

  7. I had the Phillies as the #2Org. Over the past three years nobody has had more success on the field than them. They have a very solid minor league system with a large market to draw financial resources from. I ding them a little for having to have a large payroll to get this success. It is really more of a way of rewarding the teams that win with small payrolls though.

    Comment by Xeifrank — March 31, 2011 @ 10:49 am

  8. It was my impression, that even though the Phillies roster includes loads of 30 somethings, the fact that many are locked down with contracts that secure them through the organization’s future, classifies those players as being part of the future talent.

    Comment by baty — March 31, 2011 @ 10:49 am

  9. No. It’s that, plus any players who will be around after 2011. Present talent = 2011 roster. Future talent = anyone who will be around for at least 2012. It includes MLBers.

    I mean, yea, I still pick Atlanta here, but it’s not just about farm/young guys.

    Comment by NJ_Andy — March 31, 2011 @ 10:51 am

  10. I’m so confused-in earlier posts the consensus was that it was restricted to just minor leaguers? Either way I agree with you-Braves in 2012 for sure. Not sure why the Fangraphs staff thinks the Phillies are the best team in the NL this year “and beyond”.

    Comment by bsally — March 31, 2011 @ 10:54 am

  11. It’s worded oddly, but he means that they made the playoffs in 2007 for the first time since 1993, and then upped the payroll by $9 million in 2008. So you read it as “In 2008, after making the playoffs (IN 2007) for the first time since 1993, the Phillies upped payroll by $9 million.” Does that make more sense?

    Comment by Santos — March 31, 2011 @ 10:58 am

  12. Really? Because the Yankees have 8 more wins over that period. And they play in a more difficult division. And the Sox have a better present talent. The Yankees have similar present talent with a better farm and better resources.

    Comment by Total Dominication — March 31, 2011 @ 11:06 am

  13. Hysterical that this website bashes Ruben Amaro every chance it gets, then votes the Phillies front office as T-7th. Also, Rays T-1st in future talent? What are the qualifications for these rankings? Some of them (not just the two listed, but others) seem to come out of left field (pun unintended).

    Comment by Xenophanes — March 31, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  14. Halladay and Lee are part of the future too.

    Comment by Nik — March 31, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  15. Yup, oldest team in baseball. Cliff Lee lol

    Comment by Total Dominication — March 31, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  16. Phils have more playoff wins though

    Comment by Nik — March 31, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  17. How future talent is ranked outside of the bottom five is impossible for me to figure out. Even if you are including ‘star players’ locked into long term contracts as a positive, that is offset by the fact that those same ‘star players’ are on the wrong side of 30 and in decline. The trajectory of the Phillies is downward, not upward, so only knocking them down one point from their present talent ranking is ludicrous.

    Even their present talent ranking is in serious question here. This was proven by how fragile they suddenly look with the Utley injury. I’m sorry, but I’ve mostly nodded my head and agreed with the placement of the other teams in this set of rankings but this one reeks as badly as the Mariners placement last year.

    Comment by Schu — March 31, 2011 @ 11:17 am

  18. Glad to see that the Ibanez and Polanco signings are being viewed positiverly. I clearly remember many people criticizing Ruben for those signings. I think the Howard deal will be viewed in a more positive light in the future as well.

    Comment by Nik — March 31, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  19. I found this to be… amusing… as well. If Amaro and his front office are tied for #7 then I demand a recount on Dayton Moore.

    Comment by Schu — March 31, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  20. Yes very puzzling how the Phillies have a higher Future Talent rating than the Braves. I must say, I continue to be unimpressed with the inconsistencies with this series.

    Comment by Justin — March 31, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  21. Yeah, because players get better as they get older… Wakefield is gonna win a Cy Young this year.

    Comment by Schu — March 31, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  22. Wakefield is a very good comp for Halladay and Lee 2011-2014, I agree.

    Comment by don — March 31, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  23. Yeah, I guess you’d rather have Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy over halladay in 2012-2014.

    Comment by Nik — March 31, 2011 @ 11:29 am

  24. Very weird anti-Phillies sentiment in the comments. The Phillies have some real quality arms in their system, and have proven to be able to develop it. If only half of their farm system develops even to half of their potential, the Phils will have in 3 or 4 years a lot of cheap talent filling out their roster which will allow for higher priced FAs. If any of them develop to their potential, much less several of them, you might actually see a 90s Braves-like domination of the NL east, which I never thought I’d see again in my lifetime.

    Comment by Dan in Philly — March 31, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  25. Wait a minute, you think the Phillies have better arms in their system than the Braves? I’m sorry, but that’s just crazy.

    Comment by bsally — March 31, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  26. haha, I wasn’t arguing anything, I was only reminding everyone that you don’t have to be young to be a part of future talent… but since you mentioned it… In 2013, I would most likely take

    T Hanson
    M Minor
    J Teheran
    R Delgado
    T Hudson / B Beachy / A Vizcaino / outside acquisition etc…


    R Halladay
    C Lee
    C Hamels / R Oswalt / J Cosart / B Colvin / T May / outside acquisition / etc…

    Comment by baty — March 31, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  27. I’m not familiar with the Braves’ system to comment on that, and when I read my post I notice that I did not in fact comment on that.

    Your post kind of proves my point about the hysterical weirdness of it all. Disagree with the ranking, ok, but some of the claims that the Phils minor league system is poor, even bottom 5, is nonsense.

    Comment by Dan in Philly — March 31, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  28. Biggest Contributors to future talent: Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard

    Smaller Role Players: Polanco, Dom Brown, Ben Fransisco

    That’s not as bad as you make it out to be. Lee and Halladay are aging but they both have limited injury histories and are the top 2 pitchers in the game. Chase Utley is hurt but assuming he can play 100 games/year he’s still a 3-4 player. Ryan Howard is generally healthy and should be a 2-4 win player for the next 2-3 years. Dom Brown has a high ceiling, we’ll see what he can put forward when he is an everyday player.

    There is a lot of talent in the minors, I’m not sure how the counts to “future talent” but there are some high ceiling guys that may be in the majors in 2-3 years or could be moved to fill in current holes.

    Comment by Evan — March 31, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  29. Halladay, Lee and Hamels + young arms > Hanson + young arms.

    Comment by Nik — March 31, 2011 @ 11:49 am

  30. Sour grapes, Rich Schu.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — March 31, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  31. I’m glad to see a reasonable rating for Baseball Ops.

    IMO< it makes the site look silly on occasion to always be bashing the GMs that have some of the best teams. Some of the biggest whipping boys have some of the most consistent, competitive teams.

    Either GMs ain't all that important, or they're better at it than we/FG gives them credit for.

    KW, Amaro got better ratings than I would have guessed. I'm not saying that FG is "right" because it's congruent what I think. I think the rating better fits the data. It doesn't make sense to keep bashing LAA and PHL, as they win the division every year (slight exaggeration).

    I think it's hard to argue that any team has made a better use of their "5-year window" than Philly. They are clearly going for it NOW, and over the next 2-4 years. If they have to spend some time rebuilding after that, then a Decade of Dominance (2007-2015?)is a pretty good trade-off.

    I'd rather see a team do that then proceed with caution and be content to put out 80-win teams each year, but never risk "going for 90".

    Comment by CircleChange11 — March 31, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  32. The Braves system is probably underrated, but the Phillies have a good collection of high ceiling pitching talent on the farm.

    There’s the usual questions with low minor pitching prospects; i.e. can Cosart stay healthy, can May improves his command enough to not work himself into trouble all the time, so there’s a lot of variance, but as far as pitching depth is concerned they’ve certainly got one of the better systems.

    Comment by don — March 31, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  33. They have $80+ MM committed to four players through 2013. I find something wrong with that.

    Comment by sparbz — March 31, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  34. I’m not bitter in the slightest. The Phillies just aren’t as good as they were a few years ago. They’re older and more injury prone and with their current lineup I’ll be shocked if they make the playoffs this year. Pitching can only carry you so far.

    This is why I’m confused by the ranking. I thought it was plain for all to see that this is a team well along the path of decline, not one that is on the rise.

    Comment by Schu — March 31, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  35. As a phillies fan i agree this is an overrating

    However, as much as people like to rip amaro, the article does a good job of laying out the good things they done.

    It doesn’t lay out that the scouting department is maybe one of the top 3-4 in the game, by taking the high upside players that were so out of vogue by other teams. I dont know if their edge there will diminish going forward, but their front office is much more than Amaro. (I’d argue Wolever is more important almost)

    Anyway, it’s an overrating, but not as egregious as some make it out to be.

    Lastly, the financial resources have been huge. I split season tickets 10 ways with 9 other people, 2nd row, great seats on the 3rd base line with the aisle giving me clear sitelines.

    My first year in the group was 2006, the seats were $40 each, they had good capacity, but not alot of sellouts. Now they sell out every game, and the tickets are $60 each. I realize not every seat is $20 more (though that might be the mean, if not hte median), but 20 * 3 million = 60 mil. + increased concession prices etc.

    They are now a behemoth, and it’s been a fun ride along the way.

    Comment by TheUnrepentantGunner — March 31, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  36. Only if you don’t have the $$ is it wrong.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — March 31, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  37. For the most part, I’ve agreed with these rankings so far. At least, to a justifiable extent.

    But, from reading all of the articles (and most of the comments), I have gotten the sense that there was very little collusion from the different writers (highlighted by the general confusion about future talent). Perhaps it was the attempt at creating some sort of quantitative system causing the issues, but there have been some mixed signals.

    Still, I’m looking forward to seeing who is #1!

    Comment by TheGrandSlamwich — March 31, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  38. If there’s anything you can say that would refute the laundry list of Ruben’s demonstrably positive moves listed above, then it would probably be best to share it. Otherwise, the random Moore-as-slur comment seems misplaced.

    Comment by Andrew — March 31, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

  39. People don’t really believe The Phils have a bottom 5 farm do they haha? I’ve looked through multiple Farm Rankings and the lowest I saw them ranked was 12 and as High as 5.

    Comment by Mookie — March 31, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  40. I’m a little surprised by the #2 present rating. I see a strong possibility that this team falls way short of expectations this year. Their starting pitching is amazing (obviously) but I look at their line-up (without Utley) and I see an average offense, and an average-at-best bullpen.

    Comment by vivalajeter — March 31, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

  41. Dan, it’s kind of implied that you like the Phillies’ pitchers better than the Braves’ if you think that they’ll dominate the division with them for an extended period of time. The Braves have 4 of the top 35-40 or so pitching prospects in all of baseball, including the number 1.

    Comment by bsally — March 31, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  42. Young pitchers get hurt all the time… I’d stay away from predicting the Braves 2013 rotation. I think Met fans are still waiting for Wilson, Isringhausen and Pulsipher to lead them to the World Series.

    Comment by Otter — March 31, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  43. If Jim Hendry too! Apparently the Soriano contract isn’t THAT bad since the Cubs do have financial resources.

    Comment by Otter — March 31, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  44. You realize that in 2013 it is highly likely that Hamels/Lee/Halladay are still 3 of the best 25 or so pitchers in all of MLB right? There is some risk the Phils don’t resign Hamels, but I don’t think Lee/Halladay are all that risky over the next 3 years.

    I think it is a much more risky assuming that Minor/Teheran/Delgado/Beachy/Vizcaino are really able to step in those number (4 out of 5 spots) in only 2-3 more years.

    Comment by Alex — March 31, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  45. Really? The Phillies minor league system is universally regarded with praise.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — March 31, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

  46. The Braves system is not ‘waaay’ better. It’s somewhat better.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — March 31, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

  47. I love all of the Phillies hate. I really do. The Braves had the lead in the division last year in September and the Phillies, with injuries and no Lee, passed them easily. What’s different about the Braves this year? Tommy Hanson after 200 innings? Uggla? I wonder if he’s going to keep that average? A 39 year old Chipper? A rookie at first base? A below average SS? An overrated catcher? A CF that might be the worst in the division? An unproven closer? Lowe and Hudson that are older than any of the Phillies Starters?

    I mean come on. Lets see if the Braves can actually beat the Phillies before we all jump on their bandwagon.

    As to the minor league systems. None of us know for sure what is going to happen. So it’s all just stupid speculation. With that said, from everything I’ve read, no team in baseball has the lower level talent that the Phillies have. You might say that it takes a while for that to develop. Fine. Sure. I agree. However, two years ago Brown was lower level talent and so was Drabek.

    Comment by Hank Mardukas — March 31, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

  48. “Dan, it’s kind of implied that you like the Phillies’ pitchers better than the Braves’ if you think that they’ll dominate the division with them for an extended period of time.” – if you accept your premise that I implied the only thing important to winning for an extended period of time is minor league pitching, you would have won the argument. However, when I re-read my post, I think it’s pretty clear that I say something like this:

    “If only half of their farm system develops even to half of their potential, the Phils will have in 3 or 4 years a lot of cheap talent filling out their roster which will allow for higher priced FAs.”

    I would say that the implication is that good young talent plus ability to sign FAs is more accurate that what you state. In fact, I don’t think I implied it at all, I think I pretty explicitly stated it. Which is why I further contended then and now that your reaction is pretty clear evidence for my basic point, that there seems to be a rabid anti-Phillies sentiment in a lot of the comments, which isn’t justified by the facts.

    Comment by Dan in Philly — March 31, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

  49. It is “waaay” better because the Phillies have no one who is close to being major league ready. Those types of guys are a total crapshoot. There’s a very clear separation between the top four systems and the rest.

    Comment by bsally — March 31, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

  50. Sorry, you’re right. Missed that bit about financial flexibility, but honestly the Braves have no one tied to long term deals save Uggla whereas the Phillies have a ridiculous amount of money tied up in aging, overpriced players. So while the Phillies have more financial clout, I would say that the Braves will be in a better position to sign FAs down the line.

    Comment by bsally — March 31, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

  51. The Present Talent ranking strikes me as a little high, even with the Rotation of Doom that is certainly the best I can remember. With the injury to Utley, the aging of the roster, an offense that seems unspectacular… I just don’t see it.

    It was still a good write-up, and after the explanation it’s hard for me to argue with any of the other rankings. This is a good team. I just have some reservations about its strength this year.

    Comment by VivaAyala — March 31, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

  52. OMG!!! An Internet site made bad predictions in the past and now have the audacity to admit to it and correct their frameworks! I’m disgusted!!! This is why I only get my sports news from ‘Around the Horn.”

    Btw: the Ibanez deal is still bad as the Phillies still could have signed a comparable player to a much cheaper/shorter deal. If they had done so they likely would have a better outfield lineup now. I don’t remember people being that down on the Polonco deal. The Howard deal is bad. I still think Amaro is a good GM, though. No GM is perfect.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — March 31, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  53. Yeah the Cubs and Royals are exactly like the Phillies. I am now swayed.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — March 31, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

  54. Other than Ibenez (who is in his last year of his contract and probably will earn his money) and Howard, who else on the Phillies overpaid and old?

    Comment by DavidCEisen — March 31, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

  55. So they have about 100 million to spend and a top minor league system to call on when putting together the rest of the roster.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — March 31, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

  56. Phillies have sold more than 3 million tickets already, after raising average prices by $5.00 or so.

    When you make that kind of money, you can do things.

    Comment by bflaff — March 31, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  57. You had the rays 1 and the phillies 2. What were your criteria for ranking them?

    Comment by adohaj — March 31, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  58. Summary of Phils FG Ranks: Year 2008: 24, Year 2009: 14, Year 2010: 9, Year 2010: 3

    Summary of Actual Results: Year 2008: 1, Year 2009: 2, Year 2010: 3or4.

    Somehow I think FG is overcompensating based on prior performance.

    Lets look at the Ms as another example

    Summary of M’s FG Ranks: Year 2008: 23, Year 2009: 15, Year 2010: 6, Year 2010: 17

    Summary of Actual Results: Year 2008: 29, Year 2009: 14, Year 2010: 29.

    Ok, no real correlation there between rank and results. nevermind. These things are completely meaningless, but are fun to talk about.

    Comment by Max — March 31, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

  59. The Braves have to prove they can beat the Phillie when it counts. The Braves had a 7 game lead on the Phillies on Juy 22nd. They finished 6 game back. That’s a 13 game swing in 9 weeks.

    Comment by Carl — March 31, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

  60. I’ll admit that I don’t know much about the Braves pitching prospects, but I’m not sure if it’s safe to assume that in two years unproven (outside of Hanson) prospects will develop into elite Major League pitchers while also assuming that currently elite Major League pitchers will decline to a level below those currently unknown commodities. It very well could happen, but those unproven pitchers may end up being Jaret Wrights or experiencing serious injury problems.

    The injury factor applies to Lee, Halladay, and Hamels as well, but barring injury, all three should be significantly above average pitchers in 2013. Especially Hamels as he will not yet be 30. The same cannot be said with any degree of certainty about Minor, Beachy, Teheran, Delgado, and Vizcaino.

    I’m not disparaging those prospects, or saying that they won’t be better than what the Phillies will have. I’m just saying that I wouldn’t be too certain that 2011 prospects will be better in 2013 than 2011 stars will be in 2013. There are two full years of unknowns yet to occur.

    Comment by Mcneildon — March 31, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  61. Brian McCann is not overrated. That’s just idiotic. He’s the best-hitting catcher in the NL, and it’s not close. His defense is about average at this point. Given his position, he’s one of the most valuable players in the game.

    Comment by Anon21 — March 31, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

  62. Ok, you might be a right as a matter of Fangraphs methodology. But that’s a very stupid way of figuring future talent. If future talent includes everyone who’s under contract to the team in the future (or even medium-term future), it’s essentially just a combination of financial resources–how many awesome free agents can you sign–and baseball ops–how good are you at identifying who the awesome free agents are. If that’s so, why bother breaking out future talent separately at all?

    There are various sensible ways to do future talent. You could do all pre-arb MLBers, plus minor leaguers. You could do just minor leaguers. You could do anyone who hasn’t yet reached free agency. But counting players who are signed to market rate (or above market rate) contracts is an absurd system that adds no information to the other components of the org ranking.

    Comment by Anon21 — March 31, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  63. Mhm, I was implying that they still seem to dislike Amaro (see: “bash them every chance they get,” not the past-tense “bashed”). Howard deal was an abortion, Cliff Lee trade was an abortion, Ibanez signing was bad, Polanco deal was decent…any more positives that outway those 2 terrible deals? Signing Cliff Lee doesn’t make up for trading him; Amaro was lucky he got the chance to correct a mistake, but it doesn’t undo it. These (i.e. Howard ext, trading Lee, signing Ibanez) are serious flaws in his judgments of players. I don’t see how the Phillies front office is t-7th, and, judging by everything FanGraphs has said, neither do they. But, there it is. Confusing. Never said they can’t change their mind, nor do I even see where they did. Maybe try making sure you interpret what someone said correctly before getting snarky? I mean, we are talking about “correcting frameworks.”

    Comment by Xenophanes — March 31, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  64. Amaro lucked into signing Lee? How is it lucky to trade an impending free agent and then sign him a’s a free agent? You’re acting a’s if no one knew that Lee was going to be a free agent.

    If the 2nd worst move Amaro has made is signing Ibanez, who will likely earn his contract, then Amaro isn’t doing too bad.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — March 31, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  65. Buster Posey

    Comment by Hank Mardukas — March 31, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

  66. Right, because it wasn’t at all possible for Seattle/Texas to extend Lee after trading him, nor was it at all possible for another team with more flexibility in payroll to offer more and sign him in free agency. Amaro was lucky Lee wanted to go back and everyone could forget how he gave Lee to the M’s. Amaro’s second worst move was trading Lee, first was the Howard extension (IMO). All of his wins have been marginally good deals, but hardly indicative of a top-3rd GM/front office. Slightly below market contracts for aging players doesn’t really inspire me all that much.

    Comment by Xenophanes — March 31, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  67. All I’m saying, is that if I had the opportunity to choose between each team’s future SP outlook, that’s who I’d go with. I’m not trying to pre-define a 2013 outcome because anything can and will happen between now and then. I’m only saying that I would prefer Atlanta’s risk over Philadelphia’s security and not strictly as a talent/health base. Financially, thinking about the potential dollar per win is very tempting, even if it’s only through trade value. Atlanta’s rotation probably won’t be stable by 2013, but if luck continues, it will be a strong beginning. I would be fine going against the current probability (not that my opinion matters).

    Comment by baty — March 31, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  68. “Slightly below market contracts for aging players doesn’t really inspire me all that much”

    I dont know about you but 2 division championships, a pennant, and 14 playoff wins in 2 years inspires me.

    Comment by Butchie — March 31, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  69. I think FG is a little slow in correcting their own biases, preconceived notions, and/or precitions. That’s what I think the results vs. ranking shows.

    Philly didn’t crumble and SEA didn’t rise

    This year, PHL, CWS, and LAA got some decent respect in terms of Baseball Ops. The longer you are successful, the better your rating is. Changes in front office combined with a some small moves (that get over-rated) is what leads to big jumps in org ranks.

    AA/TOR was the only over-reach based on very limited data.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — March 31, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  70. Some thoughts on Amaro and Phillies free agent signings:

    1) Who gets the credit for Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay both wanting to leave money on the table so they can play with Philly? It seems to me that Pat Gillick deserves much of the credit here, for assembling a roster full of mature/professional/high-character guys who many peers would very much like to play with. The rest of the credit goes to these mature/professional/high-character guys themselves, for being, well, mature/professional/high-character guys. Ruben Amaro, Jr. should get no credit for creating what is an incredibly positive workplace environment.

    2) Those who followed the offseason during which Philly signed Raul Ibanez will recall that a number of Ibanez-caliber LFs ended up signing for MUCH less money than Philly paid Ibanez. In other words, even if Ibanez technically earns his salary from a WAR standpoint, Amaro nonetheless overpaid for the guy. If you pay more than what the market is willing to pay, then you are overpaying.

    3) Philly’s offense has two big and obvious problems: no high OBP guys to put at the top of that lineup and no RH slugger to replace Jayson Werth’s presence in the middle of this lefty-dominated middle-of-the-order. Amaro has done nothing to address either problem.

    4) Amaro surely could have gotten more from Seattle for Cliff Lee. Amaro may have been able to get Roy Halladay for less, too. Although I do admire his decision to just go out and get Halladay, admittedly.

    5) Somebody is to blame for continuing to bat the declining Jimmy Rollins and his lousy OBP at the top of that lineup. Shouldn’t the front office order their on-the-field management team to make a change? Isn’t this Amaro’s fault?

    6) Somebody is to blame for letting Carlos Ruiz rot at the bottom of that lineup for the past year and a half. Again, isn’t this Amaro’s fault, ultimately?

    7) Wouldn’t Shane Victorino make more sense over in RF? Wouldn’t you want a good defensive CF on this team, since you have invested so much in your pitching?

    8) Finally, much has been said about Ryan Howard’s godawful contract, but it really is godawful. That decision was such a bad decision. Shocking at the time, too. Most decisions only look idiotic in hindsight. That one was idiotic from Day One.

    Comment by Robbie G. — March 31, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

  71. Has 443 MLB PAs under his belt. McCann has been better for longer. If Posey maintains his 2010 rates over the course of 2011, then sure, maybe he’s the new best catcher in the NL. That’s still a long way from Brian McCann being overrated.

    Comment by Anon21 — March 31, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  72. Wow.

    Thanks Robbie G. that really clears things up for me. you don’t like Ruben Amaro.

    Comment by Danmay — March 31, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

  73. I’m just glad somebody is replacing me. Team has all the makings of massively underperforming expectations (have you looked at their lineup?) this season, let alone down the road.

    Comment by #6org — March 31, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

  74. Okay, so why can’t I just say that the Red Sox good moves were just due to players that wanted to play in Fenway 81 games a year?

    Why not go out on a limb and say that the players really just sought mentoring from Charlie Manual?

    The Howard signing is a bad contract. Basically a 3.5 WAR player paid as a 5 WAR guy.

    You could, and basically did, come up with a bunch of reasons of why players would come to Philly without giving any credit to the GM. Outstanding.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — March 31, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  75. You had me right up until the whole “Howard” thing. I felt Ibanez was a respectable signing and Polanco was also okay. But the Howard thing is going to be a problem, mark my words.

    Comment by B N — March 31, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  76. Oops, continued ….

    Who gets the credit for 282 wins in 3 years and 2 WS appearances? Isn’t the GM ultimately responsible for that?

    Or are they just ultimately responsible for the mistakes? (or perceived mistakes).

    The problem is that you are wanting to use criteria to blame Amaro, but then not use the same criteria to credit him. That’s a tough position to defend at an objective analysis website.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — March 31, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  77. Baty,

    I here what you’re saying. From a financial standpoint, it is very possible the Braves could be paying an entire quality staff less than what the Phillies will be paying either Lee or Halladay in 2013. Or, they could use some of those prospects to acquire an established 1 or 2. I guess I’m just someone who prefers to see established high-end talent in place because it’s more of a known quantity going forward (although, future health is never a known quantity with pitchers.) And, of course, I feel this way only if the team can pay for it without compromising the ability to acquire talent at other positions.

    Comment by Mcneildon — March 31, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

  78. #6Org lives forever

    Comment by DR — March 31, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

  79. Alex, baty – Hamels isn’t even under contract in 2013… while he will still be an above average pitcher, I don’t know what team he will be playing for with any certainty.

    The Phils have ~80mil committed to 4 players in 2013… while that probably leaves them with 70-80mil, are they going to use 20mil of that to re-sign Hamels? They might, but Utley and Howard are the only position players under contract (and D Brown) then, so they will need to fill some other holes with that money too (though they do have options on Ruiz and Polanco)

    Comment by joe — March 31, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

  80. Cole Hamels is under contract through….. 2012….

    He’s a FA in 2013, while he may re-sign, people are treating it as a certainty.

    Comment by joe — March 31, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

  81. Well, does Boston overpay for talent? Ever? No. This is due to good management.

    I suppose some credit goes to Amaro for maintaining the status quo. If this were an easy thing to do then all former great organizations would still be great organizations. But I would give the lion’s share of the credit here to Pat Gillick as well as current Phillies ownership for allowing Gillick to spend the money to build the Phillies into a powerhouse.

    Comment by Robbie G. — March 31, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

  82. Well, Oswalt is a FA by then too, and I would be surprised to see either extended, but anything can happen until then. There’s no certainty with any of this stuff.

    Comment by baty — March 31, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  83. Well I think it’s assumed (or perceived) by most that Oswalt walks after this year. But for some reason Hamels is assumed to be part of the core and this guy under team control for a while, I don’t think people realize next year is his last arb year (certainly not Alex who has him written in on the 2013 staff).

    I do think the Phils will obviously make a strong push to keep him, but he is going to be a sought after FA and I don’t see it as a given that he’s a Phillie beyond next year. He will likely get some long term offers (assuming he hits FA with no injury issues), will the Phillies be willing to match a 4-6 year deal if someone else offers one?

    If he walks it’s Hallady, Lee and…. Kyle Kendrick/FA/prospects/Kyle… Jamie Moyer out of retirement?

    Comment by joe — March 31, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

  84. Joe,

    I agree that it is far from certain that Hamels will be on the roster in 2013. I only included him in my response because he was part of the list that baty submitted comparing the Braves and Phillies potential staffs in 2013. I didn’t include Oswalt because I just can’t imagine him being on the roster in 2013, although, I guess it’s not outside the realm of possibility. I do think that the possibility that Hamels is on the staff is much greater, but it’s definitely not a given.

    If Hamels does walk, the Phillies’ projected 2013 rotation is very murky after Halladay and Lee considering that their highly regarded pitching prospects are in the low minors right now. If Jamie Moyer is on that staff, well, I’ll tune in to watch a 50 year old attempt to retire Major League hitters. That could be worth several guffaws above replacement.

    Comment by mcneildon — March 31, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

  85. *cough* Dice-K *cough*

    Comment by hunterfan — March 31, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

  86. Bad comparison. Only teams with massive expectations can massively underpeform them. Seattle was not such a team last year.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — March 31, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

  87. As I said on the Braves, this futures ranking is ridiculous.

    The only people who seem to think the Phillies have a better future than the Braves are phillies fans. Do you REALLY think that Roy Halladay at 34 signed until he’s 36 or 37 (vesting)? He’s had 3 straight seasons of 6.5 plus WAR and 236 average IP the last since 2006. However, he’s 34 this year. How much longer can his body do that? Tim Hudson, Chris Carpenter, these guys are all comparable to Halladay and all eventually had TJ.

    Cliff Lee is 32 and signed until he’s 36 or 37 (vesting). Won the Cy in 2008 with a WAR of 7.3. Since then it’s been 5, and 4.3 last year. Seems to me that he’s a guy who will decline and signed an amazing contract.

    Philly isn’t the empire New York or Boston are. If they start to fail, the money isn’t going to be 170M payroll/year. You have pitchers locked into huge deals, which is rarely good.

    If you ask me, the Phillies are a few injuries/declnies away from looking like the Cubs.

    Comment by Anthony — March 31, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

  88. and as robbie said up a while ago and like I always say. Pat Gillick built this team. All Ruben Amaro has done is sign the best free agents and resign his best players to huge contracts with money they have because they won with Gillick. In 2008 they had Rollins, Utley, Victorino, Howard, and Hamels all either in their prime or about to enter it. That’s awesome, that’s a team that you can pretty much put on autopilot to win. Rollins declines, Utley gets hurt a lot, Howard declines, now what? Overrated Dominic Brown and signing 2 pitchers past their prime to mega deals?

    I have this theory that because baseball people like to group shit, Dominic Brown is overrated because of Jason Heyward. Two athletic black kids coming up in prominent NL East systems. Difference is Heyward has way better patience.

    Comment by Anthony — March 31, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

  89. Robbie G,

    I don’t really want to defend Amaro here. The Howard extension was, is, and will be terrible. The Lee trade to Seattle deserves scorn as well.

    However, I will take exception with the statement that “Pat Gillick deserves much of the credit here, for assembling a roster full of mature/professional/high-character guys who many peers would very much like to play with.”

    Gillick certainly deserves some credit for presiding over a team that won a World Series during his three year tenure. But, He wasn’t responsible for most of the significant contributors of those teams and the teams since he retired. His main acquisitions that contributed to these teams were Werth, Blanton, Moyer, and Lidge. He deserves credit for those acquisitions. However, he sank roughly 45 million dollars on Adam Eaton, Geoff Jenkins, and Freddy Garcia. He also gave up Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez to obtain Garcia despite being aware of the fact that Garcia had lost significant velocity the previous season (he justified this by mentioning Garcia’s strong September ERA with Chicago in 2006)

    I don’t think Gillick did all that much to create the atmosphere and talent that has caused players from other teams to want to play in Philadelphia. I’m not trying to slam him or anything, but I don’t think he is largely responsible for the success of the team over the last four years.

    Comment by Mcneildon — March 31, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

  90. The Phillies are fifth according to Fangraphs and Klaw; the Braves are 4th and 3rd respectively. Let’s not pretend this is a bigger difference than it actually is (or frankly that we have more expertise than we actually do). If you want to read risk (that the experts haven’t) into a type of guy who is a total crapshoot, then I would note that the Braves top prospects are all pitchers (who are more likely to be injury prone than position player prospects) and a low power first baseman (who usually have a low ceiling). I would just say the Braves have a slightly better farm system based on numerous experts and leave it at that.

    Comment by Andrew — March 31, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

  91. Phillies fans and the staff of FanGraphs you’ll note.

    Comment by Andrew — March 31, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

  92. So the FanGraphs staff can’t be Phillies/East coast fans? They can’t get caught up like the rest of the media and put too much stock in the past? Having 2 pitchers past their prime for a ton of money for a long time is NOT a good idea.

    Comment by Anthony — April 1, 2011 @ 12:12 am

  93. The difference is that after Domonic Brown the rest of the Phillies’ top 10 prospects haven’t played above A ball, and only May has played above low A. Compare that to the Braves’ prospects that are well distributed across all levels-big difference.

    Comment by bsally — April 1, 2011 @ 12:19 am

  94. Rollins and Utley are getting up there. Rollins is overpaid now and Utley is as well as long as he’s sitting on the bench, something that is becoming alarmingly frequent. Halladay/Lee/Oswalt are old as well…if one of them goes down I suspect the Braves win the division handily.

    Comment by bsally — April 1, 2011 @ 12:25 am

  95. If anyone is saying that then that’s silly, but it’s equally silly to say that the Phillies have a better farm system than the Braves do, which is what these rankings did.

    Comment by bsally — April 1, 2011 @ 12:26 am

  96. Buster Posey has a loooong way to go before he’s Brian McCann.

    Comment by bsally — April 1, 2011 @ 12:27 am


    Comment by Xenophanes — April 1, 2011 @ 12:50 am

  98. Anthony,

    “Pat Gillick built this team. All Ruben Amaro has done is sign the best free agents and resign his best players to huge contracts with money they have because they won with Gillick. In 2008 they had Rollins, Utley, Victorino, Howard, and Hamels all either in their prime or about to enter it. That’s awesome, that’s a team that you can pretty much put on autopilot to win.”

    Gillick didn’t acquire any of those players.

    “…signing 2 pitchers past their prime to mega deals?”

    Halladay was past his prime last year? Lee is past his prime now? They very well could be as the contracts progress, but they certainly weren’t past their primes when they were signed, which is what you are asserting.

    Excoriate Amaro for the Howard deal and the Lee trade to Seattle. But don’t present fallacies to support your criticism.

    Comment by Mcneildon — April 1, 2011 @ 12:55 am

  99. Hahaha that just made my night!

    Comment by bsally — April 1, 2011 @ 12:55 am

  100. Go Ben Francisco! Go Friars!! Go Servite!!

    Comment by ServiteLegend — April 1, 2011 @ 1:09 am

  101. For some reason, I imagine that Ben Francisco played in the marching band at Servite. I really like the fact that his Wikipedia entry uses the term “Comrades” to refer to people like Ryan Garko. Josef MixCarthy must be spinning in his grave coffin.

    Comment by mcneildon — April 1, 2011 @ 1:35 am

  102. ======================================
    It’s hard to argue with sustained success, and the Phillies have experienced just that. They have won the NL East in each of the last four seasons and have turned that into two World Series appearances and one title. It’s also arguable that they were the best team in the NL in 2010. The FanGraphs staff thinks they’re the best NL club in 2011 and beyond.
    now im not arguing with this statement at all, because i believe its 100% true, but in the context of this article it is very misleading.

    many of the other writers have specifically pointed out that past performance has ZERO impact on these rankings, regardless of how good a team has been over the past X number of years (see the Giants post for a good example of what i mean). so what is the point o stating how good tehy have been?
    or are different writers using different criteria to form these evaluations?

    i love this series as a general overview of team functionality, but i cant take the results seriously because when i try to get any sense of the methodology used… well i come away baffled. it just doesnt seem like all the writers are on the same page, or even the same chapter.

    1) i think that either:
    A) every article should be prefaced by the definition of each category, AND the weight it was given
    B) there is a link at the top of every article to the same information

    2) all the writers need to agree on the criteria used to evaluate the teams in their respective write ups

    3) the “talent” portion, specifically future talent, needs an overhaul. (and more than 2 people doing the rankings)

    Comment by cs3 — April 1, 2011 @ 4:02 am

  103. ” I really like the fact that his Wikipedia entry uses the term “Comrades” to refer to people like Ryan Garko. Josef MixCarthy must be spinning in his grave coffin.”

    “Comrades” doesn’t refer to Garko; the word “comrades”, modified by the adjective unfortunate, refers to the unfortunate souls who got kicked out of Servite High School. Garko graduated from Servite.

    Long Live Servite High School!!!

    Comment by ServiteLegend — April 1, 2011 @ 6:18 am

  104. Umm…better check Lee’s WAR for the last 2 years again.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — April 1, 2011 @ 9:25 am

  105. This ranking is absurd. They are overrated in every single category listed. 2nd best present talent? I thought this was fangraphs, not Sports Illustrated. 3rd best finances? Maybe you can argue top 5, but not number three. 7th best baseball operations? Are you kidding me?

    Comment by Paul Zummo — April 1, 2011 @ 10:16 am

  106. A difference which presumably was built into the rankings as done by the experts.

    Comment by Andrew — April 1, 2011 @ 10:27 am

  107. I suppose they could have become East Coast fans (by which I guess you mean Northeast, unless they moved Atlanta recently) but if you check past years’ rankings there’s very little evidence of such a bias (in fact I believe there was a bit of a to do over the high ranking of decidedly non-East Coast Seattle last year). I also think that Fangraphs probably regarded Halladay and Lee as the two best pitchers in the game when doing this ranking (or no worse than 2 of the best 4) rather than arbitrarily declaring them past their prime and using incorrect WAR numbers to back that up.

    Comment by Andrew — April 1, 2011 @ 10:37 am

  108. lol the Phillies will still at worst be a middle of the pack offensive team. People are talking about them like they’re the Astros or Mariners from last year.

    And btw the Giants say hi Schu (who’s obviously a butthurt braves/mets fan)

    Comment by B — April 2, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

  109. Refute it with facts then. Don’t throw blanket statements out there like this is ridiculous and then present 0 facts to prove why said statements are ridiculous.

    How many teams have better present talent? Yankees & Red Sox and who?….

    Comment by B — April 2, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

  110. Phillies’ high ceiling prospects might be two years away, but then again, Phillies don’t need them for the next two years.

    Comment by Phillie697 — April 3, 2011 @ 1:52 am

  111. Both Halladay AND Lee signed below-market deals to go to Philly. You really think Hamels, who’s been a Phillie his entire career, is going to haggle over money if Amaro gives him a fair deal, which is pretty much guaranteed what Amaro will give him? You haven’t been paying attention if you argue otherwise.

    Comment by Phillie697 — April 3, 2011 @ 1:57 am

  112. And also, name 6 better teams in MLB on baseball operations. I personally think that #7 is a bit low, and is probably the result of some leftover bashing of the Ryan Howard contract. I really, REALLY have no idea what Amaro was thinking, given how smart he has been so far everywhere else (yes including the Cliff Lee trade once you listened to his explanation this spring, which made a lot of sense). Maybe there was something else at work that we just don’t know about?

    Comment by Phillie697 — April 3, 2011 @ 2:04 am

  113. ‘Average-at-best bullpen’…


    Comment by Non-Mets/Braves Fan — April 4, 2011 @ 6:23 pm

  114. The Red Sox have $70+MM committed to four players through 2014.

    But I’m sure you can explain why having Beckett and Lackey locked up is way better than Halladay and Lee, right?

    Comment by Jimmy the Greek — April 18, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

  115. I think people are selling the Phillies current AAA roster a bit short, they aren’t great players, and they aren’t that young but they are pretty decent and slightly above replacement value. Also the Phillies are actually in a pretty large market, and probably in the largest one team market in the country, so with success income wont be a problem.

    Take into account players desire to want to stay here, I think that the Phillies are looking to become the NL’s Yankees, especially after the teams that should have that title are either in financial troubles (Mets, Dodgers) or traditional losers (Cubs).

    Comment by Win — May 29, 2011 @ 5:05 am

  116. It’s fun to revisit this article. 19 games over .500 and climbing.

    Comment by Dave — June 23, 2011 @ 3:52 am

  117. Pretty clearly the rewarding a team for winning with less financial resources would be the answer to that at face value. The Rays continually put out very competitive teams with very few resources in a very tough division.

    Comment by Win — July 12, 2011 @ 3:35 am

  118. BN, you mark my words:
    If howard signed an extension after this year or next, instead of last year, hed be making significantly more.
    Lots of big name first baseman are free agents in the next two years, and they will likely all make more than howard.

    Comment by Ned — July 20, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

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