Achieving their top priority, will the Philadelphia Phillies make Roy Halladay their happiest pitcher for ’13? And who on the squad will be the most pleased during the campaign?
My articles are designed to represent a baseball-man’s thinking, the view from the dugout and the GM’s box. Most fans do not consider the budget, prospects on the radar, the stick-glove-or-power requirements, the track record, the competition and the other intangibles. Please go to my author archives or Phillies page for my most recent coverage. Scroll down to Tal’s Handy Links at the bottom. Thank you.
When the stove is hot, I will continue the process of the previous Monday’s approach, if appropriate. For early birds Sunday evening is post time. Due to a strong response and a complicated off-season, my reviews will be weekly until spring training ends. The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 3 storylines each week, but there will be an updated calendar included with each feature: Posts involving commentary, polls and stats will be listed for the upcoming 7 days.
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The Number One Requirement:
On Thursday, I followed the bread crumbs, and realized that Mike Adams was soon to be inked. My first thoughts during the writing process were which starter will wear the biggest smile, and which member of management would benefit the most. Follow the clues that led to my conclusions, which I had hoped would be published before the fact.
Rube Amaro began the year with 4 weaknesses to address, and he made 2 trades, solving half of them. In the process he opened a rotation slot, which will be filled by John Lannan. Center field was the hardest task in front of Amaro, and was the first on the check list to be accomplished. The hot corner was only a $6M solution after he seized an opportunity for a stopgap answer from an over-stocked franchise. The remaining piece to acquire is a corner outfielder with right-side pop.
- A $10M annual upgrade in center was not desired except for B.J. Upton ($11M).
- Amaro basically passed on Upton ($15M), Angel Pagan ($10M) and Shane Victorino ($13M).
Josh Willingham of the Twins was targeted for his $7M contract with two 162’s remaining, and Ichiro Suzuki was tendered 2 tours at $7M each. And Amaro wasn’t sold on Alfonso Soriano or Scott Hairston at $5M per for 2 campaigns. With them the main concern would be left-side defense behind Michael Young, which would be covered in the late frames by Kevin Frandsen, Freddy Galvis and John Mayberry Jr.
When it came to the bullpen, Koji Uehara accepted a proposal of $4.25M elsewhere for only 2013, leaving Adams, Brandon Lyon, Jon Rauch and Jason Frasor on the market. Since Adams and Lyon would command similar paydays, the first choice was not difficult to figure out.
Next, I examined the competition for the right hander. There were 7 other organizations mentioned for the dependable hurler. The Angels and Rangers had elected to spend $4M for that job. The Cubs are rebuilding, and the Brewers had dropped out of the running. The Nats have Tyler Clippard, while the Jays have taken the route toward R.A. Dickey. The White Sox have Addison Reed, who saved 29 games in 33 chances with a 4.75 ERA, which was a 5.83 ERA as a closer.
- Approximately $8.5M is available before $1M is at least set aside for Lannan’s incentives ($2.5M).
- Cody Ross wants $25M for 3 years ($8.33M each).
Like Adams, Ross has similar suitors. They are the financially-limited Mets, the cutting-back Yankees, the reluctant O’s, the undesirable-destination Mariners, the bargain-hunting Braves, and the more-cautious Sox. The higher-ups have consistently offered major assets (3 seasons) and complimentary stars (2 years) a vesting option for an additional 162. Jimmy Rollins, Doc Halladay and Adams have that, which protects the club against an injury.
The happiest: Cliff Lee will not have to face a no-decision after 7 sterling frames. But no one will be more relieved than Charlie Manuel when the 8th inning arrives. He won’t have the heart-crushing choice of staying with a tired starter, suffering through a heartburn-producing reliever, or emptying his ‘pen for 3 outs.
Ross may receive the most lucrative paycheck of the Philly newcomers, but the greatest need was an arm to protect 8th-inning leads. $4.5M is tops for all but a few set-up men and $6M is the current ceiling. In other words, Mike Adams at $6M was the big splash.
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This is the 7th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (Next on the Docket) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Also, my new feature is Suds or Studs.
I will periodically publish the 2013 ERA for the NL East and the 2013 ERA for the MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked my page.
Tal Venada (Author Archives)