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TBOH Debate - Week Five

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Every week, the writers at That Ball’s Outta Here get together and discuss some of the issues surrounding the Phillies.

Joining me this week are Spencer Bingol, Emily Gruver, and Michael Lecke!

Was Roberto Hernandez worth taking a chance on for the back of the Phillies rotation, or should they have pursued a better (and likely more expensive) option?

Spencer

I’m firmly of the belief that the Phillies are quietly in a bit of a rebuild cycle right now, and that management (despite all the things they HAVE to say to the contrary) has realistic expectations for 2014. So, in that regard, Hernandez is just an innings eater in the big scheme of things, and he’s cheap, so I can’t really complain about him as long as he’s healthy.

In addition (although there’s nothing in his recent stat lines to suggest this), there’s the chance he returns to his 2006/2010 form, which would be icing on the cake. He’s also a guy who grew up a Phillies fan, and fought extra hard to sign with the team, over the Cubs who had more interest. Personal flaws aside, you want to root for that guy a little bit.

Overall, for the price, I don’t think you’re going to get better out of anyone on the free agent market; prices have gone crazy. If a player isn’t worth the money on the day you sign him, you can bet he won’t be worth it in the last year of the deal either; so stay away. Good move by Amaro.

Emily

I believe he wasn’t worth taking a chance for the back of the Phillies rotation. I see no point in bringing in a 33-year old who has a career 4.67 ERA. There were much better options out there.

Mike

The Phillies lacked rotational depth in 2013, which resulted in several starts by Tyler Cloyd and a few dreaded “bullpen” games.  Hernandez’s signing should help prevent a repeat of that.  And even though his recent numbers aren’t impressive, some sabermetric projections seem to be optimistic about Hernandez in 2014, so there is some potential upside there.

The problem is that there seems to be a gaping void beyond the top of the rotation (Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels) and everyone else.  Unless you’re really optimistic about Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (and the club seems to be doing its best to temper expectations), then the Phillies still appear to be in need of an upgrade.

Of course, the offseason isn’t quite over.  Despite Ruben Amaro‘s claims that he’s satisfied with the roster, the team still seemingly has money to spend, and there are some free agents in play who could be upgrades.  As the offseason progresses, it’s possible that their price tags go down, and the Phillies could get a bargain.

Michael

The particulars of Roberto Hernandez’ deal signals the Phillies intention of giving him at least the #5 spot in the rotation. All of the incentives are for innings pitched. He might be a better fit in the bullpen but because of the language in his deal, Ryne Sandberg may not find Ex-Fausto so agreeable. I would have preferred his role to be a non-issue because Hernandez is not an upgrade from Kyle Kendrick or even Jonathan Pettibone.

I think the Phillies also tipped their hand on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Clearly they aren’t relying on him for starters innings. He’s too big of a question mark. Look for him to log under 10 starts total in 2014 and be a mystery man in Spring Training.

The signing irks me because it’s building the rotation from the bottom, which is a deal with the devil. There is still a huge hole behind Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee and no matter how many #5s you throw at it, the hole at #3 remains.

Yes, Tanaka would have been better.

 

Do you think that Rule 5 draftee Kevin Munson has a chance to contribute to the team or if he sticks, will he just be taking up a roster spot?

Spencer

Munson’s AAA stint last year doesn’t look great in terms of ERA (5.09), but a 2.7 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 look pretty great, and a 2.67 FIP is encouraging as well. I think he has a pretty good chance of sticking, and probably is one of the safest picks in the rule 5 draft.

He seems to have decent control, a low-mid 90’s fastball, and an above average slider. Given that he’s at least had some AAA experience, I would feel pretty comfortable (presuming he continues those trends in Spring Training) giving him the 7th bullpen spot, and seeing what he can do in, starting with some low-leverage innings.

Emily

Yes, I believe Kevin Munson has chance to contribute to the team if injuries occur, but I don’t see him making any type of difference to this team. I just see him mainly just taking up a roster spot.

Mike

The Phillies have a history of keeping Rule 5 guys around, whether they deserve it or not.  (Isn’t that right, Mini Mart?)  I think he’ll stick around, but probably be used only in mop up situations, similar to what they did with David Herndon in 2010.  While it would be nice to have a guy excel in that situation, I don’t think it will make much of an impact.

Michael

Kevin Munson has a chance. So does a frog on a freeway. Let’s see him hop a few times before taking bets. A bullpen with a weak starting rotation is always fully exposed. There is nowhere to hide after Hamels and Lee. Munson has to get outs or get out.

 

Do you have an opinion on these subjects, or a topic that you’d like to see us debate next week?  Feel free to share it in the comments!

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