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Old 07-29-2019, 11:23 PM   #41
The_Myth
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Sept. 10, 1984

Before starting a series at Wrigley Field, time to make some offers to minor league coaches. Of course, that means deciding on our major league coachesí futures, too.

Paul Owens will not be coming back to manage the Phillies in 1985. His bench coach J.P. Dissmore wonít be here, either. Since becoming hitting coach, Bobby Hagan hasnít necessarily inspired great hitting. Then thereís Juan Casado, whoís been OK as pitching coach (weíre 4th in the NL in pitching WAR, middle of the pack in everything else, and I blame defense for some of our problems), so I may keep him on board.

Essentially, our front office has decided on an organizational philosophy built on speed and defense. If youíre not stealing bases and being aggressive on the basepaths, youíre not winning in 1984. Speed is available right now, and we have some of the best speed in baseball; meanwhile, teams arenít prioritizing defense like they used to, and we can take advantage of it.

Down on the farm, that philosophy has to pervade, though Iíd like a diversity of thought.

I know Iím ready to clean house in AAA and AA, bringing in a whole new group that stresses speed and defense but, more than anything, has reputation. Then thereís Peninsula, a successful affiliate, where manager Tim Terzic has done well while stressing power over speed. Heís very traditional, but heís been good. If affordable, Iíll probably keep him, maybe giving him another year at Peninsula.

In R Bend, manager Nick Friedrich has done well emphasizing speed and small-ball approaches. But thatís about it; most of my coaches are old-school holdovers who prefer homers over anything. Iíll have to pick and choose.

(Also, I wonít go through all the offers Iím making; too tedious.)


Game 1984-144: Wrigley Field - Phillies 10, Cubs 1 / 62-82

Rick Reuschel allows just four hits in eight innings en route to his second win as a Phillie (heís now 9-10 over three teams). Dave Stegman and Mike Diaz (who caught) both hit home runs, while Ivan de Jesus raps a double and a triple.

Sept. 11, 1984

Game 1984-145: Wrigley Field - Phillies 4, Cubs 3 / 63-82

Hey, no 100-loss season for us! Stegman hits a homer in his second-consecutive game, and it gives us the lead in the eighth. Jeff Stone triples again, and Juan Samuel doubles again. Good stuff. We finish the road trip 5-2.

Sept. 12, 1984

Von Hayes has been a positive in left field (+1.7 ZR, 1.011 EFF), but just to get Jeff Stone a couple more at bats, Iím going to move Hayes to right field for a couple games before the season ends. At the least I know Hayes is in left field this year. Just have to see what I have here.


Game 1984-146: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 3, Cardinals 2 / 64-82

Itís about time for us to have one of these games. Down 2-1 in the eighth, we get two runs. How? A mother-fíing Juan Samuel walk, followed by a mother-fíing Jeff Stone triple, followed by a mother-fíing Mike Schmidt double. Also, Stone went 3-for-4 and is now hitting .500.

Hey - found out tonight that Peninsula took the Carolina League title! They won the series 4-2, with shortstop Ken Jackson (.474/.600/.842, 2 HR, 5 RBI) taking home MVP honors.

Also, the Reading Philliesí season ended with a 70-70 record. Portland has another week and a half to play, but the reinforcements are heading west from Reading while a couple Beavers move up to Philly.
  • SS Steve Jeltz promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • 1B/RF Mark Funderburk promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • SP Curt Young promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • RP Chuck Cary promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • 2B/SS/3B Greg Legg promoted to AAA Portland
  • LF/RF Gib Siebert promoted to AAA Portland

Jeltz, who hit .242/.330/.319 with 12 SB (but also had a +9.2 ZR and 1.051 EFF) in AAA Portland, will get to start a decent number of games before the season ends. Funderburk is just going to hang out on the bench. Iíll move to a six-man rotation to give my veterans more rest and get Young a couple starts down the stretch, while Cary hopefully gets a couple innings in before we close out.

And how about a scouting report for Cary, whoís making his major league debut: He throws mostly fastball and curveball, with the charlie nearly a plus pitch (50/55). The fastball comes in at about 90 and could be less straight. He also tosses in a mediocre sinker, but it could become a decent pitch in time (40/45). His command is OK but could also use work. Essentially heís prone to giving up some home runs, but might be able to hack it as a middle reliever right now.

Sept. 13, 1984

The kids havenít yet arrived from Portland, but we continue on with Jeff Stone, a lefty, getting a start against a lefty, while Hayes sits for a night.

Game 1984-147: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 3, Cardinals 2 / 65-82

Seven straight wins! Stone triples again! His fourth-straight game with a triple, and now Iím begging STATS Inc. to find out if itís a record. Mike Schmidt hits homer No. 25, too. Bad news: Steve Carlton leaves in the fifth with a thumb injury, but itís a day-to-day ailment. No time to miss.

Sept. 14, 1984

STATS Inc. informs me Jeff Stone has broken the Phillies record for most consecutive games with a triple. The all-time MLB record is five games, set by the Piratesí Harry Davis in 1897, and the Piratesí Chief Wilson in 1912. So Stone is on the verge of doing something that hasnít been done in 72 years. Hell yeah!


Game 1984-148: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 1, Expos 0 / 66-82

Our eighth-straight victory is Charles Hudson at his best: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 7 K, 3 BB. Don Carman picks up his third save with a spotless ninth. As for Jeff Stone? He hit a solid gapper in the first, but it wasnít deep enough to get him three bags. Just a double, and the only RBI of the game. And with that, weíre now a game above the Cubs, out of the NL East basement.

Meanwhile in the AL East, Detroit scored six in the eighth to fly past Toronto, 8-2, and win its fifth-straight game and 13th in its last 14. The Tigers have suddenly opened up a three-game lead over the Blue Jays, who on July 15 had a 6.5-game lead in the division. But in other news, Kansas City now has just a 2.5-game lead over Seattle, who has never reached the postseason. Theyíre also playing this weekend.

Sept. 15, 1984

Game 1984-149: Veterans Stadium - Expos 5, Phillies 2 / 66-83

Itís bound to happen. I let Mike Diaz play third base and bench Von Hayes, and hereís a five-hit performance from the offense. Naturally, Jeff Stone has two of the hits. Tug McGraw gives up two runs late.

After beating the Reds in Cincinnati, the Dodgers sew up the National League West division title. Itís Los Angelesí fifth division crown in eight seasons (between 1976 and Ď83 we also won five division flags).

And in the Northwest League championship series, the Bend Phillies tied the series with a 13-0 thrashing of Bellingham.

Sept. 16, 1984

Game 1984-150: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 3, Expos 1 / 67-83

We stay hot, with John Denny going 7.2 shutout innings, striking out three. Chuck Caryís first work (one out) is successful, while Kenneth Walker gives up a run-scoring double to Tim Raines but saves the game - his first career save. Jeff Stone watch: 1-for-2 with a walk.

And, ha, weíre 14th in the power rankings. The new top-five:

1. Detroit Tigers - 99-50
2. Pittsburgh Pirates - 90-60
3. Seattle Mariners - 86-64
4. New York Yankees - 81-68
5. Toronto Blue Jays - 94-55

The Jays are falling apart. The Tigers swept them out of Detroit and now hold a commanding five-game lead in the AL East. The Mariners are just 0.5 back of the Royals in the AL West after taking two of three against them. Coming up, Seattle has to play a bad Cleveland team and the .500 White Sox, while Kansas City faces California and Oakland, two of the worst teams in baseball.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:34 AM   #42
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Sept. 17, 1984

Tonight, Curt Young makes his Phillies debut against the Metsí Ron Darling. Luckily, we miss Dwight Gooden in this series.


Game 1984-151: Veterans Stadium - Mets 4, Phillies 3 / 67-84

Young allows four runs in four innings, while walking three and striking out two. Not gonna cut it. Darren Daulton homers, and Jeff Stone gets another hit; he now has a 10-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 11 of 13 games.

Sept. 18, 1984

No Von Hayes tonight, as I continue to let Jeff Stone wreak havoc on National League pitching.

Game 1984-152: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 10, Mets 1 / 68-84

Kevin Gross and Juan Samuel put on a show. The former goes all nine, giving up just three hits and a walk while striking out eight over a tidy 97 pitches. The latter smacks two home runs (he now has 17) and a double (his 36th) in a 4-for-4 outing, capping it off by swiping two bags (he now has 63). One bit of bad news: The Jeff Stone hit streak has ended at 10.

Over in the Northwest League championship series, Bend and Bellingham are back tied at 2-2.

Sept. 19, 1984

Game 1984-153: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 2, Mets 1 / 69-84

What a nice win. Steve Carlton surrenders an early run, and we have trouble getting on the board, but in the eighth, Von Hayes doubles, Juan Samuel singles, and Mike Diaz singles home the winning run. That winning run, by the way, is Jeff Stone, who pinch runs for Glenn Wilson, steals second and gets to third on a groundout. Speed in Ď85, baby.

Sept. 20, 1984

The current standings, featuring only the teams that remain in contention:

AL East
Detroit - 102-50
Toronto - 96-56 (6 GB)

AL West
Kansas City - 87-65
Seattle - 87-66 (0.5 GB)
Minnesota - 82-69 (4.5 GB)

NL East
Pittsburgh - 91-61
St. Louis - 85-67 (6 GB)
New York - 84-69 (7.5 GB)

NL West
* Los Angeles - 89-63

We get the Pirates next; the way weíre playing, we might be able to make it interesting at the top of the East. Meanwhile, those Tigers are amazing: Since July 15, theyíre 45-18.

Sept. 21, 1984


Game 1984-154: Three Rivers Stadium - Phillies 2, Pirates 1 / 70-84

Win No. 70. Von Hayes hits a homer, then Jeff Stone singles home the winning run in the eighth. Charles Hudson goes 6.1 innings with 7 K, while Kenneth Walker helps the bullpen finish it off, earning his second-career save.

Tough news out of Washington: Bellingham beat Bend to take the Northwest League championship. That ends our playoff season, with two of our farm teams winning titles and a third getting to the championship series. Not bad.

Sept. 22, 1984

I wake up to bad news for our free-agent hopes: LF Kirk Gibson has signed a four-year, $3.62 million pact with the Tigers. Shoot.

That means 32-year-old Fred Lynn is the top outfield free agent. He does play a good right field (65, +10.7 ZR, 1.053 EFF), but his 1984 shows a decline not unlike Mike Schmidtís (654 PA, .252/.337/.405, 46 XBH). Behind him is Gary Ward (53/53) before a large gap. Not a lot of options.

If I wanted to pivot, Paul Molitor (62/66) is the top free agent. Heís exceptional in the field, but he only plays third base. Could I really move Mike Schmidt to first base? Weíll return to all of this soon enough.

Meanwhile, John Denny has kidney stones. Poor dude. Weíll skip his next start.

Game 1984-155: Three Rivers Stadium - Pirates 5, Phillies 4 / 70-85

Mike Diazís three-run home run in the eighth ties it, but Tug McGraw allows three singles in the ninth to win it for Pittsburgh, who stays four ahead of a hard-charging St. Louis.

Sept. 23, 1984

Today we have Curt Young against John Candelaria (220 IP, 2.43 ERA, 180 K, 34 BB). While Candelaria is suffering from a strained forearm, I still expect a loss.

Game 1984-156: Three Rivers Stadium - Pirates 8, Phillies 3 / 70-86

More reason to fire Paul Owens: Kevin Gross (and not Young) started this game, and as he was still recovering from his last start, he went just 3.2 innings and allowed five runs. Great. Anyway, Juan Samuel went 3-for-5 to raise his average to .303, while Mike Diaz added two more hits and three RBI.

The power rankings have us at 18th. The top-five:

1. Detroit Tigers - 104-51
2. Toronto Blue Jays - 99-57
3. Pittsburgh Pirates - 93-63
4. Seattle Mariners - 90-66
5. St. Louis Cardinals - 89-67

The latest standings:

AL East
Detroit - 104-51
Toronto - 99-57 (5.5 GB)

AL West
Seattle - 90-66
Kansas City - 88-67 (1.5 GB)
Minnesota - 84-71 (5.5 GB)

NL East
Pittsburgh - 93-63
St. Louis - 89-67 (4 GB)

NL West
* Los Angeles - 90-66

The Mariners! An eight-year-old franchise that has never finished above sixth place (!) is now 1.5 up with six to play! The Mets have been eliminated, and amazingly, the Blue Jays are a loss and a Tigersí win from being ousted, too.
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Old 07-31-2019, 08:11 AM   #43
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Good read! Huge Phils fan, and remember these days "not so" fondly.
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Old 07-31-2019, 11:38 PM   #44
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Sept. 24, 1984

Weíre giving Larry Andersen, Bill Campbell, and Tug McGraw the rest of the season off. I want to see the young relievers over these final six games.


Game 1984-157: Shea Stadium - Phillies 8, Mets 1 / 71-86

Top of the lineup: Hayes, single; Samuel, triple; Stone, double; Schmidt, groundout; Diaz, double. 3-0 lead. Schmidt adds a three-run homer later. In all, 11 hits, and Curt Young puts together a masterful eight-inning outing with four strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Toronto stays in the race with a win and Detroit loss, while Seattle opens up a 2.5-game lead on Kansas City. A Pirates win or Cardinals loss seals the deal for Pittsburgh.

Sept. 25, 1984

Game 1984-158: Shea Stadium - POSTPONED

Ah, come on. But in other news, the Pirates and Tigers are in the postseason. What an enormous second half from Detroit, while the Pirates take the crown because of superb starting pitching.

Sept. 26, 1984

Doubleheader today, which means every one is playing. Every. One.

Game 1984-158: Shea Stadium - Phillies 2, Mets 0 / 72-86

What a duel. Steve Carlton goes 6.2 innings, allowing just four hits and a walk, while Dwight Gooden goes all nine and strikes out 11. Itís 0-0 in the ninth: Mike Schmidt double, Len Matuszek intentional walk, Juan Samuel sacrifice bunt, Darren Daulton intentional walk (to load the bases) Ö Ivan de Jesus single to score two. We win.

Game 1984-159: Shea Stadium - Phillies 6, Mets 2 / 73-86

We sweep the doubleheader and the series! Wow! In the nightcap, the Mets take a 2-1 lead off John Denny, but a seventh inning that includes a three-run Steve Jeltz home run (!) gives us the win. Relievers Karl Best and Chuck Cary continue to register great numbers in their short stints up in the majors.

Meanwhile, we avoid 90 losses. Hell yeah.

Sept. 27, 1984

And in the only race that matters, Seattle (90-68) has a 0.5-game lead over Kansas City (89-70). The Mariners have four against the 77-81 White Sox, while the Royals visit the 65-94 Athletics for three. This first one in Seattle is big.

Sept. 28, 1984

We find out early in the morning that Seattle won the first game against Chicago, 8-4, putting them two games up with three to play. They could actually win the division today.

Meanwhile we start our final three against the Pirates. Iíll start Juan Samuel and Von Hayes today, sit them Saturday, and think about getting them in Sunday. Mike Schmidt will sit today.


Game 1984-160: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 5, Pirates 0 / 74-86

Charles Hudson throws a two-hitter in his final start of 1984. Itís his best start - 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 6 K, 0 BB - and it finishes his season at 227.1 IP and a 3.13 ERA. Hell of a 6.1-WAR season for young Charlie Hudson. So psyched for him. And Von Hayes hits two home runs - one to lead off our side of the game, and one in the eighth to put it to bed. We blank John Candelaria. So great.

Sept. 29, 1984

What a night in the American League West. Down 4-1 in the ninth in Oakland, the Royals mount a comeback Ö but fall just short. Meanwhile in Seattle, the Mariners are up 4-3 in the ninth, three outs from their first postseason, when Ron Kittle slugs his 24th home run off Ed Vande Berg, a solo shot to tie it.

In the 10th, Harold Baines puts the Sox up one with a homer, but the Mariners come back on a two-out Dave Henderson single. Then, in the 11th, the Sox get back in the lead thanks to a Greg Luzinski single. But in the bottom half, itís an Edgar Martinez single, followed by a Danny Tartabull base hit, that wins it for Seattle and sends them to the postseason.

Itís the first division crown for Seattle, who will take on Detroit. Meanwhile in the NL, Pittsburgh gets the Dodgers.

Game 1984-161: Veterans Stadium - Pirates 5, Phillies 3 / 74-87

John Tudor turns in a phenomenal eight innings (13 strikeouts) in a Buccos win. Dave Stegman goes 2-for-4 with a triple and home run. No big deal.

Meanwhile, the Tigers continue the party as Darrell Evans hits his 300th lifetime homer, capping off a career-best season at age 37 (.261/.358/.487, 38 HR, 115 RBI).

Sept. 30, 1984

Last game of the season. Time to give the fans what they want. The final lineup:

RF Hayes
2B Samuel
LF Stone
3B Schmidt
1B Diaz
CF Maddox
C Russell
SS Jeltz
SP Young

I want Garry Maddox to go off on a good note, as he wonít be returning to Philadelphia in 1985. Not a great season, but no big deal now. Curt Young gets the ball. Get Ďem kid.

Game 1984-162: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 8, Pirates 7 / 75-87

Schmidty. The guy has probably his best game of the season on its last day: 4-for-5, 3 RBI, 2 2B, 3B. Jeff Stone: 3-for-5, RBI, 3B. In that first inning, Stone and Schmidt hit back-to-back triples, like poetry. Speaking of: Garry Maddox drives in three. See ya, Secretary.

We finish 75-87, going 19-9 in September (and 17-5 in our last 22). We end up five games ahead of the Cubs and in sixth place in the NL East (22 behind Pittsburgh). Seven teams have worse records than us (Texas, Baltimore, Oakland, California, Houston, San Francisco, Chicago), while we tie with Atlanta and Milwaukee at 75 wins.

Moreover, September was the Jeff Stone awakening. Not sure how he factors into the Ď85 squad yet, but I imagine heíll play a role down the line.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:06 PM   #45
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It's offseason time, so my updates may be just one-day long, while others might be more than a week of action. All depends on what happens day by day.

Oct. 1, 1984

With the season over, time to review performances and give out some grades. Iíll hold off on looking ahead.

Catcher
  • Darren Daulton - 201 PA, .200/.303/.354, 5 HR, 14 XBH, 15 RBI, 47 K, 26 BB, +1.8 ZR, 1.091 EFF, 37.5% RTO, 0 PB, 1.0 WAR (Grade: C+)
  • John Russell - 226 PA, .244/.305/.444, 8 HR, 23 XBH, 30 RBI, 71 K, 19 BB, +0.1 ZR, .936 EFF, 34.4% RTO, 1 PB, 1.1 WAR (Grade: C+)
  • John Wockenfuss - 80 PA, .219/.278/.301, 2 HR, 2 XBH, 7 RBI, 9 K, 6 BB, 0.0 ZR, .848 EFF, 54.2% RTO, 1 PB, 0 WAR (Grade: D-)

The bat hasnít been there yet for Daulton since being promoted to Philadelphia, but he gets on base (a 100-point difference between AVG and OBP is good), and his defense has been quite good for a 22-year-old. Russell has been a passable backup with decent power. Wockenfuss spent the entire second half in AAA.

First Base
  • Len Matuszek - 535 PA, .239/.306/.382, 15 HR, 36 XBH, 65 RBI, 93 K, 46 BB, +1.2 ZR, 1.006 EFF, 0.5 WAR (Grade: C-)

After a great first half, Matuszek laid an egg and put up a rather pedestrian line, though his defense remained solid. His leadership was lauded all season.

Second Base
  • Juan Samuel - 691 PA, .303/.350/.498, 17 HR, 71 XBH, 71 RBI, 65 SB, 142 K, 43 BB, -21.6 ZR, .889 EFF, 4.9 WAR (Grade: A-)

What a second half for the rookie, who found his home run swing and put more balls in play, mostly to great results. Tons of doubles and triples - among league leaders in extra-base hits. His defense is and will be bad, but the offensive production speaks for itself. Electric season.

Third Base
  • Mike Schmidt - 633 PA, .253/.351/.452, 26 HR, 54 XBH, 79 RBI, 116 K, 83 BB, +1.1 ZR, 1.023 EFF, 4.2 WAR (Grade: B)
  • Mike Diaz - 151 PA, .273/.331/.388, 3 HR, 9 XBH, 21 RBI, 27 K, 10 BB, +1.5 ZR, 1.084 EFF, 0.6 WAR (Grade: B-)
  • Chris James (AA) - 590 PA, .297/.336/.479, 19 HR, 57 XBH, 91 RBI, 25 SB, 77 K, 31 BB, -2.4 ZR, .987 EFF, 3.7 WAR (Grade: B)

A down year for Schmidt, though he remains a solid middle-of-the-lineup bat. Diaz played more first base than anything and was fine, but he needs to show more power if heís going to grab an everyday spot somewhere. James had a good season in AA and will head to AAA. His defense at third remains shaky; otherwise, heís a left fielder.

Shortstop
  • Ivan de Jesus - 466 PA, .212/.287/.274, 1 HR, 19 XBH, 34 RBI, 5 SB, 59 K, 45 BB, -17.5 ZR, .892 EFF, -1.8 WAR (Grade: F)
  • Kiko Garcia - 137 PA, .189/.230/.244, 0 HR, 6 XBH, 8 RBI, 27 K, 6 BB, +2.5 ZR, 1.053 EFF, -0.3 WAR (Grade: D-)
  • Steve Jeltz - 41 PA, .231/.268/.333, 1 HR, 2 XBH, 5 RBI, 1 SB, 12 K, 2 BB, -1.6 ZR, .847 EFF, -0.1 WAR (Grade: D+)

Somehow de Jesus had an even worse second half than his first half. Garcia was pretty darn bad, too, but at least he had a glove. Meanwhile, what little I saw of Jeltz showed me heís more of a backup middle infielder type, though his defense was poor in a short sample.

Left Field
  • Von Hayes - 658 PA, .294/.373/.434, 15 HR, 49 XBH, 57 RBI, 30 SB, 95 K, 74 BB, +2.1 ZR, 1.018 EFF, 3.8 WAR (Grade: A-)
  • Glenn Wilson - 395 PA, .257/.284/.339, 5 HR, 20 XBH, 47 RBI, 4 SB, 51 K, 16 BB, -2.2 ZR, .976 EFF, -0.3 WAR (Grade: D-)
  • Jeff Stone - 81 PA, .342/.383/.553, 0 HR, 10 XBH, 9 RBI, 5 SB, 15 K, 4 BB, +0.1 ZR, 1.000 EFF, 0.8 WAR (Grade: B+)
  • Bruce Fields (AAA) - 229 PA, .337/.397/.453, 3 HR, 18 XBH, 20 RBI, 21 K, 19 BB, +2.0 ZR, 1.105 EFF, 1.9 WAR (Grade: B+)

After moving Hayes to left field, he thrived defensively while still keeping up his great offensive game. Wilson, at best, was forgetful. Stone came on late to excite everyone, pushing Hayes to RF often so he could get more time. Fields was acquired in the Sixto Lezcano trade, and I can probably give him one more season in AAA, though Iíd rather not.

Center Field
  • Dave Stegman - 212 PA, .188/.283/.355, 5 HR, 15 XBH, 15 RBI, 49 K, 25 BB, +0.8 ZR, 1.026 EFF, 1.2 WAR (Grade: C-)
  • Garry Maddox - 123 PA, .186/.203/.229, 0 HR, 5 XBH, 10 RBI, 3 SB, 20 K, 3 BB, 0.0 ZR, .984 EFF, -0.6 WAR (Grade: F)

Stegmanís numbers with the Phils werenít as hot as his totals with Chicago, but his defense was fine. Maddox is probably done, and it shows.

Right Field
  • Joe Lefebvre - 371 PA, .234/.294/.349, 5 HR, 27 XBH, 52 RBI, 3 SB, 71 K, 29 BB, +4.4 ZR, 1.099 EFF, 0.7 WAR (Grade: C)

Lefebvre had a bad second half, though his defense was stellar.

Starting Pitcher
  • Steve Carlton - 197.1 IP, 8-9, 3.38 ERA, 2.86 FIP, 142 K, 63 BB, 5.6 WAR (Grade: A-)
  • John Denny - 190 IP, 9-9, 3.27 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 105 K, 41 BB, 4.4 WAR (Grade: B+)
  • Kelly Downs - 29.1 IP, 0-3, 7.36 ERA, 6.48 FIP, 12 K, 8 BB, -0.5 WAR (Grade: F+)
  • Kevin Gross - 202.1 IP, 14-10, 3.78 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 141 K, 57 BB, 3.7 WAR (Grade: B)
  • Charles Hudson - 227.1 IP, 13-13, 3.13 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 143 K, 65 BB, 6.2 WAR (Grade: A)
  • Rick Reuschel - 75.2 IP, 2-7, 3.09 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 31 K, 26 BB, 0.7 WAR (Grade: C-)
  • Curt Young - 18.2 IP, 1-1, 4.34 ERA, 5.45 FIP, 11 K, 7 BB, -0.1 WAR (Grade: D+)
  • Mike Maddux (AAA) - 41.2 IP, 2-6, 9.07 ERA, 4.92 FIP, 32 K, 26 BB, 0.0 WAR (Grade: F+)

Boy, what a surge from Hudson, who is becoming one of the top young pitchers in the game. Gross isnít far behind, either, though he gives up a few too many flies. Carlton had a good season but was victim to our bad defense, while Denny was pretty consistent - a good but not elite starter. Reuschel did yeomanís work after being acquired. Young showed a flash or two, while Maddux had a hard time adjusting to AAA. Downs? He was bad, though not so much in AAA.

Relief Pitcher
  • Bill Campbell - 64.1 IP, 5-10, 2 SV, 14 HLD, 4.34 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 30 K, 17 BB, 1.0 WAR (Grade: C+)
  • Tug McGraw - 45 IP, 5-3, 4 SV, 6 HLD, 3.20 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 25 K, 11 BB, 1.1 WAR (Grade: B)
  • Larry Andersen - 64 IP, 7-4, 4 SV, 5 HLD, 2.95 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 53 K, 23 BB, 0.8 WAR (Grade: B+)
  • Steve Mura - 58.1 IP, 0-1, 1 SV, 6.02 ERA, 5.05 FIP, 53 K, 36 BB, -0.6 WAR (Grade: D-)
  • Dave Wehrmeister - 48 IP, 1-1, 5.06 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 32 K, 21 BB, -0.4 WAR (Grade: D)
  • Don Carman - 33.1 IP, 3-1, 2.16 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 32 K, 15 BB, 0.2 WAR (Grade: B)
  • Kenneth Walker - 9.2 IP, 0-0, 3.72 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 11 K, 5 BB, 0.1 WAR (Grade: C)
  • Rich Gaynor (AAA) - 56.1 IP, 0-2, 3.51 ERA, 4.43 FIP, 34 K, 29 BB, -0.1 WAR (Grade: C-)
  • Todd Worrell (AAA) - 21.1 IP, 1-4, 9 SV, 4.64 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 22 K, 14 BB, -0.1 WAR (Grade: C-)
  • Karl Best (AAA) - 10.1 IP, 0-0, 1.74 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 12 K, 9 BB, 0.2 WAR (Grade: B)
  • Chuck Cary (AAA) - 13.1 IP, 0-2, 1.35 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 6 K, 2 BB, 0.1 WAR (Grade: B)
  • John McLarnan (AA) - 41.1 IP, 2-3, 23 SV, 2.61 ERA, 3.82 FIP, 33 K, 9 BB, 0.6 WAR (Grade: B)

Campbell blew a few too many games in the second half. McGraw did his job. Andersen was much improved as the season went on, rounding into a top setup arm. Mura couldnít be trusted and was sent down, while Wehrmeister was nothing more than the last man in the Ďpen. Carman proved effective in his rookie campaign, while of the young guys, Walker showed the most potential.

Oct. 2, 1984

I said I was doing it, and now itís time:
  • Manager Paul Owens fired
  • Bench Coach J.P. Dissmore fired
  • Hitting Coach Bobby Hagan fired

I also cleaned house in my farm system, gutting the top levels almost completely. Time to reinvigorate the organization in my likeness.

Meanwhile, letís go over the league leaders.

Hitting

Batting Average

AL - Wade Boggs - BOS - .370
NL - Jose Cruz - HOU - .335

Home Runs

AL - Dave Winfield - NYY - 41
NL - Darryl Strawberry - NYM - 43

Runs Batted In

AL - Jesse Barfield - TOR - 129
NL - Darryl Strawberry - NYM - 127

On-Base Percentage

AL - Wade Boggs - BOS - .450
NL - Keith Hernandez - NYM - .419

Slugging Percentage

AL - Greg Walker - CWS - .584
NL - Darryl Strawberry - NYM - .557

Stolen Bases

AL - Rickey Henderson - OAK - 69
NL - Gary Redus - CIN - 67

WAR

AL - Wade Boggs - BOS - 9.2
NL - Pedro Guerrero - LAD - 6.6

Pitching

Wins

AL - Jack Morris - DET - 22
NL - Alejandro Pena - LAD - 20

Earned Run Average

AL - Jack Morris - DET - 2.51
NL - Dwight Gooden - NYM - 2.13

Strikeouts

AL - Dave Stieb - TOR - 211
NL - Dwight Gooden - NYM - 300

Saves

AL - Dan Quisenberry - KC - 35
NL - Jeff Reardon - MTL - 48

WAR

AL - Bert Blyleven - CLE - 6.5
NL - Dwight Gooden - NYM - 10.5

Juan Samuel was the only player of mine who registered more than once or twice on these lists. He finished third in the NL in slugging, fourth in OPS, seventh in hits, second in SB, third in triples, second in doubles, second in runs, and second in strikeouts.

By the way, Reardon set a new single-season record for saves, which was previously set just last year by Quisenberry (45).

And I imagine itís Boggs for MVP and Morris for a hard-charging Cy Young in the AL, along with Strawberry for MVP and Gooden for Cy Young in the NL.

Finally today, the draft pool was released. Weíre about a month from draft day (itís Nov. 1), so letís look at whoís out there:

1. Barry Bonds - CF - age 20
2. BJ Surhoff - C - age 20
3. Gregg Jefferies - SS - age 17
4. Brady Anderson - RF - age 20
5. Rafael Palmiero - LF - age 20
6. David Justice - LF - age 18
7. Will Clark - 1B - age 20
8. Randy Velarde - SS - age 21
9. Robert Alomar - SS - age 16
10. Randy Johnson - LHP - age 21

Surhoff and Clark were among U.S. national players, and they should easily translate into decent players in the majors. Bonds is the son of Bobby Bonds - who retired in 1981 - and has plenty of athleticism. The high schoolers are all projectable bats. Johnson is a 6í10Ē monster with good stuff, and a lefty. Easy to see a hell of a pitcher here. And as I pick 10th, I can bet on getting one of these guys, though my actual draft board will materialize just before the draft.
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:50 PM   #46
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Oct. 3, 1984

Last night in the NLCS, Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead over Los Angeles, thanks to speedster Joe Orsulak (3 RBI).

Found out today that John Wockenfuss is retiring. The 35-year-old didn’t exactly perform well in AAA Portland (.225/.281/.319), and his usage seemed to have outlived him. See ya, Johnny. Great trade, Giles.

That reminds me: His trades were bad (so far). I came in after he picked up Wockenfuss and Glenn Wilson for Detroit - neither performed well for me. Meanwhile, RP Willie Hernandez put up a 1.18 ERA in 68.2 innings for the Tigers.

That said, Hernandez blows it in the ninth for the Tigers in game one against Seattle. The Mariners are up 1-0 by stealing a big one at Tiger Stadium. And tonight, Pittsburgh moves up 2-0 over the Dodgers as Lee Mazzilli knocks home Jim Morrison with a single in the ninth.

Oct. 4, 1984

A second-straight blown loss for Hernandez! The Mariners are up 2-0 with another 3-2 win! Feisty M’s!

Oct. 5, 1984

More bullpen blow-ups in the playoffs, as the Dodgers get one after a two-run ninth at home. Series between Pittsburgh and LA is at 2-1 Buccos.

Oct. 6, 1984

Bobby Grich has expressed wanting out of California. He’s a 1B first, hitting .259/.372/.402 last season. He’s also a free agent after 1985. I’m intrigued, as I’m looking into potential upgrades at 1B, plus in the outfield, at SS, SP, and RP.

The Mariners are incredible! Seattle beats Detroit 3-1 at Kingdome, as Matt Young goes 8.2 innings, giving up just two hits and two walks against an awesome Tigers lineup. And the Pirates go up 3-1 on the Dodgers after an 11-1 win at Dodger Stadium. We’re a day away from seeing a Mariners vs Pirates World Series in 1984.

Oct. 7, 1984

24-year-old Mark Langston hurls a four-hit shutout against Detroit to win the Seattle Mariners its first American League pennant. The upstart M’s win 2-0 and sweep the mighty, 108-win Tigers. Langston wins series MVP.

Over in the National League, the Pirates take the flag after a 5-0 win over the Dodgers. Jose DeLeon pitches awesomely, striking out nine in eight innings, and Lee Lacy strikes three hits en route to being named series MVP.

Oct. 8, 1984

Seattle Mariners vs. Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1984 World Series. It starts tomorrow.

Oct. 9, 1984



The Pirates beat the Mariners, 7-1, in Game 1 of the World Series. John Candelaria goes all nine, striking out nine, while Eddie Vargas and Johnny Ray slam home runs.

Oct. 10, 1984

The Pirates are up 2-0 after taking down the Mariners, 4-1, in an extra-inning classic at Kingdome. Tied 1-1 through most of the game, it goes to the 13th, when Jason Thompson hits a three-run home run off Dave Geisel.

Oct. 11, 1984

Day off.

Oct. 12, 1984

The Mariners get one back, taking down the Pirates 2-1. The key hit: a Spike Owen triple off Kent Tekulve in the ninth to give Seattle the lead.

Oct. 13, 1984

The Pirates are a win away from a sixth world championship after beating the Mariners 3-0 at Three Rivers Stadium. Larry McWilliams goes 7.1 innings and gives up just five hits and two walks, while Jason Thomspon hits a two-run homer, and that's all they need. John Candelaria goes for them tonight to clinch the series.

Oct. 14, 1984

And there it is: The Pittsburgh Pirates win the 1984 World Series after beating the Mariners, 6-2, at Three Rivers Stadium. Jason Thompson wins the MVP award, hitting a third-inning home run that basically puts the game away.

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Old 08-07-2019, 11:35 PM   #47
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Oct. 15, 1984

The offseason has begun. And we have a lot to get through.

First, Bill Giles extended my contract: three years and $75,000 per season. That gets me through 1987, which is an invisible target for me to win a National League pennant. Meanwhile, I have new goals:
  • Play close to .500 ball (by 1985)
  • Build a top-five minor league system (by 1987)
  • Build a team that can bring a championship home in the next three seasons (by 1987)
  • Bring more of your drafted players to your team (by 1988)

Thatís far different from the original goals Giles set for me. This is basically ďrebuild.Ē With this in mind, I wonít go nuts with trades, instead targeting players who I think can be decent (or good!) upgrades, while building up my farm system. No organizational-hurting moves.

Not only that, but the team focus is ďrebuild.Ē I have an $18 million budget for 1985, giving me about $6 million for free agents. That certainly gives me some room to work, and Iím confident I can field a good team next season while still keeping focus on the farm.

Oct. 16, 1984

Around the league, big news: Dick Howser was axed in Kansas City. He immediately becomes a candidate in my managerial search, though he doesnít necessarily believe in the things I want. The Giants also let go of Frank Robinson, who is all about power and offense, so again, not the speed and defense guy I want. But also again, a candidate.

As for my roster, Tug McGraw has vested, meaning heíll be paid $380K to pitch for me in 1985.

And finally, a message that a Phillies player is retiring Ö Garry Maddox. The 35-year-old finishes with 1,701 lifetime hits and a .284 average, plus 244 steals and 108 home runs. Defensively, he was exceptional. His final career WAR: 28.6. Thanks, Secretary.

Maddox said he may be interested in joining the broadcast booth. Interesting proposition.

Oct. 17, 1984

Had a night to think more about Bill Gilesí goals. The big thing is to have a top-five farm system, and heís looking at the list thatís published annually. That list rewards teams with high-level prospects (and not necessarily depth); so, essentially, I need to draft or acquire a few top-25 prospects. He also wants me to draft good players who will reach the majors. I can do both, and they can be the same thing, possibly. Of course, the worse I fare in the season, the better the draft picks afterward.

So what do I do? Tank for better draft position while selling my top-value players (John Denny, Juan Samuel, Von Hayes, Charles Hudson, maybe Mike Schmidt) for prospects? I think thatís foolish with this group; while Iím not against selling for prospects, this isnít the right group for that. I already have a solid number of young, exciting players just entering their primes. I need to creatively work the margins to improve my team for 1985 (get to .500 and hopefully beyond) while keeping a strong eye at developing youth.

Finally today, I was informed that Mike Schmidt attended a leadership seminar last week. ďI want to be able to more effectively pass down the knowledge Iíve obtained to the younger guys, so we all get to see some better ball.Ē Hear, hear, Mike.

Oct. 18, 1984

Geoff Zubal, GM of the Reds, called me this morning, proposing to trade me Cesar Cedeno for Darren Daulton and Don Carman. I laughed in his face.

Also, Inquirer writer Jayson Stark made his award picks for the league today. Gave Juan Samuel a sixth-place MVP vote, plus a 2B Silver Slugger. Also put down Mike Schmidt as his 3B Silver Slugger (no real competition this year), and why not, gave Charles Hudson a fifth-place Cy Young vote.

Oct. 19, 1984

Some new scouting intel has come in. Big findings:
  • Mike Schmidt is now a 67/67, down from a 74/74, and suddenly is a better defensive first baseman (60) than third baseman (55).
  • Darren Daultonís overall and potential dropped; heís now a 45/63.
  • Juan Samuelís ratings somehow dropped; heís now a 46/47.
  • Good news in CF: Von Hayes is now a 45 there, with 60 OF range.
  • Rick Reuschel is a riser (now at 49/49 with plus movement and control).
  • Kevin Gross also rises with 60/60 movement and 47/49 overall and potential.

I donít buy too hard into fluctuating ratings, but Schmidtís dropoff is alarming, especially at third base. Maybe I have to be in the Paul Molitor sweepstakes, after all.

Meanwhile, I have a few players in arbitration:
  • RP Dave Wehrmeister - 31 - 31/31
  • RP Steve Mura - 29 - 35/35
  • 1B Len Matuszek - 30 - 43/43
  • CF/LF/RF/1B Von Hayes - 26 - 57/57
  • RF Joe Lefebvre - 28 - 35/35
  • RF/CF Dave Stegman - 30 - 39/39

Iíll tender contracts to Matuszek, Lefebvre and Stegman and am considering an extension for Hayes. Meanwhile, SP Rick Reuschel (35, 49/49) is a free agent with Type B compensation attached to him; I think Iíll offer him the $287.5K arbitration. If he accepts, I have a fifth starter (before going out and potentially signing a better starter), and if he declines, I get an additional draft pick in December '85.

Minor league free agents include LF Bruce Fields (who suddenly is just a 50 in LF, sheesh) and C Mike Ibarra. Will probably bring back Fields (though he wants a major league deal) because I need to show more from that Sixto Lezcano trade.

Offered contracts:
  • 1B Len Matuszek - $95,000 (declined)
  • RF Joe Lefebvre -$99,000 (declined)
  • RF/CF Dave Stegman - $100,000 (declined)

Matuszek and Lefebvre are off a little right now, and considering both have declined, Iím not chomping at the bit to come to terms right away. Stegman? He doesnít want to talk contracts. Whoa.

With Hayes, Iím willing to go $345K in arbitration. He wants $404K for one year in a guaranteed deal, but Iíd like to go into 1987, maybe Ď88 with a deal, as his final arb year is 1986. Iíd start with a four-year extension.

The Lonnie Smith contract (three years, $2.05M) and Willie Randolph deal (four years, $2.7M) are templates for me. Hayes deserves more than Smith, but if I can sign him for under Randolphís number, I feel good.

I call Hayes' agent, who's local, and say I want to talk extension. He wants to know what I'm thinking, so I start with my low-ball offer of $1.79M.
  • 1985 - $350K
  • 1986 - $425K
  • 1987 - $480K
  • 1988 - $535K

The agent says that won't cut it, so I ask for dinner or drinks. He wants a steak. Very well then.

At dinner, I talk about how much I love Von, how I think he's a potential MVP candidate. The agent says Von wants to stay in Philly - great news. It's a good dinner, ending with some napkin math (for show) and this down-the-middle offer.
  • 1985 - $450K
  • 1986 - $520K
  • 1987 - $570K
  • 1988 - $620K

Thatís four years and $2.16M, right in the spot between Smith and Randolph.

Hayesí agent says itís fair and will talk to Von. Sounds good to me.
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Old 08-09-2019, 09:48 PM   #48
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There is some witty humor in this post. It had me laughing. QUOTE=The_Myth;4520676]Sept. 10, 1984

Before starting a series at Wrigley Field, time to make some offers to minor league coaches. Of course, that means deciding on our major league coachesí futures, too.

Paul Owens will not be coming back to manage the Phillies in 1985. His bench coach J.P. Dissmore wonít be here, either. Since becoming hitting coach, Bobby Hagan hasnít necessarily inspired great hitting. Then thereís Juan Casado, whoís been OK as pitching coach (weíre 4th in the NL in pitching WAR, middle of the pack in everything else, and I blame defense for some of our problems), so I may keep him on board.

Essentially, our front office has decided on an organizational philosophy built on speed and defense. If youíre not stealing bases and being aggressive on the basepaths, youíre not winning in 1984. Speed is available right now, and we have some of the best speed in baseball; meanwhile, teams arenít prioritizing defense like they used to, and we can take advantage of it.

Down on the farm, that philosophy has to pervade, though Iíd like a diversity of thought.

I know Iím ready to clean house in AAA and AA, bringing in a whole new group that stresses speed and defense but, more than anything, has reputation. Then thereís Peninsula, a successful affiliate, where manager Tim Terzic has done well while stressing power over speed. Heís very traditional, but heís been good. If affordable, Iíll probably keep him, maybe giving him another year at Peninsula.

In R Bend, manager Nick Friedrich has done well emphasizing speed and small-ball approaches. But thatís about it; most of my coaches are old-school holdovers who prefer homers over anything. Iíll have to pick and choose.

(Also, I wonít go through all the offers Iím making; too tedious.)


Game 1984-144: Wrigley Field - Phillies 10, Cubs 1 / 62-82

Rick Reuschel allows just four hits in eight innings en route to his second win as a Phillie (heís now 9-10 over three teams). Dave Stegman and Mike Diaz (who caught) both hit home runs, while Ivan de Jesus raps a double and a triple.

Sept. 11, 1984

Game 1984-145: Wrigley Field - Phillies 4, Cubs 3 / 63-82

Hey, no 100-loss season for us! Stegman hits a homer in his second-consecutive game, and it gives us the lead in the eighth. Jeff Stone triples again, and Juan Samuel doubles again. Good stuff. We finish the road trip 5-2.

Sept. 12, 1984

Von Hayes has been a positive in left field (+1.7 ZR, 1.011 EFF), but just to get Jeff Stone a couple more at bats, Iím going to move Hayes to right field for a couple games before the season ends. At the least I know Hayes is in left field this year. Just have to see what I have here.


Game 1984-146: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 3, Cardinals 2 / 64-82

Itís about time for us to have one of these games. Down 2-1 in the eighth, we get two runs. How? A mother-fíing Juan Samuel walk, followed by a mother-fíing Jeff Stone triple, followed by a mother-fíing Mike Schmidt double. Also, Stone went 3-for-4 and is now hitting .500.

Hey - found out tonight that Peninsula took the Carolina League title! They won the series 4-2, with shortstop Ken Jackson (.474/.600/.842, 2 HR, 5 RBI) taking home MVP honors.

Also, the Reading Philliesí season ended with a 70-70 record. Portland has another week and a half to play, but the reinforcements are heading west from Reading while a couple Beavers move up to Philly.
  • SS Steve Jeltz promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • 1B/RF Mark Funderburk promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • SP Curt Young promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • RP Chuck Cary promoted to MLB Philadelphia
  • 2B/SS/3B Greg Legg promoted to AAA Portland
  • LF/RF Gib Siebert promoted to AAA Portland

Jeltz, who hit .242/.330/.319 with 12 SB (but also had a +9.2 ZR and 1.051 EFF) in AAA Portland, will get to start a decent number of games before the season ends. Funderburk is just going to hang out on the bench. Iíll move to a six-man rotation to give my veterans more rest and get Young a couple starts down the stretch, while Cary hopefully gets a couple innings in before we close out.

And how about a scouting report for Cary, whoís making his major league debut: He throws mostly fastball and curveball, with the charlie nearly a plus pitch (50/55). The fastball comes in at about 90 and could be less straight. He also tosses in a mediocre sinker, but it could become a decent pitch in time (40/45). His command is OK but could also use work. Essentially heís prone to giving up some home runs, but might be able to hack it as a middle reliever right now.

Sept. 13, 1984

The kids havenít yet arrived from Portland, but we continue on with Jeff Stone, a lefty, getting a start against a lefty, while Hayes sits for a night.

Game 1984-147: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 3, Cardinals 2 / 65-82

Seven straight wins! Stone triples again! His fourth-straight game with a triple, and now Iím begging STATS Inc. to find out if itís a record. Mike Schmidt hits homer No. 25, too. Bad news: Steve Carlton leaves in the fifth with a thumb injury, but itís a day-to-day ailment. No time to miss.

Sept. 14, 1984

STATS Inc. informs me Jeff Stone has broken the Phillies record for most consecutive games with a triple. The all-time MLB record is five games, set by the Piratesí Harry Davis in 1897, and the Piratesí Chief Wilson in 1912. So Stone is on the verge of doing something that hasnít been done in 72 years. Hell yeah!


Game 1984-148: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 1, Expos 0 / 66-82

Our eighth-straight victory is Charles Hudson at his best: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 7 K, 3 BB. Don Carman picks up his third save with a spotless ninth. As for Jeff Stone? He hit a solid gapper in the first, but it wasnít deep enough to get him three bags. Just a double, and the only RBI of the game. And with that, weíre now a game above the Cubs, out of the NL East basement.

Meanwhile in the AL East, Detroit scored six in the eighth to fly past Toronto, 8-2, and win its fifth-straight game and 13th in its last 14. The Tigers have suddenly opened up a three-game lead over the Blue Jays, who on July 15 had a 6.5-game lead in the division. But in other news, Kansas City now has just a 2.5-game lead over Seattle, who has never reached the postseason. Theyíre also playing this weekend.

Sept. 15, 1984

Game 1984-149: Veterans Stadium - Expos 5, Phillies 2 / 66-83

Itís bound to happen. I let Mike Diaz play third base and bench Von Hayes, and hereís a five-hit performance from the offense. Naturally, Jeff Stone has two of the hits. Tug McGraw gives up two runs late.

After beating the Reds in Cincinnati, the Dodgers sew up the National League West division title. Itís Los Angelesí fifth division crown in eight seasons (between 1976 and Ď83 we also won five division flags).

And in the Northwest League championship series, the Bend Phillies tied the series with a 13-0 thrashing of Bellingham.

Sept. 16, 1984

Game 1984-150: Veterans Stadium - Phillies 3, Expos 1 / 67-83

We stay hot, with John Denny going 7.2 shutout innings, striking out three. Chuck Caryís first work (one out) is successful, while Kenneth Walker gives up a run-scoring double to Tim Raines but saves the game - his first career save. Jeff Stone watch: 1-for-2 with a walk.

And, ha, weíre 14th in the power rankings. The new top-five:

1. Detroit Tigers - 99-50
2. Pittsburgh Pirates - 90-60
3. Seattle Mariners - 86-64
4. New York Yankees - 81-68
5. Toronto Blue Jays - 94-55

The Jays are falling apart. The Tigers swept them out of Detroit and now hold a commanding five-game lead in the AL East. The Mariners are just 0.5 back of the Royals in the AL West after taking two of three against them. Coming up, Seattle has to play a bad Cleveland team and the .500 White Sox, while Kansas City faces California and Oakland, two of the worst teams in baseball.[/QUOTE]
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Old 08-09-2019, 10:51 PM   #49
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Oct. 20, 1984

Was in New York for a meeting with our new commissioner, who said we shouldnít be thrifty with player contracts. This is an opportunity, he said, to grow the game in groundbreaking new ways. ďDonít hold back the talent.Ē

(A little different from what really happened around this time; collusion isnít happening here.)

***

Time to get the managerial search going. If I had a favorite kind of candidate, it would be: neutral vets-prospects/neutral pitching-hitting/speed over power/defense over offense/OBP over AVG. I can give or take in either direction, though. I want my organization to take advantage of speed and defense (considering we have the former and have to improve on the latter).

Top candidates:
  • Dick Howser - 48 - neutral/neutral/power/offense/OBP
  • Mike Garcia - 44 - veterans/pitching/speed/offense/neutral
  • Kevin Campbell - 47 - neutral/hitting/power/defense/OBP
  • Andy Cornejo - 50 - prospects/neutral/neutral/neutral/neutral
  • Jeremy Eig - 47 - neutral/neutral/neutral/offense/OBP
  • Francisco Martinez - 56 - prospects/hitting/power/defense/OBP
  • Juan Mireles - 50 - prospects/pitching/neutral/neutral/AVG
  • Ben Tubbs - 48 - veterans/hitting/neutral/neutral/OBP
  • Frank Robinson - 49 - prospects/hitting/offense/power/OBP
  • Jose Vasquez - 46 - prospects/neutral/speed/offense/OBP
  • Kirk Veal - 57 - neutral/pitching/speed/offense/AVG

Of this group, hereís who I like:

Dick Howser - 48 - neutral/neutral/power/offense/OBP

The former Royals skipper who had a .526 winning percentage with Kansas City but wasn't able to get his squad over the hump. He loves power, but he also loves speed. He wonít let me do much tinkering, though Iím OK with that if he produces. He would be good for the clubhouse, except apparently for Mike Schmidt. Weird. Maybe heís just too much a veteran manager for Schmidty.

Mike Garcia - 44 - veterans/pitching/speed/offense/neutral

The manager of the 103-41 Miami Marlins of the Florida State League, Garcia is a hot name. He can be a bit of a disciplinarian, and while he likes speed, he doesnít ask for steals too much. Heíd rub my hitters the wrong way; not sure if thatís the best idea.

Kevin Campbell - 47 - neutral/hitting/power/defense/OBP

The Bravesí bench coach is apparently not great as a tactician. Heíll hook pitchers quickly, which means Iíll need a heck of a bullpen for him. Heís also aggressive on the basepaths, which I like. He wouldnít have a good influence on players, but he would get along with just about everyone, sans veteran pitchers (who, again, heíd hook).

Francisco Martinez - 56 - prospects/hitting/power/defense/OBP

The bench coach of the Blue Jays, Martinez is fiery and makes a lot of moves. He likes to steal bags and loves defense. He wouldnít be a good influence for players, as heís more of a no-frills guy, and he wouldnít get along as well with my veteran pitchers. But heíd be great to keep the kids in line.

Frank Robinson - 49 - prospects/hitting/offense/power/OBP

Long-time skipper with the Giants and Indians hasnít had much success, but heís really friendly and would let us do whatever we want with the club. Heíd have a good relationship with everyone (in fact, excellent). Heíd basically be an extension of our front office (since he'd let us do whatever we want), which is intriguing.

Jose Vasquez - 46 - prospects/neutral/speed/offense/OBP

Finally, the Red Soxí bench coach is more a playersí manager. He loves offense, will steal some, and is more a prospects guy. He wouldnít have an influence on players, but heíd get along with our younger pitchers, especially.

Now, I like Howser, obviously, plus Martinez and, as a third choice, Robinson. We've heard that Howser is demanding more than $330K, while Martinez wants very little (it seems $40K or so), and Robinson wants $150K or so. The Howser demand seems too high, but letís bring him in for an interview and see if I can get him for fewer than $300K. If not, I may pivot to Robinson, who I know would just work with me.

Oct. 21, 1984

Time to interview my candidates.

Oct. 22, 1984

Howser and Vazquez came in yesterday for managerial interviews. Today itís Robinson and Campbell.

Oct. 23, 1984

Managerial interviews today with Martinez and Garcia.

Amid the interviews, a phone call today from Von Hayesí agent: Hayes is on board! Four years and $2.1M total. Welcome in, Von. Good to have you until 1988.

Oct. 24, 1984

We announce the Hayes extension with a press conference, and that goes over well with everyone. Also, we win no Gold Glove awards.

***

After a bunch of afternoon meetings, we feel Dick Howser is a step above the competition, but I still want him at less than $300K per season. In speaking with his agent, I offer him $285K per season for three years and give him a couple weeks to mull it over.

***

Meantime, new offers to arb-eligible players:
  • 1B Len Matuszek - $108,000 (considering)
  • RF Joe Lefebvre -$108,000 (considering)

Dave Stegman is out right now, and looks to want to go to arbitration. Matuszek and Lefebvre are considering my final offers; honestly, these two guys are backup plans right now.
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Oct. 25, 1984

Rolaids Relief Man of the Year!

American League: Dave J Schmidt - TEX - 19 SV, 2.72 ERA (over Quisenberry, who finished fifth!)

National League: Jeff Reardon - MTL - 48 SV, 0.75 ERA. He was nearly unanimous.

Meanwhile, I offered Bruce Fields a minor league contract extension. Fully awaiting him to decline it.

And this was our first day of a week filled of draft planning, since weíre about a week away from that. Hunkering down in a hotel conference room with rotating pots of coffee, Tastykake treats, and the occasional Canadian Club. Giddyup.

Oct. 26, 1984

Silver Sluggers are announced, and Juan Samuel gets one! But amazingly, Mike Schmidt (.253/.351/.452, 26 HR) loses his bid to Bob Horner, who hit .263/.328/.463 with 32 HR. I guess. Boy, I hope the decline isnít real.

Oct. 27, 1984

Rookie of the Year!

American League: Tony Fernandez - TOR - .338, 9 HR, 82 RBI (over Danny Tartabull).

National League: Dwight Gooden - NYM - 18-8, 2.13 ERA, 300 K. Juan Samuel finished in second place with two first-place votes! Hey!

Oct. 28, 1984

Phone calls have been received: Len Matuszek and Joe Lefebvre are on board for 1985. Cool.

Manager of the Year!

American League: Bobby Cox - TOR

National League: Chuck Tanner - PIT

Kinda weird seeing Cox get the award while Seattle stormed into the postseason after never finishing above sixth place. Oh well.

Oct. 29, 1984

Cy Young!

American League: Jack Morris - DET. Unanimous!

National League: Dwight Gooden - NYM Ö not unanimous! Fernando got a first-place vote; also, Charles Hudson got one vote (Jayson Starkís)!

Also, Bruce Fields signed my minor league deal. Kind of shocked!

Oct. 30, 1984

MVP Award!


American League: Wade Boggs - BOS - .370. Enough said. He beats Kirk Gibson and Don Mattingly (?)

National League: Darryl Strawberry - NYM - .302, 43 HR, 127 RBI. Beats his teammate Gooden, plus Pedro Guerrero and Fernando. Juan Samuel finished seventh in voting!

Meanwhile, teams keep proposing us trades where we give up Darren Daulton and Don Carman for a first baseman. Thatís why Iím not moving Daulton.

***

Next time: A look at our 1985 (December 1984) First-Year Player Draft Board.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:48 PM   #51
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Oct. 31, 1984

Happy Halloween. I still don’t have a manager, but the first-year player draft is tomorrow. With the team escaping the hotel conference room and getting just a little sleep last night, it’s time to unveil a draft board.

First, our budget seems to be about $2.756M for the draft. That means I won’t be blowing all the money on talent seeking big bonuses. I will, however, take calculated risks when I deem necessary.

Also, I prefer college bats > college pitchers > high school bats > high school pitchers. And generally, offensively I want athletic kids (speed) who understand the strike zone. I may take a flier or two on guys with big raw power or high contact tools.

With pitching, I like control with projectable stuff and/or movement, plus more than two pitches when possible.

With that said:

[Key: Blue = Certain MLB starter/reliable pitcher / Green = Likely MLB starter/reliable pitcher / Magenta = Likely MLB contributor / Orange = Uncertain MLB future / Red = Unlikely MLB future]

Draft Board - Top 40
  1. Barry Bonds - RF/CF/LF - Total package with speed, range, and an already great bat. He should be in the majors by 1986, if not right away. $1.1M bonus.
  2. Odibe McDowell - CF/LF - Already an outstanding defender with 75 speed and an average-to-plus eye. Majors by 1986. $900K bonus.
  3. Barry Larkin - SS - College bat is about a year from producing, though he has 65 gap power already. 65 speed but needs to harness it better. Defense work in progress, but bat could be special. $850K bonus.
  4. Gregg Jefferies - SS/3B/2B - HS. Top high school bat. 75 speed. Good infield range. Puts the ball in play, should be able to hit gappers. $500K bonus.
  5. Rafael Palmeiro - LF/RF/1B - Probably stuck at LF or 1B but the bat plays as an all-star (65 raw power potential). Good speed and baserunning, too. Diva. A risk, but if he drops, I’m in. Slot.
  6. Brady Anderson - RF - Okay outfielder (70 error, 50 range) who already has a terrific eye (70), speed (70), and 25-HR power. Slot.
  7. Randy Johnson - LHP - Phenomenal stuff (70 potential) but current 25 control. A minor project out of college, but of all the arms, you can dream on his. $460K.
  8. BJ Surhoff - C - Smart but weird kid who puts the ball in play and can be an all-star down the line. Defensively he’s a good catcher. 65 speed and 80 baserunning. He should make the show, but how he succeeds is question. $1M bonus.
  9. Roberto Alomar - 2B/SS - HS. At 16 he already has projectable plus contact and gap power, plus bat-on-ball and near-plus eye. Defense is work in progress. 65 speed. My kind of guy but three years away at best. $750K bonus.
  10. Chris Jelic - C/CF/1B/3B - The kind of ballplayer you want. Hard worker. 65 eye already with 55 speed and 75 baserunning. Can switch to CF and move quickly. $340K bonus.
  11. Will Clark - 1B - ETA is 1986 if not midseason ‘85. Should be a .280-ish hitter with 20-25 HR soon enough. Can steal some bags and be smart out there. Defense lacks so much that he’s just an average 1B. That’s the problem; you’re committed to one position. $750K bonus.
  12. Blaise Ilsley - LHP - 70 stuff and already 40 control for this college arm. Three plus or near-plus pitches already (fastball, cutter, change) with a working forkball. Kid could be a top-line starter. Slot.
  13. Mike Stanley - C/1B/3B - Plus eye and plus gap power. Will strike out but should be a decent middle-order guy at peak. OK speed. Good but not great C defense. Still room to grow. Slot.
  14. Joey Cora - 2B/SS - HS. Needs to work on defense, but leadership qualities and a good eye. Puts the ball in play. 70 speed. Slot.
  15. Carlos Quintana - LF/1B - HS. 55 speed and 60 eye, but the bat speed isn’t there yet. Needs to bulk up. Might be confined to bad defense. Slot.
  16. Mike Deveraux - CF/RF - Has everything already, and the gap power and raw power are still developing. 75 speed. Decent CF with room to grow. All-star one day? $370K bonus.
  17. Mike Huff - CF/LF/1B - 21-year-old a borderline starter right now. 70 speed and a 60 eye, but worries he lacks bat speed. $360K bonus.
  18. Bruce Ruffin - LHP - Safe college arm. Can probably be in majors by 1986 with three average pitches and nearly plus movement. Coward’s way out. $290K bonus.
  19. Ken Caminiti - 3B - Kind of guy that could put together two to three all-star years but otherwise have weird stats. 30 HR here, .230 there. Speed is OK and he’ll steal, but not reliable. Average at 3B. Power is the key. Slot.
  20. Randy Verlarde - LF/2B/3B/SS/RF - Plays a lot of positions and probably a decent second baseman at end of day. Good speed, plus-plus baserunner. Probably won’t put the ball in play enough; kind of a project. $420K bonus.
  21. Shane Mack - RF/LF - Worries he’ll be a three-true outcomes type with only plus gap power. 65 speed and 55 RF defense, but has lapses in outfield. A college kid who’s a little bit of a project. $400K bonus.
  22. Craig Worthington - 1B/3B - HS. Already has it together for high school. Average eye and power, plus gap power. 55 speed. He’s in the majors, albeit on the bench, by age 21.
  23. Bill Swift - RHP - Nearly Ruffin out there with 50 potential control and a bunch of average pitches. Back-end type. Slot.
  24. Bernard Gilkey - LF - HS. Wish he played more than left field, but he’s just average out there. Plus-plus speed and plus eye at age 17. Everything else is on its way. Can be a stunner. $300K bonus.
  25. David Justice - LF/RF -HS. Young but already has plus power and eye. Speed is decent. Role player, maybe middle-of-order if it all breaks right. Defense is working. $550 bonus.
  26. Scott Bankhead - RHP - Plus stuff from a plus slider and near-plus sinker and change. Probably gives up home runs. Slot.
  27. Ramon J Martinez - RHP - HS. 16-year-old Dominican has plus potential stuff from fastball and circle change. Would take a chance over some of these average college arms. Slot.
  28. Aubrey Waggoner - CF/LF/RF - HS. Plus-plus speed and plus eye; everything else is project, but the gap power can be a 45. Something to think about. Slot.
  29. Bobby Witt - RHP - Plus fastball slider. He throws six pitches. Control is 30. Could be a great reliever soon but still projects as a starter. No relation to our prospect Steve. Slot.
  30. Jeff Carter - 2B/RF/3B/SS - Plus-plus speed and baserunning. A good eye. He’ll make the show before his bat comes around. Maybe utility, maybe maybe a starter. $240K bonus.
  31. Bryan Harvey - RHP - Awesome plus fastball and forkball already. Control is bad (20). He’ll need seasoning though he has tons of dazzle. Slot.
  32. Jeff Gardner - 2B/3B/SS - Has a decent bat and will put the ball out there. Good eye, too. 70 stealing. Decent 2B defense, too. Slot.
  33. Chad Kreuter - C - Solid defensive catcher with a plus eye. Possible quick mover. A Daulton clone but worse. $350K bonus.
  34. Dennis Cook - LHP - Just fine. Maybe more a reliever with three decent pitches. Slot.
  35. Chris Knabenshue - LF/RF - 80 name. Plus eye with good power potential. Plus-plus speed. Not the smartest. $210K bonus.
  36. Billy Bates - 2B - All-around decent hitter, like a .260/.330/.400 type. Plus speed and baserunning. Just one position, though. Slot.
  37. Steve De Angelis - LF/RF/CF - Gap power is there. Raw power is plus. Decent eye. Will strike out. Speed plays at 55. Could factor in quickly. Slot.
  38. Walt Weiss - SS - Could be a good slap hitter down the line. 55 speed. Decent defense at shortstop; reason to believe it’ll improve. $310K bonus.
  39. Chuck Finley - LHP - As a rule I don’t prioritize relievers early, but he has a plus fastball and near-plus change, and a working curve. Control should be decent. Slot.
  40. Brian McRae - CF/2B/RF/SS - HS. Son of Hal McRae has the makings of a starter at his peak, but all project. 75 speed. Plus gap potential. Could make a difference. $280K bonus.

Draft Board - Highlights
  • Steve Gasser - RHP - HS. A 17-year-old at 6’3” who tops at 95 and is named Gasser. He’s the no-control play. Plus fastball, then slider, forkball. Loads of potential. Slot.
  • Chris Lombardozzi - 2B/3B/SS - HS. Plus-plus eye and everything else is a project. 45 speed. Slot.
  • Brad Bierly - CF/1B/3B/RF - Already has home run power and eye. Should be useful out there. Decent CF. Slot.
  • Mark Gardner - RHP - 22 and needs a team. Fastball-curveball with a working change. Control is fine. Slot.
  • Jeff Manto - 1B/3B/2B - Has the eye already and the power is on its way (potential plus). Could use defensive work. $380K bonus.
  • John Ludy - RHP - HS. Already formed. Not very much potential, but he could be useful this season. Slot.
  • Clay Parker - RHP - College kid with good stuff and average control. Basically a young man’s Kelly Downs. Slot.
  • Jeff Ballard - LHP - Old school type with good control. Good changeup. Organizational probably. Slot.
  • Rich Thompson - RHP - Two-pitch guy and both are still a ways away. But maybe he’s a throw-in with plus movement. Slot.
  • Flavio Alfaro - 2B/SS - Already 23 with no contact and high strikeout rates, but he walks and has 70 speed and 80 baserunning. Might be a flier. Slot.
  • Andrew Anthony - LF/RF - The kind of kid I like with a great eye and good speed, baserunning. Plays decent corner, too. Needs work elsewhere. Slot.
  • Gary Eave - RHP - College guy with good curve and working fastball, sinker, change. 25 control. Bullpen play. Slot.
  • Tom Cantrell - CF/2B/SS - HS. Would waste pick on him, likely, as he seems to want to go back. 70 stealing. Plus eye. A lot here to project. Unknown demand.

I'm at 1-10. I'm not getting Bonds (who is going 1-1 to Texas, according to whispers), and I'm not getting McDowell (who should go early, too), but teams aren't very excited about committing to the high school bat. I could have a crack at Jefferies then, and I imagine one or two other names in my top-10. At least to start.

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Old 08-15-2019, 11:20 PM   #52
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Nov. 1, 1984

Welcome to the 1985 First-Year Player Draft.

(Note: I'm calling this the 1985 Draft (or the December 1984 Draft), though the following players were actually drafted in June 1985.)

Huge day. I fully expect the Texas Rangers to pick Barry Bonds with 1-1. I can see Mike Stanley, Will Clark, BJ Surhoff, Barry Larkin, Roberto Alomar, and Odibe McDowell going after him before I pick at 1-10. After that itís anyoneís guess. I could end up with my lone top-10 pitcher, Randy Johnson, or find myself looking at Gregg Jefferies, Rafael Palmeiro, or Brady Anderson. My board says Jefferies, but he wonít be an impact for a while.

We have 35 rounds this year. Letís do it.

Round 1

1. Texas - CF Barry Bonds
2. Baltimore - C Mike Stanley
3. Oakland - LF Rafael Palmeiro

First shocker of the draft, with Oakland going for the slugger to team up with Jose Canseco and last yearís first-rounder, Mark McGwire. The Aís love power.

4. California - 1B Will Clark
5. Houston - SS Barry Larkin
6. Chicago Cubs - CF Odibe McDowell
7. San Francisco - C BJ Surhoff
8. Milwaukee - SS Roberto Alomar

Hereís where the draft can turn quite a bit.

9. Atlanta - C Mike Macfarlane

I didnít have him on my board because I wasnít high on him, but Atlanta sure liked him.

Iím on the clock.

My board is telling me to get Gregg Jefferies, and trailing him are Brady Anderson and Randy Johnson. Anderson is right down my pipe, a Von Hayes clone, the guy I like. Great speed and eye, and everything else is on its way. OK defensive right fielder but needs work. Jefferies is a $500K commitment and a high schooler - nothing guaranteed - but he could be better than Anderson with more speed and contact. Johnson is nearly $500K and injury-prone. Also a pitcher. A reach. Anderson is the safer move, but Jefferies is just calling me. We do our final run-through as the clock ticks, and the team agrees on a pick. Bill Giles signs off.

10. Phillies - SS - Gregg Jefferies

Anderson goes next to Cleveland.

As we proceed, Oakland nabs Chris Jelic (my No. 10) in the second round. Damn. But Blaise Ilsley (my No. 12) falls to pick 36, and Iím giddy. I think this kid has ace talent. My scouting director likes Philly product John Marzano, but I donít see it. We take a vote, and heís singled out.

36. Phillies - LHP - Blaise Ilsley

Weíre rejoicing in the war room, and even the scouting director joins in. Still, ďYouíre gonna regret not gettiní Johnny, heís BOOK-smart.Ē A few picks later, Marzano goes to Boston.

Meanwhile, Toronto gets Jeff Carter, another tough one for us, as we thought heíd fall to the third round, at least. Craig Worthington and Chris Knabenshue also get selected. But at 62, it looks like our No. 28, Aubrey Waggoner, is available. Letís do it.

62. Phillies - CF/LF/RF - Aubrey Waggoner

Two high school bats already. Weíre surprised, but thatís our board. Back around to 88, and Billy Bates is out there. We lock in.

88. Phillies - 2B - Billy Bates

Coming back around, and our top-40 is gone. That brings us to Steve Gasser, who we can imagine falling a few rounds, but at the same time, some team might just snag him. We love him, and when you love a guy ...

114. Phillies - RHP - Steve Gasser

Thatís three high schoolers so far, and weíre just stunned. And as we come back around, our next guy happens to be a high schooler. Alright then.

140. Phillies - 2B/3B/SS - Chris Lombardozzi

Jeff Ballard is out there, but weíre thinking about a college bat right now. We like Bill Geivett, an infielder with plus speed and plus eye. Of course.

166. Phillies - 3B/2B - Bill Geivett

Weíre close to taking a chance on Tom Cantrell, but Iíd rather wait one round, if we can.

192. Phillies - LHP - Jeff Ballard

Well, the Rangers picked up Tom Cantrell to lead off round 9. Makes sense. Flavio Alfaro is out there, but my scouts want me to grab a 22-year-old lefty reliever with good stuff. Iíll throw a bone.

218. Phillies - LHP - Ed Merklen

From here on, the rest of the picks:

244. Phillies - C/CF/3B - Linton Dyer
270. Phillies - RF/CF - Bernie Anderson
296. Phillies - LHP - Zach Crouch
322. Phillies - 2B/SS - Flavio Alfaro
348. Phillies - RF - Tom Eccleston
374. Phillies - C - Rob Thomson
400. Phillies - SS - Neder Horta
426. Phillies - RHP - Mike Carista
452. Phillies - 3B - Carlo Colombino
478. Phillies - SS/3B - Scott Gray
504. Phillies - SS - Glenn Fairchild
530. Phillies - RHP - Paul Abbott
556. Phillies - RHP - David Blakley
582. Phillies - RHP - Roger Huff
608. Phillies - 1B/C - Anthony Buglione
634. Phillies - C - Robert Canepa
660. Phillies - RHP - Steve Searcy
686. Phillies - RHP - Darren Pearson
712. Phillies - 2B/SS/3B - Ray Crone
738. Phillies - RHP - Bob Tabeling
764. Phillies - LF - Johnny Celis
790. Phillies - LF/RF - Carmelo Green
816. Phillies - CF - John Van Ahnen
842. Phillies - LHP - Ken Patterson
868. Phillies - RHP - Kevin Nelson
894. Phillies - CF/1B/RF - Mark Ban

Negotiation shouldnít be hard; by taking Ilsley at the $207K slot, weíre saving about $83K, which will go toward Jefferiesí demand, and we should be able to meet his $500K. Down the draft, Crouch and Nelson want big pay days. I donít forsee either happening.
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Old 08-16-2019, 04:13 PM   #53
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I like:

Howser
Martinez
Vasquez
Robinson

Good luck!!!
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Old 08-16-2019, 06:16 PM   #54
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Hopefully Jefferies has a good career for the Phightin Phils!


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Old 08-17-2019, 12:44 AM   #55
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At least I'm getting him a couple years early!
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Old 08-17-2019, 12:52 AM   #56
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Nov. 2, 1984

No news today, and still waiting on Dick Howser. Weíre happy with our draft. One thing to keep in mind for 1985: We no longer have a GCL club (Bend is now our only rookie squad), while we just added a third A-level team, the Clearwater Phillies. Hereís how weíre defining the system:
  • MLB Philadelphia
  • AAA Portland
  • AA Reading
  • A Clearwater / A Peninsula
  • A Spartanburg
  • R Bend

Advanced draftees (college kids, mostly) will start in Spartanburg. If weíre high on a kid, weíll move him to the more competitive Clearwater squad (the Florida State League is better than the Carolina League). Peninsula is for players weíre still sorting out.

This will change some things. Primarily, someone like Luis Polonia, who we originally tabbed for Reading, will now probably start in Clearwater to get his feet wet there.

Nov. 3 , 1984

Still quiet.

Nov. 4, 1984

Second-round draftee Blaise Ilsley has agreed to his signing bonus. The 20-year-old lefty will start in Spartanburg.

Nov. 5, 1984

A phone call from Dick Howserís representative: He wants to meet us in Philly for dinner tomorrow. Giddy up.

Nov. 6, 1984

Itís arbitration hearing day, but weíre preoccupied with Dick Howser, who flies in and meets with us in the afternoon. Just before our arb hearing with Dave Stegman, we have a nice chat, and Howser is in. Of course, we knew it all along.

Dick Howser is the new manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. Heíll make $285K per season through 1987. We call a press conference for the next day, a Wednesday, which just so happens to be the day before free agency filings. Perfect timing.

As for Stegman, he demands Ö ahem Ö $172,000. We propose $90,000. The arbitrator rules in our favor. Good win for us. Good, good win.

How should we celebrate? How about a steak dinner with vintage 1936 wine (his birth year) with our new skipper Dick Howser?

Nov. 7, 1984

We call the 11 a.m. press conference. A chipper mood at Veterans Stadium today, with all the press assembled (the 4-5-1 Eagles arenít necessarily swallowing all the air).

Howser speaks about starting anew in Philly, watching the Phils compete from afar, the allure of managing Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, and how much potential we have throughout the organization. Heís a good speaker, a calming influence, and should lead us with a steady hand. Iím excited about him.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:58 AM   #57
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Ilsley spent years in the minors before finally making his MLB debut with the Cubs in 1995 at the age of 30. And then for just 10 games.

Waggoner never made it to the "show", his last stint with the Pawtucket Red Sox at the age of 28.

Will be interesting to see how they make out in OOTP.

Phillie fans are never patient, but you're making good moves during your rebuild. Getting Howser was huge!!

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Old 08-19-2019, 10:22 PM   #58
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Nov. 8, 1984

Free agency has begun. Rick Reuschel decided against our arbitration offer, so we could score a 1986 supplemental pick if he goes elsewhere. Also, there was a trade: Houston sent RF Kevin Bass to Milwaukee for C Bill Schroeder and RHP Rich Buonantony. Houston lost their catcher, Ron Hassey, to free agency. Interesting way to make up for that.

But now, letís talk strategy. Itís an important offseason for us. Taking stock of the roster, hereís how Iíd break down our assets:

Likely contributors to a contending team

2B - Juan Samuel
3B/1B - Mike Schmidt
LF/RF/CF - Von Hayes
SP - John Denny
SP - Charles Hudson
SP - Kevin Gross
SP - Steve Carlton
RP - Larry Andersen
RP - Bill Campbell
RP - Tug McGraw

Unknown assets

C/1B - Darren Daulton
C/1B/LF/RF - John Russell
C/1B/LF/RF/3B - Mike Diaz
SS/2B/3B - Steve Jeltz
LF/RF/CF - Jeff Stone
RF/LF - Glenn Wilson
SP - Curt Young
SP - Kelly Downs
RP - Don Carman
RP - Chuck Cary
RP - Karl Best
RP - Kenneth Walker

Low-value assets

1B/LF/3B - Len Matuszek
RF/LF/3B - Joe Lefebvre
CF/LF/RF - Dave Stegman

If Iím going to contend, I need more than Schmidt, Samuel, and Hayes as likely offensive contributors. Iím not quite there yet on Daulton, but I believe he can be a contributor in 1985. I donít want to count on any of the other unknown or mediocre assets to make the leap, though. So, letís say I need at least two players I feel confident about as contributors in 1985.

With the pitching staff, Iím a bit more assured. I could use at least one more good reliever, though two and an additional starter would be terrific.

That means, at minimum, if Iím to be competitive in 1985, Iíll need two hitters and one reliever. Additional parts may increase my chances. Positions I could upgrade include catcher (low), first base (high), shortstop (high), corner outfield (high), and center field (medium). At baseline - without additions - those spots would be filled by Daulton, Matuszek, Jeltz, Wilson and Lefebvre, and Stegman. So I need better than that.

Organizationally we prefer speed and defense. A plus eye and/or contact would be great. Power isnít necessary but welcome. On the mound, we want control first, then decent stuff and movement.

Letís go through the free agent market piecemeal. Regardless of position, here are the top speed assets out there:
  1. Bobby Brown - LF/CF/RF/1B/3B - 30/30 - 80 SPD/75 STL/65 RUN
  2. Alan Wiggins - 1B/2B/CF - 43/43 - 80/70/70
  3. Dave Collins - LF - 45/45 - 75/70/55
  4. Rhadames Mills - LF/2B/3B/SS/RF/CF - 23/23 - 75/70/55
  5. Omar Moreno - LF/RF/CF - 35/35 - 75/70/65
  6. Bill Almon - SS/1B/3B/LF/RF - 49/49 - 70/65/65
  7. Alfredo Griffin - 2B/SS - 37/37 - 65/65/40
  8. Tim Ireland - SS - 20/20 - 65/60/60
  9. Donald Stearns - 2B/RF/3B - 20/20 - 65/80/70
  10. John Altobelli - LF - 20/20 - 60/65/50
  11. Dave Concepcion - 3B/SS - 38/38 - 60/65/55
  12. Jack Daugherty - LF/1B/RF - 24/36 - 60/70/55
  13. Mike Ibarra - C/1B/3B - 20/20 - 60/50/55
  14. Ken Landreaux - LF/RF/CF - 46/46 - 60/65/70
  15. Mitchell Page - 1B/LF - 31/31 - 60/70/65
  16. UL Washington - SS/3B/2B - 43/43 - 60/65/65

Conventional wisdom says I should be targeting Almon as a shortstop. Heís 31, spending his last two seasons in Oakland. Career heís a .258/.302/.341 hitter but had his best slugging season last year with the Athletics, hitting .250/.285/.374 with 11 home runs. Not the best offensive profile, but his defense is good.

Essentially, with shortstops, there's a top tier with players like Cal Ripken Jr., Ozzie Smith, Tony Fernandez, Alan Trammell, Dickie Thon, and Robin Yount. (Whether you want to put those guys in sub-tiers is another matter.) After that top layer, there's the start of a large field of shortstops, and Almon is probably atop that group. So we're talking the best second-division shortstop available, and there are no first-division guys out in the market.

Glancing at the trade market, there isnít a shortstop (who isnít worth an arm and a leg) that I would go after that would be better than Almon on a short-term deal. Only one player makes sense in the long run, and thatís Minnesotaís Greg Gagne (39/53, 60/60/60, 60 SS). But Gagne is unproven in the majors, getting only 29 plate appearances in 1983 and 45 last season. He could break out in 1985, but again, I canít have a ton of unknown assets.

Almon has 45 contact but 50 eye, and he has 55 gap and raw power, so maybe Iíd get him at the peak of a power surge. As heís leading the middle of the pack, he'd be fine for, say, two years guaranteed. He wants $700K and is a Type B free agent; I think I can make it work.

Otherwise, I like UL Washington enough as a stopgap. Heís a 43/43 but plays good defense and has a 50 eye. Heís also a Type B, but heíd only want $390K.

Also on this list, Iím intrigued by Wiggins, who was in my rundown for center fielders but is more a 1B now and is out for seven months with a knee injury. Heís super fast and puts the ball in play, though his contact rating is just a 45. Still, heís a $160K gamble, apparently, so if I donít have any good 1B options, I may take a flier.

Finally, Landreaux is an option at a corner spot. He doesnít strike out much, and he does get his bat on the ball a bit with 50 contact. Heís probably more a fourth outfielder type, so maybe I donít need him, but is he better than Glenn Wilson? Not sure.

Top positional defenders (non-catcher) include:
  1. Glenn Hubbard - 2B - 49/52 - 75 DEF
  2. Mickey Hatcher - LF/RF/1B - 45/45 - 75
  3. Tom Paciorek - 1B/3B/LF/RF - 42/42 - 70
  4. Lee Mazzilli - LF/CF/1B - 46/46 - 65
  5. Dave Collins - LF - 45/45 - 65

Nothing here that Iíd really want. Maybe Paciorek, but heís 38 and a bit of an afterthought right now.

Finally, top contact hitters include:
  1. Juan Beniquez - 1B/3B/LF/RF/CF - 49/49 - 75 CON
  2. Denny Walling - 3B/1B - 43/43 - 65

Lest I forget the big names on offense:
  1. Paul Molitor - 3B - 55/59 - 55 DEF, 60 CON, 55 GAP, 45 RAW, 50 EYE, 55 Ks, 55 SPD
  2. Fred Lynn - RF/CF - 55/55 - 50 DEF, 55 CON, 40 GAP, 65 RAW, 60 EYE, 45 Ks, 30 SPD
  3. Cliff Johnson - 1B - 53/53 - 35 DEF, 55 CON, 50 GAP, 60 RAW, 60 EYE, 50 Ks, 20 SPD

Any one of these players would be an instant offensive upgrade, but outside of Molitor, Iím not sure Iíd get a great return on investment. Lynn is 32 and in decline, while Johnson is 37 and a Type A. Molitor is 28 and a Type B, though heís apparently a diva. Is that worth it? I might get in early to gauge the market.

I like Beniquez a lot, who last season in California hit .325/.360/.416 with 22 XBH in 446 PA. The guy can hit and might be had on a one-year deal with an option. Iíd take that. Also, no compensation.

As for pitching, here are the top control arms:
  1. Dan Quisenberry - RP - 61/61 - 80 CTR
  2. Mike Caldwell - SP - 41/41 - 70
  3. Gene Garber - RP - 57/57 - 70
  4. Donnie Moore - RP - 57/57 - 70
  5. Doyle Alexander - SP - 50/50 - 65
  6. Danny Darwin - SP - 49/49 - 65
  7. Scott Sanderson - SP - 51/51 - 65
  8. Don Sutton - SP - 52/52 - 65
  9. Bob Welch - SP - 59/59 - 65

Welch is the top dog on the market and wants more than $1 million. Heís also a Type A. Iím trying to avoid signing any and all Type A guys right now, as I need to continue to stock my farm system and need first- and second-round picks.

I like Sanderson, who is out up to three months with a UCL injury. Outside of that he has two decent pitches (fastball, curveball) and a third that works (slider). He has strikeout stuff, but heís also a finesse guy. I believe in him.

Also, I like Darwin. He pitched well for a bad Rangers team in 1982 and Ď83, though he slipped a shoulder injury in Ď84. He has three pitches, all decent enough. Heís a Type B.

On the relief side I want to stay away from Quisenberry, even if Howser obviously loves him. My reports say Q only has the slider left in the tank, and he struck out just 15 in 55 innings last season; plus, heís Type A guy. Iíd rather look at Donnie Moore, a no-compensation setup-quality arm with a good fastball and forkball.

Moving to good movement, I like Tim Stoddard (RP, 53/53, 65 STF, 55 MVM, 40 CTR), who struck out 50 in 57.2 innings for Baltimore in 1983, then lost all of Ď84 with a UCL injury. Since my pitching staff is in good shape, give me the injury comebacks.

Before the day ends, I check up on my targets:

Paul Molitor - In the conversation for now. His agent Ron Simon says anyone interested should fly out to visit, so I'll be heading to Minnesota to visit with the third baseman in a couple days.

Iím thinking about a three-year deal with fourth-year option totaling $3.5M, though I may have to go another year with him. Iíve heard he wants four guaranteed. We can find common ground, but if it gets out of hand, I'm easily out.

Bill Almon - Iím serious about my interest here. He wants five years and $3.5M. Iíd rather do two guaranteed, full stop, but Iíll keep the annual at his $700K annual demand. I submit the offer.

Fred Lynn - I go for a year with an option, fearing any long-term deal here. He wants six years right now. Weíll hold off.

Juan Beniquez - He wants three years and $2.1M. Not bad, but Iíd rather do the same one and one. It doesnít take too much leg pulling, as he goes for $550K in year one and a $650K option in year two, with a buyout of $125K. Iím hesitant to give in so early, so Iím gonna take my chances and wait a few days here.

Iíll wait on pitching until Welch and Quisenberry set the markets.

Nov. 9, 1984

Beniquezís agent wants to talk. Thirsty, I see. Iíll give it another two days.

Nov. 10, 1984

Just checking out my depth, and looking toward minor league free agents, I know Iíd like another starting pitcher, two relievers, a veteran catcher or two, a middle infielder, and a corner infielder, at least.

So I offer some minor league contracts to:
  • Mike Martin - C - 27/29
  • Bob Kearney - C - 36/37
  • Alan Bannister - LF/RF/1B/CF/2B/SS - 36/36
  • Bobby Brown - LF/CF/RF/1B/3B - 30/30
  • Bob Long - RP - 29/29

Nov. 11, 1984

Flying out to Minnesota this morning to meet with Paul Molitor and his agent Ron Simon. A quick two days and one night out there.

Meanwhile, still no movement on the market. Checking back in with Beniquez, I can do $520K in year one and an option of $635K in year two. No offer yet. Going to hold.

After landing I go back to Lynn, and another conversation about a year with an option leads to frustration. He wants at least three years with a player option. Agent says they have other teams on the line and may be moving on from us. Okay. Weíll wait a little longer.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:00 PM   #59
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Nov. 12, 1984

Had a fine afternoon hang and dinner meeting yesterday with Paul Molitor. We don't talk money, only what he's looking for out of a home. He wants to compete but doesn't necessarily love the spotlight. I tell him we're building a team that won't require him to carry the load. After checking back in for coffee, I head back to Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, at the airport I got some good calls: Gregg Jefferies, Billy Bates, and Steve Gasser have all come to terms on contracts. They're now in the organization. Big stuff. As I'm not looking to give bonuses to Zach Crouch or Kevin Nelson, I'm done with my 1984 draftees. Thirty-three of 35 are in place. That's good.

Nov. 13, 1984

The Giants hire Jamie Taylor, a relative unknown, to be their manager. And we're finished with interviews for bench coach, hitting coach, and trainer, which took place last week. Here are our offers:

Bench coach - Doug King / poor reputation
Hitting coach - Dan Stone / average reputation
Trainer - Gil Duran

Nov. 14, 1984

Trade proposal from Cincinnati: LF Cesar Cedeno and C Danny Lamar for SP Charles Hudson. Pass.

Nov. 15, 1984

Paul Molitor's agent Ron Simon calls to check in. He says meetings with teams have gone well, and his client really wants that fourth guaranteed year. I'm not necessarily hesitant … more playing the game. Still going to hold. Hoping we can really get things going at the Winter Meetings in about 10 days.

Nov. 16, 1984

The Mets ask for a bad deal. I'm not even going to dignify it here. By the way, this is interesting: I've gained the second-most WAR this season because I lost 1.6 bad WAR. Addition by subtraction!

Nov. 17, 1984

Texas trades SP Charlie Hough to Detroit for RHP Mike Henneman, 2B Jim Walewander, and C Bob Melvin. Looks like the Rangers are going full tank.

Nov. 18, 1984

Still very little going on. Time to check back in with Freddy Lynn, and now he'll do three years with a fourth-year option. Getting closer. Not going to offer yet.

Nov. 19, 1984

Bill Almon comes back wanting a little more, his agent saying the Yankees made him a good offer. Ugh. Yankees. I don't want to do more than two years (he says he wants four now), so I'll go $950K in year one and $1M in year two. He doesn't like that.

I come back with $1M in year one and $1.1M in year two, but he's still against it.

I decide to take a couple days off from Almon and call his bluff. Big risk here.

Nov. 20, 1984

Still nothing new.

Nov. 21, 1984

Still waiting. Made a few offers to minor league coaches. That's about it.

Nov. 22, 1984

Dan Stone is in as my new hitting coach. Good deal. Also, happy Thanksgiving.

Nov. 23, 1984

Here we go. Detroit swipes Dave Stieb with a six-year, $8.58M contract, setting the pitching market.

Texas trades C Marv Foley for CF Barry Jones and 2B Mark Lemke. Go Rangers, huh?

Time to check back in on Almon: No movement. Standing pat still. Sweating bullets.

Nov. 24, 1984

Gil Duran is my new trainer. Cool.

Back to Freddy Lynn: Same as before. And Molitor: He's back to wanting five years at $1.2M per season. Meh. I come back with three, again, at $1.1M per, with a $1.25M option fourth. Same as Almon with one more year.

Nope, back to five years. I am not giving him five.

Anyway, time to pack for the Winter Meetings, this year in Houston.

Last edited by The_Myth; 08-20-2019 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 08-21-2019, 11:21 PM   #60
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Nov. 25, 1984

After my 10 p.m. flight to Houston, I wake up in a hotel suite by some new high-rises. My front office team and I have some events at the hotel meeting rooms and lobby, but most of our work will be done here in the suite. Basically we want to finalize Almon on our terms, figure out how else we can upgrade the offense, and maybe start talking pitching. I donít imagine making any trades.

Meanwhile, we learn that the Astros made a splash to start the party they're hosting, signing pitcher Jim Beattie to a two-year, $1.22M deal. Feels like we can get a good arm or two with these prices.

Bigger news: The Orioles trade for Bert Blyleven. They send two prospects, including RF Larry Sheets, to Cleveland. This is all the Indians wanted? I shouldíve asked. Damn.

Also, Thad Bosley goes to Pittsburgh from the Cubs. Chicago gets SS Sam Khalifa in return.

Into the night, I go back to Almon with two years at $1.1M per year, adding a third-year option at $1.25M. So itís two years and $2.2M, with a third option to make it three and $3.45M. More than I want to do, but Iím trying not to lose him now.

Then I hear back from his agent: No. He wants three years guaranteed, and heís apparently on his last nerve. Jesus.

I talk to U.L. Washingtonís agent, just to try something else. He wants $600K over two years. Suddenly Iím wondering if Almon is worth five times this price. Heh.

Washington had a 74 wRC+ last season. He struck out 12.6 percent of the time (in line with recent years) and walked 5 percent of the time (down from last few seasons). That said, he played only a third of the Royalsí games last season, primarily as he was ousted from the starting job. As for Almon, who had an 85 wRC+, his walk rate was at a recent low of 4.6 percent last season, and his strikeout rate was at 14.3 percent, about in line with recent trends.

I donít know. I have about $6.3M to play with (after my draft budget closed), so even if I spend whatís likely for my top targets, Iíd still have nearly $3M to work with for a shortstop. That said, paying Almon the kind of money reserved for the top-10 salaries in the game? Ridiculous. Iím going to stop chatting with his camp right now.

Before heading to bed, I want to start conversations with available pitchers.

With Scott Sanderson, the injury has to play a factor. He wants two guaranteed years at $1.42M, which seems high for someone coming off an injury. I want one and a team option, so I do $385K in year one, $485K in the option year ($870K total). I also throw in a minimum-innings bonus (180 IP) and an all-star bonus. And heís receptive, telling me heís going to consider it.

SP Scott Sanderson - 2Y/$870K including team option (considering)

Next is Donnie Moore, who says the Yankees have a solid offer on the table. Heís looking for three guaranteed years, which Iím wary about, so I use my trusty friend the team option and give him a little more annual than what I believe the Yankees are offering: $400K in year one, $445K in year two, $515K in team option year three. Heís receptive.

RP Donnie Moore - 3Y/$1.36M including team option (considering)

Itís late. Or early. Time for bed.

Nov. 26, 1984

The Tigers are stocking up on pitching, signing SP Bob Welch (a Detroit native) to a three-year contract with a fourth-year option at $4.32M total. He joins Dave Stieb, Cy Young winner Jack Morris, Charlie Hough, and Milt Wilcox in the Detroit rotation.

Meanwhile, RP George Frazier goes to Toronto on a three-year, $1.184M contract. Iíd be paying Moore a bit more, but thatís no issue here. Also, Atlanta got C Ron Hassey for five years and $4.15M, and Baltimore overpaid for C Ernie Whitt at five years and $3.65M. Finally, Oakland dealt CF Dwayne Murphy to the White Sox for LF Rudy Law and prospect Doug Drabek. (Law was on my semi-short list of center fielders last season.)

I check up on Paul Molitorís agent Ron Simon, seeing if anything has changed. Nope, his client wants security. Honestly, Iím not against five years completely, but I worry about his defense eroding quickly, plus itís a long contract, you know?

So I chat with my team a bit more; after some thought, we decide that four and an option could work if our AAV is good. Essentially, we think Molitor would be a major boost to our offense (and defense) for the next three years, at least. Plus, heíll be a fan favorite.

I have late-night drinks with Ron Simon. My offer: $1.13M, $1.185M, $1.23M, $1.285M, $1.385M (team option). With incentives.

Weíre using Doug Decincesí contract (4Y/$4.5M) as a template for us, thinking Molitor is currently worth just a little more. But after drinks, Simon calls back and says itís not enough. Paul wants a contract within the top 30 in the game.

So now we look at Carney Lansfordís contract, which is 6Y/$6.825M and is among the top 30 out there. If we can get five years at $6.65M, with an option, weíll do it. Thatís a higher AAV than Lansford (which makes sense), but doesnít have us committing so many years.

So: $1.428M, $1.228M, $1.228M, $1.528M, $1.238M (team option). With incentives. We figure we have room to work in year one, can use some space in years two and three to make additions as our team improves, and by year four (1988), we can go bigger as Mike Schmidtís contract is possibly off the books.

Simon calls back: The offer is staying on the table. Holy crap itís on.

3B Paul Molitor - 5Y/$6.65M including team option (considering)

I meet with my front office team in the early morning over final drinks; no further talks, just planning. We want to talk outfield optionsónot completely sold yet on Beniquez, though heíd provide us insurance. Also, I decide I'll call Schmidty after waking to let him know there could be a move from third to first. Just to think about it.

Nov. 27, 1984

The Tigers continue to spend, grabbing Fred Lynn for four years and $4.32M (fourth year is an option). Fine. Didnít want him at that price and length, anyway.

I call Mike Schmidt and let him know weíre talking with Paul Molitorís camp, so thereís a possibility he moves to first base in 1985. All in all, Mike takes it in stride. He wants to win. Heís trying to be more of a leader. Itís all great news and confirms in us that weíre doing something bold and potentially game-changing.

After our group meeting last night, we think there may be one player to trade: John Russell. Essentially weíre worried about his ability to catch, as our scouts noted that he made a few errors back there last season and his pitcher relationships werenít the best (he had a 5.06 catcher ERA, as opposed to Darren Daultonís 3.35 mark).

We think we might be selling Russell at a good time, so I divvy up responsibilities and have my folks call other general managers about him. And what do you know: We get bites.

Mostly decent but not elite prospects (RF Henry Cotto of the Cubs, 2B Rex Hudler of the Yankees, RF Steve Lyons of the Red Sox, CF Rock Coyle of the Athletics, RP Jeff Heathcock of the Astros, RP Bill Long of the Padres). Regulars offered include relievers like Steve Howe and Luis DeLeon, and starter Bruce Berenyi - effective but nowhere near sure things. And veterans are mostly ineffective players and overpriced older guys with long contracts (Jeffrey Leonard, George Foster).

We start scouring clubs with top-rated prospects, and we finally come across Atlanta, who is willing to give up relief prospect Paul Assenmacher (38/51). But they want another prospect (CF Tim Knight, whoís been in AAA and probably wonít make it up to the majors at this point).

Iíd like more, so Iím able to coax out of them catcher Tommy Thompson, age 27, 34/38, who is a very good defender and hit .283/.344/.363 in 424 PA last season in AAA. I would absolutely start the season with him as my backup catcher. Weíre also able to grab a starting pitcher in Joe Johnson, age 23, a 34/34 who put up a 4.17 ERA last season in AAA. Sounds good to me.

Trade

To Atlanta Braves

LF/RF/1B/C John W. Russell - 23
CF/RF Tim Knight - 26

To Philadelphia Phillies

RP Paul Assenmacher - 23
C Tommy Thompson - 27
SP Joe Johnson - 23

If Russell becomes a star, thatís on me, but I donít have room for him anymore. I like this deal. Thatís definitely the end of our wheeling and dealing at the Winter Meetings.

Nov. 28, 1984

The Yankees offer us another catcher for some reason; meanwhile, the Mets move LF Danny Heep and prospect Desmond Brooks to the Padres for 3B Gerry Davis and 2B Steven Garcia.

Weíll be boarding a plane back to Philadelphia tonight, but in the meantime, we call around about Bill Almonís status. Nothing. Heís apparently still tied to wanting more than $1.2M per season.
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