Steve Phillips Needs To Stop Talking

Steve Phillips is another sportscaster who just doesnt have credibility.

Steve Phillips is another sportscaster who just doesn't have credibility.

So I was just watching Baseball Tonight on ESPN, and the topic of trading for Roy Halladay came up.  Karl Ravich asks Steve Phillips his opinion on the situation.  He proceeds to say that if he was a GM in the game, he would sell the farm for Halladay.  Now I have no problem saying “I’d trade almost anything for him,” because Halladay is among the best pitchers in the majors.  But Phillips didn’t stop there.  He proceeded to name every single top young pitcher in the bigs and offered them to Toronto.

This isn’t shocking, coming from the former New York Mets GM who has a long track record of trading future stars for short-term help.   He obviously doesn’t value prospects, which is fine to an extent, because they are not guaranteed to succeed.  But he didn’t name just prospects.

Steve Phillips named the Dodgers as a team that needs to trade for Doc, offering Clayton Kershaw and others for the Blue Jay’s star.  Another team Phillips feels should trade for Halladay is the Phillies, offering every prospect in their system.  He even said that the Yankees should give Toronto, a division rival, anything they wanted including Phillip Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.  He went as far as saying, “if I was the Yankees, I’d pack his bags and drive Joba to the airport.”

My problem with his thinking is that its not practical, and it perfectly showcases the reason he’s the former GM of the Mets.  Consider his Dodgers proposal: trading 21-year old lefty Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 2.95 ERA, 104k, 1.22 WHIP) for 32-year old Halladay (11-3, 2.73, 113k, 1.07).   We’ll leave out a breakdown the “others” Phillips would give up (Tony Abreau, Blake DeWitt, James Loney, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp to name players sure to be requested by Toronto).  Let’s just compare the pitchers that would be swapped.  What exactly do the Dodgers gain in this?  Sure, Halladay’s peripheral numbers are slightly better.  But when you consider the cost, both in terms of talent and cash, does this deal make sense?  Halladay is on the hook for the remaining of his $14m+ for this year, and $15.75m for next year, after which he’s free to go as a free agent.  Kershaw, on the other hand, is under team control for another 5 years at very cheap salaries.  Common sense tells us that Kershaw is on the upslope of his promising career, while Halladay is at the top of his game but 11 years older.  How much longer does he have before decline?  Sure, the Dodgers are World Series favorites (along with Philly) in the senior circuit, but does Halladay improve their odds in October?  He’s got the same number of October starts as Kershaw, ZERO.

As Philly is running away with the NL East, do the defending World Series Champs need Halladay?  At the cost of a starting fielder and top prospects Kyle Drabek and Jason Donald?  As is, they are on their way to a deep October run.  Do they mortgage the future hoping that Halladay wins them the title, something that nobody can guarantee?  Do the Yankees, already short on starting pitching, deal Joba and Philthy Hughes (shout out to carebear) for a pitcher with several times more wear on this tires than the two players offered for him?

When we consider Steve Phillips track record on trades of any kind, he loses all credibility.  Let’s take a look:

He traded Carl Everett (MVP candidate 2 years after being traded) for John Hudek (1-4 for the Mets). –> Lose

Sure, when he traded AJ Burnett for Al Leiter, he got 85 wins and 2 playoff appearances, including a World Series           appearance from the old guy.  But Burnett is younger and has won 95 games since then, including a World Series Title.  –> PUSH

Jason Isringhausen (283 saves since) was traded for Billy Taylor, who was 0-1 in 18 Mets appearances with an ERA over 8.0.  — > Lose

Looking for a short-term fix in 2000, Phillips nabbed Mike Bordick for 56 games and a .260 average.  Ironically, he traded a young Melvin Mora, who was hitting .260 at the time of the trade.  Unfortunately for the Mets, Mora has gone on to hit over 150 home runs with a .281 batting average over the past 10 seasons for the Orioles, including a couple of all-star appearances, a Silver Slugger award in ’04, and an MVP candidate in ’04.  Bordick left after his lone season, returning to the Orioles.  –> Lose

In ’02, Phillips gave away Gary Matthews Jr. for John Bale (who?).  ‘Nuff said.  –> Lose

Phillips traded a minor league Jason Bay for middle reliever Steve Reed.  Bay is a top corner outfielder, which is a historically weak spot for the Mets,  Steve Reed was decent but a free agent after the year.  –> Lose

Sure, he had a couple good trades (Piazza, maybe Mo Vaughn), but overall, Steve Phillips was the meth addict of baseball general managers; he traded long-term pieces for short-term fixes.  In the end, he had 2 playoff appearances to show for all of his awful trading.

So Steve, stop doling out the advice to GM’s who still have jobs in the game.  Nobody has even interviewed you for a GM position since you were canned, so perhaps they agree that you were a terrible judge of talent.  Just stop giving us your opinion on trades just because you are on ESPN.  Only talk about subjects which you have credibility with, like what kind of hair product I should use to get a ‘do like yours.

12 Responses to Steve Phillips Needs To Stop Talking

  1. Dan says:

    I’m not a big fan of Steve Phillips either but I think he was right here. What makes Halladay valuable is not only the fact that he’s straight up dirty, but also the fact that he has another year left on his contract. Any team in even slight contention should be willing to trade anything in the farm to get this guy. If you fail this year, you have a contract year ace for next season.

    Looking at the NL, think about how many teams would become automatic favorites to land in the World Series if they got him:

    Dodgers- already the favorite
    Phillies- Halladay + Hammels… dirty
    Giants- Probably cost Matt Cain but still
    Cardinals/Brewers/Cubs/Houston- pick a team; they win the division with Halladay
    Rockies- surging, would give them a pretty nasty pitching staff for a change… wild card?

    How about the AL East let alone the other 2 divisions…
    Yankees- regardless of what they give up, they have a 1-3 of Halladay, Sabathia, Burnett for the next year and a half
    Red Sox- same deal
    Tampa Bay- They have some solid #2 pitchers but not an ace… this would be the Sox and Yanks worst nightmare

    That being said as much as i dislike Steve Phillips, Karl Ravich pisses me off

    • bermanad says:

      Thanks for the comment.

      While I agree that every team should want to trade for Halladay and would be getting an unbelievable pitcher, the point was that Steve Phillips’ deals are garbage.

      What does Halladay bring to the Dodgers that Kershaw hasn’t been providing? Next year, with a year’s of experience, doesn’t Kershaw make a jump?

      Then, think about Halladay having a no-trade clause. That automatically removes Colorado, and probably Houston. I’d even say the Giants would be out, as they are garbage. No free agent-to-be would want to pitch in Colorado or Houston. It’s not a smart contract decision. Nor are they locks to be competitive again next year.

      My point is that the names that Phillips dropped in making his trades didn’t make sense. But Halladay is a great pitcher, and if a lesser deal could be made, then by all means, do it.

  2. Taka says:

    AJ Burnett never won the world series. He was injured during the 2003 Florida Marlins run. He was out for the year.

    Al Leiter went 95-67 over 7 seasons. I say the Mets won the trade by a mile. He was also a fan favorite.

    I give credit to Steve Phillips for taking the team to the 2000 World Series. That was all him.

    Omar Minaya has yet to take this team to the World Series and I think Minaya has made better moves than Steve Phillips has.

  3. Taka says:

    Also… I believe you have to take into account that a lot of players suffer in New York. Yankees have had a lot of trouble with this as well. They trade a pitcher or even batter who did well with a team like the Pirates or the Indians and they do terrible in New York.

    Who would have thought that Roberto Alomar would bat in the .250-.270 range instead of his usual .300 to .330 range especially in the National League.

    Also.. Melvin Mora was a 28 year old player when they traded him. Who would have thought that Mora would suddenly break out at age 31. I would have given up on a player like Mora as well. I think most GMs would have.

    Mike Bordick was known to be a defensive wiz. Steve Phillips built his team around infield defense (Ventura, Alomar, Ordonez, John Olerud) and solid pitching.

    Also.. Matthews Jr. was a roid head. He started using it after he got traded. Cant blame Phillips for not cheating.

  4. Taka says:

    I agree with the Kershaw for Halladay statement.

    That is absolutely ridiculous. My hometown team is the Dodgers and maybe Angels depending on where you live… but I would never do that deal.

    However, I would WANT them to do it if the Blue Jays paid most of Halladay’s contract (say…70%) That would make Halladay a 5-6 million dollar pitcher for the Dodgers. Now THATS worth it!

  5. Dan says:

    Oh, and more about Steve Phillip’s track record…

    Can’t forget the infamous Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano deal.

    Were you being saracastic when you classified the Mo Vaughn trade as “good”? They dumped Kevin Appier’s salary but then took on roughly 15 mil for 3 yrs with Vaughn’s contract. He only played 2 of those years:

    2002: .259AVG .349OBP 26HR 72RBI
    2003: .190AVG .323OBP 3HR 15RBI in 27 games

    • bermanad says:

      Dan, my boy…
      The Zambrano-Kazmir deal was executed by Jim Duquette in July ’04. It’s commonly mistaken, as I began writing the article with that trade in mind. In research, I saw I was wrong too.

      As for the Vaughn-Appier deal:
      The Mets took on $20+ mil in salary to get Vaughn. He put up decent numbers in ’02. ’03 was injury riddled. He was 2 years from a 36 HR, 117 rbi season, with full years recovery.

      Appier went 21-19 with a mid 4 ERA the next 1.5 seasons before being released by Anaheim.

      The Mets are more guilty of misidentifying the health of Vaughn when making the trade, than for the trade itself.

  6. Dan says:

    Yeah but weren’t they paying Mo Vaughn up until last season (exaggerating a bit). I’m not big on Steve Phillips but heres how i rank my list of most hated MLB analysts/broadcasters:

    1. Tim McCarver (I think he probably leads almost everyone’s list.)

    2. Karl Ravich (his job is to sit there and host the show, he chimes in too much with dumb comments.)

    3. Nick Cafardo (thinks he’s the shit)

    4. Joe Morgan (Red Sox bias on this one; never has anything good to say about the Sox)

    5. Steve Phillips

    Honorable Mentions: Tim Kurkjan and Michael Kay

  7. Dan says:

    Oh, and I had no idea that the Kazmir trade wasn’t Steve Phillips. That makes his resume terrible but not quite as bad as terrible as i thought.

  8. Ryan says:

    Dont forget Mr. John Buck on the most hated sports announcer list…the most lifeless, boring, and “i’m lucky my dad was a famous announcer before me so I could just take his place.” person I have ever seen on tv

  9. bermanad says:

    I smell a new blog post to write about!!!

  10. […] down.  It’s that simple.  Listen, Phillips isn’t a particularly talented baseball man (See here) but he’s not dirtiest old man either.  He could definitely do better than this pig.  Hot […]

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