Philadelphia Daily News - November 11, 1980
Phils Not Starstruck
By Bill Conlin
There used to be certain dividends available in the re-entry draft even for teams with no intention of making a sincere offer to a big-name free agent.
What a team could get plenty of was publicity.
It was also a way for a ballclub to make the fans think it was trying. When Pete Rose went into the re-entry auction three Novembers ago, it guaranteed a media circus in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Kansas City, St. Louis and this town.
It became Gussie Busch's breweries vs. Ted Turner's Superstation, the money anted up by Channel 17's owners vs. John Galbreath's racing silks. Ewing M. Kauffman was there with good, old-fashioned money, a lot of it. Sports talk show hosts fielded a thousand calls on the Rose free agency. Pete's visits to the owners of the five clubs he named finalists were chronicled like the whistle-stop campaign of a presidential candidate.
IT WAS the Hot Stove League at its all-time best.
Paul Owens, Dallas Green and newly-minted farm director Jim Baumer met in Clearwater yesterday to draw up their game plan for Thursday's fifth annual re-entry draft in New York City. There will not be much bread and no circus.
They came out of it with an addition to the list of World's Slimmest Volumes. Title it: "Free Agents the Phillies Feel Can Help Them in '80."
Sure, Dallas thinks Dave Winfield would look splendid in pinstripes. Of course, he'd like to see Dusty Baker batting cleanup behind Mike Schmidt. Who wouldn't like Don Sutton starting every fifth day behind Steve Carlton?
"We went through the list today and we're not going to get involved with any player we feel would erode our salary structure," Green said. "We're much more interested in signing a couple of free agents named Tug McGraw and Del Unser than anybody on that list. There were about 50 names on the list and quite frankly, a lot of 'em I wouldn't have on my ball-club."
So the key word which describes the Phillies' participation in an auction which gained them Richie Hebner, Rose, Greg Gross, (they retained negotiating rights to their outfielder when he went the free-agent route last season) and Lerrin LaGrow is "reality."
THAT'S WHY the Phillies will draft the negotiating rights to guys like Jim Dwyer, Geoff Zahn, Stan Bahnsen and Dave Roberts.
"We'll look for two things," Green said, "signability and serviceability. There are some guys on there we feel might add to the depth of our pitching staff and our bench strength."
Green couldn't publicly name names due to the stringent tampering rules laid down by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn.
But it's obvious that a guy like Dwyer would be in the Phillies' picture as a hedge against the loss of Unser. The former Cardinal prospect played an Unser-type role for the Red Sox last season, utility outfield, first base and left-handed pinch-hitter.
Zahn could be the left-handed pitcher to replace Randy Lerch in a five-man rotation. Zahn is a going-on-34-year-old lefthander who knows how to pitch. Zahn, once a Dodger phenom, was released by the Cubs in 1976 and went on to have a decent career with the Twins. He was 13-7 in 1979, walking just 41 hitters in 169 innings.
BAHNSEN, the Expos' much-traveled right-handed reliever, could be the man to fill Ron Reed's up-for-grabs spot in the bullpen. He's a very effective pitcher when properly used. But Dick Williams was forced to overwork Bahnsen last season, particularly in the final month.
David Wayne Roberts, utility player, is not to be confused with David Arthur Roberts, the left-handed pitcher. This Dave Roberts was the first player selected in the June 1972 draft. He was a hot-shot third baseman out of the University of Oregon and the talent-starved Padres tossed him right into National League combat. He appeared in 100 games as a third baseman, shortstop and catcher. Roberts hit .244. He was tearing up the Pacific Coast League when the Padres recalled him from Hawaii in 1973. Dave had his best big-league season, hitting a solid .286 with 21 homers and 64 RBI.
But he bounced back and forth between Hawaii so much the next three seasons the Padres must have had a deal with United Airlines. Roberts never achieved the stardom predicted for him and San Diego.
In a span of four months in 1976 he was sold to the Blue Jays, who traded him right back to the Padres for former Phillies righthander Jerry Johnson. Finally, the Padres sent Oscar Gamble and Roberts to the Rangers in 1978 for a rabble of players which included Kurt Bevacqua, Mike Hargrove and Bill Fahey. You'd have to say the Padres got the best of the deal because they also received $300,000 to help defray their enormous investment in Gamble.
ANYWAY, Dave Roberts is an experienced player who can catch and play at least two infield positions.
"One of our goals for next season is to improve the right-handed side of our bench," Green said.
The Phillies have cautiously entered into preliminary trade talks with several clubs. And Green hinted broadly that Greg Luzinski's future here depends largely on Greg Luzinski.
"Most clubs are taking the stance that they'll wait to see what develops in the re-entry thing before they start serious trade conversations," the manager said. "That seems to be the trend since the free-agent thing started. My first priority would be to add to the offense, although I don't know how easily it could be done. Premier home run hitters and RBI men just aren't available anymore. They're either tied up for the long term or have proved to be problems to the clubs getting rid of them. We're not into picking up other people's problem players.
"Bull's name always pops up when trades are mentioned and that's unfair, because we're not peddling him around.
"I WANT TO sit down with Greg after the draft and determine if he's hyper about his future here, see if we can't get him in the proper frame of mind. I want to get a feel as to how he's thinking and what his approach is going to be about, one, his weight, two, the batting problems he had last year and, three, the condition of his knee. Greg Luzinski is by no means a lock to be traded by the Phillies this winter, but if he feels he's not going to be happy here we might have to take a look at it."
Green says his most pressing worry is that the Phillies will be unable to come to terms with McGraw, who declared his free agency last week and is reportedly seeking a four-year, $2 million contract.
"We would have to give the bullpen some serious consideration then," Dallas said. "Even if we sign Tug we feel we can always use another quality pitcher. But losing Tug would probably mean coming up with an established hammer and they don't come cheap."
Smith Top NL Rookie
ST. LOUIS (UPI) – Lonnie Smith of the World Champion Phillies and Joe Charboneau of the Cleveland Indians today were named rookie players of the year by The Sporting News.
Bill Gullickson of the Montreal Expos won the rookie pitcher of the year award in the National League. Joining Charboneau in the American League selections was Britt Burns of the Chicago White Sox, who was named AL rookie pitcher of the year.
Mart Keough of the Oakland A's and Jerry Reuss of the Los Angeles Dodgers were named the 1980 comeback players of the year.
The sports weekly said the selections were made in a poll of 168 National League players and 244 American league players.
Charboneau, a colorful outfielder-designated hitter, batted .289 in 131 games with 23 home runs and 87 runs batted in.
Burns had a 15-13 record while recording 11 complete games. He struck out 133 batters in 238 innings.
Smith, a speedy outfielder, stole 33 bases in 100 games and batted .339.
Gullickson was called up from Montreal's Denver farm club on May 28 and won 10 games, lost five and struck out 120 batters in 141 innings. Two of his victories were shut outs and the highlight of his season came on Sept. 10 when he struck out 18 Chicago Cubs.
Keough, who posted a 2-17 record with a 5.03 earned-run average in 1979, was 16-13 with 20 complete games this season. His ERA was 2.92, fourth lowest in the American League.
Reuss had a 3-2 mark in 1978 and was 7-14 the next year. But in 1980, the veteran southpaw won 18 games and lost only six. He led the National League with six shutouts and his 2.52 ERA was third lowest.
The highlight of Reuss's comeback season was a no-hitter pitched against the San Francisco Giants on June 27.