The Phillies were working multiple fronts before acquiring right-hander Joe Blanton from the A’s. Among the possibilities that reached a standstill: A blockbuster for Rockies left fielder Matt Holliday and closer Brian Fuentes.
The talks probably will not revive, major-league sources said, even though the teams continue to scout each other and the Phillies used different players to obtain Blanton than they would need for Holliday and Fuentes.
Rosenthal says that a Holliday-Fuentes package would have required the Phillies to give up Shane Victorino, J.A. Happ, and a couple of prized prospects in pitcher Carlos Carrasco and catcher Lou Marson.
The snag in the deal revolves around the payroll. As Rosenthal explains:
Holliday and Fuentes are owed almost $6 million combined for the rest of the season, Victorino only about $190,000. The addition of Blanton already has added about $1.5 million.
I have not a clue what it takes to operate a Major League payroll, but it would seem extremely profitable for the Phillies to spend a little extra now. The acquisition of Holliday and Fuentes would make the Phillies far and away favorites in the NL East and destined to meet up with the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, so there’d be some extra revenue coming in from the Phillies making the playoffs for the second season in a row. Holliday is also a star player like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins, so there’d be a bump in merchandise if they chose to quickly get some Holliday Phillies jerseys on the racks. And, of course, ticket sales would jump, especially early on from the excitement of seeing Holliday in right field as a Phillie for the first time.
If there’s any team the Phillies can learn from in this regard, it’s the Eagles. They had no Super Bowl victories but made the playoffs for six straight seasons between 2000-05. Every now and then they’d make a splash and add someone noteworthy (though the T.O. deal didn’t work out so well), and the franchise prospered despite chronic playoff failure. The Phillies don’t have to actually win a World Series to make money and earn a healthy reputation with the hometown fans. This trade would be a great step towards prosperity, even if it does cost the Phillies’ two best Minor League prospects.