Offseason Rumors: Yea or Nay

The Phillies have been linked to many names, even after adding Dewayne Wise, Juan Castro, Brian Schneider, and Placido Polanco. Among potential additions are Brandon Lyon, J.J. Putz, John Smoltz, and even Aroldis Chapman. The Phils are also thinking about bringing some familiar faces back such as Chan Ho Park, Scott Eyre, and Chad Durbin.

This won’t be an extensive study of each player, but a simple yea or nay with a couple of supporting facts. Feel free to share your opinions by writing a comment below.

Let’s start with the familiar faces we could see in 2010:

  • Chan Ho Park: Yea, only if he’s brought back as a reliever, and for a similar salary as in 2009. Reports say that he’s still looking for a starting job somewhere. He needs to suck it up and admit he’s just not a starter anymore. He’s an elite seventh-inning reliever. Throughout his career, opposing batters hit for a .030 higher OPS against Park as a starter than as a reliever, and that includes his 1996-2001 seasons when he was, in fact, a decent starter
  • Chad Durbin: Nay. His 2008 season was a complete fluke. Relievers of his ilk are a dime a dozen. The Phillies paid him $1.635 million last year. They can get similar production for a fraction of the price, hopefully by calling up an arm from the Minor League system (Scott Mathieson, please).
  • Scott Eyre: Yea. Over his career, he’s held left-handed hitters to a mere .717 OPS, and the Phillies could use a LOOGY considering J.C. Romero spent most of the 2009 season on the disabled list after a questionable 50-game suspension. GM Ruben Amaro was quoted as saying that Eyre “may have priced himself out of our range”.
  • Pedro Martinez: Yea, but only if it means that the Phillies are going to trade Joe Blanton to acquire an elite reliever or Roy Halladay. That seems unlikely, so I’d otherwise prefer the Phillies spend the money on the reliever they’re looking for.

Now let’s look at potential newcomers.

  • Brandon Lyon: Nay. He made $4.25 million in 2009, and isn’t likely to take a significant pay cut. His two best seasons as a reliever have come last year and in ’07, but the Phillies are going to use him like they use Ryan Madson. That’s just not worth spending $4 million on, and the Phillies’ officials agree. Lyon is also looking for a multi-year deal.
  • J.J. Putz: Yea, but only on a relatively cheap, short-term, incentive-laden deal. Putz was an elite reliever in 2006 and ’07, but has spent time on the disabled list in each of the past two seasons. The Phillies should go after Putz only if they feel like they can compete even if he is hurt, and are able to adequately replace him. If Putz is still unsigned in late January, and the Phillies have made at least one other signing of a reliever, Putz would be a great low-risk, high-reward signing.
  • George Sherill: Yea. The Dodgers are looking to trade Sherill to bolster their starting rotation, and to clear up some payroll space if possible. With Scott Eyre more likely to retire than to return to Philadelphia, Sherrill is just the kind of elite reliever the Phillies are looking for in return for Joe Blanton. It’s a perfect match: the Dodgers balance the middle of their starting rotation without taking on a heavy contract (Blanton will likely make $5-6 million in arbitration), and the Phillies get their LOOGY and potential replacement for Brad Lidge if he struggles (since everyone seems to have soured on Ryan Madson’s prospects as a closer).
  • Roy Halladay: Yea. For obvious reasons. Requires a perfect storm, as Andy Martino details.
  • John Smoltz: Nay. The Phillies can get similar production out of the #5 spot in the rotation with arms already on the team payroll, such as Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick, or Antonio Bastardo.
  • Aroldis Chapman: Yea. For obvious reasons. However, I can’t see the Phillies actually winning this one with their self-inflicted limited payroll.
  • Adam Everett: Yea. I’m sorry I keep mentioning him whenever I get a chance, but I simply have a man-crush on him. He is an elite defender by any fielding metric you choose to use. While he has only played shortstop in his Major League career, it wouldn’t be much to ask him to make a spot start at second or third base, depending on how the Phillies choose to use Placido Polanco when Chase Utley is given a day off. He’s light with the bat (just like Eric Bruntlett and Juan Castro) but his defense is exceptional, and he only made $1 million last year. I don’t think he’s ever been on the Phillies’ radar, unfortunately. [EDIT: Everett re-signed with the Detroit Tigers. See comments.]

What do you think? Which players should the Phillies target? Who should they ignore? Are they looking past anybody?

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9 comments

  1. GrandSlamSingle

    December 08, 2009 07:11 AM

    Everett re-signed with the Tigers.

    Blanton made 5.475 last season; he’s going to get more than 6 mil in arbitration, I would think. And while I like Sherill, he’s not worth giving up Blanton.

  2. Bill Baer

    December 08, 2009 07:28 AM

    I did not see that Everett re-signed. Thanks. Link for those interested.

    I’d be surprised if Blanton gets any more than $6 million in this economy.

    I certainly understand the concern about giving up a starter for a reliever. I’m still iffy on it, but since Rafael Betancourt accepted the Rockies’ arbitration offer, I don’t think there’s a reliever out there on the free agent market (that they have a chance of acquiring) that provides as much of an upgrade as Sherrill. The Phillies can trade Blanton and re-sign Pedro Martinez — I think that would be a tandem that would really benefit them.

  3. BS

    December 08, 2009 09:35 AM

    Isn’t Pedro going to want ~$5/year if he plays the whole season? I think Blanton at 6 or 7 would be much more reliable and a better investment than Pedro, unless he’s willing to play for ~$2.

    I liked Sherrill a lot more before I saw him pitch for whatever that’s worth.

  4. GrandSlamSingle

    December 08, 2009 09:49 AM

    I’m surprised Brad Penny got as much as he did ($7.5 mil; 1.5 mil in incentives), so who knows what Blanton might get.

    Matthew Correia might be worth a look-see as a 4th/5th starter. The Padres are likely to non-tender him for some reason.

  5. Bill Baer

    December 08, 2009 09:57 AM

    BS,

    Pedro made $2 million last year, and he doesn’t have any leverage to demand more than that since he still hasn’t shown, since 2005, that he is capable of pitching a full season.

    The same process as last year — Pedro skipping the first-half of the season — could occur but I would be very surprised if Martinez gets more than $2-3 million.

    Baseball Prospectus liked Sherrill last year.

    GSS,

    The difference between Penny and Blanton is that Penny was given his contract by a GM; Blanton’s contract will be decided by arbitrators. Generally, a player’s salary will rise as long as he had a season in line with his previous level of production, and can also see at least a slight raise due to inflation, veteranosity, etc. With the economy, though, I don’t think Blanton will get much more than he got last year.

    Kevin Correia has some potential and would be worth at least a Minor League contract.

  6. GrandSlamSingle

    December 08, 2009 10:06 AM

    Whoops, I did mean Kevin.

  7. Philip Cherry

    December 08, 2009 10:42 AM

    Bill, with respect to Scott Eyre he has said publicly that he will either return or retire. IIRC he suffered extreme money problems last year when the off-shore bank that he put his money into (a pyramid scheme, I think) collapsed. It’s possible both sides are just playing the waiting game and a small raise happens later on in the winter, isn’t it?

  8. hk

    December 08, 2009 08:35 PM

    Of the names mentioned, I’d keep Blanton and resign Eyre to be the LOOGY (with Romero and Bastardo as other LHP’s in the pen). Let Durbin go and re-sign Pedro only on the right terms. I would avoid Brandon Lyon at all costs or at least at any cost above $2M. Yea on Putz, but only on a favorable deal. Halladay’s not happening with the payroll restrictions. I actually prefer Smoltz to Pedro on the right terms because he could pitch out of the pen and serve as a 6th starter. I’d love to see them sign Chapman, but that’s not their style.

    The starting pitcher that I’d most like to see them sign is Ben Sheets. They could bring him back slowly and use Kendrick or Moyer as the 5th starter until he’s ready. If the contract is structured right (small base salary, achievable incentives if he’s healthy and an option for next year), I think he presents the best risk / reward proposition on the free agent market.

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