Potential July Departures

There is next to nothing going on in the baseball world right now, but the Phillies could be very busy come July. With eight potential free agents in 2012, the Phillies may want to move some players before they walk away. Who are they and under what circumstances could they be moved?

Roy Oswalt

Oswalt is due $16 million in 2012 but the Phillies can buy out that final year for $2 million and let him walk. There is some speculation that he could retire as well. If the Phillies are in contention for the playoffs, which is nearly guaranteed, there is no way Oswalt is moved. But, if the Phillies anger the baseball gods and fall out of the hunt by July 31, Oswalt could waive his no-trade clause and agree to be traded to a team in contention for a few prospects or a Major League-capable left fielder that would be under team control beyond the 2012 season.

If the Phillies are very strong in 2011, they will just keep Oswalt on board through the ’12 season. No reason to break up the four aces if you don’t have to, right?

Brad Lidge

Like Oswalt, Lidge has an expensive price tag for the 2012 season but the Phillies can buy him out for $1.5 million. Due to his struggles in ’09 and the early part of last season, the Phillies may be more comfortable with Ryan Madson in the ninth inning going forward. The only way Lidge would be an attractive trade target, though, is if he is healthy and pitching well, and if that is the case, the Phillies are going to want to keep him through the post-season. So for Lidge to be moved, he would need to be healthy and pitching well and the Phillies will have to be out of playoff contention.

The haul for Lidge wouldn’t be too impressive — perhaps a Ben Francisco-esque jack-of-all-trades outfielder at the most; more likely a fringe prospect or two. The Nationals may have ripped off the Minnesota Twins last year in getting prospect Wilson Ramos in exchange for closer Matt Capps, but don’t expect the Phillies to get such a deal.

Raul Ibanez

Ibanez’s availability will depend on the progress of Domonic Brown, particularly the rookie’s performance in spring training. Essentially, if Brown impresses enough in spring training to merit a full-time job in right field, the likelihood of an Ibanez trade increases. Based on what the organization has said publicly, though, expect Brown to platoon in right field with Ben Francisco. In that case, if both Brown and Francisco produce, Ibanez does become expendable if and only if Ibanez agrees to waive his trade protection.

The problem is, of course, finding a market for a 39-year-old corner outfielder. The American League, where Ibanez’s shoddy defense can be hidden, is the place to look. Unlike Oswalt and Lidge, the point of trading Ibanez would be to recoup some of the $11.5 million he will be owed in 2011. The Phillies would be willing to trade Ibanez for next-to-nothing as long as the receiving team takes on the remainder of his salary, which would be about $4 million.

Ryan Madson

Thinking about this breaks my heart, but there is a possibility that Madson won’t be wearing Phillies red in 2012. He will earn $4.5 million this year, the last leg of his contract. Given his age and great performance over the last four years, it’s hard to imagine the Phillies not wanting to keep him around. However, Madson’s agent is Scott Boras, who may not advise his client to sign another team-friendly contract like he did in January of ’09.

Madson, who turns 30 at the end of August, is among the best relievers in the game but is not regarded as such. His strikeout-to-walk ratio was ninth-best among relievers last year and his 2.49 SIERA ranked 12th among pitchers with at least 50 innings of work. Despite that, Madson has never had an extended opportunity to close, and in the scant opportunities he has had, no one was impressed by his performance.

His age and overall good performance in the set-up role should allow the Phillies to get a couple of useful prospects, but I would be shocked if GM Ruben Amaro doesn’t have Madson, Rollins, and Cole Hamels signed to two- and three-year extensions before it’s too late.

Shane Victorino

As with Ibanez, Victorino’s availability depends a lot on Brown’s ability to transition into the Majors. Because Victorino is a center fielder and the Phillies have never seemed enthused about having either Brown or Francisco in center, such a trade would have to involve a center fielder coming back. The Dodgers’ Matt Kemp will be named in trade rumors until he is actually traded or signed to an extension and would be one such trade target for the Phillies. Kemp will earn $550,000 less than Victorino this year and will likely match Victorino’s $9.5 million salary in 2012, his last year of arbitration eligibility. Many have felt that a change of scenery would benefit Kemp and the Dodgers, so the thought has some merit — just not much.

If you’ve been keeping tabs on the caveats throughout this article, it’s quite obvious that such trades aren’t likely and involve a confluence of factors to actually occur. A team like the Phillies, built to win now, can’t really afford to sell off their parts, even if it means swallowing a net loss in terms of prospects and draft quicks left on the table. Stranger things have happened, though, like last year when the Phillies appeared to be throwing away the season and Amaro traded for a tractor-loving pitcher named Roy Oswalt.

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31 comments

  1. awh

    February 01, 2011 09:21 AM

    Bill, I’ve gotta agree that I see very little chance any of these players get traded during the season.

    With regard to Madson/Lidge, IMHO the Phillies will have a choice to make as to which guy they want to close in 2012, as I believe Madson made some small strides psychologically last season when Lidge was DL’d. He actually said, after closing out a game, “It was fun”. Of course, he also nearly blew his season by breaking his own toe. Still, I think he’ll look for an opportunity to close in 2012, because, as you posted, he’s been one of the best relievers in MLB the last few years.

    Vic? Well, the Phils showed their hand when they only committed to a 3 year extension. They are probably counting on/hoping that one of the MiL OF develops and takes over CF. It would certainly save money.

    Jimmy? As you mentioned, who else is there? Galvis, as long as they’re willing to put up with a Mendoza Line SS who can pick it in the field.

    If I had to guess who in this group will be back in 2012 and who will not, I would say:

    Oswalt – yes
    Rollins – yes
    Vic – yes
    Madson – yes

    Lidge – no
    Raul – no, unless he’s willing to work for a sharply reduced rate, on a 1 year deal, with a TEAM option. OTOH, id the win the WS does he retire and go out on a high note?

    Lidge and Ibanez represent $23MM coming of the books in 2012 (21.5 if you factor Lidge’s buyout), and IMO they’re better off using some of that money to bring Oswalt back. They’ll also need to pay Hamels in his last arb year.

  2. Moose

    February 01, 2011 09:38 AM

    I’d love it if we traded one (or all) of Lidge, Victorino, and Ibanez. Lidge is immediately replaceable with Madson and I’m pretty sure the rest of the bullpen can handle being bumped up a spot, particularly since Contreras showed he’s capable of pitching well in relief (albeit in his first full year as a reliever). And this will give some of the prospects a chance to come up and make an impact in th bullpen. Ibanez is just not what he used to be. They should let Benny Fresh take over full time in left because platooning him with Brown is not in Brown’s best interest. Victorino drives me nuts. There’s something about him that makes me not like him. If we could somehow get a Kemp to replace him I’d be in heaven. Or if Sizemore can get healthy I’d love to try to acquire him, but I think he’s a FA after this year (or has an optiion). I don’t think any of these things will happen though, so…

  3. Aaron H

    February 01, 2011 11:08 AM

    Sweet-hitting CFs don’t just grow on trees-similar to Rollins’ situation, even if Vic just produces at league average offensively can play good defense, and runs well on the basepath, he will still provide value to the team.

    I think he also has something like a $6mil/year contract, so accounting for positional adjustment alone pretty much guarantees the Phils will get their money’s worth, assuming he stays healthy.

  4. Scott G

    February 01, 2011 11:13 AM

    Last year Victorino was middle of the pack when it came to CF offensive production. Just throwing it out there.

  5. sean

    February 01, 2011 11:14 AM

    would you rather have dom brown or andrew mccutchen?

  6. awh

    February 01, 2011 12:02 PM

    Scott, and he get’s paid slightly above middle-of-the-pack money when you factor in the GG defense.

    If Victorino gets on base like he did in 2006 through 2009 (.346 was his LOW OBP those 4 years), then he’s an above average player for the position.

  7. awh

    February 01, 2011 12:03 PM

    sean, good question.

    Can I defer an answer until after the season? :)

  8. hk

    February 01, 2011 12:20 PM

    sean,

    Good question. Right now, I would say McCutchen as his positional value as a CF outweighs Dom’s extra years of team control.

  9. Bill Baer

    February 01, 2011 12:23 PM

    I’d rather have McCutchen as well. I’m very skeptical of his UZR and prefer the player who is already established in the Majors. Though I do think Brown’s ceiling is higher.

  10. kevin

    February 01, 2011 12:35 PM

    I would love to deal Victorino for Matt Kemp.

    Kemp turns 27 this september.

    Bats right, would be a great 5 hitter.

    His career avgs.
    23HR 86RBI 27SB 150SO .285BA .336OBP .808OPS

  11. Phylan

    February 01, 2011 12:52 PM

    It feels wrong to ever say “Not even Ned Colletti is that stupid” but, well, I just did.

  12. T. Martin

    February 01, 2011 01:08 PM

    I live in LA, I’ve seen plenty of Matt Kemp. He’s a total diva/head case. He’s not a team leader and he would probably thrive in a situation where he’s part of a strong supporting cast but I wouldn’t want him on the Phils.

    I’d much rather get Franklin Gutierrez (even though Kemp has more upside offensively) or Carlos Quentin (even though Kemp is far better defensively).

  13. Scott G

    February 01, 2011 01:10 PM

    Yea, there’s a reason you would want to trade Victorino for Kemp: Kemp is better and younger.

  14. John James

    February 01, 2011 01:46 PM

    The bottom line was mentioned at the beginning of the article. The embers on the hot stove are burning low. So why not stoke up the furnace? If the Phillies do as well as expected. All this verbage will be what is is–speculation and poor speculation at that. The Phillies ARE going to be a World Series contender and Roy Oswalt is going NO Where.

  15. Baltimore Bob

    February 01, 2011 01:49 PM

    I can’t imagine the Phillies
    won’t have their greatest
    season ever this year.
    97 wins in 2010
    101 is their Team record
    I’m looking for 107 wins in 2011
    104 and Charlie becomes
    the all time Phillies
    over Gene Mauch

    2011 a Memorial Phillies season.
    Phillies LifeTime Phan Clan member
    Baltimore Bob

  16. Jim J

    February 01, 2011 02:03 PM

    With the starting rotation the Phillies have in 2011 Charlie might have the oportunity to give both Lidge & Madson enough work closing (i.e. – not much late/middle reflief needed) RA should get a chance to evaluate where they both are and what the needs of the club are. I also would hate to see Madson in anything other than Phillies pin stripes. Maybe Cliff Lee will convince some of Boras’ clients that it is not all in the money ….. (never mind & please excuse me for that brief thought Scott Boras was human)

  17. marrrk

    February 01, 2011 02:19 PM

    In addition to your reasons, Bill, I can’t really see any situation where the Phils would trade Ibanez if they are still in the hunt — even if Dom and Ben are tearing up National League pitching. Raul is a solid veteran presence and his intangibles as such make him valuable on a playoff team; more valuable than saving 4 million, i would think. If one (or both) of the young guns disappear in the playoffs, we’re gonna be glad we kept him… I hope.

    The old man also really grew on me last season, and I’m hoping he stays on all our good sides throughout the year.

  18. Philliesbrewcrew

    February 01, 2011 05:15 PM

    First let me start by saying Madson has 20 career saves and is not the closer of the future because if that were the case Brad Lidge would not still be a member of the Phillies.

    #2 Oswalt was 7-1 with the Phillies and posted a 1.74 era and a 0.895 WHIP. All three are stats that can not be overlooked. Plus with a $16 million price tag it will be impossible to find someone to eat that money

    #3Raul- as of June 39 years old, bad groin $11.5 million……nobody will make any trade on those numbers alone

    #4 Victorino .259/18/69 34sb
    Kemp .249/24/89 19sb
    2010 stats lined, but the most important part I left out was that Kemp spent the year playing Hollywood more then baseball. There is a reason why he spent the year in Torre’s doghouse.

    Do you actually do research on any of this??? cause from what I read probably not

  19. Mark

    February 01, 2011 07:02 PM

    None of them will be moved.

  20. hk

    February 01, 2011 07:04 PM

    It looks like FanSince09 has a new rival.

  21. Aaron H

    February 01, 2011 07:29 PM

    Yeah Mason cant close hes too much of a headcase-hes only gud for 8th inning but hes not made like a closer like brad lige or jose mesa.

  22. Scott G

    February 01, 2011 11:56 PM

    That “should of” still pisses me off every time.

    Are we sure brewcrew isn’t serious? The Raul points seem about right. Although, the rest of it certainly screams “you’re being baited,” right in my face.

  23. awh

    February 02, 2011 08:10 AM

    Scott, brew crew’s analysis is faulty and thin, and he contradicts himself by not using the same standard to analyze Madson/Lidge as he does Raul.

    If Raul is unmovable because of his contract, is it perhaps possible that the same applies to Lidge, and that the reason he is still a member of the Phillies is for the same reason he says Raul is unmovable?

    No too bright!

  24. hk

    February 02, 2011 09:30 AM

    Scott,

    His point on Raul is faulty, too. If the Phillies are out of contention at the trade deadline, which is one of Bill’s qualifications of making these trades, they could easily look to move Ibanez to an AL contender to be a platoon DH / PH for the stretch run and post-season. With only 1/3 of the season left to play, their obligation to him would be less than $4M and it is not out of the question that they would either get a mid-level prospect and salary relief or a better prospect if they pay part of the remaining obligation. Last year, the likes of Lance Berkman, Miguel Tejada and Benjie Molina were acquired at or before the deadline.

  25. jet3t0

    February 02, 2011 10:40 AM

    I think the Phils will look at the season in 2 parts,if any of the starters are in a slump they may get moved due to the urgency of the Win Now attitude of the front office.If I was Amaro I would unload anyone who isnt producing,I have no patience & thank God I am not the GM,I would probably destoy this team,patience is needed,hopefully Amaro can be patient.I respect Amaro for giving Manuel the players

  26. awh

    February 02, 2011 11:11 AM

    hk, excellent point.

    And, for that matter, the same applies to Lidge. He and Raul make approx. the same money, so if he’s having a good season closing, and they’re out of contention, it’s not inconceivable that he could be moved to a contending team who’s closer went down – ala Matt Capps/Minnesota 7/29/2010. That was a great trade for the Twinkies. Capps stabilized the back end of their bullpen – they were down 1 game – and they wound up winning the division by 6. He saved 16, with a 2.00 ERA & decent peripherals.

    If the Phils are out of contention (and I cannot imagine they will be unless they lose 3 of R2C2 to injury for the season), Lidge could easily be moved to a contender. Heck, if the Rays, after losing Soriano, have back-end bullpen problems, even they could be a candidate to grab Lidge.

    Still, I just don’t see that happening.

  27. Scott G

    February 02, 2011 12:04 PM

    hk,

    yea, I thought about a team looking for a “seasoned veteran” that could just let him go after the season, after i posted that. Touche.

  28. Eddy Q

    February 02, 2011 09:07 PM

    Could it be that if Ruben Jr is serious about keeping Blanton, C Hamels might be the monster trade by deadline, bringing back top shelf prospects and a 5 hole hitter…if needed?

  29. Moose

    February 03, 2011 09:37 AM

    Eddy,

    I doubt it because Roy O could very well be gone after this season, which would leave the Phils with Roy H and Cliff atop the rotation and not much else.

  30. Brad

    February 03, 2011 10:31 AM

    @Eddy & Moose,
    I really can’t see Hamels getting moved either but a 2012 rotation of Halladay, Lee, Blanton, Worley and Cosart doesn’t seem too terrible.

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