Phillies Score 13 Runs, Lose Anyway

Do not adjust your browser, this is not a duplicate game recap. Charlie Manuel mismanaged his bullpen and led the Phillies to lose what was otherwise a very winnable game. The Braves won in the eleventh inning on a Chipper Jones walk-off two-run home run to deep center field off of recent call-up Brian Sanchez, in his third inning of work. $50 million man Jonathan Papelbon sat in the bullpen, once again unused.

The game, as you can tell from the FanGraphs win probability chart on the right, was topsy-turvy. The Phillies chased Tommy Hanson out of the game in the fourth inning after taking a 6-0 lead, but Roy Halladay broke down in the fifth. Brian McCann had the key hit with a game-tying grand slam, resetting the game at six apiece. That should have ended Halladay’s night as he was ineffective and laboring heavily, sweating profusely. However, Manuel allowed Halladay to take the mound for a sixth inning. After a single and a double, Jayson Heyward drove both runners in with a line drive single to right field, putting the Braves ahead 8-6. Halladay left the game and Joe Savery entered, and the lefty finished the inning with no further damage.

The Phillies stormed right back in the top of the seventh against lefty Eric O’Flaherty. A Ty Wigginton walk and a John Mayberry single brought Carlos Ruiz to the plate with runners on first and second and no outs. After taking a first-pitch sinker for a ball, Ruiz turned around a slider and crushed a fly ball well beyond the left field fence for a three-run home run, putting the Phillies ahead 9-8. Antonio Bastardo got through the bottom of the seventh with no damage, thanks to two rather interesting plays on fly balls to left field by John Mayberry — neither of them graceful, but exciting nonetheless.

Ruiz put the team on his back once again in the top of the eighth. The Phillies managed to load the bases with two outs on two seeing-eye singles and a walk, bringing up their beloved catcher. Ruiz offered at a first-pitch Kris Medlen fastball and sent it down the right field line, clearing the bases and staking the Phillies to a 12-8 lead. Manuel called upon veteran Jose Contreras to start the eighth. The skeptical among us simply hoped Contreras could manage a clean inning to avoid any leverage-related misuse of relievers. Unfortunately, that was not the case tonight.

Dan Uggla led off with a single to right, bringing up switch-hitter Chipper Jones. Jones hit a ground ball up the middle, but within range of Jimmy Rollins for at least one out. Rollins, in a shocking turn of events, bobbled the ball and no outs were recorded, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Despite baseball orthodoxy, which states that you cannot use your closer on the road, this is when Jonathan Papelbon should have started warming up. The next batter, Matt Diaz, struck out and it looked like Contreras might have been able to see his way out of the inning. Unfortunately, the light-hitting Tyler Pastornicky smoked a line drive to center field, driving in Uggla and moving Jones to second base. If not after Jones’ at-bat, Papelbon should have been warming up after Pastornicky’s single. Contreras walked Jason Heyward to load the bases and was finally taken out of the game. And replaced by Michael Schwimer.

With the bases loaded with one out and a three-run lead, you want a pitcher that misses bats — a strikeout guy. Sure, you can bring in a ground ball pitcher and hope for a double play, but ground balls become hits 23 percent of the time on average. Besides, with David Herndon on the disabled list and Chad Qualls theoretically unavailable, the Phillies didn’t have any such pitchers. Papelbon has posted a double-digit K/9 in each of the past five seasons and was averaging a strikeout per inning so far in 2012. Additionally, Papelbon has excellent control, averaging 2.4 walks per nine innings. Schwimer, on the other hand, has 16.2 Major League innings to his name with a 4.08 xFIP. While he has shown an ability to miss bats, he hasn’t been fooling hitters as he entered the game with a 5.40 ERA and a 4.3 BB/9. Schwimer was absolutely the wrong choice, but he was the only choice, per baseball orthodoxy.

Unsurprisingly, Schwimer walked Michael Bourn on four pitches, forcing in a run and bringing the Braves to within two runs at 12-10. Next, Martin Prado singled on a sharp line drive to right field to drive in two, tying the game at 12-all. Freddie Freeman put the cherry on top with a sacrifice fly to left field, ending the inning with his team having overcome a four-run deficit. Schwimer induced one swing-and-miss out of 15 pitches.

With their backs against the wall against All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, the Phillies small-balled their way to a tie. Juan Pierre walked to lead off the inning, then stole second base. After Jimmy Rollins struck out on a very questionable called strike three, Pierre moved to third when Placido Polanco hit a slow grounder to shortstop for the second out. On his team’s last legs, Shane Victorino hit a sharp ground ball up the middle, gloved by the slick-fielding Jack Wilson. Victorino’s speed was too much, however, as he barely beat the throw. The Phillies were back at 13-13.

A tie game on the road in extra innings. We’ve been here before. Twice, actually: April 7 in Pittsburgh and April 18 in San Francisco. The Phillies lost both games and in both games Papelbon went unused. They also lost on April 8 in nine innings, but Papelbon should have been called upon in that game as well. There’s a connection here. Tie game on the road, adhere to baseball orthodoxy, lose the game as your inferior reliever surrenders predictable runs while your best reliever rots on his seat in the bullpen.

Brian Sanches was Charlie’s man for the tenth inning. Who is that, you ask? He was in the slop section of the Phillies’ bullpen back in 2006-07 and spent his last three seasons with the Florida Marlins. He hadn’t thrown an inning in the Majors until tonight, having spent all of his time with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. That’s not to say Sanches is bad; he is patently quite capable as a reliever. However, if you are in a tight game against a division rival on May 3, I will go with my $50 million reliever pitching in his third consecutive game than Triple-A filler who had yet to face a Major League hitter. What’s the point of paying a reliever $50 million if you are not going to use him in the most important spots, right?

Sanches beat the odds, though, holding the Braves scoreless not just in the bottom of the ninth, but the tenth as well. Shows what we know! The Phillies, meanwhile, could not scrape any more offense together, going into the bottom of the eleventh still knotted at 13-13. Sanches took the mound for his third inning of work. The Phillies still had Papelbon and Kyle Kendrick available, so Manuel must have thought this game was destined to reach the 19th inning, perhaps still gun-shy from last year’s debacle.

Dan Uggla swung at Sanches’ first pitch of the eleventh, an 89-MPH four-seam fastball, sending a ground ball past Polanco at third base and into left field for a single. 40-year-old Chipper Jones came to the plate, looking to go home before the clock struck midnight. He, too, swung at Sanches’ first pitch, this time an 88-MPH two-seam fastball. Jones took an obvious home run cut and missed wildly. Jones worked the count back to 2-2 before striking fear into the hearts of Phillies fans, striking a foul ball just to the right of the right-field foul pole. It was mere foreshadowing. Jones worked the count full, then sent an 88-MPH two-seam fastball deep into the center field seats for a walk-off two-run home run, pinning the Braves to a 15-13 victory.

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The Phillies came into the game averaging fewer than 3.5 runs per game, yet lost a game (started by Roy Halladay no less) in which their offense managed 13 runs. It, like the three aforementioned April games, were salvageable with better bullpen management. Unfortunately, the Phillies do not have such a tactician at the helm and have paid for it with four preventable losses in 25 games.

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Game graph courtesy FanGraphs.

Phillies-Braves Game Thread 5/2/12

The Phillies once again waited until late in the game to put together some offense. They tagged elite reliever Jonny Venters for two runs in the eighth inning last night to go ahead 4-2. That allowed for $50 million man Jonathan Papelbon to come in and close out the game, bringing the Phillies back to .500 for the first time since April 20. The Phillies moved to only 2.5 games out of first place.

Roy Halladay will take the hill for the Phillies tonight as he attempts to push the Phillies over .500 for the first time since Opening Day. Halladay hasn’t quite been himself through his first five starts despite a 1.95 ERA. The most he has struck out in a game is six, which he accomplished in eight innings against the San Francisco Giants on April 16. He has also walked nine batters in his last 22 innings (3.7 BB/9), and induced more fly balls than ground balls in his last two starts (24 fly balls, 18 grounders). The Braves, sporting one of the league’s best offenses, will attempt to take advantage of a lesser Halladay and avoid losing another series to the Phillies.

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Lineups

Phillies

Braves

Phillies Severely Lacking Discipline

Three Phillies are tied for the team lead in walks with six. The National League leader has 20 walks. Only four Phillies have a walk rate above the National League average of 8.2 percent. One is a pitcher (Joe Blanton), one barely manages a game per week and just went on the disabled list (Jim Thome), one is drawing walks at a rate nearly three times his career average (Laynce Nix), and the other is Ty Wigginton. The rest — your regulars — are well below the league average.

Last year, the Phillies as a team had the ninth-highest walk rate in Major League Baseball thanks to Ryan Howard (11.6 percent) with an honorable mention to Domonic Brown with the team’s best walk rate (11.9 percent) among those with at least 200 plate appearances. However, Chase Utley, John Mayberry, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, Hunter Pence, and Ben Francisco also drew walks above the league average 8.6 percent. Among the players who were on the team in both 2011 and ’12, all have seen their walk rates shrink.

While it’s quite easy to chalk this up to small sample variance, the odds of all seven players experiencing a dip in their walk rate at the same time are quite low. This speaks of a change in organizational philosophy. Manager Charlie Manuel has made no secret that he doesn’t think that his offense, left to its own devices, can push runners across the plate at an acceptable pace. That’s why you saw a rash of sacrifice bunting, particularly early in the season. Manuel also defended outfielder Juan Pierre‘s inefficient base running, saying he wants Pierre to continue to be aggressive on the base paths.

Since taking over as Phillies manager in 2005, Manuel — a well-regarded hitting guru — took a mostly hands-off approach, only getting involved with individual hitters when they hit the skids. Manuel was particularly instrumental in guiding a young Ryan Howard through the valleys (the few of them) early in his career. The self-sustaining Phillies offenses of old did not require the manager to call for egregious amounts of sacrifice bunts or hit-and-run plays. In fact, those Phillies teams were criticized roundly for being “too reliant on the long ball” — waiting around for the three-run home run rather than bunching a few singles together every now and then.

After being shut out in Game Five of the NLDS last October, GM Ruben Amaro talked about a change in offensive approach. Via Matt Gelb:

Ability-wise, there is no question in my mind this is a championship-caliber lineup and championship-caliber players. We have to go about it in a different way. I have talked to Greg Gross and talked to Charlie. We have to have a different mindset or different approach than we did in ’08 or 2010. We don’t have nearly as much power, have to be better with two strikes, better situational at-bats. Those are frankly things we have to change.

Obviously, the personnel Amaro has collected and was left with due to injuries did not portend for a powerhouse offense. When you add Juan Pierre to your spring training roster with a shrug, and he then becomes your every day left fielder, that is simply going to be the case. However, in compensating for the lack of offense, it seems that the Phillies went too far into the small-ball mindset. Along with the miniature walk rate, the Phillies also have the ninth-lowest strikeout rate in baseball (18 percent), the lowest isolated power (.099), the eighth-highest ground ball rate (48 percent), and the third-most bunt hits (seven).

As a result of this “just make contact” approach, the Phillies are also simply swinging at worse pitches. Compare the swing heat maps from 2011 to 2012.

Hunter Pence

Carlos Ruiz

Shane Victorino

The downside to small ball is that you don’t work counts. The Phillies have seen the fewest three-ball counts in the league. The average batter reaches base 56 percent of the time he reaches a three-ball count. Conversely, they have seen the most counts in which the pitcher was ahead (0-1, 0-2, 1-2), when the average batter reaches base less than 20 percent of the time. The Phillies have also seen the second-fewest even counts (1-1, 2-2) in which the average batter reaches base at a meager 27 percent clip. What’s interesting is that the Phillies rank 12th in two-strike counts, which means the Phillies are ending their at-bats early. The following table shows the amount of times each hitter has ended an at-bat in one pitch:

Player 1-Pitch AB % of PA
Brian Schneider 3 15.8%
Jimmy Rollins 15 15.5%
Jim Thome 3 14.3%
Ty Wigginton 10 14.3%
Hunter Pence 13 13.5%
Pete Orr 2 9.1%
Shane Victorino 9 8.7%
Freddy Galvis 6 7.8%
Placido Polanco 6 7.3%
John Mayberry 2 3.9%
Carlos Ruiz 2 2.7%
Laynce Nix 1 2.7%
Juan Pierre 1 1.4%

Ending plate appearances early has many bad side effects. Among them, you allow the starting pitcher to stay in the game longer and he rarely labors* (fewer “mistake” pitches); you reach the opposition’s front of the bullpen (ostensibly their worst pitchers) infrequently; and you rarely get what your Little League coach often referred to as “your pitch” — the pitch you know is coming based on deductive reasoning.

* The opposing starter has completed at least six innings against the Phillies in 21 of 24 starts so far this season. The three who didn’t: Josh Johnson, Randy Wells, and Trevor Cahill.

Walks are also unsexy. As a hitter, it’s hard to feel like you’ve done something when a pitcher fails to place his pitch within the strike zone, you don’t swing, and you lightly jog your way onto first base. Even getting hit by a pitch sparks the “you’ve done a good job!” part of your brain because you “took one for the team”. However, walks are nearly as instrumental to run-scoring as hitting singles. In trying to manufacture runs with an impotent offense, they have taken some hitters away from a natural strength. Take Carlos Ruiz, for example. His walk rates since becoming a regular in 2007: 10%, 12%, 12%, 13%, 10%. And then there’s 2012: 5%.

Small ball and plate discipline don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but the Phillies have made it that way, and it is a big reason why they are among the lowest-scoring teams in baseball. If the Phillies drew more walks, they wouldn’t have to wait for three or four singles to bunch together or for a successful sacrifice bunt and subsequent sacrifice fly to score runs. (Someone once pointed out that the OBP of a ground ball — BABIP, essentially — is around .230; the OBP of a walk is 1.000.) No, this amalgamation of Phillies players will not go toe-to-toe with the 2000 Colorado Rockies, but it doesn’t mean they’re destined to be a bottom-feeding offense, either. There is no reason why this team can’t finish the season averaging four runs per game.

Guest Post: The Trade Market at Third Base

Anthony Rodin is a Phillies and Mariners fan, as well as a freelance blogger whose work has been posted on Phillies Nation and ProBallNW.  You can follow him on Twitter @AntsInIN or e-mail arod1300 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Hot Corner Hot Stove Update – Introduction and April 

In 2010 it was another starter in Roy Oswalt. In 2011, it was a slugging outfielder in Hunter Pence.  In this young season, a third baseman with power is the Phillies’ most pressing need. They lack internal options and thus will have to scour the trade market for someone at the hot corner.  While the season is barely a month old, it is becoming apparent that Placido Polanco (currently hitting .250/.299/.292) is on his last legs.  Though he may have some utility in the Wilson Valdez/Michael Martinez mold by playing around the infield once or twice a week, Polanco clearly cannot start.

Unfortunately, due to previous trades and a weak farm system, the Phillies have less to work with than in the past, especially when it comes to MLB-ready prospects.  Domonic Brown is the only player in this category, with other players like Tyson Gillies and Phillippe Aumont being relatively close but nowhere near the ceiling of Brown.  Trevor May and Jessie Biddle are still a long ways from the majors, and Biddle especially is having trouble at the lower levels.

Financially, too, the Phillies are squeezed.  Team payroll is at $174.5 million.  The luxury tax threshold for 2012 is $178 million.  That leaves very little wiggle room for the front office to get a deal done under that tax.  Of course, the front office may realize that the window for competing is rapidly closing and could just go all “damn the torpedoes” and exceed the cap anyways.  In my opinion, they can afford to eat financial costs a lot more than paying in prospects, but that may change.

Given all the above, what options are there for the Phillies?  Are there any potential matches out there this early in the season that are worth keeping an eye on as the hot stove heats up?  And if so, what are the costs, both in terms of prospects and money, that would be required to get them? Let’s take a look.  Please, remember that we are dealing with small sample sizes here, and that some players may be off the market as their teams heat up and remain in the race late into the summer, especially with the new second wildcard spot open.  I’ve lumped the candidates into 5 categories: the superstars, the defensive wastelands, the contract dumps, the long-term solutions and a smattering of possible replacement-levels.

The Superstars

David Wright – NYM

2010: .283/.354/.503, 3.9 WAR (Baseball Reference)

2011: .254/.345/.427, 1.4 WAR

2012: .383/.494/.569

Salary: 2012: $15M; 2013: $16M (club option)

Say it with me now: The Phillies are not going to trade for David Wright. The Phillies are not going to trade for David Wright. The Phillies are not going to trade for David Wright.  Got the picture?  David Wright is too expensive, both in prospects and cash. To get Wright, the Phillies would easily have to give up Brown, Aumont and one or two decent prospects to a division rival, even more if the Phils want the Mets to eat some of the salary.  Plus, Wright’s 2013 option is voided if he is traded, essentially turning him into a half-year rental.  Sure, there is nothing to prevent the Phils from going after him, but the free agency market for third basemen next year is not pretty, and lots of teams with cash will be more than happy to overpay for a slugger at a premium position.  Also, the Mets by no means have to deal Wright, as their finances are starting to stabilize as the Madoff case has been settled and the Wilpons aren’t in as dire straits as initially thought. 

Kevin Youkilis – BOS

2010: .307/.411/.564, 4.8 WAR

2011: .258/.373/.459, 4.3 WAR

2012: .219/.292/.344

Salary: 2012: $12M; 2013: $13M club option ($0.5M buyout)

Youkilis probably won’t be on the market, as the Sox are actually starting to play some decent ball and the rift between Valentine and Youkilis seems to have been smoothed over.  However, if the Sox scuffle in divisional play and find themselves in fourth or fifth come the trade deadline, Youkilis could be available as the Sox look to get younger and shed some payroll.  Youk would fit right in with the rest of the ancient Phillies infield and he is a tremendous injury risk.  However, he would also bring some much-needed patience to a free-swinging ballclub and his defense is at least league average.   To get Youk though, if he is on the market, the Phils will most likely have to get rid of their last few elite prospects, with May and Brown being requisites in the trade with at least two more mid- or lower-level guys with some projectability.  Getting Youk would, in short, turn an already depleted farm system into something looking like Depression-era Oklahoma.

The Defensive Wastelands

Mark Reynolds – BAL

2010: .198/.320/.433, 0.4 WAR

2011: .221/.323/.483, 0.5 WAR

2012: .158/.284/.228

Salary: 2012: $7.5M; 2013: $11M club option ($0.5M buyout)

Reynolds’ free-swinging ways would fit right in with the Phillies, as he has led the league in strikeouts for four straight years.  However, he also has prestigious power when he connects, belting 44, 32 and 37 homers in the last 3 years.  He would also add some balance to a still lefty-heavy lineup, providing some serious pop from the right side. Unfortunately, his glove is simply atrocious and eliminates almost all of the value his bat brings. Coupled with his high salary, especially for 2013, Reynolds shouldn’t be too expensive in terms of prospects and may not be a bad fallback choice, especially if the offensive woes continue into the summer.

Edwin Encarnacion – TOR

2010: .244/.305/.482, 1.6 WAR

2011: .272/.334/.453, 1.0 WAR

2012: .322/.376/.678

Salary: 2012: $3.5M

Encarnacion is on a tear this year, belting six homers already.  He’s more patient, cheaper, and less of a defensive abomination than Reynolds.  Unfortunately he’s a free agent after this year, making him a rental.  For the Phils, a three-month rental may not make sense, as losing even a middling prospect for such a short term player is a poor use of scarce resources.

Wilson Betemit – BAL

2010: .297/.378/.511, 1.3 WAR

2011: .285/.343/.452, 1.3 WAR

2012: .241/.268/.481

Salary: 2012: $1M; 2013: $1.75M; 2014: $3.2M player option (vests at 700 PA between 2012-2013)

Betemit has been an above-average bat and below-average glove for a few years now, and is signed relatively cheaply through at least 2013.  The reason he’s here instead of the long-term solutions is that his glove is below-average, though not nearly as bad as Reynolds’.  Betemit is a bit of a free swinger, but has power and bats from both sides (with a pretty substantial platoon split).  If Baltimore does eventually collapse as so many think they will, they have a couple of options that should be on the Phillies’ radar.

Mark Trumbo – LAA

2011: .254/.291/.477, 2.1 WAR

2012: .304/.373/.543

Salary: Arbitration-eligible beginning in 2014

There’s a reason why Trumbo is here and not the Long Term Solutions group.  Trumbo is atrocious at 3B. He is easily the worst glove in this category.  The only reason he’s at 3B to begin with is because the Angels have about 38 1B/DH/corner outfield types and they need to find some way to get all their bats in the lineup.  Thus began the Mark Trumbo Experiment, which has resulted in him making three errors in just nine chances.  He is not a long-term solution at third base for anyone.  He really doesn’t have much of a position in the field outside of first base, and the Phils have that position locked down for the next half decade.  Plus, because he is club controlled for so long, the Angels will probably charge a hefty price in prospects, which just doesn’t make sense when the return is a guy with a sub-.300 on-base percentage.

Contract Dumps

Chone Figgins – SEA

2010: .259/.340/.306, 1.1 WAR

2011: .188/.241/.243, -0.5 WAR

2012: .209/.274/.337

Salary: 2012: $9.5M; 2013: $8.5M

Full disclosure: I am a Mariners fan, and I want this bum off my team.  To Figgins’ credit, his line this year isn’t indicative of his performance.  He’s hitting more line drives but still has a .262 BABIP.  He’s connecting with the ball a lot better than he has since his Mariners contract began in 2010 (he has more home runs than even Albert Pujols!).  He can also play numerous positions — shortstop, second base, and any outfield position if necessary.  Concerning is the fact that his walk rate is down and his K rate is way up (24.2%; his previous career high was 16.2% in 2010).  Due to his high price tag, Figgins should come cheaply in terms of prospects, and the Mariners have enough salary room that they can eat the remainder of the 2012 salary.  The question is whether or not he’d truly be an upgrade over Polanco or Wigginton, or if his career is just as over as Polly’s.

Replacement-Level

I’m not going to do a full breakdown of each player here, but there are numerous guys who might be available at the trade deadline who should be cheap in both money and prospects, but who offer only a marginal upgrade over Wigginton/Polanco.  These include Casey McGehee, Jack Hannahan, and Chris Johnson. Yeah, not a lot to get excited about there, though Hannahan’s glove is really good. 

Long-Term Solutions

These are guys who the Phils should target in a trade and then, if necessary, extend them.  There is a dearth of talent at third base right now (as this post is highlighting), and if the Phils can lock down a productive or cheap (or both) bat at the position for the next few years, they should do it.

Chase Headley – SD

2010: .264/.327/.375, 3.6 WAR (.289/.334/.432 away from Petco)

2011: .289/.374/.399, 2.0 WAR (.330/.399/.465 away from Petco)

2012: .253/.388/.470

Salary: 2012: $3.475M, under arbitration through 2014

It’s hard not to like Headley, especially after seeing him destroy the Phils recently in San Diego.  Headley’s numbers have been deflated by Petco (as you can see), but he is a patient gap-hitter with a solid glove.  Headley’s patience is something the Phillies desperately need, and playing 82 games at Citizens Bank Park instead of Petco should help his numbers. With Zimmermann out, one could make the argument that Headley is among the top 3 third basemen in the NL right now.  Because he’s cheap and club controlled, Headley would most certainly cost the Phillies a fortune.  However, in looking at the free agency market for the next couple years, a corner OF like Domonic Brown is going to be a lot easier to find than an above average 3B.

Alberto Callaspo – LAA

2010: .265/.302/.374, 1.8 WAR

2011: .288/.366/.375, 4.5 WAR

2012: .182/.217/.182

Salary: 2012: $3.15M; 2013: arbitration-eligible

Callaspo is the 4-WAR guy you’ve never heard of.  While his batting line isn’t exactly sexy, he makes good contact and avoids making strikeouts.  He’s solid defensively at third base, and can also play shortstop and second base competently.  Callaspo isn’t a guy you build a team around, but he is an excellent companion piece to an already-existing core, a guy who can play a position of value well above replacement level for cheap.  The Angels are still trying to find their best lineup, which cost Callaspo playing time this year.  The Phils should even be able to get him without sacrificing Brown, though given the current state of the Angels bullpen, you figure Phillippe Aumont would have to be involved in some fashion.

Kyle Seager – SEA

2011: .258/.312/.379, 0.9 WAR

2012: .278/.288/.417

Salary: Arbitration-eligible beginning in 2015

Yes, another Mariner.  Seager’s a contact-heavy gap hitter with some pop.  He plays a solid third base, but can play second base and shortstop as well.  Like Callaspo, he’s a good young complementary piece who could lock down a position of need for the next half decade.  He’s had a rough April in terms of patience (1.4 BB%), and while he’s never drawn a lot of walks, he doesn’t strike out a lot, either.  Domonic Brown would likely have to go to Seattle in a deal involving Seager, but considering Brown’s tenuous ride with the Phillies thus far, it may be a good match for both sides. The Mariners have plenty of depth at 3B (Alex Liddi, Figgins, with Francisco Martinez and Vinnie Catricala due up the next couple years) that they can afford to trade him.

That’s the market. At this point, it’s still wide open since there are no clear buyers or sellers.  As the calendar turns from May to June, though, we’ll revisit this list and begin to separate out those who aren’t available, and add in any newcomers.