The Latest on the Phillies’ Offseason

The Phillies were close to acquiring reliever Wilton Lopez from the Houston Astros last week, but it fell through. CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury on the deal that never was:

Talks had progressed to the stage where Lopez traveled to Philadelphia for a physical exam on Wednesday. The deal fell apart some time after that. Phillies officials do not comment on trades until they are completed and this one was never completed.

Lopez had elbow problems at midseason in 2012. The Phillies have been very diligent in checking out a player’s health ever since they acquired pitcher Freddy Garcia from the Chicago White Sox in Dec. 2006.

You have to applaud the Phillies for doing their homework on Lopez. The right-hander would have been a great addition to the back of the bullpen, but it wouldn’t have mattered if his elbow portends to be a problem going forward.

Elsewhere, the San Francisco Giants and center fielder Angel Pagan agreed to a four-year, $40 million deal earlier today. Another CF drops off the market for the Phillies, who are looking at Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, and Shane Victorino from the free agent pool.

The Phillies are investigating trading with the Colorado Rockies for Dexter Fowler, however, reports Ken Rosenthal:

twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/275736701207470080

Fowler has some serious home/road splits. Last season, he posted a .422 wOBA at Coors Field, but just .319 away from home. Over his career, those marks are .384 and .312, respectively. I worry that Fowler’s splits are legitimate because Coors Field has a very spacious outfield. The following two charts show the location of Fowler’s hits both home and away. There is a noticeable difference. (click to enlarge)

Note the few hits in the gaps at home. Outfielders could be shifting further away from center field due to Coors Field’s spacious outfield. Additionally, there are more hits down the right field line, particularly of the extra base variety. In Colorado, it is 350 feet down the right field line compared to 330 at Citizens Bank Park, which makes legging out doubles and triples a lot easier.

The spread was actually more pronounced in 2011:

You can see the difference quite clearly by comparing his BABIP on fly balls at home and on the road as well:

FB BABIP Home Away
2009 .319 .313
2010 .234 .094
2011 .220 .140
2012 .264 .102

As Fowler typically hits around 60 fly balls in each split, the difference between the two amounts to nearly ten hits, or slightly less than ten percent of his typical season total.

The Rockies are searching for pitching help, so one would have to think a deal would include Vance Worley or Tyler Cloyd, a reliever, and perhaps a prospect as well.

At ESPN Sweet Spot, I outlined five things the Phillies should do to ensure a successful 2013. I mentioned preferring the now-taken Angel Pagan to Shane Victorino because the former Phillies center fielder has had drastic right-left splits lately:

twitter.com/CrashburnAlley/status/273947116987101184

With the options drying up though, there are no perfect candidates. With Michael Bourn, the Phillies will likely overpay in terms of guaranteed years, total salary, or both. With Josh Hamilton, the Phillies will be rolling the dice with not only the contract but with Hamilton’s production as well. Fowler and Victorino both have some questionable splits.

Jim Salisbury reported that the Phillies are interested in Texas Rangers jack-of-all-trades Michael Young. The 36-year-old is owed $16 million in the last year of his contract. He spent most of last season as a 1B/DH but did play third base regularly as recently as 2010. However, he has his own drastic platoon splits, posting an aggregate .369 wOBA against lefties since the start of 2010 compared to .317 against right-handers. The Phillies already have a right-handed bat in Kevin Frandsen, and Young is coming off of a season in which he was baseball’s second-least valuable player.

Player WAR/pos Year Age Tm
Jeff Francoeur -2.7 2012 28 KCR
Michael Young -2.4 2012 35 TEX
Greg Dobbs -2.1 2012 33 MIA
Joe Mather -2.0 2012 29 CHC
Ryan Raburn -2.0 2012 31 DET
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/3/2012.

There’s nothing wrong with checking in, though. The Phillies wouldn’t be doing their job if they were only focusing on the relative cream of the crop. That being said, Young would provide almost zero benefit to the Phillies.

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22 comments

  1. Nik

    December 03, 2012 07:41 PM

    Why is noone suggesting we go after Coco Crisp? As have Cespedes and should let him go relatively cheaply.

  2. Zyzz

    December 03, 2012 07:42 PM

    Do you even lift bro?

  3. Bill Baer

    December 03, 2012 07:44 PM

    @ Nik

    I’d be interested in Shin-Soo Choo also. Paul Boye suggested him on Twitter earlier; I’d kill for that OBP.

  4. Nick

    December 03, 2012 07:47 PM

    Phillies send to the Royals:
    Cliff Lee (with 50% of his salary paid by Phils)
    Vance Worley
    Brody Colvin

    Royals send to Phillies:
    Mike Moustakas
    Wil Myers

    Is there any planet that would theoretically work on?

  5. ColonelTom

    December 03, 2012 07:50 PM

    Michael Young, at this point in his career, is Ty Wigginton all over again. Avoid.

  6. Nik

    December 03, 2012 07:52 PM

    Choo would be nice, but he’d cost a decent prospect for 1 year in Right.

  7. Frank Reynolds

    December 03, 2012 08:02 PM

    No thank you to Young. I like Fowler but the splits are concerning. I also think the Rockies are going to want a lot in return. I like Choo too but again I think the price is going to be high. I don’t want to give too much up. I did not feel this way in the past but if they are going to overpay I rather them get a thrid baseman. I think a CF at this point is easier to come by than a thrid baseman. I am happy they did not make a mistake with Lopez. So far I feel like RAJ has done good not giving in with Pagan and Upton. I wanted Pagan but I don’t like that deal. Now it’s wait and see if he continues to be patient.

  8. Dylan

    December 03, 2012 08:43 PM

    @Nick

    In short, no.

  9. hk

    December 03, 2012 08:45 PM

    Nik,

    I think Crisp would be a great guy to get if they don’t have to give up too much. In addition to Cespedes, Oakland also has Chris Young, so I agree that you would think they are looking to move Crisp and the $8M for 1 year or $14.5M for 2 years remaining on his contract.

  10. LTG

    December 03, 2012 09:43 PM

    So, Victorino’s splits are the only reason to prefer Pagan against a neutral context. But given that other bats in the Phillies lineup tend to hit better against righties than lefties, perhaps Victorino’s splits fit in well with this team. Perhaps they help even out production over all games, reducing the effect that the handedness of the pitcher has on the Phillies chances for a win. Eh? Eh?

  11. LTG

    December 03, 2012 09:44 PM

    “There’s nothing wrong with checking in, though. The Phillies wouldn’t be doing their job if they were only focusing on the relative cream of the crop. That being said, Young would provide almost zero benefit to the Phillies.”

    Causing me dread is something wrong with checking in.

  12. John

    December 04, 2012 12:56 AM

    If we wanted Crisp or Fowler, we just would’ve kept Pierre. Hamilton deal looking more likely.

    Getting Young would be officially called, pulling a Thome.

    @ Nick – American Horror Story’s planet.

  13. Ryan

    December 04, 2012 02:46 AM

    We need to wait out the market. If worse comes to worse, you go with John Mayberry, sign Ichiro, or trade for someone like Crisp. There’s no sense in overpaying someone like Vic or Bourn who are complementary players. I’m still betting that one of the remaining big 3 will end up settling for a lesser deal than what they’re looking for and that’s where teh Phillies can find a bargain. I think that Rube has learned from past plights.

  14. LTG

    December 04, 2012 09:08 AM

    “If we wanted Crisp or Fowler, we just would’ve kept Pierre.”

    What? Pierre had a fantastic year for him and wasn’t worth nearly as much as Fowler and still significantly less than Crisp. And most importantly, Pierre can’t play centerfield. Even if he were as good a hitter as Crisp or Fowler, which he’s not, he wouldn’t solve the centerfield problem.

  15. chris

    December 04, 2012 11:53 AM

    Hamilton, Reynolds, and Upton

  16. Phillie697

    December 04, 2012 01:27 PM

    Did not expect stand-up comedy on this site, but Cliff Lee/Worley/Colvin for Moustakas/Wil Myers made me laugh out loud. The Royals would be crazy to trade EITHER of those players for that package, let alone BOTH of them.

    Heck, I wouldn’t even trade Eric Hosmer for that package, even given Hosmer’s terribad 2012.

  17. LTG

    December 04, 2012 04:20 PM

    So, with Victorino about to come off the market and Hamilton not far behind, I would have thought that the Phils, in such circumstances, stood to be able to get a bargain on Bourn. But rumors suggest Bourn will still get a more lucrative deal than Upton. Has the demand for CFs outstripped the unusually flush supply?

  18. Phillie697

    December 04, 2012 04:44 PM

    Dan Haren to the Nats >.< Now their starting rotation is officially better than ours. 1 yr/$13M… I know it's crazy talk, but I feel like we could have done that.

  19. Phillie697

    December 04, 2012 04:44 PM

    @LTG,

    Where are you hearing this from?

  20. LTG

    December 04, 2012 04:47 PM

    MLBTR, the note about Bourn is buried in there somewhere from this morning. I was shocked by it.

    I’m not sure Haren improves their rotation from what they had last year. But, then again, their rotation last year was better than ours.

  21. Phillie697

    December 04, 2012 04:49 PM

    “Phillies and Diamondbacks are discussing Justin Upton for Cliff Lee. Money coming to AZ would also be involved.” -Pedro Gomez, ESPN

    If only wishing made it so…

  22. Phillie697

    December 04, 2012 05:09 PM

    Hmm… Maybe we trade Lee for J. Upton, and then sign Greinke? The money involved would be about how much Lee + what Phillies supposedly was looking to spend on a CF… RAJ pulls that off, I will officially renege all my negative comments about him in the past.

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