Friday Phillies Hodgepodge

A few different Phillies-related items popped up on my Twitter feed today. After the jump, I’ll share and comment on them.

At Sportsnet.ca, Ben Nicholson-Smith points out that Chase Utley could stand to benefit from waiving his no-trade clause, should the Phillies look to move their second baseman over the next three and a half weeks:

From a financial standpoint it might be in Utley’s best interest to waive his no-trade clause. If he’s traded he’ll be ineligible to receive a qualifying offer after the season. Players who turn down qualifying offers to sign elsewhere become linked to draft picks, so a trade would ensure that draft pick compensation does not limit his leverage on the open market.

Nicholson-Smith cites the Blue Jays, Dodgers, and Athletics as potential landing spots for Utley. Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated also lists the Orioles, Yankees, and Giants.

Any offer the Phillies would consider on Utley would have to exceed the draft pick compensation they would get after extending him a qualifying offer in the off-season. Since returning from a ribcage injury with a .309/.377/.655 slash line in 61 trips to the plate, so his trade value has been steadily rising. Overall, FanGraphs lists him as the fifth-most valuable second baseman in baseball (min. 200 PA). Prorated to 650 PA, Utley has been the second-most valuable behind Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals.

Though risky, the Phillies could pass up the opportunity to trade Utley and sign him to a short-term contract extension of two or three years. Unless GM Ruben Amaro intends to offer Robinson Cano $200 million during the off-season, the free agent market for second basemen is unappetizing, and using Freddy Galvis or Cesar Hernandez at second base in 2014 wouldn’t put the club in a good position to compete in the NL East. In a riskier scenario, the Phillies could trade Utley and then pursue him as a free agent during the off-season.

. . .

At SB Nation, Steven Goldman wrote about the hypocrisy in Amaro’s recent criticism of first baseman Ryan Howard:

In an interview on 94 WIP in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. made this comment regarding lefty slugger Ryan Howard’s slip to platoon status:

“If Ryan Howard is now relegated to being a platoon player, he’s a very expensive platoon player and he needs to be better,” Amaro said. “I think he knows it. I know he’s struggling, I know he’s not happy with his performance — neither are we. I think he’s going to be better, but right now, he’s just not doing the job.”

[...]

The real question here is not Howard’s lack of production against left-handers, but who the hell Ruben Amaro thinks he’s fooling. It takes a lot of chutzpah to blame a player for not doing something that he has largely been incapable of doing for the entirety of his career. What Amaro is really asking Howard to do is to metamorphose into an entirely new and fundamentally different player at the age of 33. This is spectacularly unfair and unrealistic.

Platooning Howard is the correct call, but Goldman’s criticism is spot on. Getting upset at Howard for not hitting lefties is like being shocked when Phillippe Aumont walks two batters in an inning, or when Michael Young grounds into another 6-4-3 double play.

Speaking of Michael Young…

. . .

Also at SB Nation, Grant Brisbee looks over the ten least valuable position players in baseball. Our gritty third baseman full of veteran leadership made the cut.

Ruben Amaro, man. He is a stubborn fellow. Young was a 36-year-old DH coming off his worst season and Amaro thought he would be a fit for the Phillies at third base. That is some serious belief that your powers of evaluation are stronger than the rest of the world’s. You have to really think you’re seeing through the matrix to make that move.

Young isn’t hitting that poorly — .285/.340/.403 — so that’s a pretty good bounce-back season out of Arlington, but he can’t field. He is incapable of fielding. He makes mental mistakes, he makes physical mistakes and he has the range of a sunflower. His defense is bad enough to negate all of his offensive contributions.

On the bright side, the other Young is hitting well. (If a bright side can include an anti-Semite enjoying baseball success over a two-week period.) Since June 26, Delmon is hitting .500/.529/.688 in 34 PA. His overall .766 OPS is comfortably above the league average.

And how about this statistical comparison?

Name PA ISO AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Ryan Howard 313 .191 .266 .319 .457 .329 108
Delmon Young 192 .170 .273 .323 .443 .333 111

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21 comments

  1. nik

    July 05, 2013 02:14 PM

    Amaro calling out Howard is a new low.

  2. Chris S.

    July 05, 2013 02:50 PM

    Sign Utley to a 3 year $30 Million contract. I want Utley to never play for another team!

  3. Evan

    July 05, 2013 02:59 PM

    @Chris…Utley will spend half the time on the DL. Sure you want to do that?

  4. Larry

    July 05, 2013 03:36 PM

    Utley would never take that deal and yes history shows he will be on the DL way too often to make that contract a success. I hear the Yankees want Utley and Chooch. They often make deals to other teams that are very fair and we would get fair market value or better. The Yankees often overpay for players, this would be a win, win for all parties involved.

  5. EricL

    July 05, 2013 03:44 PM

    Larry, history actually shows that Utley has typically outperformed the dollar value of his contract despite his time on the DL. So, basically what you said, except the opposite.

  6. Dristone

    July 05, 2013 03:44 PM

    @Chris I would love to see Utley a Phillie for life, however I much prefer the integrity of our ball club over that feeling. Sure, without Utley, we’d be far downgraded at 2B, but if we can get fair market value or better we’d be fools not to take it. As much as I shudder at the thought of Utley being a Yankee, I agree with Larry that this would probably be the best course of action if they are willing to pay up for him.

  7. Larry

    July 05, 2013 04:36 PM

    @ Eric,
    If you look at the last 4 seasons:

    2010- 16 Hrs, 65 RBIS, 75 runs scored, 275 avg

    2011- 11 Hrs, 44 RBIS, 54 runs scored, 259 avg

    2012- 11 Hrs, 44 RBIS, 48 runs scored, 256 avg

    2013- after 86 games- 11 HRs, 30 RBIS, 34 runs scored, 282 avg

    He’s not producing runs like a 15 million dollar player should. He’s just not on the field enough, because he’s always on the DL. Now I’m sure if he was healthy he could live up to that contract or exceed it, but unfortunately that’s not the case. We all expected Chase would hit 25-30 Hrs and drive in 90-100 RBIS per year. He may be able to do that in the AL if he becomes a DH or even a platoon of 2nd base and DH.

  8. Nehemiah

    July 05, 2013 04:45 PM

    What does “after the jump” mean. This is used on a Zelda facebook acct i follow and i can never figure it out

  9. Larry

    July 05, 2013 05:42 PM

    One other thing, a few years back, the Phillies almost signed Ryan Madson for around 11 million a year, but RAJ spent a little more and went for a more sure thing with Paps. Besides one bad week as a Phillie, he has been as good as advertised. Now they may have to sell Papps unless they make a run where they have a shot to get into the playoffs.

    My point is Utley will probably try to get a 3-4 year deal 17-18 mil per year. Why not spend 20-22 mil per year and go after a younger, more durable, and better player like Robinson Cano. Since 2007 Cano has played at least 159 games per year. He’ll give you 25-35 hrs per year and give you around 100 RBIS and 100 runs scored.

  10. Larry

    July 05, 2013 07:25 PM

    @PhilliesTalk,

    “Forget those ridiculous Top 100 lists.”

    Dom Brown used to be on top of one of those lists.

    “Look at what those Yankees prospects have done.

    Crap.”

    Well the Dodgers are another likely landing spot for Utley according to a bunch of scouts. I’m not sure what you want for Utley, what you think is fair market value, but you’re more than welcome to tell us.

    “The Phillies are insanely rich with a Five Billion Dollar TV deal.”

    Then why not go for the best player on the market?? (Robinson Cano)You know his stats and you can see his durability is better than Chase.

  11. Dan K.

    July 05, 2013 10:01 PM

    I’m concerned with the quality of certain recent comments. I thought it was a one-off, but the perpetrators are still here.

  12. Bill Baer

    July 05, 2013 10:05 PM

    @ Dan K.

    It is the weekend for these people, if you catch my drift.

    Pretty easy to clean it up though. No biggie.

  13. Dan K.

    July 05, 2013 10:22 PM

    Yeah, I got you. I wasn’t concerned so much for myself because I find it very easy to ignore, but it just seems like unnecessary work for you guys to have to monitor them.

    Hopefully they’ll say their peace and let it be. Crashburn has always been a nice place to visit for a baseball chat because it is so utterly free of the kinds of people one would like to avoid on the internet.

  14. amarosucks

    July 05, 2013 10:43 PM

    ^See Revere thread

    Let’s get back to the matter at hand…discussing why amaro continues to get a pass while further ruining this franchise.

  15. Ryan

    July 06, 2013 02:16 AM

    If Revere continues on this pace (after April/May), he’ll end up with a pretty respectable season.

  16. amarosucks

    July 07, 2013 12:44 AM

    Revere stinks. He has one discernable quality in that he can run. That doesn’t mean he is good defensively or on the bases.

    Bottom line is that CF is just another of the many holes that RAJ has tried and failed to fill. Going with Revere in CF long term is the equivalent of putting a band aid on skin cancer.

    Please, for the love of god, get a real GM to run this team

  17. patgillickweneedyou

    July 07, 2013 02:06 AM

    I think Phils should try to keep Utley with a 3 yr offer similar to the JRoll contract. Become sellers this year, I think you can get good value for Paps & JRoll due to controlling years lest on contracts (Rollins 1yr & Paps 3 yrs.) Michael Young has little value due to FA at the end of this yr. not to mention he is 36 yrs old with no glove. Reload in off season we have huge tv deal coming & owners want that stadium filled. My opinion keep Hamels,Lee,Brown,Utley,Chooch. Galvis to SS looks like he is gonna be a player. Face it we are stuck with Howard’s contract can only hope he gets his groove back.I would to see new GM & manager tandem in 2014 along with reload attempt in FA not a rebuild. I am still grateful for the 2008 team but still get angry that we had a chance for multiple championships with the core of players we had. Good Luck & Good Baseball.

  18. Tim

    July 07, 2013 05:08 PM

    Cano has been a fantastic player, and very durable so far. But he’ll surely command big bucks, and will be entering his age 31 season with his new contract. I’m not so sure we can expect continued durability from a middle infielder in his thirties, especially one who already has so much mileage on the odometer at this point. I don’t think he’d be a smart player to pursue for a team with the age issues that the phillies have.

  19. Phillie697

    July 08, 2013 11:26 AM

    @Dan K.,

    Even people who have a lesser understanding of the game deserve to be fans and therefore deserve a place to voice their opinions. We might regard them as hilariously inaccurate, but they are entitled to their opinions.

    Besides, I’ve been here long enough to notice that sooner or later, those people realize they’re just wrong (as many, if not most, of the predictions made here become true), and they usually don’t have the balls to come back.

  20. Chris S.

    July 08, 2013 01:15 PM

    Utley despite being on the DL this year has almost matched his contract this year already according to fangraphs. His defense is underrated and it has a great deal of value Larry. The reason I threw out the 10 million figure is becuase while he may not be on the field all the time, when he is on the field he is incredibly productive still. I also don’t think that Utley will get anything more than what he is currently making a lot of teams will be scared off by his injury history. 10/yr is probably a bit low, but I would give Utley a 3/33 deal in a heart beat because if he plays 100 games a year which I think is very possible he would be a good investment, plus you keep Utley in the organization, just like what we did with Rollins. It feels wrong to think about watching Utley play somewhere else for the rest of his career. He can help this team and he could be a mentor figure for the new core coming in on how to play winning baseball and how to be a professional.

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