A Trade Deadline Travel Guide for the Phillies

The July 31 trade deadline is fast approaching and the Phillies are in an unenviable position. They reached .500 just as the first half ended, the Braves are limping and their stranglehold on the NL East has weakened, and the Nationals have been uninspiring for three and a half months. Arguably, the NL East is more winnable now than it was at any other point during the season. But their core is old and injury prone. Several key players become free agents after the season. The Minor League system still needs some help. This is why Phillies chairman Bill Giles called it “the most difficult July I have ever seen“.

Fortunately for the Phillies, I think I have a pretty good plan for navigating the next two weeks with style, under the assumption the team is serious about contending in the NL East.

The Phillies must trade Michael Young

Among Phillies who have logged enough plate appearances to qualify, Michael Young leads the team in on-base percentage at .344. At first glance, trading your best OBP player seems counter-intuitive, but Young kills any value he provides offensively with his predisposition to ground into double plays and his inability to play even passable defense at third base.

The Rangers are paying $10 million of Young’s $16 million salary this year, so the Phillies could very easily consume the remaining ~$2.5 million on his salary. This would allow them to get the maximum return in a trade. Ken Rosenthal lists the Yankees and Red Sox as two of about a dozen teams interested in Young’s services.

Once Young is gone, the Phillies can plug Kevin Frandsen in at third base. Frandsen has actually been significantly more valuable to the team than Young has: Baseball Reference lists Frandsen at 0.9 WAR and Young at -0.1; FanGraphs lists Frandsen at 0.9 and Young at 0.3. In 119 trips to the plate, Frandsen is hitting .297/.390/.446, so he has actually been significantly better than Young in the on-base department, though some regression is to be expected. Defensively, Frandsen still needs work at third base, but he is markedly better than Young nevertheless.

So, by trading Young, the Phillies would not only recoup value on an aging, soon-to-be free agent, they would actually be upgrading by putting a better in-house candidate at the position.

The Phillies must trade Jonathan Papelbon

The Phillies have a huge bullpen problem. At 4.43, their bullpen ERA is the second-worst in all of baseball. And despite a bad last month, Jonathan Papelbon has been their best reliever with a 2.33 ERA. Trading him would significantly weaken the ‘pen, no?

Thanks to manager Charlie Manuel‘s repeated misuse of his relievers, Papelbon only pitches in the handful of high-leverage situations every week that fall into a ninth-inning save situation. The rest of the terrible bullpen has tended to handle high-leverage situations outside of the ninth inning.

As mentioned recently, Papelbon has seen a significant decline in velocity on all of his pitches, and as a result, he hasn’t been able to live up in the strike zone and generate swings and misses the way he used to when he was one of the league’s most dominant relievers. Papelbon has drawn interest from a few different teams including the Tigers and Red Sox. Cutting bait on a clearly declining Papelbon, who is 32 years old and owed $26 million over the next two seasons and an additional $13 million in 2016 if his option vests, would actually impact the Phillies very little. If the Phillies are interested in improving the bullpen, they would need the current crew to improve overnight, or start a complete redesign.

Furthermore, Papelbon could net the center fielder Ruben Amaro says he wants. Or he could bring back a couple useful prospects. Either would be more beneficial to the team than Papelbon is now and will be over the next two seasons.

The Phillies must avoid star players

The Phillies crippled their Minor League system in the summers of 2010 and 2011 trying to bring in a star player to bolster the roster for a second-half run. Though Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence were more than productive in their short time in Philadelphia, they never could have provided a good enough return on investment unless the Phillies reached the World Series.

The defending champion San Francisco Giants are a good example of how to handle July trades. Last year, they traded Charlie Culberson, a mediocre hitter in Triple-A, to the Rockies for Marco Scutaro. With the Giants, Scutaro hit .362 until the end of the regular season, and then hit .328 in the post-season. Aside from trading fourth outfielder Nate Schierholtz to the Phillies for Hunter Pence (paying a much cheaper price than the Phillies did with the Astros), they did nothing else.

Amaro is looking to replace Ben Revere in center field and there just aren’t many center fielders available. The White Sox are open to trading 32-year-old Alex Rios and the current fielder has logged nearly 3,600 defensive innings in center field over his career. Rios is earning $12.5 million this year, which means the Sox still owe him about $5.1 million. He is owed another $12.5 million for 2014 with a $13.5 million club option and $1 million buyout for 2015. Rios, who has been worth one win above a replacement-level player this season, is not the type of player worth dealing precious Minor League talent to acquire.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson has gone on record saying he is not in a rush to trade Marlon Byrd, who has had a rebirth in Queens. He has a slugging-heavy .818 OPS, but is 35 years old and a free agent after the season. There is no chance the Mets are thinking about offering him a multi-year extension, so they will eventually realize their move is to trade him by July 31 and get some value before Byrd parlays his great season into his last chance at a rich deal in the off-season. As of July 6, the Mets hadn’t taken any calls on Byrd, but that may have changed since then. Still, teams may be put off by his age and the seeming flukiness of his season, which would be great for the Phillies.

Another option is to re-acquire Nate Schierholtz and platoon him in center field with John Mayberry. Schierholtz has posted an .862 OPS against right-handed pitching this year, while Mayberry has gone .769 against lefties. Schierholtz has minimal experience in center field, but plays great defense in right and it’s hard to imagine it wouldn’t transfer over to center in a pinch.

The Phillies must trade or cut Delmon Young

Aside from the two-week stretch between June 26 and July 9, when Young posted a 1.043 OPS, he has been a black hole both offensively and defensively. Even with that two-week stretch, which accounted for 22 percent of his 232 plate appearances on the season, he still falls below the league average with the bat. And watching him patrol right field has been a slow-motion car wreck. Overall, he has been worth -0.7 WAR according to Baseball Reference.

If the Phillies are serious about pushing for a second-half surge to win the NL East, they will need to acquire two outfielders: one to replace Ben Revere, and one to replace Young. Fortunately, finding a right fielder is easier than finding a center fielder. If the Phillies go after Byrd, they could use Mayberry in right field. If they find a left-handed hitter and use a platoon in center, Alejandro De Aza of the White Sox could be a trade option. He is earning $2.075 million this season and will enter his second year of arbitration eligibility going into 2014. Unless he is a superstar-in-hiding, the Phillies could non-tender De Aza the way they did Schierholtz if they would prefer to reconfigure their outfield after the season.

The Phillies must sign Chase Utley to a contract extension

This is the most important item on the list. If the Phillies want to make a post-season run in 2013, they will be forgoing the opportunity to trade Chase Utley. Utley, more than Papelbon, could breathe new life into the Minor League system by helping the team get a significant return on their soon-to-be free agent second baseman. Keeping him for a second-half surge, however, means Utley can walk into free agency and the Phillies will be left with nothing more than a first-round compensatory pick. That risk far outweighs the expected value in attempting to climb atop the NL East, so the Phillies need to reduce that risk by signing Utley to a short-term, incentive-laden contract extension — soon.

Both Amaro and Utley have publicly stated they wish to continue the relationship. As long as the Phillies don’t try to lowball Utley, it’s quite possible he would pass up what could be his final opportunity to get a rich contract.

If Utley isn’t willing to play ball on an extension, the Phillies should disregard everything written above, go into complete sell mode, and get as much value for Utley as possible. It is more important to get a good return on Utley in a trade than anything else at this point in the timeline.

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174 comments

  1. joecatz

    July 18, 2013 02:25 PM

    and again,

    if you trade Jonathan Papelbon, the goal is not to eat as little money as possible. The goal is to eat AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE to get the best return you can.

    The dollars are insignificant if you deal him.

    the less money you eat, the worse the return back.

  2. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 02:44 PM

    @joecatz,

    You seem to take what I and Sean said as being that we think it was a BAD contract. No one said such a thing. We just said a perceived bargain ended up not being a bargain at all. Seems to be a lot of reading into what people aren’t saying around here.

    And yes about the Red Sox, hence why it’s only a 25% chance. Although I don’t think there are much better options for the Red Sox either. Cecchini is two years away, and like I said, Jose Iglesias is a house of cards that’s going to fall down and people are going to wonder aloud what happened to him, when the answer all along is, “he is not this good, really.”

    Plus, you said for prospects you have to take into account scouting reports. Middlebrooks is a guy who started 2012 (i.e. prior to his break-out) as BA’s top prospect in the Red Sox system, above even Xander Bogaerts, has been rated as having legitimate 60-65 power with some scouts saying it might possibly develop into 70 power, so no, no one thought his power is “false power.” He’s minor league track record is impressive, he’s only 24, why the hell would you give up on him 128 games and 502 PAs into his MLB career while he’s adjusting to transition in MLB? This is why I compared him to Dom Brown. Heck, in 502 PAs, this is Middlebrooks’ MLB line: .247 AVG, .283 OBP, .457 SLG, .211 ISO, .740 OPS. Those numbers are BETTER than Dom’s at any point prior to Brown’s 2013. And he’s a 3B, not a 1B, at a time in the league where there are not a lot of good 3B to begin with. I don’t know about you, but I’ll gladly take a gamble on a guy like that. How else to explain everyone being down on him if not for over-reaction to SSS?

  3. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 02:46 PM

    The money we eat still counts against luxury tax, so if we can eat less, we should eat less. Now if eating more means we GET more, then fine. That’s not the scenario I put on the table. If you are interested in talking about another scenario, feel free to come up with your own.

  4. hk

    July 18, 2013 02:51 PM

    Phillie,

    I just don’t see the Red Sox committing to 2 1/3 or 3 1/3 years of Papelbon unless the Phils pay the majority of his salary. After all, Boston had Papelbon and were even willing to pay $12M for the 2011 version; however, they were never willing to commit to him for more than one year at a time.

  5. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 02:59 PM

    “Old = Risky and Young = Risky

    where does good come in?”

    Good comes in when those risks pay off. Even then, a risk that pays off that cost peanuts is STILL better than a risk that pays off that costs $25M/year.

    I mean, wth, just look at the Phillies. Brad Lidge contract = bad. Ryan Howard contract = bad. Jonathan Papelbon contract = bad. Some people even are ALREADY bitching about Cole Hamels’ contract (I don’t like that contract either, but I’m not bitching about it). So we have one Cliff Lee, who may still hit that proverbial wall next year aka Roy Halladay (ask yourself, if anyone suggested to you that Roy Halladay would start sucking at the end of the 2011 season, wouldn’t you call that person “you lost all credibility when you said Roy Halladays contract wasn’t a bargain”?), and one Jimmy Rollins, who also can hit that wall (in fact he may have – only 0.8 fWAR so far this year compared to his 4.8 last year). Tell me exactly why it’s better to take risks on old players as opposed to young ones? Are you turning into RAJ?

    And even with Cliff Lee, we’re PAYING him $25M/yr!!! I rather pay $450K to get 5 WAR than pay $25M to get 5.7 WAR (which is what Lee so far has produced per season on average under his contract). Even fans of rich teams understand this: “You need young talent to offset the overpaid veterans. If you keep adding overpaid veterans, you end up like the Phillies and Angels.” This from a Tigers fan.

  6. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 03:00 PM

    @hk,

    Well, with everything said, I have ZERO confidence in RAJ getting anyone to eat anything.

  7. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 03:05 PM

    And another implication seems to be “if a player gets injured, all bets are off.” As if we shouldn’t take into the risk of a player getting injured into account when evaluating contracts. This isn’t the 1930s. We have, you know, medical technology that can tell us these things, like old players get injured more often.

  8. hedda lee

    July 18, 2013 03:24 PM

    All the time y’all spend arguing about spending some rich dude’s money… it makes so little sense to me. Now, if it were a matter of “trade Utley for a cardboard dummy, and ticket prices would drop 12%” – that would be worth thinking about. But debating how many millions a millionaire should be paying other millionaires to do something that literally adds nothing constructive to our world… blech. Baseball should be fun on its own merits, and modeling capitalist clattertrap in our heads is beside the point (and ugly in its own right).

  9. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 03:29 PM

    @hedda lee,

    I wouldn’t say baseball adds nothing constructive to our world. It provides millions upon millions with recreational activities (including the aforementioned “arguing about spending some rich dude’s money”). Unless you’re willing to claim that recreational activities, which many have contributed to being positive to mental health, is meaningless or completely non-constructive in our society, I don’t think that statement is correct.

    But, as far as “modeling capitalist clattertrap in our heads is beside the point (and ugly in its own right)”, blame MLB then. They made baseball into a business, and business should be run like a business.

  10. Larry

    July 18, 2013 03:31 PM

    I just read this from ESPN, this is if they go on a sell mode.

    “ESPN.com has proposed a potential trade that would be a blockbuster. Cameron imagines the Phillies sending Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz to the Oakland A’s in exchange for Michael Choice, Jemile Weeks and Michael Ynoa. As long as Utley stays healthy he would be a great fit for the A’s to make a serious stretch run. Ruiz is not having a great season but he does manage to crush lefties, making him an ideal platoon with John Jaso who can’t hit lefties to save his life, according to ESPN.

    This trade, like all good trades would also benefit the Phillies. Choice is an outfielder who is right on the cusp of becoming a major league talent. Keith Law had him as the third best prospect in the A’s prospect heavy system, according to ESPN.”

  11. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 03:38 PM

    Substitute Jemile Weeks for Grant Green, and the A’s can have a deal.

  12. hk

    July 18, 2013 04:00 PM

    Larry,

    For what it is worth, Keith Law addressed both Michael Choice and Cameron’s proposed trade in his chat today and he said that he does not think Choice is an impact prospect and also that he would not do that deal if he was the GM of the Phillies.

  13. Larry

    July 18, 2013 04:01 PM

    Grant Green might be a possiblity. I read Weeks and Green are both battling for a second base spot on the team. Green is ranked higher, but I guess it depends on how bad the A’s want 2 rental players with Utley and Chooch.

  14. Joecatz

    July 18, 2013 04:09 PM

    I don’t have an issue with believing young risk is better than old risk. What I take issue with is that you see all old as risk.

    A team full of all young players has less risk. It also always has less talent. The two youngest teams in baseball right now are a combined 68-119 on the season. The team with best record in baseball has an avg age of 29.4. The phillies are at 29.6.

    You have to balance both. And you balance the risk by avoiding bad deals (see Howard) with good ones (Rollins)

    Where you mistakenly make a bad assumption though is that young always equals cheap, and old always equals expensive.

    You get what you pay for.

  15. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 04:09 PM

    @hk,

    That’s why I would ask for Green in addition to Choice. Choice is high-risk, high-reward, but a lot of risk indeed. From everything I’ve read, Grant Green is Maikel Franco but with more range and the ability to play almost anywhere it seems. He wouldn’t block anybody, and can play where Choice is suppose to play if Choice fails.

  16. hk

    July 18, 2013 04:18 PM

    @ Phillie697,

    Yes, I would like to see the Phillies do the deal with Green instead of Jemile Weeks. I don’t think the A’s will do it, though.

  17. Joecatz

    July 18, 2013 04:18 PM

    Here’s all ill say on utley for Michael choice or jemile weeks or whoever. It speaks a little to middlebrooks too.

    Last year this time people, smart people, clamored to trade Hamels for mike olt. For some reason they kept seeing people talk about him, he was having a good year at AA, and jumped up the midseason rankings.

    His last name might have been Schmidt to many. Few people knew who maikel Franco was.

    A year later, Franco is 32 on John sickels list and Olt is nowhere to be found.

    The point here is that teams try and move prospects they don’t want. Not ones they want to keep. Usually when those guys are “top prospects” unless that guy is blocked and your getting a controlled talent back, red flags should fly.

    There is not a top 50 prospect who will be dealt that likely gives the phillies more value for utley than utley gives them.

  18. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 04:20 PM

    @Joecatz,

    “You get what you pay for.”

    This statement is pretty much where we disagree, our assessment of the amount of risks between old and young players. I agree older players are perhaps less risky than young players, even taking into account the possibility of injury and decline. However, where we differ is that you seem to have less an issue with the fact that we are OFTEN paying a BUTT-ASS TON of money for that reduced risk. We have had a related discussion last week. You’re right about one thing, we have a crap ton of money, and any planning we do with the roster should involve spending said crap ton of money. Nothing wrong with that. But Ryan Howard is taking up a huge chunk of that money that we need to make up, and we have a LOT of holes.

    I don’t always assume young risks is always better than old risks. I do like to think every choice we make as far as taking risks is for a reason. Taking a risk with Lee when we have too many holes and not enough prospects OR money to cover them AND not enough confidence we’re going to win anything in the next three years is not a risk worth taking. There are many ways to retool this empty cupboard, and if I can turn Lee, or anything we have, into some legitimate prospects AND free up more money so we can sign more “less risky” players, as you seem to think (you must really not like prospects), then great. Like I said before, it’s not enough to just break even or coming out slightly ahead anymore; we need to make every move count as much as possible. Going for a sure thing when your entire outlook of a team isn’t a sure thing is a luxury we shouldn’t be talking ourselves into.

  19. Joecatz

    July 18, 2013 04:22 PM

    Uh, grant green isn’t going anywhere. Especially not for a rental and not for a rental plus Michael choice.

  20. Joecatz

    July 18, 2013 04:26 PM

    There’s good money and bad money.

    The money isn’t bad though.

    What your describing is shedding payroll. There’s no reason to believe that the phillies plan in doing that. That’s my issue.

  21. Larry

    July 18, 2013 04:27 PM

    @ Joe,

    I think teams are willing to give up top prospects for a chance to win now, even if it hurts their future. Sometimes it works out and sometimes you get the WS ring.

    Moving Chooch is a no brainer. Utley is a very interesting case. He’s definitely high risk no matter what happens. It’s not “just about his age” argument. It’s his injury history.

  22. Larry

    July 18, 2013 04:28 PM

    Doesn’t*

  23. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 04:32 PM

    @Joecatz,

    “What your describing is shedding payroll. There’s no reason to believe that the phillies plan in doing that. That’s my issue.”

    That may be true. How about this, this is really the point of trading Lee: I can do a lot with $25M in my pocket, but I don’t have anything I can do with Lee besides putting him out there every 5th day. With this team I rather have the flexibility.

  24. Larry

    July 18, 2013 04:36 PM

    One thing is for sure If you move Lee right now, you should definitely move Utley. If people don’t think we can win til 2016 then both should be dealt, but I don’t know RAJ would go in that direction. There’s always next year and with the big TV deal coming keeping Lee is a less risk than keep Utley.

  25. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 04:40 PM

    @Larry,

    I even think the opposite is true. If you move Utley, you move Lee too. Although I can understand joecatz’s point that we don’t have to move Lee now. We can do it in the off-season as well; somehow I don’t think we need to worry about Lee falling off the face of the earth between now and October. But you never know.

  26. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 04:53 PM

    Okay, I’m tired of being serious for the moment. I say trade them ALL, and get me Will Middlebrooks, Nick Castellanos, Michael Choice, Grant Green, and Jurickson Profar. We won’t have Lee, we won’t have Utley, we won’t have Papelbon, we won’t have Chooch. But tell me you’re not excited with a lineup of Joseph/Green/Profar/Franco/Middlebrooks/Brown/Castellanos/Revere, and enough money to tell Revere to take a hike and sign, say, Desmond Jennings. Not to mention that may be the greatest turn-around of a minor league system in the history of organized baseball.

    Somehow, I don’t see that happening, LOL.

  27. Larry

    July 18, 2013 05:02 PM

    @697,

    We have Lee locked up right now. With Utley it’s a guessing game. Will he want to go to teams like the Dodgers or Oakland because it’s near his home town? Does he want to go to the AL to prolong his career? ie he can platoon between DH and 2nd base.

    What kind of money will he want? This likely could be his last big pay day ala Jaysen Werth. Even if the Phillies come to agreement with him, it’s anybody’s guess how many games he would play each year. From that point you need 2 2nd baseman on your team to fill 1 position. Then you need another back up 2nd baseman just in case.

  28. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 05:07 PM

    @Larry,

    Remember, this is a guy who signed a 7 year/$85M contract with the Phillies 7 years ago that everyone thought he was crazy to sign. He’s not Jayson Werth or Cole Hamels. I think he can be had with a discount when you sell to him that “we want you to be a Phillie for life.” That’s what I still hope ultimately happens.

  29. joecatz

    July 18, 2013 05:35 PM

    “I can do a lot with $25M in my pocket, but I don’t have anything I can do with Lee besides putting him out there every 5th day. With this team I rather have the flexibility.”

    Why? I’m serious here. Why would you rather have the flexibility?

    to win more games?
    To cut the payroll?
    to spend it in free agency?
    because you can’t sign someone without cutting his salary?
    because he’s not worth the money?

    you realize in your perfect world where you find five 3 WAR players for 5mm each, that additional money STILL doesn’t matter right? it just lowers the payroll by 25mm. hooray! you saved monty some coin.

    the phillies have a 165mm payroll this year. they have about 60 mm coming off the books if they trade no one from Delmon, MYoung, Lannan, Halladay, Durbin, Utley, Ruiz and Nix.

    thats 80mm to the luxury tax limit. its more than 20 teams total salary.

    80 mm to fill 3B, 2B, C, an OF spot a bench bat, a bullpen piece and probably a rotation spot

    3B is Asche league minimum. 79,500,000 left
    Utley comes back at 15mm for 2B 64,000,000 left
    you sign a catcher for 5mm 59mm left
    you pay ellsbury 20mm per in the OF 39mm
    2mm for a bench bat 37mm
    you pay 12mm each for two starters 15mm left
    3mm for a bullpen arm 12mm left…

    i literally went out and bought 4 high paid free agents, still kept Lee and have 12mm left over for raises and arbitration. I’m not comdining any of this, mind you, I’m just pointing out the obvious. The phillies are not poor, they aren’t up against a budget wall, and really arent fighting the luxury tax next year.

    WE DON’T NEED LEES MONEY!!! We NEED HIS PRODUCTION!!!

    and that production comes in the form of prospects in return in a trade, or on the field.

  30. Joecatz

    July 18, 2013 05:57 PM

    It’s actually 11 teams.

    It’s also 9 mm less than the braves opening day payroll.

    Ad it’s actually closer to 90 mm to the cap after looking at the numbers closer.

  31. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 08:41 PM

    1. I already did this.

    2. It’s not $80M. We have $105M in 6 players. We need 19 players. At $175M, that’s $70M.

    3. We need to at least spend real money on 2B, 3B, C, OF, 2 SPs in 2014. We then need real money on SS after that in 2015. An we also probably need real money to sign someone to play 1B because let’s be serious, if you’re SERIOUS about winning, you don’t keep Ryan Howard at 1B for 3 more years. Fill the rest at league minimum, that’s $65M for 8 spots, just like I said last week.

    4. You gave Ellsbury $20M right off the bat, so that’s $45M for 7 spots? And then Utley another $15M, so $30M for 6 spots?

    5. And then you went out and signed a shitty catcher, 2 non-descript starters, AND decided to fill the 3B spot with Asche? This is the guy who doesn’t like Middelbrooks, doesn’t like Olt, but thinks Asche is going to give us even average production? What?

    6. Where is the “four” high-priced FA? I count two. When did $12M a year to a pitcher “high priced”? Edwin Jackson is making $13M a year. Ryan Dempster is making $13.25M. Plus you’re the one who doesn’t believe that it’s possible to save money by paying less money for more production; your argument is that $24M will buy you 4.8 wins, period. And we’re in the division with Strasburg/Zimmerman/Gonzalez/Minor/Hudson/Teheran/Medlen/Beachy.

    7. Your lineup is this: shitty catcher/Ryan Howard/Chase Utley/Jimmy Rollins/Cody Ashe/Domonic Brown/Ben Revere/Ellsbury. Explain to me how THAT is appreciably better than this year? You essentially added Ellsbury and nothing else. Phillies are 44 runs below Atlanta run-scored at the All-Star break, the lowest of the current playoff spot holders!!! What, is Ellsbury suppose to generate 80 extra runs over what Phillies are putting out there this year? Are you crazy?

    8. Our pitching staff is almost exactly the same with your scenario. Lannan is at 0.8 WAR so far. Pettibone at 0.6. Cloyd at 0.4. That’s 1.8 WAR at the All-Star break. So what, we get maybe 1.5 extra wins out of your two mid-level pitchers, and that’s assuming KK stays a 3-WAR pitcher, and Lee has another historic season?

    Tell me, exactly what did you buy with your $185M, which I guarantee you Phillies will not spend? Even $175M is probably pushing it. I don’t know about you, but I want this team to be BETTER, not the same. You added Ellsbury and 1.5 extra win to a 81-win team. That’s suppose to be a contender? Contender to what? How about give me $25M more, now I have the option of using $37M to fill 3B and 3 pitching spots. At WORST I end with a team like yours. But guess what, I have 4 chances to find value, not bank on ONE that has produced only slightly more than what we have been paying him to do for the last three years. THAT’s flexibility, AND I’m already spending all of our money.

  32. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 08:42 PM

    Oh, or spend the $37M not to have 11 dudes making league-minimum. 11 more chances to find extra value.

  33. Joecatz

    July 18, 2013 08:55 PM

    With who? That’s my point. Who are you filling those spots with? That’s not my lineup man, that’s adding money to the current roster, filling it out and signing the top Of on the market, resigning utley and adding two 12mm starters.

    Ad you still have money left over.

    Again, who are you buying with cliff lees money???

    This discussion isn’t about roster filling its about needing the money.

  34. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 08:56 PM

    Actually, take that back. I’m mixing math from yours and mine together. With my math, with Lee on this team, if we sign $20M ellsbury, $15M Utley, $24M for two pitchers, and $5M for catcher, we literally have $3M left. So get rid of the crappy catcher, the two random pitchers and Lee, that’s $29M+$25M = $54M. To buy catcher/3B/3 pitching spots or not to have 11 scrubs filling out the rest of the spots. MUCH better.

  35. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 09:00 PM

    The salary cap this year is $178M, but we’re only spending $160M. What makes you think they’re going to spend $189M next year? What you don’t think we could have signed someone useful for $18M a year this year?

  36. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 09:17 PM

    Who to buy? Let’s go FA shopping then.

    Catcher – With $54M maybe I can splurge and buy McCann, how about that? Or a cheaper route, Mike Napoli or Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

    Pitcher – Matt Garza. Phil Hughes. Ricky Nolasco. Ervin Santana. Gavin Floyd (wouldn’t that be something, homecoming). Chris Capuano. Hiroki Kuroda. Tim Hudson. Plenty of value to be found out there.

    3B – Asche could still be an option if I spend all of our money elsewhere, plus there is very little option. I wouldn’t expect anything out of Asche, but then again I’m not spending any money for nothing. Or I get the dude we should have signed this year, Eric Chavez, while we wait for Franco to get ready.

    Or I trade Revere, put Ellsbury in CF, and sign another stud OF. Nelson Cruz comes to mind. Carlos Beltran. Shin-Soo Choo. Cory Hart. With Lee’s money I have a LOT more options.

  37. Larry

    July 18, 2013 09:39 PM

    @697 and Joe,

    I’m not sure if you were using Ellsbury as an example. He’s just 1 year younger than Cano. If you are willing to pay that money for Ellsbury, then why not get Cano at 23-25 mil, I guess that’s the expected value….Let’s 1st let that set in, a 2nd baseman is gonna possibly make 25 mil a year. Remember when Mike Schmidt was making 1 mil a year and everybody was like wow! lol

    Anyhow if you get Cano, then you drop Utley’s salary which could be as much as 18 mil if there is a bidding war with the Dodgers, Yankees, etc. Those teams are like us, at least they spend like us. So wouldn’t that scenario be better?

    Here’s my thought, you could have a guy like Cano 25 mil and a guy like Victorino 13 mil, that’s 38 mil. Utley at 18 mil plus Ellsbury at 20 mil is still 38 mil. Now figure Utley plays 100-130 games max, it could be as low as 70-90 games for Utley. So which is better?? Now obviously Vic is not on the market and the Redsox wouldn’t give him up, but maybe a similar player?

    I guess what I am saying is Cano only 1 year older a bigger value than Ellsbury?? Utley is a big risk.

  38. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 09:39 PM

    Ah shit, both of us forgot something… We haven’t paid KK yet, who we both know is getting a hefty raise in arbitration. Even less money to spend, and less flexibility.

  39. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 09:41 PM

    Victorino is not available in 2014. Moot point.

  40. Larry

    July 18, 2013 09:43 PM

    “Vic is not on the market and the Redsox wouldn’t give him up, but maybe a similar player?”

  41. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 09:44 PM

    Here is the entire list of CFer’s available in FA this off-season:

    Alfredo Amezaga (36)
    Rick Ankiel (34)
    Coco Crisp (34) – $7.5MM club option with a $1MM buyout
    Rajai Davis (33)
    Jacoby Ellsbury (30)
    Curtis Granderson (33)
    Franklin Gutierrez (31) – $7.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
    Tony Gwynn Jr. (31)
    Nyjer Morgan (33)
    Andres Torres (36)
    Chris Young (30) – $11MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout

    There is not a Victorino-like player in there.

  42. Larry

    July 18, 2013 09:49 PM

    You still have…..cough cough Ben Revere. I know I know….nothing like Victorino and never will be, but maybe the combination of Cano and Revere would actually save you a lot of money.

    I’m curious to see if Revere still has the same speed after surgery. I’m not his biggest fan, but maybe Revere is good enough to be a role player if we had more talent surrounding him.

  43. Larry

    July 18, 2013 09:51 PM

    Maybe there’s a left fielder…we can move Brown to right, or maybe there’s a right fielder we could get.

  44. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 09:53 PM

    The problem with Cano is that he’s probably going to take more years to get than Ellsbury. That’s a guess, however. He’s definitely worth it at the beginning, but the entire contract we’ll need to get Cano will carry more risks than one we would need to give to Ellsbury. It’s certainly an option to consider tho. Plus we don’t know how the market is going to play out.

  45. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 09:54 PM

    Yep, that’s why I rather have extra $25M to play around with. Cory Hart is pretty good, and a lot of people like Nelson Cruz.

  46. Larry

    July 18, 2013 09:56 PM

    I just think Cano is an MVP type guy and Ellsbury is more of an all star type guy if that makes sense.

  47. Phillie697

    July 18, 2013 09:58 PM

    Yeah well, with Cano you’re going to have to play poker heads up with the Yankees. I don’t know if I want to do that. Heads up with the Red Sox is a lot easier than the Yankees.

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