Looking at Some Potential Free Agent Pitching Targets for the Phillies

Last night, Dan Haren signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Dodgers. In retrospect, it’s a deal I would have loved to see the Phillies make, but it probably was never going to happen as Haren has family on the West coast and wasn’t happy pitching in Washington being so far away. Still, it’s the type of deal that the Phillies should be considering this off-season. Reports have indicated the Phillies have expressed interest in Bronson Arroyo, which indicates the type of signing they ought to avoid — lengthier, more expensive deals. Recently, I had suggested the Phillies target Josh Johnson but he signed with the Padres on a one-year, $8 million deal.

Let’s look over some of the starters still left on the board that the Phillies could target.

Chris Capuano: Capuano only made 20 starts and four relief appearances in 2013 with the Dodgers due to a calf strain in April, a strained lat muscle at the end of May, and a strained groin in September. He’s 35 years old and a walking injury risk. He’s coming off of a two-year, $10 million deal with the Dodgers, but given the risk involved, he can likely be had on a one-year deal with a lower average annual value.

Scott Kazmir: After spending 2012 with Sugar Land in the Independent League, Kazmir bounced back with the Indians and rebuilt his value, finishing with a 4.04 ERA over 29 starts spanning 154 innings. He averaged better than a strikeout per inning pitched and nearly 3.5 strikeouts for every one walk. MLB Trade Rumors suggests Kazmir will sign a two-year, $16 million contract. Given that it’s the same AAV as the Johnson deal with the Padres, and Kazmir will finally turn 30 years old in January, this would be a nice fit for the Phillies.

Jeff Karstens: Karstens was solid for the Pirates in 2011-12, posting an aggregate 3.59 ERA in 253 innings spanning 41 starts and eight relief appearances. He missed all of the 2013 season due to surgery on his right shoulder to repair his labrum and his rotator cuff. He earned $2.5 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility going into the season. He will only fetch a one-year deal, likely one heavily based on playing time incentives. One year, $1 million with a chance to double his salary if he hits various playing time benchmarks would work for the Phillies.

Ryan Vogelsong: Vogelsong was in the Phillies’ Minor League system in 2010, but they released him only to have him go on and enjoy two years of great success with the Giants, including a championship in 2012. Bringing him back would be admitting a mistake, but Vogelsong’s value has once again diminished due to his age (36) and his nightmarish 2013 season. He finished with a 5.73 ERA and missed two and a half months in the middle of the season due to a broken hand suffered while batting in a game against the Nationals. He was struggling prior to the injury, however, going on the DL with a 7.19 ERA. When he returned in August, his stuff was greatly reduced — he struck out only 27 while walking 20 in 57.1 innings of work through the end of the regular season. Like Karstens, Vogelsong is likely looking at a one-year, incentive-laden deal, a reduction from 2013’s $5 million salary.

Daisuke Matsuzaka: After finishing fourth in AL Cy Young voting in 2008, Matsuzaka was a train wreck. From 2009-12, the Japanese right-hander posted a 5.53 ERA, suffering from an array of injuries. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 but his 2012 season was no better. The Indians signed him to a Minor League deal, starting the year with Triple-A Columbus. He showed improvement, but they didn’t need him in the Major League rotation, so they released him in August. The Mets picked him up and immediately put him in their rotation. He was once again shaky in his first three starts, allowing five, four, and six runs without ever getting past the fifth inning. But in his final four starts, he posted a 1.37 ERA over 26.1 innings, including 21 strikeouts and nine walks.

The Phillies are in a position where they ought to target upside rather than stability. While not blessed with a surfeit of depth, they can still rely on Jonathan Pettibone, Adam Morgan (if he’s healthy enough), and Zach Miner-esque free agent dreck in the event their upside gambling doesn’t pan out. But a 3-4-5 in the rotation that includes Kyle Kendrick, Pettibone, and say, Bronson Arroyo isn’t likely to make them much more competitive than they are now. They’re still a solidly below .500 team and they will need a lot of help to regain relevance in the National League.

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39 comments

  1. joecatz

    November 25, 2013 09:11 AM

    I agree on both Haren and Johnson Bill, though i don’t think either was ever feasible option based on the west coast preference of both.

    Kasmir is probably the guy that still makes the most sense, but at the same time, When it comes to starting pitching, even when everything else seems to indicate that the Phillies are looking for shorter deals, and cost control, I never put anything past ruben when it comes to pitching.

  2. hk

    November 25, 2013 09:13 AM

    Kazmir for $16M/2 seems like the best fit and seems in line with how they have started this off-season. Of course, since it’s RAJ doing the negotiating, I suspect there would be some sort of 3rd year option involved.

  3. JM

    November 25, 2013 09:25 AM

    Did Jimenez sign somewhere? Why would he not be a target?

  4. joecatz

    November 25, 2013 10:17 AM

    I’ve got a few issues with ubaldo.

    aside from the fact that he pitched 182 innings total last year, in what was a bounce back season, (well off his totals from his peak years in colorado) Even though his BB/9 were down below 4 again, they were still higher than his peak years.

    What’s for me at least, a warning sign though is that most of his success came from a k/9 of 9.56, which is a full point higher than his colorado years.

    his siera and xFIP numbers in 2012 were 4.85 and 4.98 both career lows.

    and he did that with a pretty sharp velocity decline down 3 ticks on the fastball from 2010 and almost a full tick from 2012 to 2013.

    For a guy who’s likely to command a 4-5 year commitment at 15mm per, for me he screams buyer beware. none of the peripherals show real improvement IMO.

  5. Ryan

    November 25, 2013 11:20 AM

    The Japanese starter? Please???? 25 years old I think? Better than Yu Darvish according to some reports…

    If we got him and MAG turns into anything, we’d could have a rotation to rival 2011. THAT could make us competitive next season.

  6. Dante

    November 25, 2013 11:33 AM

    The issue with Kazmir is he only averaged 5 and a half innings per start, and was 5th in the league among starters over 150 innings in P/PA. You’d better be shoring up the bullpen if he’s the one you’re getting for the rotation.

  7. Bubba0101

    November 25, 2013 11:45 AM

    Ryan makes a good point. Any expert opinions on Tanaka joining the phils as a long term option to filling a rotation spot? I dont know if hes as good as Yu but if hes close then it has to be something they consider.

  8. joecatz

    November 25, 2013 12:00 PM

    I wouldn;t put anything past Amaro in regards to Tanaka but the issue really comes down to how the posting system changes and what the post actually ends up being.

    Most people feel the Yankees will end up posting north of $80mm, and expect Tanaka to command a 4-5 year deal at no less than 13-15mm per season.

    thats the equivalent to like 30mm a year.

    The benefit of course is the expectations of 20mm worth of rotation help at 13mm a year to lux tax purposes but its a lot of money to swallow.

    the only way they end up in the hunt is if the posting system is altered drastically, to allow for multiple teams to compete for his services and that likely ends up increasing the contract side of things which might make him less desireable in terms of aav and lux tax implications.

  9. Dante

    November 25, 2013 12:11 PM

    They aren’t getting Tanaka under the current posting system. the Phillies don’t have the kind of cash needed to pay the posting fee, until their new TV deal goes into effect.

  10. Bubba0101

    November 25, 2013 12:49 PM

    Well that’s just like a bummer man

  11. Ned

    November 25, 2013 01:52 PM

    Hey Guys I have seen both Tanaka and Darvish pitch. Hell I have even met Darvish’s father and I can say from a fan perspective, Darvish is much better than Tanaka. More fluid in all aspects of his delivery etc. So if you think he his going to be the next Darvish, probably not going to happen. Remember every thought Matsuzaka was going to be all this and that and he wasn’t.

  12. LTG

    November 25, 2013 02:14 PM

    RE: Ubaldo Jimenez

    Joe,

    I have to disagree with you regarding his peripherals and the likely production you would get from Jimenez at the front of that contract. While he’s probably not a 25% K/PA guy going forward, he probably is a 22-23 K/PA guy. And the same goes for his BB/PA. Those improvements from 2012-2013 are in line with his career averages and suggest that, if velocity decline was a problem, he’s found a way to pitch through it. His BABIP was slightly above his career average and so too his HR/FB. So he didn’t benefit from a lot of luck there. His LOB% stands to come down a bit but not by that much. Jimenez is probably ~3 fWAR in the first year or two and then we’ll see how his body holds up.

    If there is anything to worry about in his peripherals it is that his solution to velocity decline was to throw a lot more sliders. That might put extra strain on his arm and lead to injuries.

    In the end, I agree that the Phils don’t want Jimenez. He’ll likely be expensive for the production, and Kazmir could be just as valuable for a lot less risk. (Steamer has the same fWAR projection for the two of them, although Jimenez provides more upside.) Plus, Jimenez is not a huge upgrade over the mid and lower tier pitchers on the market who are not Kazmir.

    In sum, too much market competition for too little likely benefit. But this has nothing to do with Jimenez’s peripherals, which strongly indicate a return to form and not a blip in the midst of rapid decline.

  13. Ryan

    November 25, 2013 02:15 PM

    Sell Cliff Lee and give away Papelbong–heck, I’d even include a minor prospect to get rid of him. That’s how you can get the money. I want someone who will actually be around when we get good again.

  14. LTG

    November 25, 2013 02:15 PM

    Dante,

    The current posting system doesn’t exist anymore and probably won’t exist again.

  15. Ryan

    November 25, 2013 02:17 PM

    Davey Boy needs to fire RAJ and hire Sam Hinkie. I bet Hinkie would be 10x better than RAJ while running two franchises simultaneously and with probably very little baseball knowledge.

    This thing could get turned around a lot quicker if we just bit the bullet for a very short period.

  16. joecatz

    November 25, 2013 02:37 PM

    you can dream on selling Lee and Papelbon all you want, but Papelbon’s value is at an all time low, with what he did last year, combined with his salary and a very robust closer market.

    Lee costs money in return for good prospects and you still have to replace him in the rotation. neither one makes sense to deal now, because neithers return value is worth any less right now than it will be at the deadline or at the end of the season.

    You’d effectively be selling a $10 stock that will be worth 7 dollars in a few months for $3 today. If you buy into the philosophy that they’re gonna suck for two years or more anyway, and the money isn’t needed now, then why sell short?

  17. hk

    November 25, 2013 02:51 PM

    joecatz,

    Last year, the Rays got Wil Myers (plus others) for James Shields (plus others) for what will likely be $30M / 3 years. KC also got some protection if Shields got hurt or fell apart in that they had / have team options on Shields for this year and next. Are you suggesting that the Phils could not acquire a very good prospect package if they were willing to eat a significant chunk of the money guaranteed to Lee and turn his deal into something like a $30M / 2 year deal for the acquirer?

  18. Beez Nutz

    November 25, 2013 02:54 PM

    Is Kuroda on a 1 year a possibility??

    Or is that only for the yankees lol

  19. Ryan

    November 25, 2013 02:55 PM

    I see Papelbong as a good but declining stock whose value won’t go up–us get rid of him right now. He is completely worthless to us right now as we are not contenders in the short term.

    I see Lee as someone who is a high risk/reward stock, not someone that is useful for a team that really isn’t a contender in the short term anyway. If we keep Lee until the trade deadline to try to get a better return (we already had one shot at this this past season), we risk that he falls off a cliff (no pun intended) like many pitchers his age do ala Roy Halladay before a trade can be consummated and is now a worthless albatross like Ryan Howard. You also have to account for the fact that the acquiring team would get either player for an extra season or half season compared to buying them at the deadline or after next season.

    The reward to all of this is getting the cash to win the Tanaka sweepstakes in addition to shedding some salary long term (particularly in how it counts towards the luxury tax–a significant barrier for the Phillies).

    This is the type of young stud that doesn’t require draft pick compensation and a good chunk of the money doesn’t count towards the luxury tax floor. Also, you have to take into account that this type of young player will almost never again be available in free agency, upping the urgency to go get him–now.

  20. Ryan

    November 25, 2013 02:57 PM

    This all assumes that MLB and the Japanese baseball officials can work out something with the posting system.

  21. Beez Nutz

    November 25, 2013 02:59 PM

    shoot just saw Kuroda would cost a draft pick

    never mind

  22. Ryan

    November 25, 2013 03:01 PM

    Would you pay $112MM to sign Yu Darvish for six years without any draft pick compensation and $60MM not counting towards the luxury tax? Anyone big market team in their right mind would.

  23. Ryan

    November 25, 2013 03:02 PM

    *Anyone = Any

  24. Larry

    November 25, 2013 03:05 PM

    The Phillies have a lot of outfielders right now. They are probably looking to trade someone for pitching.

    RE: Tanaka- RAJ would rather spend money on old guys like Byrd and Chooch so the money is gone.

    Kratz/Rupp + Ruf + Tanaka or Chooch + Byrd + KK

    RAJ’s problem is when he thinks there aren’t any other options at a position, he’ll resign a guy like JRoll for 11 mil per year rather than just spending 500k on a guy like Galvis and waiting for the real superstar at another position when the time is right.

    Think of it this way, does it make sense to sign Marlon Byrd for 16 times the amount for Ruf. Byrd is 36 years old with baggage of cheating. If he plays full time he’ll play better defensively and we hope that he will have the OBP of Ruf, we hope he’ll have the same power as Ruf. They both strike out a lot……..Was this really worth it? The age just puts it over the top. These are moves that block us from getting a guy like Tanaka, Ellsbury etc. RAJ is so impatient. Our catcher will be lucky to play 60% of the time in the next 3 years. History shows that catchers 35-37 years old who play a lot are anomalies. Looking at Chooch’s career, you already know he has durability issues. You think magically they will get better within the next 3 years?

    RAJ’s way of thinking: hurry up and sign old people, they can be good again close to 40….Gives out 3-4 year contracts on these guys. (Huge risk)

    Normal GM’s way of thinking: I can sign Josh Johnson for 1 year at 8 mil, he’s not even 30 years old yet. He was once very dominant and has a big upside. If he’s good this year and my team is a contender, I keep him. I try to resign him actually even if my team is bad. If he doesn’t want to resign, I have the option to trade him for prospects. If he sucks this year, it was just a 1 year deal. (Low Risk)

  25. Larry

    November 25, 2013 03:19 PM

    Meant to say if his team was bad at the trade deadline, he could move JJ for prospects.

  26. joecatz

    November 25, 2013 04:33 PM

    HK,

    comparing the myers deal (which was other prospects for two years of a 12mm starter AND Wade Davis..) isn’t really valid.

    and again, if you turn Lee for prospects and cash, you still have to replace his production on the field. It makes zero sense to pay down any money for Lee right now. If you trade him, you are literally giving up.

    and if you give up, you’re still paying Howard, and Rollins, Papelbon and Utley, etc..

    there’s no world where trading Lee to rebuild makes sense unless you are actually able to REBUILD.

  27. joecatz

    November 25, 2013 04:40 PM

    Basically you have to ask yourself this question.

    If they trade Cliff Lee and eat half his salary for two decent prospects, whats the NEXT MOVE?

    Who gets traded next?

    for what?

    I think it’s easy to forget that last year this time we had one top 100 prospect in Biddle. You’re about to have three in a few weeks, between Franco, Biddle and Crawford.

    You’ve got a rookie at 3B, two cost controlled OF in LF and CF, the guy you got for michael Young was just added to the 40 man…

    and the reason you’re playing Marlon Byrd and Carlos Ruiz at RF and C is because theres no internal options at those spots, and regardless of rebuilding or going for it theres a lot of dead money on the field between papelbon, rollins and Howard.

    those guys have to produce or go away. two of them are untradeable and the other wont accept a trade.

    So you sign Byrd and begrudingly give chooch an extra year and they’re lightning in a bottle place holders.

    If they suck at the deadline, maybe Rollins accepts a trade.

    Maybe Howard does enough to warrant someone taking him.

    Maybe Papelbon fools enough people that he’s tradeable in July, when relief pitchers tend to be overvalued and there arent five other closers on the market.

    maybe the extra year for Byrd turns into an advantage if he’s producing and a team sees the extra year of control as a plus.

    Or maybe they defy odds and are in it enough that they deal for a piece or two and compete.

    either way, the rebuild is happening right now whether you realize it or not.

  28. joecatz

    November 25, 2013 04:42 PM

    “Normal GM’s way of thinking: I can sign Josh Johnson for 1 year at 8 mil, he’s not even 30 years old yet. He was once very dominant and has a big upside. If he’s good this year and my team is a contender, I keep him. I try to resign him actually even if my team is bad. If he doesn’t want to resign, I have the option to trade him for prospects. If he sucks this year, it was just a 1 year deal. (Low Risk)”

    Johnson picked his location. you realize that right?

    and replace 3-4 year deals with 2-3 year deals, and the three year deal was given because they had no choice, unless they wanted to go 4-5 years for Salty or McCann.

  29. hk

    November 25, 2013 05:09 PM

    joecatz,

    “comparing the myers deal (which was other prospects for two years of a 12mm starter AND Wade Davis..) isn’t really valid.”

    Why not? The Royals also gave up at least one other good prospect (Odirizzi) for a lesser starter (Lee > Shields) plus Davis. In addition last off-season, Toronto traded two top prospects for RA Dickey. If the Phils make Lee’s contract affordable, why wouldn’t teams who are otherwise considering giving up draft picks and ~$15M per year for 4 or 5 years rather trade prospects for 2 years of Lee at the same annual cost?

    “If they trade Cliff Lee and eat half his salary for two decent prospects, whats the NEXT MOVE?”

    The next move is patting yourself on the back for finally admitting that, even with Cliff Lee, the team is unlikely to compete in 2014 and 2015. Therefore, that move and all others that follow it would be for 2016 and beyond. Regardless of what else they do, if they pick up two players who stand a good chance to help them while making next to no money by MLB standards in 2016, 2017 and 2018, they will have done more for their chances of returning to contender status than having Cliff Lee accumulate 10 WAR for sub .500 teams in 2014 and 2015.

    Let’s say their next move is to sign Kazmir for 2 years and their move after that is to sign another veteran SP (Paul Maholm) for 2 years. So what? They win 3 fewer games in 2014 and 2015 – although Steamer has Lee at 3.8 WAR and Kazmir at 2.7 WAR – than they would otherwise win with Lee. At least they have the prospects from the Lee deal.

    “So you sign Byrd and begrudingly give chooch an extra year and they’re lightning in a bottle place holders…If they suck at the deadline, maybe Rollins accepts a trade…Maybe Howard does enough to warrant someone taking him…Maybe Papelbon fools enough people that he’s tradeable in July, when relief pitchers tend to be overvalued and there arent five other closers on the market…maybe the extra year for Byrd turns into an advantage if he’s producing and a team sees the extra year of control as a plus…Or maybe they defy odds and are in it enough that they deal for a piece or two and compete…either way, the rebuild is happening right now whether you realize it or not.”

    I do see the rebuild happening, but it’s happening for 2016 whether you realize it or not. And, I think you do realize it because you see the Byrd signing and the Ruiz re-signing as trying to catch lightening in a bottle. If you agree that the rebuild is for 2016 and beyond and a whole lot of unlikely things have to occur for them to contend in 2014 and 2015, why shouldn’t they use their best asset (Lee at a below market value price) to improve the rebuild?

  30. Bob

    November 25, 2013 05:54 PM

    We need to be in the best position as possible in 2016. To do so, we need prospects that are ML ready to compete in 2016. It’s not, let’s wait until 2016 to prepare. It’s start right now. It’s time to replenish the farm system for another sustained run starting in 2016 when some of these salaries are off the books. If you can get two prospects who will be starting in 2016, then it needs to be done. If you can get one for Utley, then that needs to be done too (unsure of his 10-5 right). The Phils need to be willing to eat money for prospects. Otherwise, we’re going to get to 2016 with nothing to show for it.

  31. Larry

    November 25, 2013 06:02 PM

    “and replace 3-4 year deals with 2-3 year deals, and the three year deal was given because they had no choice, unless they wanted to go 4-5 years for Salty or McCann.”

    That’s the point. Who says that has to happen? You don’t have to overpay in this scenario. You have to pick your spots when the value is right. You don’t want to overpay for Salty and McCann, that’s fine. So why overpay for mediocrity at 8.7 mil per year for 3 years and a 4th year option which will cost you more money to buy out for a back up catcher who will be pushing 40 with a career of durability issues? You have basically shelled out all of this money for a catcher that has the upside of maybe playing 70% of the time. You still have to platoon other catcher 30-50% of the whole contract. So what was the point? You are betting against proven history.

    So if Chooch doesn’t work out, which is almost a no brainer, what are the options? It will be tough to move Chooch in a few years and you can’t expect to get anything in return. You would be lucky to get a player, the caliber of Delmon Young and that is not an exaggeration.

    Do the math Joe, Chooch + Byrd + KK = 23-24 mil that could have went to a difference maker.

  32. Larry

    November 25, 2013 09:00 PM

    HK,

    If the Phils never resigned Utley, Rollins, Chooch etc. Also big contracts like Howard, Paps, and Hamels make this team unable to move a superstar like Cliff Lee. If they made the move, then basically all these other moves were a total waste of money.

    I get what you are trying to do, but there’s way too much money put out right now. If the lineup was filled with young cost controlled guys that put up the crappy record they did last year, then a Lee trade would make sense. However, you have a total mess right now, because of the horrible GM. Also would you really trust RAJ to get a good return on Lee when he has a history of getting bad returns? (prospects for veterans)

    The only thing you can hope for right now, is some how some way they can get some help with starting pitching. They need a stud like David Price. Also you have to remember that they still play in the worst division in baseball where there’s always a chance.

  33. hk

    November 26, 2013 07:53 AM

    Larry,

    There’s a huge difference between what I think they should do and what I think they will do. I was stating what I would like to see them pursue while knowing full well that they won’t. I’ll add that I would like to see them do it with another GM.

    I believe that the Phillies are in a situation that we have seen with other organizations in which the goals of the GM are not consistent with the longer-term goals of the franchise. This is a bad place to be. However, since it seems as though ownership is giving RAJ at least one more year to fix the mess that he created, I’ll give them a bit of credit so far this off-season in that they seem to be preventing him from doing damage to the future (2017 and beyond). At first I wanted them to sign Jacoby Ellsbury, but I’ve come to realize that there’s no point in signing him to play on a team with little shot at the post-season during his prime and be stuck with him for 3 or 4 years of his decline when the team will hopefully be on the upswing.

    At this point, the ownership and the front office is pot committed for 2014, so we can all hope that they catch lightening in a bottle. However, if they are out of it by the end of June, I hope that they replace RAJ and allow a new GM to steer the way through the trade deadline and beyond.

  34. Phillie697

    November 26, 2013 02:02 PM

    Ah… Why is Ricky Nolasco’s name not on here? One not only they can target, but they ARE targeting?

  35. LTG

    November 26, 2013 03:58 PM

    Probably two reasons:

    1) Nolasco is expensive but not so much better than the mid-tier pitchers. He projects to be Kazmir but richer. And he’s never shown the upside that Jimenez has.

    2) He’s pretty consistently under-performed his DIPS metrics. For his career he has an ERA at least 0.5 higher than his FIP, xFIP, and SIERA. Maybe this is bad luck or maybe not.

  36. Pencilfish

    November 27, 2013 10:58 AM

    hk,

    This ownership brought us RAJ. You are hoping the next GM they hire will steer the team through the trade deadline. Implicitly you are hoping the next GM will be BETTER. What is the basis for your hope, since the ownership isn’t changing?

    It’s also interesting people use the Myers/Shields trade as reference for a possible Lee trade. First of all, Lee has a limited no-trade clause. No GM will have unlimited freedom to trade him. Second, what if the Lee trade fetches the 2014 versions of Knapp, Marson, Carrasco and Donald?

    A Lee trade is essentially trading a superstar with limited utility to the 2014 Phillies for some UNPROVEN (emphasis here) players with UNKNOWN utility for a post-2014 Phillies team. People need to acknowledge the proposed blow-up and rebuild process does not mean a brighter future. Just come and say you will still be sinking your money on the team even if the worst possible outcome (ie, Phillies becoming like the 2013 Marlins for a while) becomes reality because you want to get rid of the current dead money and hope for a better future.

    I agree with Joecatz. The rebuild (RAJ-style) has already started with Revere, Brown, Asche, Franco, etc.
    RAJ and ownership want the best of both worlds: a passable team on the field and continuing profits. Any proposal for a blow-up that doesn’t focus on these two perennial goals is fantasy.

  37. hk

    November 27, 2013 12:45 PM

    Pencilfish,

    I blame RAJ, but if you want to blame RAJ + Monty + the advisors, that’s fine. Exercises of stating what I (or anyone else) would do are based on the obvoiusly unrealistic premise that I (or others) am (are) the team’s decision maker. I’m not, so I get that what I would do is a lot different from what I expect them to do and what they most likely will do.

    As far as trading Lee is concerned, if the Phils were willing to eat 1/2 or more of his contract, I bet that a lot of teams would be interested in making a deal including some, most or all of the 8 to which he cannot block a trade. Also, just because he can block a trade to 21 teams doesn’t mean he would do so. Convincing him to go may take some additional money like the additional money the Phils had to pay Michael Young to get him to accept the trade here. Neither of us knows what the Phils would be offered in return, but we do know that two lesser pitchers (James Shields and RA Dickey) were traded last off-season in deals involving 3 or 4 of the top 50 prospects in baseball.

    I am willing to acknowledge that, if I traded Lee for a package of prospects, those prospects would be UNPROVEN. I am also willing to acknowledge that those UNPROVEN players are more likely to help my team in 2017 and beyond (and possibly sooner) than Cliff Lee. If I signed Scott Kazmir to replace Lee, I would expect the Phillies to be ~3 games worse (maybe they become a 74 win team instead of a 77 win team) than I currently expect them to be. I don’t know what the impact of such a move would be on profits, but I have a feeling that it would not be too significant. Also, if the UNPROVEN players turn out well and help the team return to contender status, the trade would be a boost to profits over the longer term.

    I also agree with Joecatz that the rebuild has started. As such, I just don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to try to improve upon the team’s prospects to win more games in 2016 or 2017 and beyond, even if doing so cost the team a few wins in the next two seasons when they don’t project to be contenders.

  38. Pencilfish

    November 27, 2013 07:13 PM

    hk,

    “if the UNPROVEN players turn out well and help the team return to contender status, the trade would be a boost to profits over the longer term.”

    Agree 100%. Of course, if the UNPROVEN players bomb, or if some work out and some don’t (a more likely scenario, I think), it is unclear the Phillies would be better off.

    I should confess I have come a lot closer to your (and Phillie697 and others) opinion of RAJ lately. Still, I understand RAJ’s rationale (even the mistakes). Remember who he works for and what is his primary responsibilities –> managing team payroll and increasing the team’s net worth for the ownership by putting a credible product on the field. One thing I have come to understand is that RAJ was the right GM for a star-studded in their primes (the 2009-2011 team), just as Ed Wade was the guy to build the team in the late 90’s, and Gillick was the right guy to put a talented team over the top in 2008. RAJ is not the right guy to rebuild this team.

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