Offseason Storylines

November 3rd, 2012 by Mike H. | Filed under Baseball, General, Phillies.

Off-Season Storylines

The way that the new MLB CBA breaks down, the offseason starts bright and early Friday night/Saturday morning at midnight. The Phillies have some work cut out for themselves heading into 2013, with priorities set on centerfield, third base, and the bullpen. With over 135 million committed to just 10 players, the Phillies don’t have much wiggle room as far as big free agent signings can go. The Phillies definitely could/should be active on the trade front, but, as always, the biggest question is: “Who is available versus who is tradeable?”

So let’s take a look at some viable options for the Phillies heading into the 2012-2013 offseason. As we head into this, I’ll give you a little insight as to how I assess players:

  • NL/AL West: I rarely trust pitchers from the left coast. Too many pitcher’s parks that effect their stats, i.e. Chad Qualls.
  • Previous Team: Sometimes being the best player on a bad team doesn’t translate to success on a (potentially) good team.
  • Previous Year: Success and failure the previous year shouldn’t disguise the type of player you’re really getting.

The Bullpen

As far as I am concerned, this is the biggest area of concern facing the Phillies going into 2013. When the Phillies won back in 2008, it was more because the Phillies had a lock down bullpen more than their ability to the ball out of most parks, including Yellowstone.  The Phillies already have a reliable closer.  They also have multiple guys that could succeed in the 6th and 7th innings in Aumont, Horst, Diekman, and De Fratus. Both Bastardo and Stutes have had success in the 8th, but Bastardo had a very shaky 2012 and Stutes required shoulder surgery that knocked him out for the season. So where should the Phillies look to for the 8th inning in 2013?

  • Ryan Madson – Madson is looking for a job as a closer, and has a realistic shot at getting one with more teams needing a closer heading into 2013 than 2012. Madson would be a great fit in the 8th inning, but Amaro may have burned that bridge.
  • Jonathan Broxton – Broxton, like Madson, is looking for a closer’s job. He had success in Kansas City, and was traded to set up in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, he’ll be looking for a significant pay raise after proving his value to a contender.
  • Joel Peralta – Peralta has shined at the end of his career, and at 37, will he be looking for a multi-year deal, or will he settle for one year contracts?
  • Sean Burnett – recently declined his option with Washington, the 30-year-old is more of a ground ball pitcher and strands runners at high rate.

My pick:  Burnett.  Not so much the dollars as the years, if he can be signed for two years and somewhere between 8-10 million with an option for a third, I’d go for it.

Centerfield

Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan and former Phillie Shane Victorino could all be had in this year’s free agent class, but are any of them worth the risk? All are on the wrong side of 30. While Victorino will probably be available at a discounted rate, Pagan, Bourn, and Hamilton will probably never live up to the value of their contracts. Plus the Phillies have not one, but two players that could potentially take over in center field within the next year or two in Jiwan James and Tyson Gillies (if he can stay healthy).

My pick:  Stay away from free agent center fielders!

Third Base

As bare as bare can get. As per MLB Trade Rumors, there are currently 16 free agents that have, or had, the ability to play third base consistently. Placido Polanco and Ty Wigginton probably won’t be Phillies in 2013 after having their options declined, so let’s cut the list to 14. You can probably also cut former Phils Scott Rolen and Miguel Cairo from the list. Of the 12 remaining, I see very few options.

  • Kevin Youkilis – Headliner of the class and that’s not saying much. The “Greek God of Walks” has been on the decline the last few years, but still has pop in his bat.
  • Jeff Keppinger – Definitely worth pursuing. Not specifically as a starter but as a super utility. I don’t trust Utley to be healthy enough to play everyday, so a guy like Keppinger who can play basically all the infield positions, would be a valuable asset.

My pick:  I’d prefer Keppinger based purely on the idea that he should cost significantly less than Youkilis and provides more roster flexibility.

Trade Chips

The Phillies do have a very limited number of trade chips at their disposal. Most of which requires the Phillies to be willing to pay a portion of a player’s salary going forward. The Phillies do have depth to deal from with major league ready pitching. Between Michael Schwimmer, Michael Stutes, Joe Savery, Antonio Bastardo, and BJ Rosenburg to name a few, the Phillies do have the means for smaller deals or secondary pieces for a larger deal. If the Phillies are willing to pay a portion of their remaining contracts, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Cliff Lee could all return positions of need.

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One Response to “Offseason Storylines”

  1. ChrisLeo33 says:

    Nice, you make some good arguments here, I would take Burnett and Keppinger