The hot stove burners are on full blast with free agency and the GM meetings under way. Everyone’s record is set back to zero, so fans and pundits are free to remake their teams as they see fit. This is how great internet rumors start. Some are bourn out of actual reporting by professionals who speak to members of the front office , while others are the brain child of well intentioned fans such as myself. Despite the wild west atmosphere of a good internet rumor, some rules do apply.
1. The bigger the name, the bigger the rumor.
2. Mo’ Money, Mo’ Attention
3. Prospects are like currency, and they get treated as such.
While it’s fun to get caught up in guessing which high profile players will be changing teams, it’s often the smaller moves that make just as much of an impact. Many big names have been batted around for the Phillies such as B.J. Upton, his brother Justin, Michael Bourn, and even A-Rod. While acquiring anyone one of these players would make waves and draw big headlines, the Phillies won’t get full value. The following are five under the radar names for the Phillies to consider. They may not be sexy, but they would improve the team without sacrificing the future of the team.
OF Peter Bourjos LAA
There are two things that may make it feasible for the Phillies to pry Bourjos away from the Halos. His numbers were down dealing with injuries last year, and the emergence of Mike Trout. Trout could take over in center making Bourjos expendable. He is a standout defensive centerfielder who would make Phillies fans forget about Shane Victorino. When healthy in 2011, he led the league in triples and had a WAR of 4.8 Not to mention he is only 25 years old! Given his age and affordability (under team control until 2017) the Phils would have to give up a top pitching prospect. If the Angels are interested in Vance Worley or Trevor May the Phillies should pull the trigger immediately.
OF Coco Crisp OAK
Aside from from having the best name in baseball, Coco Crisp is one of the most underrated center fielders. At age 33 Crisp is no spring chicken, but he stole 39 bases for the A’s last year, and provided veteran leadership for the young squad that stole the AL West from the Rangers. Crisp is owed 7 million next year with a club option, so adding his salary wouldn’t be an obstacle. The Phillies could entice the A’s by dangling some of their younger pitching prospects such as Trevor May or Jonathan Pettibone. The A’s acquisition of Chris Young from the D-Backs gives them an overload of outfielders, making Crisp available for the right price.
RHP Chris Perez CLE
The Phillies should get to the front of the line with the Cleveland Indians going into sell mode. One player who could be traded in all-star closer Chris Perez. As fans learned this year, an all-star closer doesn’t provide much value on a losing team. The Phils still need someone who can lock down the eight inning behind Papelbon, and Perez would bring quite a pedigree. He is arbitration eligible and should received somewhere between 5-6 million. That may seem a bit high for a non closer, but the Phillies would avoid the risk of getting locked into multiple years with free agent relievers. Sebastian Valle, Tyler Cloyd, and low A prospect could get the ball rolling.
RHP Luke Gregerson SD
While Chase Headly is the popular name mentioned in every Padres rumor, Luke Gregerson could provide much needed relief at half the cost. Gregerson has been a shut-down reliever in San Diego since 2009, getting better each season. In 2012 he had an ERA+ of 153 while striking out 72 batters in 71.2 innings. If the rumored asking price for Headly is the same as what the Fathers got for Mat Latos last year (4 prospects), Gregerson would only command 2 mid level players. The Phils could start negotiations with Cesear Hernandez and Roman Quinn, with the Padres desperate for offense. Gregerson is under team control until 2015.
CF Alerjandro De Aza CWS
De Aza isn’t a player the White Sox would let go of easily, but if the Phillies are serious about finding a long term option in Center they would be wise to call and check on the Dominican native. De Aza has that rare blend of speed and power, that he is only beginning to harness. In his first full season last year Alejandro hit 9 homers while slugging .410, and stealing 26 bases. He did struggle a bit against lefties, but his home/road splits suggest he’s not a product of US Cellular Field. Given his age and low price tag De Aza would require a hefty bounty. Trevor May, Vance Worley, and Dominic Brown may not be enough, but if the White Sox bite Ruben Amaro should jump all over a deal.