The Josh Hamilton dream is dead.
It was a pipe dream to begin with. Everyone knows that. The Phillies were never a serious player for his services, as evidenced by the Angels’ five-year, $125 million deal, and the Phils’ reluctance to do anything more than three years with the star-crossed slugger.
Once again, Amaro showed restraint and did the right thing. He channeled his inner-Gillick.
That’s a good thing, kiddos.
But now, the Phils are still groping for a corner outfielder that can swing a powerful piece of lumber. And with Hamilton heading to Los Angeles, the Angels all of a sudden have a surplus of outfielders on their roster.
Yet like the selfish, greedy, evil empire they are, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim insist they’re still not interested in dealing one of their pieces.
I hate them.
Of course, it’s a lie. Certainly, they’d trade one of their outfielders in exchange for the right package. And the Phillies have long had interest in Peter Bourjos, and would likely have interested in Mark Trumbo as well, should they be made available.
Vernon Wells? Um, probably not so much.
The Phils’ interest in Bourjos was hottest before their trade for the cheesesteak-loving Ben Revere, in the hopes Bourjos would be their new center fielder. However, at the time, the Angels had no interest in trading him, claiming he’d be in their starting lineup next year.
What a bunch of duplicitous liars, right guys?
Bourjos doesn’t provide the power the Phillies are seeking, posting a career OPS of just .703 with 21 HRs in 940 career plate appearances. However, he wasn’t a regular player last season for Los Angeles, is still only 26 years old, and can become a 15-20 homer guy as he continues to develop. He also has blazing speed and would provide tremendous defense in one of the corner outfield spots.
Trumbo would be a better power fit for the Phils, but would likely cost more in terms of prospects. The Angels would probably be less likely to move him as well. Trumbo had an OPS of .808 last year with 32 HRs and 95 RBIs in 586 PAs, making his first All-Star team at 26 years old.
Both players have their negatives, though. Bourjos doesn’t provide much power, and Trumbo is prone to strikeouts and prolonged slumps (he hit .202/.246/.293 in August and September).
In addition, both players cannot become free agents until 2017. As such, their price tags would be high.
Revere: .642 OPS in 989 ABs, 5 more yrs of control. Bourjos: .703 OPS in 851 ABs, 4 more yrs. Revere brought back Worley, May for #Twins.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2012
The Phils would have to come up with a package superior to the one that landed them Revere, and it’s unlikely they have the minor league talent to do it, unless they included Jesse Biddle in the package. The Angels also don’t have a catcher among their top 10 minor league prospects and are starting Chris Iannetta at the position in 2013, hardly a long-term solution. Perhaps a package of Tommy Joseph and Biddle would be enough to get the ball rolling for one of those players.
One other name to keep an eye on is rightfielder/first baseman Kendrys Morales, who may actually be the most likely to go out of anyone on the Angels’ roster. There is simply no room for him in the outfield, and with Albert Pujols manning first base, there’s no room for him, other than designated hitter.
Morales was one of the game’s rising sluggers in 2010 when he hit 34 HRs with an OPS of .924. But a freak leg injury, occurring when he jumped on home plate after hitting a game-winning grand slam that year, took him out of baseball entirely in 2011, and last year he played in just 134 games while hitting 22 HRs with an OPS of .787. He turns 30 next year and will be a free agent after the 2014 season.
And of course, there’s Vernon Wells. Wells played in just 77 games last year, turns 34 in 2013, and is owed $21 milllion in each of the next two seasons.
Yeah, let’s just move on.
It’s clear the Phillies don’t love their options on the free agent market. Nick Swisher, while a perfect fit for their needs, is looking at a four or five-year deal worth at least $10-12 million a year, which is more than the Phils are looking to pay. Signing Swisher would also require the Phillies to forfeit their #16 draft pick, something they are unlikely to do unless they can get a team-friendly deal in return.
(Interestingly enough, Nick Swisher was the #16 pick in the draft back in 2002. It’s just a little piece of trivia to share with your friends. Moving on.)
Cody Ross may not get as much money as Swisher, but he’ll still probably score a contract that surpasses his actual value. Signing him would not require a draft pick, however.
And of course, there is the looming specter of Alfonso Soriano lurking in the shadows, like a common street thug ready to mug you as you walk around the corner. Interest seems to have cooled at the moment, but could always heat up as spring training draws nigh.
The Angels, who are hoarding outfielders like that crazy old lady down the street hoards neighborhood cats, have a surplus of something the Phillies need.
Angels going with an outfield of all center fielders. Reds going with an outfield of no center fielders.
— High Cheese (@HighCheese) December 14, 2012
Would a deal that centers around some combination of Biddle, Joseph and Dom Brown be enough to land Bourjos, Trumbo or Morales?
And what do the Phillies value more right now? Payroll flexibility? Protecting that #16 pick? Or protecting the minor league talent they already have?
Regardless, the Angels are going to move someone, right?
Come on, L.A. Don’t be so selfish. It’s nice to share.
Be nice for once.