Welcome to the first installment of TBOH Debate! Every week, the writers at That Ball’s Outta Here will examine some of the key issues facing the Phillies and offer up their opinions.
The Phillies are rumored to be interested in several big name outfielders who are due to become free agents. Of the free agent outfield options, who would be your preference for the Phillies to sign?
The outfielder I want most is Carlos Beltran but only on a one-year deal, which will never happen. Beltran is the kind of player you trade for at the deadline when you know you are already in the race. Signing him to a multi-year deal is just too risky at his age.
So I’ll say Nelson Cruz is the guy I want most because he’s got pop from the right side and he still has about three years left in his prime. While Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo are better all around players, I’d hold off on getting them or Curtis Granderson unless you are trading Dom Brown or Ben Revere because we don’t need another lefty in the lineup.
I wouldn’t be shocked if the Phillies did sign Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo, but I would be disappointed. Neither satisfy the holes that we’ve had against left-handed pitching and in the power department.
The options that fit those criteria are Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, and Mike Morse. Beltran’s age worries me (same age, roughly same WAR last year as Raul Ibanez when he was signed). Cruz has the PED issues, but seems the most realistic to be signed (and if on, say, a two-year deal I’d be happy with that).
Honestly, though, my pick would be Morse. He can likely be signed to a cheap, one year deal after an injury-ridden season, where his BAbip dropped 80 points from his career average of .330 to .254 (indicating he was very unlucky, and made very weak contact made due to his wrist injury in May). Following his rehab, he should be 100% by Spring Training, and with career averages almost identical to Hunter Pence, for the price he’ll cost he makes too much sense to happen.
I’d be okay with the Phillies signing Ellsbury or Granderson if they made Ben Revere into the “speed/defense” guy off the bench. Of course, that would just open up another hole to fill.
Of all the options out there, I’d most like to see them go after Corey Hart. There’s obviously a risk there since he missed the entire 2013 season, but if he can recapture his pre-injury form, he’d fit in very well in their outfield.
Amaro has said that Kyle Kendrick will likely be tendered a contract offer and therefore will return to the Phillies in 2014? Do you agree with this move?
Kyle Kendrick should be back as a fifth starter but not as a number four. If signing Kendrick means we have to rely on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez as a competent number three, then I’d rather see that 8 MM or so put to signing a bigger name like Masahiro Tanaka or Ubaldo Jiminez. Pettibone could be a competent 5th starter but only if you felt better about your front four. Kendrick doesn’t give you that comfort at four.
This move has to happen. His role is too replaceable and volatile to risk offering a free agent a multi-year deal when he’s sitting right there. He doesn’t get anyone excited about having him around, but his career numbers are in line with several free agents on the market due to make much more annually than he would cost this year.
If he’s offered more than a one-year deal, that’s a problem. However, based on his value (he’s been worth 4.3 WAR in the last three seasons, which from the 5th starter/reliever spot is pretty damn good) and low-cost (projected at $6.6 million for one season) this is a common-sense deal.
Kendrick gets a lot of flack from Phillies fans, but as far as back-end starters go, he’s not a bad option in terms of both performance and price. But the further back in the rotation he is, the better off you are. He’s a great option as a fifth starter, and can be serviceable as a four. But if he’s your third best starter, then you likely have a problem.
Shane Victorino is a World Series champion once again. How does that make you feel?
Seeing Shane pound his chest like a charging gorilla while running out one huge hit after another makes me feel like I’m watching my high school crush slow dance at the prom with the guy who bullies me in gym class. Hey, tough guy! if you were any closer you’d be in back of her! Where are the chaperones?
A little jealous. I don’t think I would have re-signed him last offseason either, especially not for what the Red Sox offered him, but you can’t help but wish he was doing that for us. He was incredibly gracious when Philadelphia was mentioned, however.
He always managed to say something along the lines of “I still love all the guys in Philly” or “Philadelphia was always great to me” anytime a journalist asked him to compare the feelings of the two World Series wins- and for that you’ve got to be at least a little happy for him. Great guy.
I’m happy for him, but I’m annoyed that we have to share him with Boston. Victorino should have been one of those guys that was always associated with the Phillies, and now, people are also going to think of him as a Red Sock.