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It’s that time of the season, the almost end of July. At this point, every writer, pundit, and fan of baseball has concocted numerous trade scenarios they want their favorite team or any other team to implement going forward. Trades are fun, and the prospect of acquiring shiny new players, whether veterans or prospects, or the losing of dead weight brings about huge power surges to the limbic system of the brain (controls excitement).
For Phillies fans, the trade deadline has recently become a very different scenario than it has in recent years. Instead of looking for the next-to-last or final piece to the puzzle as the team strides towards the playoffs (Like Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence), this season everyone wants to know whether the Phillies will sell or buy at the deadline. It’s a fun topic, and it definitely keeps fans involved and captivated by a team that hasn’t been very exciting thus far, as their sub .500 record would imply. More so than what will happen, the other major topic concerns what the Phillies “should” do.
In recent weeks, I and my esteemed colleagues at TBOH, have written about which Phillies veterans RAJ should move, and the enticing, and probably unrealistic, packages of prospects and young players the Phillies could receive in return. Names that have been thrown around include Chase Utley, Michael Young, Delmon Young, Carlos Ruiz, Jonathan Papelbon, and I even heard an awesome thought about what the Phillies might be able to get for Domonic Brown, but that’s about as unlikely a possibility as Canada invading the U.S. because there are better Hockey players in Florida.
Teams that fall from grace, like the Phillies have in the last 2-3 seasons, breed pessimistic fans, and while I don’t consider myself one of those, this post is somewhat pessimistic in nature. We all have our wish lists we wish Ruben Amaro would implement, but what about our worst fears? What could the Phillies front office do that would so sicken us, and most likely not prove fruitful in the long run. It’s never a bad time to lower expectations, especially for a team seemingly in limbo between buying and selling, playoffs and mediocrity. I’ve tried to balance the awfulness of these trades with how realistic they could be, so while some might seem completely ridiculous, just remember Ryan Howard’s contract.
RAUUUUUUL!!! It was a familiar chant for fans at Citizens Bank Park for 3 seasons Raul Ibanez spent in Philadelphia. This trade wouldn’t be full on nuclear meltdown, but it’s deserving of a top 5 spot on this list. Ibanez’s season has been very fun to watch, but only from afar. He’s smacked 24 home runs, and put up a mighty fine 140 wRC+ this season. Ibanez has had a flashy season that has no depth to it whatsoever. He’s hit more home runs than anyone thought he would, but his defense is still abhorrent, he’s slow as a sloth on the bases, and most importantly, he’s 41 years old. Imagine a 4 man outfield platoon of Brown, Young, Mayberry, and Ibanez, at least until Ben Revere returns. Apart from some above average defense from Mayberry, and passable play in left field from Brown, this outfield would become responsible for 80% of every blooper reel in sports.
The Phillies would be giving up a prospect the team seems to like, but who hasn’t jumped out as amazing in any way. Remember, as we’ve seen from so many other teams, as well as the Phillies, winning now is basically all that matters. Dugan has shown promise in the minors, having just been promoted to Double-A Reading, but he’s a few years away, and by that time, he could become the outfield equivalent of Phillipe Aumont. Diekman has electric stuff, but has some obvious control and command issues, but no one ever went wrong stockpiling talented arms, especially those that throw from the left side.
This trade wouldn’t be disastrous for the Phillies, but it wouldn’t help them in the slightest. Ibanez was mostly liked in Philly, and he enjoyed playing here a lot. Prospects come a dime a dozen, right?
4) Phillies trade John Mayberry Jr. Gabriel Arias, and Adam Morgan to the Mets for Marlon Byrd and Scott Rice
Ah, yes, the list has moved from that “ugh” feeling to a more gross, I shouldn’t have eaten the whole half-gallon of ice cream type feeling. The Mets most likely won’t win anything this season, and may not even compete fully until 2015, but they obviously have deficiencies going forward in their outfield and bullpen. Marlon Byrd has had a great season, and I’m sure the Mets would love to unload him if they could get a return like this. Scott Rice, a lefty minor league journeyman who the team brought this season, and who has pitched fairly well, would give the Phillies maybe a smidgen more help in their lacking bullpen. Byrd would be an upgrade for the duration of the season over Delmon Young, and he’s a former Phillies prospect and MLB outfielder.
We’ve all been hoping John Mayberry Jr. would become the hitter he shows flashes of against some left-handed pitching, but it doesn’t seem to be working out thus far. He’s been worth zero fWAR this season, meaning he’s a legitimate replacement level player. Morgan came into the season having moved up on many Phillies prospect boards, didn’t pitch well in Triple-A, and then went down with a shoulder injury. He’s just recently come back, beginning in rookie ball, and as far as prospects go, he’s got the ceiling of a #3 starter, but given his recent injury, a floor that steadily creeps away from even a #5 starter. Arias has pitched well in Lakewood this season, but since he hasn’t even touched Double-A yet, there’s a better chance he’ll flop as a prospect than turn into a useful tool at the MLB level, so we might as well get an outfield upgrade for 2013 and an overused lefty from the Mets in exchange for some potentially useful pieces down the road.
3) Phillies trade Carlos Ruiz, Carlos Tocci, Mitch Gueller, and Austin Wright to the Twins for Ryan Doumit and Josh Roenicke
Now we are truly getting down to the worst of the worst. In this trade scenario the Phillies would be giving up a catcher, a young high ceiling outfielder, young pitcher with some solid potential, and a currently struggling lefty with the ceiling of a #3 starter.
First, Doumit is a hybrid catcher/outfielder who plays neither position well at all. He’s constantly mocked for his complete lack of pitch framing ability, losing strikes all the time due to his twitchy and wild movements when receiving pitches behind the plate. More importantly, as a sometimes catcher, he’s slow, so playing the outfield doesn’t fit him well either. At the plate this season, Doumit has been pretty similar to John Mayberry Jr., but last year he smacked 18 home runs and drove in 75 in the pitching mecca that is Target Field. Imagine, seriously, just imagine what he could do in Citizens Bank Park. Roenicke is a righty out of the bullpen who has benefited somewhat from his home park, but hasn’t been so bad. He’d be an upgrade for the Phillies in the 6th or 7th inning, and can go more than one inning if needed. Still, the minor upgrade in the pen doesn’t even remotely offset the loss of potential they Phillies would be giving up. Still, this is a franchise that had no issues trading Jonathan Singleton, Jonathan Villar, and Jarred Cosart for Hunter Pence.
Tocci is a 4-tool player who has played well so far. He’s young, and hasn’t completely filled out, but hits for average, and due to his speed and decent arm, plays well in the outfield. He’s not even remotely close to the Majors, so why not move him. Gueller and Wright could both serve as future #4/#3 starters, or some nice bullpen pieces, but that’s a few years down the road, and Doumit’s bat combined with the 20 innings the Phillies might get from Roenicke out of he bullpen in 2013 are worth far more. This trade would make me want to hurl myself from the fake liberty bell at CBP, down onto the pavement, preferably into a coma.
2) Phillies trade Adam Morgan, Shane Watson, Tyson Gillies, and Justin De Fratus to the San Francisco Giants for Andres Torres and Jose Mijares
Basically this deal has the Phillies sending one of their only hopeful righty relievers, two pitching prospects, and an outfield prospect sometimes thought to have figured it out and sometimes thought to be dead in the water to the Giants for a 0.8 fWAR outfielder and a semi-decent lefty relief pitcher.
This deal resembles #3 but it’s more egregious. This has the Phillies moving a lot of nice potential pieces, one of whom could be with the big league club the next few years at cheap, for a very very minimal version of Ben Revere and an overweight lefty reliever they probably don’t need. It’s bad all around, and probably has a distinct air of desperation to it. Still, Revere makes the Phillies outfield even passable defensively since he basically covers all of right-center field for Delmon Young and Andres Torres just might be able to do the same. Overall this has “vile” written all over it, but it wouldn’t be the first time the Phillies made a deal with the Giants.
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1) Phillies trade Kelly Dugan, Roman Quinn, and Darin Ruf for Alfonso Soriano
The worst of the worst. Fellow TBOH writer John Stolnis told me he has nightmares that the Phillies would trade for Soriano. Soriano fits RAJ perfectly. He’s in his late thirties, hits for power, fields just well enough to keep up out there everyday, and has a bloated contract signed back when he was good. In this situation the Phillies would pick up all of Soriano’s remaining $18+ million contract, and stick him in left-field, moving Brown to right, thus monumentally screwing up the outfield more so than now, and getting rid of two nice prospects with serious potential, and the lone young controllable player the Phillies can justify on the MLB roster.
These trades lack some realism, and I’m sure even Amaro wouldn’t even discuss some of them, but we’ve seen numerous prospects leave in trades for players who spend more time at highway rest stops than they did in Philadelphia. This is the trade deadline, when some teams become geniuses and others become chumps. In my opinion, the Phillies would do better to sell a little at the deadline, and then maybe do some dealings in the offseason, selling and buying. We all think of the Yankees as the cautionary tale of spending lots of money and not getting the rewards, but the Phillies have money and it isn’t insane to think they should continue to spend some in order to remain relevant as they accrue more young talent. Sometimes I leave that fantasy world and return back to earth, but for a little while it’s fun to discuss some ridiculous trades, and not just the ones that lean in the Phillies’ favor. We’ll see what happens this week, it’ll be fascinating, that’s for sure.