The Phillies could clear a spot for Rhys Hoskins this offseason
Despite having more than $40 million remaining on his contract, the idea of trading Carlos Santana is a hot one among Phillies fans. Many baseball insiders thought the organization would attempt to keep Santana, but recently Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic (subscription required) reported a rival executive said the Phillies are “are “shopping the hell” out of first baseman Carlos Santana” this offseason.
A lot of teams will need a first baseman next year and there aren’t many available in free agency, potentially making Santana a popular commodity.
Previously we looked at what a trade with the Minnesota Twins involving Santana would look like, and after consulting with our sister site RoxPile, we have an idea for what it would take for the Rockies to acquire the veteran first baseman.
Colorado won 91 games last year and former shortstop Ian Desmond started 131 games at first. Former second round pick Ryan McMahon started 21 games in place of Desmond and others filled out the remaining games.
The Rockies have Desmond locked into a horrendous contract with at least three more years and $38 million remaining, plus a $2 million buyout for a 2022 option year worth $15 million. He’s an outfield candidate beyond this year if the Rockies can pick up a first baseman like Santana.
We talked about the relievers in Colorado’s bullpen, most of whom have a lot of money remaining over several years. The initial idea was to offset money remaining on Santana’s deal by taking on a reliever’s contract, but neither Bryan Shaw or Jake McGee felt like upgrades.
Both are coming off a down year with a lot of money tied to each of them, and the ballpark factors for Coors Field and Citizens Bank Park aren’t all that different, downplaying the idea that they could be better outside of the Rocky Mountains.
We were happy to take two top-15 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline’s rankings, for Santana while kicking in about 40 percent of his remaining contract, or about $17 million.
Vavra was taken 96th overall in the 2018 MLB Draft out of the University of Minnesota. In 44 games in Low-A this year he hit .302/.396/.467 with 16 extra base hits.
MLB Pipeline says he might not have the range to remain at short, meaning a move to second base is possible. They highlight his baseball IQ and makeup, and suggest he could arrive in the big leagues in another three years.
Bowden played in Single and Advanced-A last year after being taken 45th overall in 2016. A left-handed reliever, Bowden had a 3.98 ERA in 52 innings with 78 strikeouts. He carries an above average fastball with a decent slider and changeup. MLB Pipeline says Bowden could be a set-up man in the big leagues and possibly a closer if he reigns in his slider and command.
More from That Balls Outta Here
- 11 Free-agent deals the Philadelphia Phillies wish fell through
- Phillies-Mets owners’ rivalry grows after shocking Carlos Correa deal
- Could Rich Hill become ‘Jamie Moyer 2.0’ in Phillies rotation?
- Does Bailey Falter have a future in Phillies’ rotation?
- Prospect Andrew Baker could help Phillies bullpen in 2023
The Phillies don’t have tremendous middle infield or left-handed depth in their organization. We highlighted their lack of infield depth last year when they signed Trevor Plouffe to a minor league deal after the first couple weeks of the season.
Philadelphia has no middle infielders in the top-10 of the MLB Pipeline rankings, but shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa and second baseman Daniel Brito are right there at 11 and 12, respectively.
Luis Garcia, Jose Gomez (a former Rockies prospect), and Nick Maton round out the top-30 in terms of middle infielders.
At the big league level, the Phillies hope to see J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery, two former top prospects, take steps forward. That will depend on what the team does in free agency and in the trade market, particularly with Cesar Hernandez at second and Manny Machado at short.
In the big league bullpen, the Phillies have lefty Luis Avilan, who they picked up from the White Sox in a waiver trade. Austin Davis, Adam Morgan, and prospect Ranger Suarez are the only other lefties on the 40-man roster at this point.
This move is about a lot of things, but primarily about creating space for Rhys Hoskins at first base and adding depth in the middle of the farm system. While moving on from Santana might appear to be the team admitting a mistake, it’s much rather the team preparing to play the best 25 men next year.