With the Phillies having retained most of their veteran players through the trading season, Ryne Sandberg is trying to figure out how to juggle playing time for his current roster, Matt Gelb of the Inquirer writes. That could get even tougher next month, as rosters expand and players like infielders Maikel Franco, Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez come aboard, Gelb points out. “As of right now, it’s to give everybody looks and playing opportunity,” says Sandberg. “Let everybody participate. Now, September could be a little tricky, too, with some added numbers. It’ll be more challenging then.” GM Ruben Amaro recently said the Phillies are still trying to win as much as they can, which likely means playing veterans, even thought the Phillies are 54-68. Here’s more from Philadelphia.
- If the Phillies were to trade Cole Hamels, they would want three or four top prospects in return, and they’d want to avoid eating any of the $96MM remaining on his contract after 2014, Gelb writes. The Phillies think Hamels could provide a big head start as they attempt to change their fortunes. “He’d be tough to replace,” Says Sandberg. “We have question marks about Cliff [Lee]. Cliff, we won’t know. A.J. [Burnett], we don’t know. You have to start your staff somewhere and he’d be a good place to start.”
- The Phillies could have interest in bringing veteran outfielder Grady Sizemore back next season, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. “He’s played well enough to certainly be in consideration for 2015 and beyond,” says Amaro. “But again that’s one of those questions we’ll continue to assess.” Sizemore has hit .305/.347/.432 in 101 plate appearances with the Phillies since being released by the Red Sox in June. Marlon Byrd, Domonic Brown and Ben Revere all now figure to be part of the Phillies’ outfield in 2015. As Zolecki points out, Sizemore has out-hit both Brown and Revere, although both of them are much younger than Sizemore.
Without dissing Hamels, the problem with asking the acquiring team to take his entire contract plus 3-4 top prospects is that there would be no compelling reason for them to do that, when they could try to sign a free agent in the off-season, like Lester, who would cost them about the same average value, perhaps for another year or two. Especially in light of all these season-ending serious injuries, i think a lot of teams are going to be very wary of offering very long term deals to any pitchers. So, Hamels may be better off where he is now, because his price is so very high.
There will be a half dozen or more teams looking for Jon Lester in the offseason .But only 1 team can sign him.
Hamels value(3 prospects) is fair. If You lose out on Lester. You can save cost certainty with Hamels ( $90 M compared to say Lester $150 M ???)
Fair is tough to define, but in my opinion 3 premium prospects is unrealistic. I’d say the same about two as well.
More like more than a dozen will be in on Lester. They want 3 or 4 premium prospects and contract relief…. not happening. 2 of a teams top 20 and a lower level kid, plus Phils eat 20 mill.
Why does Amaro still want to win as many games as possible this year? They’re 14 games under 500 and they have a chance to see what kind of pieces they have for next year and beyond. If anything they have an incentive to lose for the Higher Draft pick next year. I mean once you’re already guaranteed out of the race and way under 500, whats the difference between winning 70 games as apposed to 73 or 74?
Agree, but at the same thing he shouldn’t come out and say that. If your not contender then you should be doing what is going to get you back to being one asap.
I agree, he shouldn’t come out and say “We’re trying to lose so we can get a better draft pick for next year”. But in the end what is going to get you back to being a contender faster, winning a few more games in an already lost season, or evaluating your prospects against MLB competition without the pressure of a pennant race and getting a higher draft pick the next year?
He wants to retain his job.
Funny thing is though, by not evaluating and preparing for next year, they’re just going to be in the exact same spot and he’s still going to be on the chopping block.
Why would any team trade 3-4 top prospects and take on that much salary when they could just sign a free agent in the offseason for similar years and dollars? Sure, the years and dollars involved would be a bit higher for a free agent but certainly worth not giving up 3-4 top prospects to do so.
Do you consider $90 M a Bit Higher? Scherzer is reportedly looking for Verlander money? $180 M. Hamels will be owed 1/2 of that.
Gotta remember too that Hamels is only signed through age 34 while the impending FA will likely be getting somewhere around $25M/year through their age 37-38 seasons. Hamels doesn’t have much risk of dead money years compared to that.
Yes, Hamels price is somewhat lower than Scherzer or Lester, but I really have a hard time seeing them take on Hamels contract + give up 3-4 top prospects just to get him. Prospects are worth money too, just because they have the potential to be an insane bargain.
RAJ’s plan is simple. He’s made ridiculous asking prices so that he can keep all his players and sign more in the offseason in a halfhearted attempt to patch up the sinking ship with a bandaid. I’m surprised he hasn’t traded for Alex Rios.
Preciously, he knows management wouldn’t stand for retaining his services in a rebuild as very few GM’s are able to keep their job when the team suffers so many losing seasons during the said rebuild. Then again, The Phillies are losing lots even when they’re spending on top Free Agents, so I don’t see why they can’t lose 100 games with a 80M payroll when they’re doing the same thing with a 180M payroll.
Management must think too many Philadelphia fans would jump off the bandwagon if the team went through a rebuild, otherwise they would’ve fired Ruben a long time ago for failing to succeed with them having so much major league talent.
I don’t even really blame him anymore. He’s keeping the problem going because he knows he’s not part of the solution. Ownership needs to make a change.
Yes, although what he’s doing is delaying the inevitable and probably ruining his chance to ever work again as the General Manager of another organization, although that chance probably died off a long time even before this season started.
Amaro was asking for the same thing for Cliff Lee last year.
He was basically asking for the same thing for Cliff Lee this year too even when he was first on the DL. We have yet to hear a rational trade discussion come from the Phillies this year.
Pretty much. Though I believe I read for Lee he would be willing to pay Some of his salary (around $10-$20 million)
No where has it been reported (at least in Philly) what he was looking for from Lee (this year or last year). And the only “rumor” that came out about Hamels was that he was looking for the Dodgers top 3 prospects – which was followed by a report less than 2 days later, that the first one was inaccurate.
As far as other trade candidates, while his asking price for a guy like Byrd may be a little high (assuming he asked for Judge from the Yanks) – the rumored “counter-offer” from Seattle was a pair of A+ or lower arms with 6+ ERAs. I’d say that RAJ’s ask was a little more reasonable than what others were offering him.
Well since he hasn’t made any trades in the last month or so I would have to say that his asking prices haven’t been “reasonable”. Rumors are just that and no one knows for sure what was offered until a trade has been accepted.
Um, he traded Roberto Hernandez for two PTBNL (one of whom is now named).
The Phillies attendance is down 50% from 2011. TV viewership down from 300,000 per game to less than 90,000.
The hope for Philadelphia is that they have a $3 B TV deal beginning in 2016 so quick change isnt impossible if the right moves are made.
First move should begin in the front office.
Phils outfield, starting pitching staff,bench need to be completely rebuilt.
Not true. The lineup is good enough. What they need is to go get an abundance of pitching. And keep Cole Hamels. Its not crazy to say that, with 3 good starting pitchers in free agency, this is a borderline playoff team.
I’m a big Phillies fan, but I would not in any way categorize them as a “borderline playoff” team in any sense. Dumping money into starting pitching won’t help; ask Cole Hamels if he’s happy with his run support this year. While good pitching can win you games, you still need an offense that’s at least average.
Their outfield is historically bad. As is Ryan Howard; despite all of his RBIs, he is having one of the 10 or so worst offensive seasons for a clean up hitter. Revere’s .300 average is similarly deceptive…he has no power and draws too few walks to be a good player.
Also, dumping money into veterans is a bandage…one which we’ve used for too long. At some point, a team needs to develop its own talent. Outside of Pat Burrell, I don’t think the Phillies have grown a productive outfielder for at least 40 years.
Do you have actual sources to back up the first 2 statements, or are you just making them up on a whim? The “total attendance” is at 50% of the 2011 total – but that’s with nearly 20 home games remaining.
I’m with you. I don’t follow TV ratings. But even 300,000 seems incredibly low? Maybe I’m way off here?
It was 276,000 households per game in 2011 (so already, he’s fibbed a stat to make it seem like a more substantial drop than it is – he rounded up by about 25,000 – or nearly 10%). They fell to 168,000 households per game in 2012 and 100,000 in 2013. It should be noted, that during their “successful” non-playoff seasons in the mid-00s, they were averaging about 160,000 per game. But he’s completely made up the 90,000 this year (because the numbers don’t get released till the end of the year).
it’s safe to say it’s no better than last year 100,000 since they’re playing worse this year – so 90,000 is probably right on the mark.
“Phillies want 3 or 4 top prospects and avoid paying Hamels salary in a Hamels trade”……….looks like Philadelphia FO lives in a “Dream World”
Phillies use to have great teams & FO in 70’s & 80’s.
Now they are becoming a joke.
The Phillies were a bigger joke in the 70s and 80s except for 1980. They were horrible despite having several HOF players (and Pete Rose) on the team at various times. The 2000s was about the only decade ever when the Phillies were consistently a good team.
It is really said when you beat success they had was about a 10 year stretch, yet the first 4 of those (03-06) they couldn’t get over the hump finishing around or a few games over .500. The funny thing is, with Phillies history, calling a 4 year stretch from 0-10 games above .500 a success is quite sad.
They got lucky with such a good crop of home grown talent at the right time and savvy moves finally from 07-09. Then Raj happened.
Then RAJ happened – and took the team to increasing win totals in each of his first 3 years. Maxing out at the franchise win record in 2011 before his star (that he signed for a contract too early – but for fewer years than his contemporaries) blew out his Achilles in a playoff game.
Look, RAJ has done a lot of wrong in the last 2.5 years – but he also did a lot right in the first 3 years. The problem is everyone just wants to forget about that.
From 1975-’83 (9 seasons) they posted a winning record each year, went to the playoffs 6 times winning 2 NL pennants and a WS. They were a consistently good team.
They were really good back then…..only the Dodgers, Reds & Pirates were in their way for more WS titles.
so the Phillies want more top prospects than Jeff Samardzija, Jon Lester and David Price netted combined while thinking they don’t have to eat a penny of his remaining salary?
do we need any more evidence than that that the first step the Phillies need to make to get better is to clean out the front office?
Well, considering that Hamels has more controllable years (4 – with an option for a 5th) than the guys you listed had (1.5 for Shark, .5 for Lester, 1.5 for Price) and is substantially better than Shark. Season-wise, he’s on pace with Lester – but put together a better career than him. And career (and season) wise, he’s equal to Price.
I agree that 3 “top prospects” might be a little higher. But within days of the first rumor coming out, a second came out saying that no specific discussion had taken place. Asking for a package of 2 top prospects (top 100 overall), 1 good (top 10 organizational), and a flyer (low level, high risk) is a reasonable package.
2 top prospects (plus more lesser ones) is a perfectly reasonable asking price, don’t get me wrong. Hamels is a darn fine pitcher in his own right and the Phillies shouldn’t just give him away.
the contract, though, is a bit odd. Price’s at at 1.5 is probably more valuable on the open market than Hammels 20+ over 4. If something goes catastrophically wrong with Price… the Team’s not on the hook for that much. If Hamels gets hurt…. yeah, giving up an extra top prospect for that risk isn’t something i think a lot of teams would be lining up to do. The team trading for him is assuming all the potential risks as well as the rewards, and after what happened to Lincecum, Zito and Verlander, just to name a few, well, i’m not sure the long term contract is a huge bargaining chip in the Phillies favor.
I think the contract will be a bargaining chip this winter – when the FA’s of Lester, Shields, and Scherzer come round asking for 6-8 years and $24+ M. And there will sit Hamels for just 4 years (with a 5th year option) at $22.5 M.
I think there are a limited number of teams that should/could go after him. They’d be (in my eyes) the Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees, BoSox (because he’d fit their “model” of not giving pitchers longer deals), and maybe a mystery team. So you’re limiting him to 4-5 suitors. There is inherent risk with every pitcher. Same as there is with every prospect.
there in lies the rub, though. Hamels isn’t the first option because the teams looking to spend that much on a staring pitcher can have one just as good for roughly the same AAV… without coughing up the prospects for it. So Hamels as a trade option is plan B, not plan A.
And of the teams you mentioned, the ones both willing to spend the kind of money and have the prospects the Phillies are looking for… well that list is pretty much just the Cubs and the Dodgers… and both have already given the Phillies a pretty definite ‘no’ at the price Amaro’s asking.
While it may cost the same amount of AAV – they’ll have to pay for 2-4 more years. That’s big. Because with Hamels, you are only paying him through his age 35 season (with the exercise option). With everyone else, you are paying them through their 37-38 age seasons.
Also, I listed 5 teams. Yankees probably don’t have the prospects, but the BoSox have the prospects and have shown a willingness to spend. As far as getting “pretty definite no” from the other 2, when has that happened. They couldn’t work out a trade with the Cubs in a 47 hour window (that’s not a definite no) – and the report that the Phils asked the Dodgers for 3 top prospects was later “turned down” by another report a day and a half later.
the stories i’ve heard about the Cubs/phillies negotiations was the Cubs were willing to use Russell and Almora as the centerpieces and the counter was Baez, Soler and Russell minimum. And wouldn’t budge off that.
I’d love to see that report/story. Because I never heard anything other than Russell – even that was fan-oriented (and most Cubs fans here were vehement that was TOO much!). It’s not that I don’t believe you – just that I heard no rumors about what was actually being exchanged.
I’d be real surprised if Scherzer or Lester got 7 years. Even 6 is a stretch.
Front of the rotation arms at 30-31 years old get 6-7 year deals.
Can you name one? Because I can’t think of a good comparison. Verlander is a good comparison but not a great one because he wasn’t a free agent and Detroit is just being silly with these contracts. CJ Wilson signed a five year deal. Grienke got 6 but the deal started at age 29. As I mentioned, Bailey got 6 but he was 28 at the time. CC got 8 years but he was 28 at the time too.
Scherzer has already turned down 6/148 from the Tigers and Lester has turned down a 5 year deal. I’m sure they and their agents are a little better at forecasting the free agent market for elite arms than those of us here.
Lester was low balled. Scherzer is represented by Boras. Bailey got 6 years (technically a 5 year extension) but it started with his age 28 season. Are there any good contract comparisons? Kershaw is much younger than either.
I don’t know that controllable years applies to Hamels. His contract now pays him for his free agent years. It’s different (because it is much more expensive) than the arbitration control teams have over players.
While technically true-you forgot to mention that the haul for those 3 players combined included an outfielder (Cespedes) who made this years all star game and a young but established MLB lefty starter (Smiley) to go along with the two shortstop prospects that changed hands. Had those deals been purely for prospects there obviously would have been quite a few more of them involved
okay, fair enough. let’s say Cespedes and Smyly easily count the same as a top prospect each, just for the same of argument. That’s still 4 for 2 pitchers easily of Hamel’s caliber (Lester and Price) and one that’s probably a solid no. 2 (Samardzija, who i was never a huge fan of in Chicago). All of whom combined are probably owed roughly what Hamels is.
Guys. Hamels has a 1.72 era in his last 18 starts. He’s right in the top of the mix behind Kershaw. Every bit as good if not better than Lester or Scherzer. The Phillies arent anxious to trade him.
If you want Cole Hamels at $90 M over the next 4 years it will cost you 3 prospects. If you dont give up the prospects you arent getting one of the games top pitchers. Good luck dealing with the Scherzer and Lester sweepstakes.
The Phillies don’t want to trade their best players. See how many games the Phillies win going with what they have.
The Phillies don’t want to trade their best player for less than what other teams are getting in return for similar players. He said they’re not anxious to trade him (meaning they aren’t in the Rays dilemma with Price, and needed to deal him before he cost them $20 M next year).
It all depends on the meaning of “top prospects.” On its face that certainly sounds reasonable. But are we talking prospects that are near the majors or in the low minors? Are we talking prospects that have All Star ceiling or those that could be solid starters?
I’m not sure the Phillies are going to find a trade partner willing to give up much top 100 talent. Hamels has a good contract, but it still is a risky one given his position and it’s not a great contract by any means. I suspect the Phillies are going to end up holding onto Hamels much like they did Cliff Lee. Hopefully the result is different.