Earlier this week I wrote an article suggesting some very outside-the-box, crazy trade ideas. Most centered around well-known players with expensive contracts, and I understood that all were unlikely to occur. However, after the backlash I received—more than one person questioned what I was smoking—I’ve decided to attempt again, and this time give five possible trades that are not so outside-the-box.
In a couple of the trades I proposed in my earlier piece I suggested moving Ryan Howard. The only way Howard gets moved, at this point in his career and with his contract, is for another bad contract. That was the idea behind packaging him in a deal for Joe Mauer (his contract is even worse).
Other than taking back an equally bad, or worse, contract, the Phillies are not going to move Ryan Howard. And they probably shouldn’t.
The Phillies' two best trade pieces, on their major league club, are pitchers Cliff Lee and Vance Worley. While their minor league system has been gutted in recent years in an attempt to continue winning division titles, it is not completely barren.
However, if they were to attempt to deal for a player like Chase Headley or Jacoby Ellsbury, it would probably rob them of what talent they have left in their minor league system.
All that being said, the Phillies do have the pieces necessary to upgrade their team. They may not make a franchise-altering move, but they have a chance to get someone who can help them.
Without anymore babbling, here are a few deals the Phillies could possibly make this winter.
There have been rumors floating around that the Brewers may be interested in dealing their longtime stalwart. Hart has experience playing both corner outfield positions and first base. He’s a right-handed batter with power who’s been involved in pennant races and the postseason.
Since he’s scheduled to be a free agent after the 2013 season, the Brewers realistically can’t ask for more than Vance Worley—if that’s even realistic. The Brewers might have to sweeten the deal by including another player—perhaps Triple-A outfielder Khris Davis.
The Colorado Rockies have made it known that Dexter Fowler is available and that they need pitching. While Vance Worley could get the deal done, I’m not sure the Phillies would be interested in doing that. Fowler is a switch-hitter with speed and some power, but he also strikes out an awful lot and, according to fangraphs.com, is a horrible fielder.
(While I don’t value UZR ratings as much as some of my counterparts, I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of Fowler’s defensive abilities and therefore don’t have anything else to go on.)
The Phillies may be able to put a package together centered around some younger pitchers.
Tyler Cloyd had a decent audition this September. While he doesn’t project as a top-of-the-rotation starter, he could be a serviceable starter. Add in a big-armed reliever like Michael Schwimer, a prospect such as J.C. Ramirez and maybe even John Mayberry—a young, right-handed back who could flourish is Coors Field while spelling Todd Helton at first base—and the Phillies could have the workings of a deal.
Bourjos is a young, talented outfielder but he may be the odd man out on a crowded Angels team. The Angels' efforts this offseason are likely going to be centered around resigning starting pitcher Zack Greinke, but they also need relief help.
With the Phillies having a surplus of young, talented arms, they may be able to pry Bourjos away for a couple of them. In all likelihood they would have to part with one of their higher-ranked relievers—perhaps Justin De Fratus—and maybe even a Michael Stutes or David Herndon-type pitcher.
I have been adamant about the Phillies holding on to Jesse Biddle, their best prospect in my eyes, but sometimes current needs override future ones.
Desmond Jennings was the heir apparent to Carl Crawford in Tampa Bay, and so far has not lived up to expectations. However, he’s sill only 25, under team control through 2017 and has all the tools. He strikes out far too much and regressed with more playing time in 2012, but he’s got a huge upside and is a good defensive outfielder.
He’s mostly been a corner outfielder but also has some experience in center-field.
The Rays may be interested in Jesse Biddle as a replacement for David Price when he leaves for greener pastures in the not-too-distant future.
Before landing his mega-contract with the Cubs several years ago, Soriano was in talks with the Phillies to replace Pat Burrell in left-field.
When the cost became too exorbitant, the Phillies moved on. However, after a resurgence of sorts by Soriano in 2012, and with Chicago reportedly willing to eat a large portion of the money remaining on his contract, the Phillies might need to re-explore the idea of Soriano in their outfield.
The Cubs could use some young pitchers and/or catchers, but is two years of Soriano, even at a discounted cost, worth a top prospect? I don’t know.