Chances of Each Top 25 Free Agent Ending Up with the Philadelphia Phillies

Greg PintoCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2012

Chances of Each Top 25 Free Agent Ending Up with the Philadelphia Phillies

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    The Philadelphia Phillies have holes to fill this offseason and everyone knows it. 

    Then again, it's not much of a secret. This is a team that fell out of contention at last season's trade deadline and moved a couple of nicely sized salaries off of the books to free up some space under the luxury tax. 

    But they're not going to roll over. There is too much invested in the players already on the payroll. The Phillies have the talent to complete, but if they truly want to contend, they're going to need some help. 

    Ruben Amaro Jr. and company are going to have to get creative to fill those holes. They'll explore the trade market, but given the state of the Phillies' payroll and farm system, I think it is much more likely that you will see a free agent signing or two. 

    The Phillies have the money to make a splash, but will they? This slideshow will explore the possibility of the best of the free agent market signing with the Phillies this winter.

Maicer Izturis

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    Odds of Signing: 35%

    If Maicer Izturis joins the Phillies, it won't be as the club's starting third baseman as some have suggested. 

    He just doesn't have the bat to play that position for the Phillies and his glove isn't going to make up for his offensive shortcomings. 

    What the Phillies could use is a solid utility guy and Izturis can definitely be that. But with the defensive wizard Freddy Galvis already on the roster, why spend the extra dollars? 

Kelly Johnson

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    Odds of Signing: 10%

    Had the Phillies moved Chase Utley to third base, I would say the chances of them pursuing Kelly Johnson would have been much higher. Now, there is next to no need for him.

    In fact, the only reason that I put the odds at 10% is because the third base market is incredibly weak and the Phillies may want to keep an eye on some other infielders just in case.

    Johnson's drop in power could be seen as a bit of a concern, however, and the Phillies normally prefer superior defense.  

Grant Balfour

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    Odds of Signing: 55%

    Grant Balfour could help the Phillies next season, especially if he is willing to accept a one-year deal. 

    He took over as the closer for the Oakland Athletics during the regular season and may have pitched his way into a two-year contract. Given their recent history with guys like Jose Contreras and Danys Baez, I'm not sure the Phillies will chance a multi-year deal on a guy who will be 35 years old in 2013. 

    On a one-year deal, that's a different story and the odds are probably much higher. Balfour is a versatile reliever with experience in several different bullpen roles and he could help the Phillies' youngsters out quite a bit.

Jeff Keppinger

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    Odds of Signing: 55%

    Jeff Keppinger is an interesting name to keep an eye on. 

    He isn't exactly the kind of infielder that you perceive as a third baseman. Keppinger doesn't have very much power and hasn't played much third base in recent seasons. 

    But he's an excellent platoon player that hits left-handed pitching very well and makes good overall contact, as well as being a solid defender. 

    Personally, I don't think that Keppinger should be anything more than a fall back option, but his name has been a popular one on the rumor mill. At the very least, he wouldn't be a bad guy to have on your bench, but someone may commit a bit more to him.

Ryan Ludwick

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    Odds of Signing: 40%

    Now Ryan Ludwick is a guy that I could see the Phillies pursuing aggressively this offseason. He fits a lot of their needs. 

    The biggest need is for offense, especially from that of a right-handed hitter. Ludwick hit 26 home runs with the Cincinnati Reds this offseason and played a slightly below average left field. 

    Obviously, the price needs to be right. I don't think the Phillies would commit more than one year to a guy like Ludwick, who could very well end up being nothing more than a platoon player in a down season. 

    I think they'll have other priorities (like a legitimate center fielder), but I could see the Phillies making a run at Ludwick as well.

Russell Martin

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    Odds of Signing: 1%

    Russell Martin is going to be one of the best catchers available on the market this winter, but the Phillies already have a starting catcher in Carlos Ruiz. 

    Any interest they had in a guy like Martin would be purely as a backup or with the intention of moving Ruiz out from behind the plate, and that's not happening. 

    Some clubs will probably worry about his offensive production outside of Yankee Stadium and with the short dimensions, I wouldn't put too much stock in his 21 home runs. With that being said, he'll hook on somewhere as a starting catcher and not with the Phillies.

Kevin Youkilis

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    Odds of Signing: 65%

    Can Kevin Youkilis be had on a one-year deal? Anything longer than that may scare a few teams away, mainly because Youkilis is in an obvious decline at the plate. 

    He's 33 years old now and obviously moving past the prime of his career, but a change of scenery to the National League may do him some good and the Phillies would love to have a nice stopgap at third base if they can't find one worth keeping longer (a la San Diego's Chase Headley). 

    At the very least, the patient Youkilis would bring a nice change of pace to the Phillies' swing-happy offensive approach. 

    The downside is that he is a step better than Ty Wigginton at third base, which isn't saying much.

Marco Scutaro

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    Odds of Signing: 75%

    I think the Phillies like Marco Scutaro and it wouldn't surprise me if he joins them next season. The reason for that is twofold. 

    First, the Phillies are in desperate need of a third baseman that is going to stay healthy, and Scutaro has played in at least 140 games in four of the last five seasons. He's also a very good defender—something that the Phillies value. 

    But Scutaro also gives the Phillies options, and this is a club that needs options. He also plays a very solid second base and shortstop and the Phillies may need to rest guys like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins at various points over the course of the season. 

    So I definitely believe that they'll have interest in a guy like Scutaro. The real question is whether or not they'll pursue someone a bit more offensive-minded to play third base, and I think that could be a likely scenario as well.

Adam LaRoche

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    Odds of Signing: 1%

    There probably wasn't a prospective free agent in the game that made himself more valuable following the 2012 season than Adam LaRoche. 

    The first baseman was on the brink of irrelevancy before he signed a one-year deal (with an option) with the Washington Nationals last offseason and had a strong, bounce-back campaign that included 33 home runs. 

    In a market that is relatively sparse of difference making first basemen, LaRoche could make some contender happy if the Nats decline his option. It won't be the Phillies, though, as they are saddled with Ryan Howard's albatross contract.

Stephen Drew

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    Odds of Signing: 5%

    Now this would be interesting. 

    The first thing you have to ask yourself is whether or not Stephen Drew had any interest of joining the Phillies given his brother's history with the club. I don't think anyone needs a refresher on the J.D. Drew story. 

    Then, you would have to wonder if he'd be willing to move to third base given the presence of Jimmy Rollins—something that I don't think he'd be willing to do because he's more valuable as a shortstop. 

    But Drew is a good defender with a decent bat and it wouldn't surprise me if the Phillies made him a one-year offer to try and build some value for himself. He'd have to do it as a third baseman, however.

Angel Pagan

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    Odds of Signing: 75%

    I think that the odds of the Phillies signing Angel Pagan are at least as likely as they are that the club winds up with Michael Bourn. 

    It comes down to weighing the pros and cons. 

    If his solid postseason doesn't send his price through the roof, Pagan could wind up being a bargain. He isn't going to be as expensive as the market's top center fielders, but could pound for pound, has a good chance of providing the most bang for your buck. 

    Pagan is a switch-hitter who has had a couple of solid, but under the radar, seasons. He should have a strong market because of his mid-tier status, but I think the Phillies will get involved. He makes a good bit of sense for them.

Lance Berkman

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    Odds of Signing: 0%

    Lance Berkman is not what the Phillies are looking for and you have to assume that, at this point in his career, it's going to be a one-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals or retire for the longtime Houston Astro. 

    His career with the Cardinals hasn't been a long one, but even late into his career, Berkman has been swinging the bat well. If I had to hazard a guess, he probably retires this winter. 

Mike Adams

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    Odds of Signing: 50%

    Even after undergoing surgery to correct his thoracic outlet syndrome, Mike Adams isn't going to have a hard time finding a new team this winter. 

    Over the last few seasons, there have been very few—if any—setup men who have been as good, as consistently as Adams. 

    The Phillies will be interested. There is no doubt about that. But Adams is not going to come cheap. His agency will probably try and build him a deal with the framework of Joaquin Benoit's three-year, $16.5 million deal, and I don't believe the Phillies want to commit that to a reliever. 

    If he can be had for cheaper in terms of both years and dollars, count the Phillies in. Otherwise, I think they'll focus on other options, like Ryan Madson and Grant Balfour.

    There is too much talent already in their bullpen to splurge on an "elite" setup man. 

Ryan Madson

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    Odds of Signing: 85%

    I don't think anyone is particularly fond of the way the 2012 offseason went for Ryan Madson and the Phillies. 

    Here is a player who seemed to genuinely wanted to stay in Philadelphia, only to be caught up in a bit of controversy between his agent (Scott Boras) and the Phillies front office (Ruben Amaro Jr. and David Montgomery). 

    Madson wound up having to take a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds and underwent Tommy John surgery in spring training. Once again, he'll be looking for a one-year deal to rebuild value. 

    This time, it should be with the Phillies. The Phillies are in desperate need of a legitimate eighth inning set-up man and Madson is a guy who has excelled in that role for them in the past. 

    It is an opportunity for the Phillies to get bargain and solidify their bullpen. Madson isn't going to come cheap, relatively speaking, but any bullpen that consists of a seventh, eighth and ninth innning of some form of Antonio Bastardo / Justin De Fratus / Phillippe Aumont, Madson and Jonathan Papelbon is a very strong one. 

    I expect the Phillies to pursue Madson very, very aggressively.

Mike Napoli

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    Odds of Signing: 1%

    Mike Napoli "plays" two positions on the diamond and the Phillies are locked into commitments for 2013 at both of them. 

    The reason I placed the word "plays" in quotes is because Napoli is probably best suited to be a designated hitter and I can't imagine many National League clubs will come calling unless they're desperate for offense. 

    Napoli certainly has some pop in that bat, but the Phillies will be counting on guys like Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz in 2013. 

Shane Victorino

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    Odds of Signing: 55%

    It wouldn't surprise me to see the Phillies reunite with Shane Victorino, but I think their preference is to move on. 

    Of course, the Phillies traded Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline last season in hopes to solidifiying their bullpen—a move that ultimately didn't go very well, (but may have landed them one of their best pitching prospects in Ethan Martin). 

    With good, pure center fielders like Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan and B.J. Upton on the market, I think the Phillies want to try and create a new spark with a new presence (which is also why I think Upton is their target), but Victorino is as solid a Plan B as there is available.

Kyle Lohse

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    Odds of Signing: 1%

    Someone is going to overpay for Kyle Lohse this offseason and it is not going to be the Phillies. 

    There is a belief that the Phillies could have some interest in a starting pitcher this winter, but they're not looking for a guy like Lohse, especially considering they already have four starters (and a ton of money) penciled into the depth chart. 

    Lohse's 16-3 record and 2.86 ERA make him out to be a front line starter when in reality, he's more of a middle of the rotation kind of guy. He's also 33 years old. 

    A reunion with the Phillies is not going to happen unless its on a one-year deal and for cheap, and he won't be. 

Cody Ross

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    Odds of Signing: 20%

    It wouldn't surprise me to see Cody Ross reach a new agreement with the Boston Red Sox before free agency even gets under way, making this a moot point, but for argument's sake, I'll make the Phillies' case. 

    There is no doubt that this club needs a right-handed bat with power. Think back to the moment Pat Burrell left in free agency. How many players have been able to fill the void since? Jayson Werth. That's it. 

    The Phillies tried everything in between, from John Mayberry Jr. to Hunter Pence and nothing has worked. 

    Ross could help quite a bit. He had a very strong season in Boston last year and has hit well in Citizens Bank Park in the past. But he seems to have formed a strong relationship with the Red Sox and the Phillies aren't going to splurge on a corner outfielder with such a gaping void in center field. 

Dan Haren

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    Odds of Signing: 40%

    You can consider this an "early prediction" for Dan Haren because the honest truth is that I have no idea how his market will play out. You can approach his offseason in one of two ways. 

    First, you look at the track record, which some teams (but maybe not the best) will certainly do. He is a top line starting pitcher who could really help a contender and will demand a multi-year contract. 

    In that case, with so much money invested in starting pitching, I think the Phillies are out. 

    On the other hand, you have a guy that is a borderline "elite" pitcher who had an abnormally bad year in 2012 thanks to injuries and things of that nature. He could take the Edwin Jackson route and look for a one-year deal to rebuild value and go back out onto the free agent market in 2013. 

    In that case, I think the Phillies are an excellent fit. 

    They had interest in Haren when he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2010 season before they traded him to the Los Angeles Angels and the Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt. 

    If he were looking for a one-year deal, the Phillies would be a nice fit. They could afford to offer him a strong base salary and escalators and he stands to gain quite a bit pitching behind the likes of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. 

    If that second scenario develops, I think the Phillies are a much stronger bet than 40 percent, but the only way to really find out at this point is to wait and see.

Melky Cabrera

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    Odds of Signing: 10%

    If you're looking at the Phillies' outfield situation and Melky Cabrera's numbers alone, I think you'll see an obvious fit. But the Phillies have done their absolute best to avoid clubhouse conflict over the last few seasons and Cabrera could be a problem. 

    Of course, Cabrera is coming off of a long 50-game suspension for a failed drug test this season that kept him off of the San Francisco Giants postseason roster and likely cost him millions of dollars. 

    He could be a bargain for a team that is desperate for outfield help, and on some levels, the Phillies are desperate for outfield help. 

    But they are less desperate in the corner outfield spots and I just can't see Cabrera wearing red pinstripes next season.

Nick Swisher

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    Odds of Signing: 45%

    In a sick, demented sort of way, I'm sure there are more than a few teams out there a bit too happy to see Nick Swisher struggle in the postseason in 2012. It's a terribly small sample size that shouldn't affect his price this winter, but it will. 

    One thing is for certain: If anyone even entertained the thought that Swisher could get a "Jayson Werth-type deal," well, that's out the window. 

    But Swisher will command quite a bit and I'm not sure the Phillies will be overly interested in him. They'll likely only make an offer to Swisher if they can lock up a center fielder early in the winter, because otherwise, they'd have to move into 2013 with one of Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. as the everyday guy in center, and that won't happen. 

    Realistically, the only way I can see Swisher signing with the Phillies is if they are able to sign a center fielder and Swisher's price drops dramatically after sitting on the market. Probably not going to happen. 

B.J. Upton

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    Odds of Signing: 80%

    The free agent market is flush with outfielders this winter—center fielders in particular—and that bodes well for the Phillies, since this is arguably their greatest need. If I had to pick which one they wind up with, my money is one B.J. Upton. 

    Upton fits their needs in a lot of ways. He is a good defensive center fielder just hitting the prime of his career. He is a right-handed bat with some pop that would fit nicely in the two-hole of their order. He is a five-tool player if there ever was one. 

    And even with all of those positives, I don't think the market for Upton is going to get out of control expensive. Why? Well, that is also his greatest downside. 

    When is he going to start living up to the potential? Today's game is all about future success rather than a proven entity, and Upton has a boatload of potential. But how much are you willing to wager on a guy who has not been entirely committed to the game in the past? 

    The Phillies, who obviously need to get younger, appear to be a nice fit for Upton and I think that their plethora of veterans can coax the success out of him. It could be a good fit. It could be a disaster, but I think Upton is the guy playing center field for the Phillies next season.

Michael Bourn

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    Odds of Signing: 75%

    Heading into the offseason, Michael Bourn's name was a popular one out of the mouths of Phillies fans. Why? Well, the former Phillie just seems to make a ton of sense for the club in the future. 

    He plays a top-notch defense in center field—something that the Phillies crave. He is a top of the order bat with plus speed that would likely supplant Jimmy Rollins. 

    Two big holes to fill and both could be filled by Bourn. 

    The reason that I'm leaving the odds at a relatively low, but still strong, mark of 75 percent is because there are drawbacks as well. 

    Bourn is a Scott Boras client, so you know he is going to cost a pretty penny. He's also a relatively one-dimensional offensive player moving into the prime of his career. You also have to wonder if adding another left-handed bat to the order is going to help this club.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the Phillies sign Bourn, but my gut feeling tells me that they'll go in another direction. 

Zack Greinke

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    Odds of Signing: 1%

    With Cole Hamels already locked up by the Phillies, Zack Greinke is the best starting pitcher available this winter and it isn't particularly close. He is also going to be a pretty interest case. 

    If I am Greinke, I'm very happy to see Hamels off the market. Now he knows what the price is for an elite starting pitcher this offseason (albeit Hamels is left-handed) and there is next to no competition for him on the market. 

    Greinke is in a class by himself this winter—the best of the best.

    The point is that whatever Greinke asks for this winter, it will be out of the Phillies' price range. They are already paying three starting pitchers more than $20 million next season and Greinke is going to come close—at the very least. 

    He won't be pitching in Philadelphia in 2013.

Josh Hamilton

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    Odds of Signing: 50%

    This one could go either way. 

    I do think that the Phillies will jump into the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes this winter because they are in desperate need of a game-changing bat that has the potential to wake up rest of the roster. Hamilton can do that. 

    If the bidding stays within their price range (which may actually be more heavily geared to years than dollars), I could definitely see the Phillies getting involved and there are few ballparks that would cater to Hamilton's skill-set quite like Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. 

    Now, with that being said, there are some obvious downsides. The Phillies need a center fielder and Hamilton is not a center fielder long term, if now. 

    He is also left-handed and would join Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown in the middle of the Phillies order. They'd be incredibly left-handed. 

    So the bottom line is this: If the price is right, the Phillies will jump into the fray and could be seen as favorites to land Hamilton. Ultimately, I think they'll pass. 

Who Do They Sign?

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    So now that I gave you my odds for the Phillies' chances of signing each of the market's top 25 players, who do I think will ultimately join the Phillies for 2013? 

    Two players: Ryan Madson and B.J. Upton. 

    If the Phillies are able to land those two guys, they will be a much better team because of it. Madson would help solidify the bullpen and Upton fills a couple of needs in the lineup. 

    A few other guys to keep an eye on are Marco Scutaro, Kevin Youkilis and Jeff Keppinger. The Phillies are going to need a third baseman and at this point, it looks like they're going to have to get creative.