We are now a couple of weeks into the offseason, and all of the Philadelphia Phillies' top targets are still on the board, so what better time to take another look at their odds of landing one of those big fish.
As has been the case since the trade deadline, the Phillies have a quite a few holes to fill. They'll be in the market for a centerfielder, setup man, third baseman and possibly a starting pitcher, likely in that order.
If you're following Bleacher Report's offseason tracker for the Phillies, you would know that they have already set aside a few targets that are likely to hover above the rest this winter. What are the odds of landing them?
Only one way to find out.
Odds: 15 percent
Nick Swisher probably isn't the greatest fit for the Phillies this winter for the simple fact that they don't necessarily need to pursue a corner outfielder and he isn't going to fill their gaping hole in center field.
Now, if the Phillies find all of their center field targets have signed elsewhere, they'll need to add some offense from somewhere. At that point, I can see them making a run at Swisher, but will he still be on the board?
The Phillies don't have a ton of money to spend this winter, and Swisher is probably looking at a deal in the four years and $48-56 million range. Teams that are desperate for offense and a corner outfielder (or a first baseman), like the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles, would probably love to have Swisher.
For the Phillies, I see him as more of a Plan B.
Odds: 50 percent
It's all about risk versus reward in the case of Josh Hamilton, who came out swinging this offseason by setting his initial asking price at seven years and $175 million.
The Phillies wouldn't even consider Hamilton at that price, and I am assuming that no other team will, which of course, helps bring the Phillies back into the conversation. Does Hamilton fit their needs? On some levels yes, and others no.
The biggest boon for the Phillies would be slotting Hamilton's bat into the middle of the order. Despite being left-handed, he has handled lefties well over the course of his career, and the dimensions of Citizens Bank Park could be a draw.
On the downside, you have to seriously question whether or not he can actually play center field (I think more teams see him as a left fielder) and if he can stay healthy.
Regardless of who signs Hamilton, I think his contract will have an interesting structure given his history. I'd be comfortable with a four-year deal including vesting options that only vest if Hamilton is playing at an MVP-caliber level.
Money isn't an issue here. It's the guaranteed years.
Odds: 60 percent
The Phillies don't have many options at third base, and none of them are ideal.
If spring training were to begin tomorrow, there would likely be some kind of competition between Kevin Frandsen and defensive wizard Freddy Galvis that ends in some sort of platoon at the hot corner for 2013.
Interestingly enough, the two of those players essentially combine to form a healthy Placido Polanco, and I think that the Phillies are ready to move on from Polanco's style of third base.
What the Phillies really need over at the hot corner is a bit of power, and even in decline, Kevin Youkilis is a more attractive offensive option than Frandsen or Galvis—if he can be had at the right price.
The White Sox and Phillies are interested in Kevin Youkilis, and the Dodgers are considering him as well. Rosenthal says other clubs are concerned whenever Los Angeles is reportedly in on a player given their financial might.
Read more at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/kevin_youkilis/#owIfG9fMPYUWYxSz.99
If this remains true, I think the Phillies have a strong shot at Youkilis, especially if the Dodgers have bigger fish to fry.
Odds: 65 percent
Are the Phillies really all that interested in adding a guy like Michael Bourn?
The simple answer is yes, but a deeper analysis leads you to give pause. Bourn is another left-handed bat that struggles against left-handed pitching at the top of the order. He strikeouts quite a bit. He has no power.
What Bourn will give you is an elite defensive centerfielder with great speed and a different approach—all things that the Phillies have valued in the past.
Ultimately, I think he signs elsewhere. The Phillies and Scott Boras are not on the best of terms, and I can already imagine Boras trying to pitch a presentation of why Bourn is worth $100 million to the Phillies. Not happening.
Odds: 90 percent
B.J. Upton makes a little too much sense for the Phillies to not consider them the favorite of signing him.
When you look at what the Phillies need out of a centerfielder, you come up with something like a "great defensive outfielder with good speed who is preferably right-handed and can hit for some power."
That pretty much describes Upton. Any team that signs him is going to be gambling on his untapped potential as he moves into the prime of his career. That potential includes great speed and defense, growing power and a potential perennial All-Star.
There are downsides, as with most players. Upton has been a bit of a headache to coach in the past and strikes out quite a bit—two things that the Phillies absolutely do not need.
However, if you put Upton in front of guys like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz and gamble on some of your younger talent producing (Darin Ruf, Domonic Brown), I think you have a solid offense in the works.