There are rumors floating about the baseball world about the Philadelphia Phillies possibly bringing in closer Heath Bell and outfielder Ryan Ludwick. Jon Paul Morosi reported that the Philadelphia, Seattle and Cincinnati are interested in Bell and Ludwick.
Let's better analyze this potential trade in what it does for "Philly's Phinest."
Heath Bell, the successor to Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman in San Diego, has been pretty much a success. The 6'3", 260 lb. Bell has 89 saves the past two seasons. Compared with other pitchers in the Phillies bullpen, that is more than Brad Lidge (58) and Ryan Madson (15) combined.
Granted, Lidge was injured for a portion of the last two seasons, and Madson was mainly the eighth-inning setup man. However, in 2011, Bell has four more saves (19) than Madson (15), but Madson became the closer after Jose Contreras went down with an injury.
Madson who, like Bell, becomes a free agent after this year, has been solid in his relief role converting 15 saves and only blowing one save. However, Madson's agent is Scott Boras. For those of you who don't know, Boras is known for getting his clients the absolute most money he possibly can.
With Bastardo and Contreras, can the Phillies afford to let Madson walk? If they bring in Bell, who is 33, would they rather pay Bell or Madson? Madson just this year has become a ninth-inning-guy, and really has shined in the eighth inning. He has 112 career holds, including 58 holds in the last three years.
Bell has been a lockdown closer, something that the Phillies haven't had since Brad Lidge's magical 2008 season. Madson, as a closer last year, did have as many saves as blown saves—five. Maybe the Phillies want to use Bell in the ninth, Madson in the eighth and use Contreras, a proven veteran in the bullpen.
As for Ryan Ludwick, he fills a much-needed right-handed bat in the Phillies lineup. Other names that have surfaced as possible new residents in the outfield of Citizens' Bank Park are the Twins' Michael Cuddyer and Oakland A's outfielder Josh Willingham.
If you compare the stats among the three players, they are pretty much similar. In terms of batting average, Ludwick is a career .265 hitter, Willingham is a career .262 hitter and Cuddyer is a career .270 hitter. Ludwick and Willingham have both hit 113 career home runs to Cuddyer's career 131 home runs.
In terms of driving runs in for their career, Cuddyer has 539 RBI, Ludwick has 420 RBI and Willingham has 378 RBI. But WIllingham leads his fellow right-handed batting outfielders in On-Base Percentage (.362) and Slugging Percentage (.469).
Cuddyer, Willingham, and Ludwick are all 32 years of age, and it looks as if Cuddyer is in the downside of his major league career, and over the last three years, Ludwick has a higher average (.273) and more home runs (76), than Willingham (.260, 55 HR).
So, if the Phillies are seriously considering bringing in a right-handed outfielder and a proven closer, maybe they should go after Ludwick and Bell, but who do they trade away to San Diego? Leave your thoughts in the comment section, what do you think the Phillies should do?
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