Sticky: Phillies Hot Stove Running Commentary
It’s here. Our MLB hot stove running commentary to keep you nice and warm during the Winter Meetings.
Hit it for the latest– 5:32 p.m. Keep scrolling for other posts.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting, in all his tiny glory, that the Mariners and Josh Hamilton continue to close in on a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of three-years, $60-$75 million, which is astoundingly low.
Presumably, a deal like that would include some sort of vesting option for a fourth year. But still, if that’s all it’s going to take to get Josh Hamilton, Ruben should just go to his house, with a six-pack of Mad Elf and $80 million in cash, and get it done right there, because I have a hard time believing Hamilton takes anything under $100 million.
Some videos of Revere thanks to our friend Phillies beat reporter Matt Hammond of 97.3 ESPN (@MattHammondTIP). Revere had the play of the year in baseball in 2011:
Corey Seidman of CSN Philly points out a somewhat troubling stat, that Revere had the highest ground ball rate, 66.9%, of any player since 2002, when they started keeping track of that sort of thing.
Incredibly, that’s 15 points higher than Hunter Pence’s ground ball rate, which helped scorch a hole between home plate and shortstop at Citizens Bank Park.
While you were Googling Ben Revere and his sweet fucking hat tilt (swag lean), some other stuff sort of but not really went down.
Jon Morosi reports the Phillies and Rangers are still working on a Michael Young deal.
Jon Heyman reports that the Mariners are not close to a deal for Josh Hamilton, as had been reported earlier. He says they like Michael Bourn, who might find himself in that chair once the music stops. And this:
That sounds hot. I don’t know why, but it does.
My Dad just texted me. I can't tell if he likes the trade or not:
Vance Worley and Ben Revere on the trades, via Ryan Lawrence on Sulia:
Revere: "I was working out when I got the call. The Philadelphia Phillies is a great organization. I’ve been playing against them. Played against them this year when I was with the Twins. Their fan base is great. Everything about them is great. They’ve got great players, great coaches and it’s going to be a good time to be over there playing for them."
Worley: Worley: "I didn’t see it coming. I’m over here at Citizens Bank Park, I just finished working out, and I got the news. So I guess it is just time to pack it up and head over to Minnesota and just keep working on getting healthy for the season."
Ben Revere is on Twitter (@BenRevere9) and this is his ride:
The consensus on Twitter is that Revere, 24, is a young Juan Pierre-Michael Bourn type player.
Revere in 2012: .294 AVG, .333 OBP, .675 OPS, 0 HR, 32 RBI, 40 SB, sweet fucking hat tilt.
Pierre in 2012: .307 AVG, .351 OBP, .721 OPS, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 37 SB, sweet fucking hat tilt.
Pierre at age 24, in 2002: .287 AVG, .332 OBP, .675 OPS, 1 HR, 35 RBI, 47 SB, sweet fucking hat tilt.
Bourn in 2012: .274 AVG, .348 OBP, .739 OPS, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 42 SB, no fucking hat tilt.
Bourn at age 24, in 2007 (limited time with the Phillies): .277 AVG, .348 OBP, .727 OPS, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 18 SB, no fucking hat tilt
Revere has the worst OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of anyone here. His on-base percentage is a bit lower than the others’, but what’s holding him back is his power. He has none. He hasn’t hit a home run in over two seasons with the Twins. But, check out Revere compared to 24-year-old Juan Pierre, from 2002– they’re almost identical. Here, I put them side-by-side:
No, their stats, silly:
Revere in 2012: .294 AVG, .333 OBP, .675 OPS, 0 HR, 32 RBI, 40 SB, sweet fucking hat tilt.
Pierre at age 24: .287 AVG, .332 OBP, .675 OPS, 1 HR, 35 RBI, 47 SB, sweet fucking hat tilt.
That’s a good sign. Juan Pierre finished in top 10 in MVP voting the next season, led the league in steals (also, caught stealing), at-bats, and the Marlins won the World Series.
The Ben "Paul" Revere Photoshops are rolling in:
via reader Tom
Ruben Amaro: "Ben is an outstanding, young, controllable center fielder who fits nicely with our club."
Translation: He was our fifth choice. But I'm not done.
Also like Happ, Worley was working out at Citizens Bank Park when Amaro told him about the trade, Worley told Jim Bowden on XM. Ouch. That seems to be a thing for the Phillies– shooting their starting pitchers while they jog around the warning track at CBP.
Trading Worley and May, who was highly thought of, for Revere is a lot. But count me as someone who thought Worley peaked early, sort of like J.A. Happ.
Last year (2011), we detailed some reasons why Worley was pitching well over his head– his stuff, location and consistency weren’t parallel to his success. That became all the more apparent after an injury-plagued second season. The Phillies are selling high on Worley, and that’s a good thing.
Revere is only 24 and has played in 254 games in three seasons with the Twins. He batted .294 last season with no home runs and 32 RBIs. But, batting mostly second in the lineup and some leadoff, he stole 40 bases. He bats left and throws right, was the Twins first round pick in 2007, and is under contract until 2018 (arbitration eligible in 2014). He made the league minimum last year.
I’m not terribly familiar with Revere (like, at all), but it seems as though he has a high upside and, quite frankly, is the type of player the Phillies could use– young, inexpensive, fast.
It's Worley and Trevor May to the Twins. Wow.
Scott Miller of CBS Sports reports that Twins get Worley and a "good" minor league pitcher.
And center field is filled.
Todd Zolecki is reporting that the Phillies have acquired Ben Revere from the Twins. No word on who the Phillies have sent their way.
Danny Knobler is reporting that Vance Worley is in deal.
Jon Heyman reports that the Phillies have, in fact, been talking to the Twins about Ben Revere. Heyman, for my money, is the best there is at this. Constant updates, almost always first.
Ruben has the left the building:
It sounds like the Rangers are forcing Young to either accept the trade or be a backup.
The Phillies and Rangers are very close to a deal that would send Michael Young to the Phillies with the Rangers paying a large chunk of his $16 million salary. They might just be waiting on Young to waive his NTC.
If-then statements, baby.
Josh Hamilton and the Mariners are “very close” to getting a deal done, according to the Seattle Times:
It once seemed like Josh Hamilton had become a forgotten man for the Mariners here this week as they pursued a host of other offensive options. But I’m now told the talks between the two sides have been a lot more serious than anyone has let on and that they are actually “very close” to getting a deal done.
The one thing holding the process up is the fact the Texas Rangers are also interested in hanging on to Hamilton and remain the most serious Mariners competitor on that front. But the Rangers also remain engaged in a two-pronged battle with the Dodgers for the services of starting pitcher Zack Greinke and would not be able to land both him and Hamilton.
The thinking is that the Rangers would prefer to sign Greinke over Hamilton. If that happens, it would essentially be down to the Mariners, Phillies and Brewers as potential suitors for Hamilton, according to most reports this week. It sounds like the Mariners want him bad. So much so, in fact, that they might be part of a four-team mega deal that would see Justin Upton going from the Diamondbacks to the Rangers, who would use Upton to replace Hamilton.
Upton, 25, would help replace the offense lost by the departure of Hamilton, who likely will be too expensive for the Rangers to keep if they sign Greinke. The Rangers want to add one top hitter and one top starting pitcher, preferably one through free agency, one through a trade, sources say.
Basically, the Rangers are hard for Greinke and Upton, and the Mariners are trying to assure that the Rangers get Upton, so they won’t get Hamilton. The thing is, it all hinges on what happens first. If the Rangers sign Greinke, then they most certainly won’t sign Hamilton. If they trade for Upton, then they probably won't sign Hamilton. But if the Dodgers sign Greinke, then the Rangers will likely become major players for Hamilton again, presumably jacking up his price.
The Phillies keep coming up in these discussions, but usually as also-rans. That doesn’t mean they’re not players, though. Last year, the Angels came in at the last second to sign Albert Pujols. And two years ago… well, Cliff Lee. Rube likes to keep a low-profile, and perhaps he’s waiting for the Rangers to sign Greinke – officially signaling that they’re going in a different direction – and then will take the Mariners head on in bidding for Hamilton.
Jayson Stark says that Michael Young has shown no interest in waiving his no-trade clause to come to the Phillies. A modern day Roy Oswalt, I says! [Oswalt, obviously, caved… and then went back home for a week to play on his tractor and hurt his back, Jules.]
Danny Knobler of CBS Sports writes about the Phillies' five center field options. And they are: Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, Ben Revere and Dexter Fowler.
The last three would have to come from trades, so I’d still guess Bourn and Hamilton are options one and two.
Knobler calls Hamilton a long-shot, both because of the large contract he will command and because he’s left-handed.
Knobler says that the Phillies are “nowhere near” meeting Scott Boras’ asking price for Bourn, which figures to be around $80 million.
The Yankees may not want to trade Gradnerson, Knobler says.
For Revere, the Twins are looking for young pitching.
And while Knobler calls Fowler “a great fit” (I agree), the asking price has been stiff.
Read the full story here.
So, Rube’s awake, and apparently he’s trying to acquire 36-year-old Michael Young.
The Phillies entered the final morning of the winter meetings Thursday with a legitimate trade possibility. Multiple baseball sources tell CSNPhilly.com that the Phils are in serious discussions with the Texas Rangers about a deal for veteran infielder Michael Young. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning Newsreported that the two teams were in "advanced talks" about Young.
Young has a no-trade clause, but indications are that he would waive it to come to Philly. He has one year and $16 million left on his deal.
Evan Grant of the Dallas News reported the following late last night:
At the meetings’ outset Monday, sources indicated the Rangers, who have explored trading Young after both the 2008 and 2010 seasons, had approached the Phillies and another team about a Young deal even before clubs descended upon the Gaylord Opryland.
It seems like the Phillies have been trying to acquire Young for four years. He’s an upgrade of the huge hole they have at third base, but he’s not young.
No longer an All-Star, Young batted .277 with eight home runs and 67 RBIs last season. He had a low on-base percentage of .312 and an OPS of .682, the lowest of his career and an almost 100-point drop from the previous decade.
Rube loves him some old white guys this time of year, and I’m not talking about Santa. The Phillies need to get younger, or add a superstar (Hamilton), or address their needs in the outfield, before we should get excited about Micael Young. That said, he’s better than what they got and he’s durable.
Some updates from the evening, as I checked out for a few to film tomorrow night’s Great Sports Debate (THURSDAYS AT 7 ON COMCAST NETWORK!)
Sources say they’d love to get Peter Bourjos even though the Angels plan on keeping him and starting him in centerfield. A trade for Colorado’s Dexter Fowler is a possibility. And then there’s this whacky idea: Signing Ichiro Suzuki to play centerfield and trading for a corner man like Minnesota’s Josh Willingham. The Phils have interest in both players, sources say.
While it’s admittedly a reach to think Suzuki could play regularly in centerfield, Amaro did not shoot down the scenario when presented with it. He acknowledged that the Phils would have to be “creative” in finding the defense and offensive production they’d like to add in the outfield.
Amaro not shooting something down and shooting something down mean nothing. He likes to do that sort of thing for sport, I think.
Michael Bourn is probably still the best fit for the Phillies, but again, he’s going to get around $80 million, and Scott Boras is touting him as the elite center fielder on the market, which mean he expects more than B.J. Upton’s $75 million from the Braves.
Nate Schierholtz signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal with the Cubs.
Joe Blanton signed a two-year, $15 million deal with the Angels.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies are among the teams interested in Raul Ibanez. Fun.
Ruben Amaro is asleep. But thankfully, we have Ryan Lawrence to take us inside the Phillies’ war room at the Omynreresspsrspsporrspirt Hotel in Nashville. Not surprisingly, a black cloth is draped across the Phillies’ offseason plans (if that’s not a metaphor for something, I don’t know what is): [Philly.com]
So while the New York Mets held a press conference to officially announce a contract extension with David Wright, and while the Washington Nationals add Dan Haren and Denard Span, the Braves add one Upton brother and are rumored to be in on the second, and the Marlins unload everyone other than Billy the Marlin, the Phils have been uncharacteristically quiet.
But quiet shouldn’t be misinterpreted as inactive.
Inside the Phillies’ executive suite is a dry erase board that has a black table cloth draped over it each time the media is invited in for an end-of-the-day rap session. While Amaro has been comfortable seated on the couch for these chats with the media, his top lieutenant, assistant GM Scott Proefrock, is chained to a table and focused on the computer screen in front of him.
There’s a Homeland corkboard reference to make somewhere here, but I’m too bored to find it.
Readers Shane (who checked in earlier in the running commentary) and (our favorite business analyst) Adam are tired of waiting. I am, too. Let's go, Rube.
Jon Heyman also says the Rangers are working very hard on aquiring Justin Upton– yet another example that they've moved away from Hamilton.
In the past half day or so, we’ve heard that potential suitors for Josh Hamilton may be moving on: The Rangers are going hard after (and for) Zack Greinke, who is nuts. The Red Sox gave $80 million to Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli. And now the Mariners may be moving away from Hamilton. Jon Heyman reports that, like other teams, the Mariners are interested in a short-term agreement, and that they, like the Phillies, like Michael Bourn very much.
So, it would seem that the Phillies and Mariners are both interested in the same two outfielders: Bourn and Hamilton. And it would seem that both are wary about giving Hamilton a long-term deal.
MLB Trade Rumors writes: Most baseball people believe Hamilton will end up signing for five years or less, with some clubs exploring vesting options to protect themselves, says Heyman. He names the Mariners, Red Sox, Phillies and Brewers as teams besides the Rangers that have shown interest in the outfielder.
So, if the Rangers move on to Greinke… and if the Red Sox moved on to stupid contracts… that leaves the Phillies, Mariners and Brewers (one would think they are a long shot, if only because of their small market being terrible for endorsement deals, which Hamilton could use to supplement what is shaping up to be a reduced contract filled with vesting options).
One again, the Rangers, who were previously rumored to be getting close to a deal with Josh Hamilton, are now favorites to land Zack Greinke, meaning they wouldn’t re-sign Hamilton.
Writing 400,000 words late last night, David Murphy of Philly.com posits that trading Vance Worley would make sense: [Philly.com]
But let's go back to the original hypothetical that was posed to Amaro in early November. The scenario did not propose trading a high-priced veteran like Lee. It proposed trading a piece who has all of the characteristics that general managers covet: youth, success at the major league level, and a low salary. Like Vance Worley.
Making Worley a piece of a deal would weaken the Phillies' rotation, but the rotation might be easier, and more cost-effective, to address via free agency. The top of the market features Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson, Kyle Lohse and Ryan Dempster. But there is plenty of potential value to be had elsewhere: Shaun Marcum, Brandon McCarthy, Carl Pavano, Joe Saunders and Kevin Correia are some of the names on the market. The Phillies also have a pair of minor league starters in Adam Morgan and Jonathan Pettibone who could merit a look at the major league level in 2013.
The thinking is that trading Worley could help the Phillies land a player like Justin Upton or another quality outfielder, and that it would be easier to fill Worley's role via free agency, given the current market for pitchers, than it would be to fill one of the outfield spots. Anyway, Murphy used a lot of words to say that.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox and Phillies have not engaged in talks for Jacoby Ellsbury, as was assumed last night following a report by Buster Olney that the Red Sox were shopping Ellsbury. They're looking for pitching, which the Phillies have. We think. If Roy's healthy.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes about the market drying up for Josh Hamilton. The Rangers are sounding like they've moved on (for now) to Zack Greinke. Few other teams have shown interest.
Jon Heyman says the Red Sox are "not focusing on" Hamilton. That makes sense, especially after paying Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli almost $80 million.
So, if the Rangers are out, and the Red Sox are out (this stuff changes by the minute), then that leaves the Mariners… and Phillies?
Some conflicting reports on Josh Hamilton. He supposedly made progress in negotiations with the Rangers, but
Jon Heyman is now reporting that talks are “on hold” as the Rangers focus on Zack Greinke.
Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram says that, as of early this evening, Hamilton hadn’t even met with the Rangers.
Jayson Stark on Chase Utley:
Buster Olney reports that the Red Sox might be shopping Jacoby Ellsbury for pitching. The Phillies would be a fit.
To that point, Jim Salisbury says that the Phillies are shopping Vance Worley and Trevor May, not Cliff Lee. Ruben Amaro “vehemently shot down” that report, Salisbury says.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports there is "no truth" to the Lee-Upton rumor.
ESPN's Jim Bowden says it sounds like the Rockies won't trade Dexter Fowler, who was rumored to be on Amaro's radar, which is more like a wide net, tossed over anyone who has ever played outfield. Ever.
Jayson Stark points out that Victorino signing with the Red Sox means Cody Ross won't be back. He could fit with the Phillies, some say. I say he can go to hell.
Shane Victorino to the Red Sox. A three-year, $37.5 million deal. Only one writer from WEEI in Boston is reporting that the deal is done, but the folks over at MLB Trade Rumors ran with it, which is a solid endorsement.
Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks manager, says: "I can tell you right now that's not going to happen."
Ruben Amaro says: "I don't comment on rumors but that one is absolutely and unequivocally false."
So, it's 100% true.
Per Pedro Gomez’s report on ESPN Insider: [paraphrasing] The Phillies would have to send some money to Arizona. How much is unclear. Gomez says “it appears the only way Philly can add significant salary is if they move a contract of their own and Lee appears to be the most likely to go.”
Gomez posits that the D-Backs could flip Lee for a shortstop or third baseman (their needs).
He also mentions Lee has a no-trade clause that includes all but eight teams. Upton has four teams on his and Gomez doesn’t believe the Phillies are on that list.
Can see a screengrab here courtesy of (@FlyersNation).
Here we go again– Pedro Gomez is reporting that Phils and D-Backs are discussing Cliff Lee for Justin Upton. Phils would also pay some of Lee’s salary, it seems.
As noted by Matt Gelb, Lee has three years and $87 million left on his contract.
Upton’s stats the last three seasons:
He, too, has three years left on his deal, at around $38 million.
Conjecture: What if the Phils made this move and dumped Lee’s salary for Upton’s much more manageable contract, and used the excess money (after paying some of Lee's salary) to sign Josh Hamilton. Hmm. That, of course, would likely mean a deal for Hamilton would require well over five years, $125 million, which would be too long and too much.
Most thought Rube put Lee on waivers this summer for a reason… to see who was interested.
As we’ve mentioned before, the Phillies will get substantial additional revenue from upcoming local and national TV contracts – $27 million more per season that all teams will get from the league starting in 2014 and at least $30 million more per year from a local TV deal in 2015 – and that is the reason why, even with massive contracts to players like Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, the Phils could probably afford a similar contract to Josh Hamilton.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports thinks so too. His take: [FOX Sports]
After losing out on free agents B.J. Upton and Pagan, Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is facing a more limited number of options to bolster his outfield. Michael Bourn, a fourth-round pick of the Phillies in 2003, is the top true center fielder left on the free agent market, but it’s unclear if Amaro is ready to meet the asking price of agent Scott Boras.
Until the Phillies add an outfielder or two, speculation will persist about Hamilton as a fit in center or left. The Phillies can expect added revenues from a new local television rights agreement in the coming years, so Hamilton is more attainable than one might think given the existing commitments to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and the pricey rotation.
The Mariners are in on Michael Bourn now, so the Phillies' options continue to be limited.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers and Josh Hamilton are making progress on a four-year deal (my estimation would be around $100 million). If that’s the price on Hamilton, and if Michael Bourn is really going to get an $80 million contract, it is almost a no-brainer to overspend on Hamilton, even if it means going five years, $125 million. I’ve listed the reasons why Hamilton is a huge risk – age, injuries, substance abuse problems and possible relapses – but that risk is much larger at the originally rumored seven-year, $175 million he was looking for. If you can get him at Ryan Howard dollars, then he may be a bargain– he was tied for second in the Majors in home runs last year with 43, second in RBIs with 128, fourth in slugging percentage at .577, and eighth in OPS at .930. And he missed 14 games, which makes his raw power numbers all the more impressive.
He would be used goods in years 5, 6 and 7 of a contract… but if you can get him for 4 or 5 years? Then it’s not so much of a risk. In fact, I’d encourage it.
The Philliesare among other teams looking at Bourn.
Seattle has been in on Josh Hamiltonand Justin Uptonand has been seen as targeting corner players more than a canter fielder, but they could sign Bourn and moveFranklin Gutierrezto a corner outfield spot.
The Nationals, Bravesand Giantshave filled their center field jobs, narrowing the focus for Bourn, who has been expected to get a little more thanB.J. Upton, who signed for $75.25 million with the Braves over five years.
$80 million for Michael Bourn is ridiculous, and if it comes to that, I'd rather the Phillies overspend on Josh Hamilton than overspend on Bourn.
Aloha. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick says momentum is building for a Shane Victorino deal. Echoing other reports, he says the Phillies’ interest is “tepid.” But Victorino is being helped by large contracts given out to B.J. Upton and Angel Pagan– he's looking at 3-4 years. Red Sox, Cubs (beer!), and Yankees are in the mix.
Readers are getting restless. Email from Shane (no, not Victorino):
Jim Bowden of ESPN views the Rangers and Red Sox as likely frontrunners for Hamilton, with the Yankees as the dark horse. No mention of the Phillies.
While we wait for Rube to wake up today, enjoy this hilarious video, which I absolutely can't stop watching:
Buster Olney points out that Haren's deal with the Nationals is pending a physical. There are some concerns with his hip. My grandmom's, too.
The Nationals continue to make a splash. They have reached agreement with Dan Haren on a one-year, $13 million deal, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Also, Paul Hagen, formerly of the Daily News, now with MLB.com, will be this year's recipient of the Hall of Fame's Taylor Spink Award.
Todd Zolecki was on the WIP Morning Show this morning. His comments: “The Phillies would love to have Josh Hamilton on the roster, but right now the price is way too high.”
“If his price tag remains high and Hamilton wants a long-term deal, I don’t see the Phillies going in on it, because so many risks come with Josh Hamilton.”
Zolecki also mentioned that Michal Young is very attractive to the Phillies. Those rumors were posted earlier in this running commentary.
Buster Olney tweeted:
Good morn. All was mostly quiet last night as scriptuals (and presumably some GMs) found some uglies to bump. A few updates, though: The first sign of Josh Hamilton’s faith has crept its way into hot stove discussions. This article from FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says that Hamilton met with Mariners officials on Sunday, and the whole religious angle may favor Seattle: [FOX Sports]
Hamilton’s wife, Katie, told Sports Illustrated in June that the family planned to donate a significant portion of Josh’s next contract to charities.
Pro Athletes Outreach, a Christian organization that ministers to athletes, coaches and their families, is based in Issaquah, Wash., a suburb of Seattle.
And from Josh?
Hamilton, a Christian, has said in the past that God will help him make his free-agent decision, an indication that he might not go to the highest bidder or best team.
Zealot. Anyway, that’s just conjecture from Morosi. But when religion comes into play, all reason stands a chance of being tossed into the wind and floated into the hands of God. So, the real question here: Is God a Phillies fan? And even if he is, there’s a chance he would blow that massive contract to a far away place, like Seattle… or Pittsburgh (just because God hates Pittsburgh).
The Hamilton talk is getting louder here. Both Matt Gelb and Bob Brookover of the Inquirer wrote about it today, though their stories are based on comments already posted in this running commentary.
Gelb: But chatter at these winter meetings has pegged the Phillies as possible suitors (for Hamilton) because of Amaro's willingness (and necessity) to make a splash. Moye, about as private as player agents come, would make for an ideal quiet negotiating partner.
Brookover: Free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton is still out there, of course. He would provide the kind of difference-making bat that would allow the Phillies to more easily take a chance on Darin Ruf in left field. Of all the Plan B's rattling around Amaro's mind, the scenario with Hamilton in center field and Ruf in left field on an almost regular basis has to be considered the one with the highest risk and highest reward.
That concept of Hamilton and Ruf in the outfield is an interesting one. Neither is a particularly reliable fielder (though Ruf says he’s improving). The working theory presented by Brookover is that if the Phillies were to sign Hamilton, John Mayberry would return as the everyday center fielder. I could live with Mayberry’s fielding (he tracks the ball well), but he’s not an everyday hitter. You know who is, though? Shane Victorino. If the Phillies’ only “upgrade” to their outfield this winter is Victo, then that would be considered a massive fail. But, if the Phillies were to sign Hamilton and Victorino, and give Ruf a shot in left, then that would be a major victory (at least in the short-term). The Victo-Hamilton thing is my own personal theory. But Victo wouldn’t break the bank and I bet he’d give the Phillies at least a slight hometown discount.
I have a feeling something happens today that changes the future of the Phillies. Rube keeps mentioning center field, which tells me he's looking everywhere else but center field.
Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Phillies have talked to the Rockies about 26-year-old Dexter Fowler, who is under contract until 2016. He batted .300 last year with 13 home runs, 53 RBIs, and 11 triples. Rosenthal says Rockies would want pitching in return.
TR Sullivan of Rangers.com reports that the Phillies are interested in Michael Young, but gives no details. Young is 36-years-old and under contract until 2014.
As pointed out by reader Joe, Ruben Amaro is slowly sliding his dick onto this table. These Tweets from Ryan Lawrence of the Daily News:
Ruben Amaro isn't worried. He says he had "10 Plan Bs" going into the offseason. We can only assume he means fallback options and not, you know…
… because that will get you sick in the morning.
With Angel Pagan off the table, Matt Gelb of Philly.com wonders if we haven’t been focusing on the wrong thing all along. Perhaps the Phillies aren’t going hard for a center fielder… perhaps they’re looking for a corner outfielder, like:
Josh Hamilton, probably a corner outfielder at this point in his career, has tantalizing talent with obvious risk. Nick Swisher, 32, has averaged 26 home runs and an .850 OPS during the previous four seasons. Ryan Ludwick, 34, bashed 26 home runs for Cincinnati in 2012.
Gelb writes that the Phillies do not want to meet Michael Bourn’s demands, which he says are higher than B.J. Upton’s, who got $75 million from the Braves (the Phillies only offered $55 million).
After a somewhat quiet day (at least as it relates to the Phillies), things are starting to pick up as the GMs settle in and approach cocktail hour.
Strike another one off the board. The Phillies had been rumored to be interested in center fielder Angel Pagan, but he is close to a four-year, $40 million deal with the Giants. That pretty much leaves only Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino left has options in center field.
And then, of course, there’s Josh Hamilton. Jayson Stark checks in:
Rube is quiet – too quiet – right now. But that’s just the way he likes it. I suspect things will pick up soon.