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  • Trade Target Team Profile: Philadelphia Phillies

    The Big Picture
    Stop me if this sounds familiar. A team with championship aspirations faces a slew of injuries to their best players. They find themselves last in their division but hope that the players return will boost them back into contention. At the trade deadline they must make a tough decision: stick to the plan or write off a season in a championship era whose window could be closing.

    Yep - the Phillies are having the year the Twins had last year. But instead of a fan base of Minnesota stoics, they play in the City of Brotherly Love. You can imagine how pleasant that is.

    Why They Will Trade With The Twins
    The Phillies are walking a delicate line. Despite injuries to superstar second baseman Chase Utley, first baseman Ryan Howard and ace pitcher Roy Halladay, the Philadelphia is only six games under .500 and just 5.5 games back of the wild card. They hope to have Utley back on Wednesday, Howard beginning a rehab assignment this week and Halladay returning in the middle of July. If they get healthy, and the Phils simply tread water for the next month, it will be awfully hard for them to give up on the season.

    Traditionally, the Phillies have had trouble finding good right-handed hitting to offset Utley and Howardís left-handed bats. But they traded for Hunter Pence last year and he has an 803 OPS and catcher Carlos Ruiz has a (unsustainable) 978 OPS to lead the team. Add in that Juan Pierre is playing left field (and hitting .322) and itís hard to see a fit for Josh Willingham, though in previous years he wouldíve been an obvious fit.

    But what if Howard canít come back strong, or if this injury (which has repeatedly defied expectations) looks like it might take more time than just this season to heal? If so, Justin Morneau would be a hell of a replacement for him, and itís not like his $14 million salary would be much of a problem for the phree-spending Phils.

    Other options include Ryan Doumit if Carlos Ruiz' ribcage strain becomes a problem. The Phillies setup men Ė primarily Chad Qualls and Antonio Bastardo - have both been unreliable. If Halladay canít recover, history suggests that the Phils arenít afraid to chase high-ceiling pitchers like Liriano. Finally, there is one Twins player that could be interesting even if the Phils decide to pack it in this year. Their center fielder Shane Victorino will be a free agent at the end of the year and the Phillies donít know if theyíll be able to re-sign him. Denard Span might be of interest as heís under contract through 2015.

    Why They Wonít Trade With The Twins
    The most likely scenario is that the Phils do exactly what the Twins did last year: stand pat. Itís hard to give up on a year when expectations were so high and itís easy to blame injuries. Plus, management can trot out the great clichť that theyíre trading for three superstars just by getting healthy.

    Conclusion
    Theyíre worth watching, to be sure. The Phils have been very aggressive around the trade deadline in acquiring talent, and they havenít been afraid to trade away significant prospects for the right pieces. But outside of Morneau as a Howard replacement, there doesnít look like a great fit here.
    ~~~

    Possible Trade Targets
    Domonic Brown - OF
    You may have heard this name a the trade deadline in 2011. Or 2010. Or 2009. And now heís 24. The Phillies have had several opportunities to trust him with a corner outfield spot, and it seems likely theyíre never going to have room for him, even though heís only had 246 AB in the majors. He hasnít actually done much in the minors in 2011 or 2012 and heís had trouble staying health (including being out right now with some strained knee ligaments). But did I mention that heís just 24, and that two years ago he was posting a combine 980 OPS in AA and AAA?

    Trevor May Ė RHP
    May is a possible front of the rotation starter, topping most Phillies prospect lists. But he isnít an elite prospect because of his struggles with his control. You might expect those issues (4.6 BB/9) to be further exposed as he climbed up the ladder and sure enough, heís posting a 4.94 ERA this year at AA, albeit with fewer walks. Short of a big deal, he likely isnít available, but heís one of several options Ė Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America both have multiple pitchers in their Top 5 rankings of Phils prospects.

    Freddy Galvis - SS
    Galvis made the Phils roster out of spring training, starting at second base, courtesy of Utleyís injury. His year went downhill from there in a hurry. First, he hit .226. Then he fractured his back. And then he was suspended 50 days for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. His main asset is a terrific glove. It isnít clear he has enough offense to be a regular starter Ė his career OBP in the minors is .292 Ė and the steroid suspension further clouds that issue. But heís just 22 years old and has been relatively young for most of his levels, so a case can be made that there is still plenty of untapped potential.

    Please add your thoughts and trade ideas (and other names the Twins could pursue) in the comments below!

    This article was originally published in blog: Trade Target Team Profile: Philadelphia Phillies started by John Bonnes
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Another great analysis. I wish that you would look at the Dodgers -- they often seem to have a surplus of pitching prospects and a shortage of good hitters,
    1. jjswol's Avatar
      jjswol -
      I don't think the Twins will want any part of Dominic Brown. The man can't hit a breaking ball and Brown's defense makes Willie Norwood look like Willie Mays.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      I doubt even the "phree-spending Phils" (nice) are willing to spend $34M on first basemen next year.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      I wonder what Liriano would do if he had to pitch in front of Philly fans once every five days. He could be a good fit but it's hard to say whether he has the mental make-up to pitch in that city.
    1. The Birdie King's Avatar
      The Birdie King -
      No...stop...do not even consider any of these three individuals from the Phillies. I am a transplanted Minnesotan in Philadelphia and I have seen all three of these guys and none of them are worth trading for...made the same comments a couple of years ago when knuckleheads in MN thought donovan McNabb was the answer for the Vikings...you saw how that turned out....so stop looking at the Phillies for trade possibilities....they do look like last years Twins right now, but they will eventually get through it...tell the Twins to stay away!!!
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      We are on to something with The Birdie King. This sites needs fans in each of the deep-pocket organization locations so they can scout these situations. Who do we know in NY, Atl, Arlington, etc?
    1. fetch's Avatar
      fetch -
      If they could get Dom Brown for Morneau (which I kind of doubt) I'd do that in a heartbeat.
    1. savvyspy's Avatar
      savvyspy -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      I wonder what Liriano would do if he had to pitch in front of Philly fans once every five days. He could be a good fit but it's hard to say whether he has the mental make-up to pitch in that city.
      Liriano doesn't have the mental makeup to pitch in Beloit, WI. He's got Cy Young stuff and a Single A Ball head.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      Liriano doesn't have the mental makeup to pitch in Beloit, WI. He's got Cy Young stuff and a Single A Ball head.
      I know it's fashionable to rip the guy's mental makeup, but given that he just turned in his best start of the season in what qualified as a pretty big game for this team, maybe we can ease up for the time being?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      I know it's fashionable to rip the guy's mental makeup, but given that he just turned in his best start of the season in what qualified as a pretty big game for this team, maybe we can ease up for the time being?
      I think Liriano's mental toughness is overplayed. When he's on, he's on no matter the setting. The problem is that he turns off seemingly at random.

      I only brought it up because it's hard for anyone to pitch in a city like Philadelphia. The same way I question Greinke going to a big market, I question Liriano doing the same. It's not really a slight on the player, just an acknowledgement of who and what they are. They can both surely pitch on a big stage, I only wonder if they could do it day in and day out and be able to shrug off the worst fans in baseball on a nightly basis.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      There are a few more top prospects in teh Phils organization that are pitchers besides May:
      - Jesse Biddle is a 21yo LHP at High a with 78K in 71 IP.
      - Jonathan Pettibone is a 21yo LH at AA who looks like a pitch to contact type.
      - Phillipe Aumont is a 23yo RHed reliever who just came back from a rhomboid strain (which I assume is type of polygon) who has struck out 37 guys in 22 innings so far this year.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      If the Twins want to target a single person in the Philly organization, it should be Tyler Cloyd. Will fit really nicely in the top of the Twins rotation in 2013. He has been pitching around here the last few seasons (Reading last year, Lehigh Valley this year) and I've see him pitch in person. He is the real thing and he had been flying somewhat under the radar, so he would be easier to get. Here is a recent article on him.

      Span would be a nice fit there, because of Victorino's status. As a matter of fact, the Phillies are trying to turn Brown into a CF, not too successfully mind you. I do like Brown and he could man the RF for the Twins for a few years, but he needs some work. On the other hand, both his potential and level of play right now is higher than that of Aaron Hicks, so if the Twins build a package around Span and Hicks, I think that Cloyd and Brown could be had (if you add another player or two.) But the interim needs to learn how to trade prospects and young players... Not sure that Ryan is up to par with that.
    1. MNScottishTwinsFan's Avatar
      MNScottishTwinsFan -
      I do not understand these constant discussion about trading. With regard to this particular article what possible benefit is there for us in trading for players that aren't as good. I see shedding Morneau's salary, beyond that ?, makes no sense to me
    1. biggentleben's Avatar
      biggentleben -
      Quote Originally Posted by SRP View Post
      We are on to something with The Birdie King. This sites needs fans in each of the deep-pocket organization locations so they can scout these situations. Who do we know in NY, Atl, Arlington, etc?
      While the Braves are nowhere near a "deep-pocket" organization, and haven't been for nearly a decade, I can certainly answer any questions you may have.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      If the Twins want to target a single person in the Philly organization, it should be Tyler Cloyd. Will fit really nicely in the top of the Twins rotation in 2013. He has been pitching around here the last few seasons (Reading last year, Lehigh Valley this year) and I've see him pitch in person. He is the real thing and he had been flying somewhat under the radar, so he would be easier to get. Here is a recent article on him.

      Span would be a nice fit there, because of Victorino's status. As a matter of fact, the Phillies are trying to turn Brown into a CF, not too successfully mind you. I do like Brown and he could man the RF for the Twins for a few years, but he needs some work. On the other hand, both his potential and level of play right now is higher than that of Aaron Hicks, so if the Twins build a package around Span and Hicks, I think that Cloyd and Brown could be had (if you add another player or two.) But the interim needs to learn how to trade prospects and young players... Not sure that Ryan is up to par with that.
      color me MEH... He wouldn't be a terrible prospect, but hardly the type of guy I'd swing a trade around as I'd want better K/9. If you are trading Morneau, I'd rather wait a year and see if he can build on this season and hope to get something signficantly better than what they already have in the org... not quite sure Cloyd fits that description.
    1. biggentleben's Avatar
      biggentleben -
      Cloyd is a #4 type. Basically a Nick Blackburn type. Why would the Twins trade for what they have a ton of already?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      color me MEH... He wouldn't be a terrible prospect, but hardly the type of guy I'd swing a trade around as I'd want better K/9. If you are trading Morneau, I'd rather wait a year and see if he can build on this season and hope to get something signficantly better than what they already have in the org... not quite sure Cloyd fits that description.
      Quote Originally Posted by biggentleben View Post
      Cloyd is a #4 type. Basically a Nick Blackburn type. Why would the Twins trade for what they have a ton of already?
      Cloyd in AAA this season has a 2.17 ERA, 0.920 WHIP, 6 K/9 and 3.8 K/BB in 11 AAA starts. Tell me a single Twin who is part of that "ton". Hendriks' numbers get close but no cigar. Hermsen needs 1-2 more years. Gibson is a huge ? ...
    1. biggentleben's Avatar
      biggentleben -
      A pitcher who can't put up a t least a 7.5 k/9 in the minors is HOPING to be a #4 guy. Low BABIP does not a great pitcher make. His FIP in AAA is 3.51, and he's 25, so he's beyond a real "prospect" status. He could be an okay #4-5 guy, but that's it.
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