Starting pitcher Cole Hamels is the Phillies top option on the trade market as the Winter Meetings get underway in San Diego. Chase Utley likely isn’t getting moved either due to his desire to stay in Philadelphia. Jonathon Papelbon could also begin the 2015 season pitching at Citizens Bank Park and GM Ruben Amaro will be hard-pressed to find anything beyond a middle reliever prospect for the sunk cost of Ryan Howard.
Marlon Byrd is probably the Phillies’ second most attractive trade option this offseason, earning just eight million dollars in 2015, but is tabbed with a vesting option in the following year for the same price which reportedly has caused teams to pause. Following Byrd is Jimmy Rollins, a potential fit for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who need a shortstop after the departure of Boston Red Sox signee Hanley Ramirez.
According to FanGraphs, Rollins had the fourth best season of all MLB shortstops in 2014, going by wins above replacement. After a tough 2013 campaign under then first-year skipper Ryne Sandberg where the 36 year old hit a career low six homeruns for a full season, Rollins arguably had his best year since 2008.
He hit 17 homeruns in 2014 along with 28 stolen bases for the 73 win Phillies, who enter the third year of their unofficial rebuild. Money is not an issue in trades, but exploring a Jimmy Rollins trade to the Dodgers would be wise for Ruben Amaro and interim president Pat Gillick. Due to his no trade clause, the longtime Phillies shortstop can decide where he wants to go and if he even wants to leave town regardless of how next season will play out.
He’s on the final year of a four year pact that Amaro signed him to after the 2011 season – a deal that has been somewhat of a bargain and the right choice by the current GM – who has been much maligned by the national baseball media. Rollins will earn 11 million dollars in 2015, the free agent market is barren and a team that trades for the Phillies shortstop will have a reliable short term option that can help them contend.
So with the Dodgers as arguably the best suitor for Rollins, what players should the Phillies be interested in? Rollins isn’t going to get Amaro and company the type of prospect they’d receive if they moved Cole Hamels to the Dodgers, but asking for a potential major league starter isn’t out of the question. Moving Rollins is not required for the Phillies, getting a potential difference maker down the road is the goal, not gaining salary relief. Below is a list of prospects the Phillies could potentially gain in a deal with L.A.
Chris Anderson, RHP
While probably a reach for just Jimmy Rollins, Anderson is a starting pitcher still underdeveloped and was drafted in the first round the 2013 draft by the Dodgers. He’ll enter the 2015 campaign at 22 years old and could start the season in Double A. Anderson has posted a career 9.8 K/9 through just over 180 minor league innings in the Dodgers’ organization.
“The very template of a front-line starter, Anderson has size, velocity, command and poise enough to succeed at the MLB level. Working from a high-90’s fastball with good sink, he mixes in a quality wipeout slider to great effect, and a promising (though raw) change to lefthanders. Sharper changeup command is really all he needs to do to perform well in MLB tomorrow.” –Scouting Book
Tom Windle, LHP
A left-handed pitcher with some deception, Windle is an intriguing option for the Phillies and Amaro in a potential trade. He features a fairly average fastball that has been seen at up to 95 MPH, along with a slider and changeup. In him, the Phillies could get a potential bottom of the rotation starter or a lefty out of the bullpen. Windle isn’t going to blow any hitter away with his fastball so he’s unlikely to become a setup man or a closer.
“If Windle is as consistently good as he was on May 2, he could be a No. 3 starter in the majors. Of course, it was just one look, so the odds are he’ll still end up in the bullpen. But he has a true wipeout slider, and it’s particularly effective against right-handed hitters. He’s big, strong kid, so durability shouldn’t be much of a concern, but he does need to improve his stamina. He also has command issues at times, but has thrown plenty of strikes in his brief pro career. His makeup is solid for a second-year player. If he doesn’t make it as a starter, he could be an effective, hard-throwing late-inning reliever.” –Dodgers Digest
Scott Schebler, OF
After being named Dodgers 2013 Minor League Player of the Year, 26th round draftee Scott Schebler followed his performance with a strong 2014 campaign and was added to L.A.’s 40 man roster this offseason. He posted .280/.365/.556 in his first season in Double A in 2014 and could be a September call-up in the upcoming year dependent on the Dodgers outfield situation. He strikes out a lot (19.6%) for a guy without a ton of projected MLB homerun power.
While his offense has improved, his defense is uncertain. Dodgers Digest termed Schebler as a player without great range in the outfield and as a future corner outfielder, likely in left fielder. Aaron Altherr seems to be a comparable for his offensive game in the Phillies system.
The Phillies might not get a huge haul, adding potential pieces like the three listed above could payoff later for Amaro if Rollins would indeed waive his no trade clause. Philadelphia lacks substantial leverage in this situation especially without a plethora of teams as viable candidates for Rollins, but if they do move their all-time hits leader he’s worthy of a significant return.