The last piece that Amaro had to move this offseason was Marlon Byrd, and given the amount of interest to this point a trade seemed almost certain. The trade ended up being Byrd plus a pile of cash to Cincinnati for RHP Ben Lively. Byrd should slot into LF for a Reds team that seems stuck in the middle between contending and rebuilding due to bad contracts (sound familiar?). He is a large upgrade over what they have, but is not young enough to be counted on into the future.
The return here is Ben Lively, who was recently rated the #7 prospect in the Reds system by Baseball Prospectus, and #13 prospect by Fangraphs. Lively popped up on stat watcher’s radars this spring when he dominated the Cal League 1.82 BB/9 and 10.82 K/9. He came to earth in AA, but the numbers were still solid. Lively is not going to overpower anyone, his fastball is 91-93 and can get to 95, he has a slider that is above average (with some saying plus), and a curve and change that both live in the average to above average area. At 6’4″ 190 Lively has the frame to start. The one flag here is the delivery, which works for him, but is non-conventional enough that it frightens people. If you believe in the feel and the slider you can put a #3/mid rotation starter label on Lively. More likely he is a #4 starter if it works out. Its a pretty good return on Byrd who clearly had no place in Philly going forward. Lively could start in AA or AAA next year and joins an impressive amount of newly acquired pitching depth, as well as a potentially formidable AA rotation. Lively slots into the back of the Phillies Top 10 prospects, he is not as good as Zach Eflin, but is better than Windle, both of who the Phillies got from the Dodgers for Jimmy Rollins.
More than acquiring Lively, trading Byrd helps open up some room on the mlb roster for the Phillies. Right field could go to Domonic Brown as he tries to build on number that improved each month of the season. This would open up space for Odubel Herrera to make the roster in the outfield. It additionally opens up a 40 man roster spot for a waiver claim or a non-roster invite to make the team this spring.
At this point the Phillies don’t really have any moves they need to make. They are going to kick the tires on some starting pitching options on short deals, they will continue to listen on Cole Hamels to see if someone will blow them away, and will see if they can move Ryan Howard or Jonathan Papelbon. But overall it has been a very solid winter for Ruben Amaro as he has turned the old into depth.