I don’t have some sort of nice chat software to run a live chat, nor can I promise immediate responses. However, I feel like we as Phillies fans need a bit of group time to talk about things both positive and negative. So the plan is starting now to run this post as a sort of live chat about the Phillies, baseball, prospects, and if you want non-baseball topics. I will answer in the comments and will put the most interesting up into the post (including your responses if you have them on a topic).
Marlon Byrd and Phillies OF:
joecull: Do you think the Phillies will be more hesitant to trade one of their outfielders now that Tomas signed with Arizona?
bdiz: What would be a realistic return for Byrd?
wheatlandroots: If Byrd is moved, which is what most probably expect, do you anticipate Brown moving back to RF? If so, is his defense any better in that position? LF – Sizemore,Ruf, Asche / CF – Revere / RF – Brown
My feeling is that they have always wanted to trade Marlon Byrd, and I think there is a market for him. I don’t think this changes that at all. It just means that if they don’t make any more moves we will see more of Domonic Brown, Grady Sizemore, Darin Ruf, and possibly Cody Asche in the OF. It is worse than having Tomas there long term, but from a developmental standpoint or future trade value, it is not a horrible thing to have them out there. This does make it less likely they trade a Ben Revere or Domonic Brown, but I am not sure that is a bad thing.
Rather than look at other team’s prospects and guessing. If the Phillies for some reason needed Byrd I would expect a deal centered around a Jesse Biddle/Roman Quinn/Kelly Dugan/Yoel Mecias/Carlos Tocci level prospect (with the caveat that the opinions on those 5 guys have a lot of room to operate in) and then someone in the reliever mold like a Nefi Ogando/Ethan Martin type. Essentially a guy with the ceiling of solid regular, but some question marks about whether he can reach it and then someone with a lower ceiling and similar risk. A larger return than Hernandez (though that return was above the true talent of the player in my opinion)
Given the current roster, I feel like that is the best move they can make. I think on a pure scouting level he is a better defender in RF (where is arm also plays better), but the bar for defense is higher in RF. The only problem with that OF is that among the guys who can really play OF (sorry Darin it is just a place you can stand) is that they are all LH.
Adam S.: With the Phillies’ outfield in its current state, should we expect Altherr or Dugan to get more than a small September look this year?
What’s your current pulse on Dugan specifically? It seems like his skillset, which projects to have no loud tools but average ability across the board, gets overlooked by many prospect prognosticators (outside of Philly-specific sites such as this).
I could definitely see it, both could use AAA time, so I would say it is unlikely before late June or early July. I am much higher on Dugan than Altherr (I still think Altherr is a major leaguer but I have more doubts about him as a major league regular), Dugan will fall a couple of spots in my rankings from the #5 position he was at last year due to the injury questions. Baseball Prospectus is a fan of Dugan and I know of some other fans out there. There is hesitancy on a player like Dugan because everything has to go right for it to work well. I don’t know if the Phillies will give him the opportunity, but I think he could be a long term starter in RF.
Where do we go after Tomas?
allentown1: The Phillies caught a break in shedding the $12+mill commitment to Burnett for 2015. They have fair amount of lux cap space, yet having passed on Castillo and saying they were all over Tomas who was a great fit for the team, they also passed on Tomas at a lower than expected contract. There are no good, youngish FA position players on the market. Now RAJ says he’s really after pitching this off-season. We aren’t mentioned at all in the Lester hunt and he’s actively trying to trade Hamels. The biggest weapon the Phillies seem to have for advancing a rebuild seems to be $$, yet they are not spending. All that Comcast money is on the very near horizon, yet the Phillies seem to have moved into cost-cutting mode. What is the plan here?
They don’t have a ton of space under the luxury tax. Right now without arb salaries or min salaries they are at $132M, that also doesn’t include some amount in benefits, which I believe was about $10M last year. MLB Trade Rumors has their estimated arb salaries at about another $10M. That puts them at $152M with about another $5M in min salary, so that puts them at $157M without moving any contracts. I don’t think Tomas AAV was really the problem, I do think the risk/reward of only getting 1-2 years of productive value out of him at the risk of paying 6 years. I think you are going to see them in on 1-2 year deals on some starting pitching now with the idea that they could flip them at the deadline for prospects. The other thing is that I think they will be more willing to send money in trades now, which should allow them to get better prospects back.
It is a really tough balance for them right now on spending. I think there is a willingness to spend close to the luxury tax in 2015, but they don’t want to add salary to 2017 unless it is someone they think will be productive on that 2017 team. Ultimately I think the payroll comes in at around $170M with all the other things (so a number quoted as closer to $160M), and as fans we have to hope that ownership is saving that money to make a run at somebody either from Cuba or Japan (with posting fee outside luxury tax).