Free Agent Compensation and the Draft under the New CBA

The basics of free agent compensation have been rehashed across the internet, however there are some more subtle things with the new CBA, that dramatically effect the draft, and especially draft strategy.

The Basics:

Qualifying Offers: A team can extend a qualifying offer to any of their free agents who have been with the team for the entire season equal to the average of the Top 125 salaries (in 2012 this was $13.3 million), the player had until Friday to accept that offer (just a one year contract) or reject it and become a free agent.

Free Agent Compensation: Any team that signs a player extended a qualifying offer forfeits their first round pick (if it is outside the Top 10) or their second round pick (if their first pick is within the Top 10).  Their old team receives a pick at the end of the first round.

Where it Gets More Complicated:

The New Compensation Round: The first thing that is different is that the supplemental first round is gone.  In 2012 there were 29 supplemental picks between the first and second round.  The new compensation system reduces this number, every time a player is signed a draft pick is removed when a draft pick is added.  The only way that additional picks will be added into the draft is if a team signs more than one free agent who declined a qualifying offer, in that case the team will forfeit their pick and each team who lost a free agent will receive a compensatory pick.

Following the free agent compensation picks will be six competitive balance picks that were selected in a lottery.  These pick are tradeable between teams, but only during the regular season and a pick can only be traded once.  After the second round an additional six competitive balance picks are awarded.

Not counting compensation picks for failing to sign a drafted player in the first three rounds (which are now protected for an additional year), there will be at most 20 added picks into the draft (this is contingent on a single team signing all of the free agents), but it is likely that there will be 12-15 additional picks in 2013, a dramatic decline from 2012.  This means a second round pick is now more valuable, the second round pick obtained from Cincinnati used to select Dylan Cozens was pick #77, the Phillies second round pick this year is pick #52.

Draft Pools: Under the new CBA each team is award a draft pool to spend on their first ten rounds of picks (plus any over $100k spent on players after the 10th round).  The draft pool while it can be spent to sign any player has a certain amount assigned to each pick.  This means if a pick is forfeited due to compensation the pool amount assigned to it also is eliminated, additionally if a drafted player is not signed, the value associated with that pick is also removed from a team’s draft pool.  A team can exceed their pool by up to 5% of their total pool value and only incur a 75% tax on the overages, any over 5% causes the forfeiture of up to two future first round picks.

How This Affects the Phillies:

The Pick: The 16th overall pick is a valuable commodity but has attached risk.  The player selected still must make it through the developmental process with enough actualized skills to contribute on the major league level.  However, the player holds value as a commodity for trades and future moves to help the major league roster.  The 16th pick of the 2012 draft was Lucas Giolito, who on tools alone would be the #1 prospect in the Phillies system, with his injury concerns he would still be a top 3 prospect in the system.  The 16th pick does not always yield a superstar, but more often than not the player available will possess the raw tools to be a well above average major leaguer.  The selected player’s ceiling is likely close to that of the free agent being signed, however if that player comes up through the system the Phillies would have them at a much lower rate than the free agent and under club control for 6 years.

There is large inherent risk with each draft pick, more so than exists with a free agent with a larger sample size of data.

Additionally the pick could move up as high as #11 if the teams in front of the Phillies forfeit their pick (Mets, Mariners, Padres, Pirates, and Diamondbacks).

The Draft Pool: (All numbers are from the 2012 draft pick allotments, 2013 figures have not been released) For the 2013 draft the Phillies draft pool is $5,601,800, the allotment assigned to the #16 pick is $2,250,000.  If the Phillies were to forfeit their pick in signing a free agent their total draft pool would drop to $3,351,800 to sign their first ten picks (rounds 2-10, with a pick in the third round for failure to sign Alec Rash).

With the pick the Phillies have a choice at #16, they can take a player who will be overslot and sign college seniors towards the end of the Top 10 rounds to save pool money, they can take a player at slot and continue on through the rounds with that strategy, or they could take a slightly lesser player (but still a solid first round talent or even a guy the Phillies rated higher but would sign for less such as the Astros and Correa in 2012) and save a couple hundred thousand dollars towards signing a better player with one of their later picks.

If the Phillies forfeit their pick it greatly reduces their ability to consider working any overslot moves later in the draft.  The Phillies have been good at getting good talent for slot, but it would restrict their flexibility if a player falls that they did not think would be available.  This is magnified by how much earlier the second round is, the Phillies second round pick #52, would previously have been in the supplemental first round, their two third round picks #89 and #96 are equivalent to previous second round picks.

Just thought I would get some discussion going on more than the superficial forfeiture of just a first round pick.  It is more than just the player who could be select there, it has implications throughout the draft, especially without the means to make up for lost picks with either overslot spending or compensation picks from fringe players.

94 thoughts on “Free Agent Compensation and the Draft under the New CBA

    1. It is not particularly strong or deep in 2013 (as far as we can tell right now). That being said it should be on par with the 2012 draft, which means there is premium talent on the board. Just from what I have read there is not a star at the top, there are some college pitchers at the top with #2 upside and relatively low risk, but clear cut superstar.

      A weak draft is really felt in later picks when you have to pick through a lot of players with holes. At the top it may be a notch below what you might get with a good draft but it is still much better than where the Phillies normally pick.

    1. The worst news I heard all day is that the Phillies may be focused on Michael Bourn. A player who will be overpaid even if he performs as expected and who, in addition, is substantially likely to under perform. In short, one of the worst things they could do right now. This is like Papelbon all over again but 8 times worse.

      1. Agree with you there. No Bourn re-identity for me. Further, I got the bill for my Hall of Fame tixs, sheeesh.

  1. When is the last time Ruben was content to paint within the lines? He’s shadow boxing with Mike Rizzo of the Nats and sees it in his interest to suggest interest in Bourn to try and raise the ante. The Nats are reportedly interested in a back of the rotation starter. An expensive Bourn pinches the Nationals who I think will sign him. LaRoche wants more years than the Nats are wiling to pay him. Moving Morse to 1B leaves room for the leadoff hitter they want in the OF and that’s Bourn.

    1. For this year alone I think the only guy I would have no hesitation giving up a pick for is Josh Hamilton, but in that case I think the contract will be the prohibitive thing (if Grienke costed a pick he would easily be in this category but he does not cost a pick). Bourne and Upton are borderline cases that I could talk myself into losing the pick if the contract was good value. Now a lot of this has to do with how high the pick is, the state of the farm system (it is fairly deep with guys who could be good to above average regulars but no real impact talent), and other options on the market. This is going to be a year to year evaluation process, I wanted to bring to light the draft pool thing which is a huge difference from the past where a team that gives up their early pick could just sign a guy later for way above slot (like the Tigers did with Castellanos and the Phillies have done in later rounds).

      1. Spending flexibility in the draft is a significant asset. The players drafted, are still a massive risk.

        I doubt a “Top5″ guy drops to #16 due to money and Phillies take him and see if they can meet his price (with benefit of just getting that pick next year), but they have that chance.

        Preferably I’d like to see Phillies take a easier signing guy that allows them to throw some serious extra money at 2 or 3 guys in rounds 2 thru 5 who are unlikely to raise their stock much better in future years. (How many H.S. players will move from a Top200 to a Top30 ranking after college where the money is significantly better?)

        Signing Upton or Bourn might impact 3 or 4 high talent youngsters. A trade likely does the same thing. The buzz around BJ makes sense so I am going with that likely scenario. A double Upton is intriguing (but I think will be very disappointing), but I doubt that lowers BJ’s price or improves his play. And while I am being negative, I predict Brown, if traded, will have a better career than Justin just to spite Phillies Phans.

  2. Wow, it doesn’t look so bad anymore that Rash didn’t sign. The pick moved up nearly a round in value. If we had known this was happening, would it have been better to not sign a couple others to increase our value in this draft immensely?

    1. The pick is actually nearly identical in its individual value, they used the #88 pick on Rash and received the #89 pick in this draft. The pick used was a second rounder and it is now in the third round but that is irrelevant as the draft spot and number of players already off the board is important. If you are looking at it as providing flexibility in a draft where teams individually have much fewer picks than the value may have gone up slightly.

      The end result is, because of the new system there is no reason to exceed the bonus pool limits (more than 5%) unless it is going to get you a superstar in the making. Otherwise extra picks can give you flexibility the next year in making your selections.

      1. Remember that eight more players need to be signed who will cost the signing team their 1st rnd pick, unless they resign or one team signs two of the eight which is unlikely. Pick 89 could become 81.

        1. None of the picks after the second round have any chance of moving up (for each pick taken away another is given) the compensation picks have not been added into any pick prediction because the players could still sign with their original team. Additionally the #89 pick is locked into that spot regardless of any movement it cannot move up or down.

  3. Let’s assume for a minute that the most likely choices in centerfield are Bourn and Upton. Yeah, I know that won’t make some people here too happy, because each would cost a pick and for other reasons, but they probably are the two best center field options & media reports suggest they are the team’s focus.

    If it comes down to those two, Upton has to be the better choice, doesn’t he?

    (1) More than a year younger
    (2) Skill set will likely age better – both are fast, but speed is Bourn’s whole game, whereas Upton has a broader skill set. Speed only guys don’t usually age well.
    (3) Most people seem to be predicting that Bourn will get a bigger contract.

    We know 1 is true, 2 is of course a prediction but a solid one. If 3 proves to be true also, why sign Bourn? It would make sense if Bourn was the significantly better player now, but he isn’t. They are roughly equal over their careers. Bourn had a better 2012, but that is IMO artificially driving up his price.

    1. I would agree with that in spite of my lack of enthusiasm for signing Upton. For me, your third bullet is the most compelling factor and if Bourn and Upton were to be had for similar years/money, I would certainly lean towards Bourn. Moot point though as Bourn will almost certainly get the bigger contract

      1. I would think a Bourn signing drops Jimmy to the 2-hole. A number of reasons for this but at the very least it would break up the possibility of three consecutive lefties

        1. That would be the logical assumption to be made. I guess it eventually would come down to Charlie Manuel deciding to take JRoll out of the lead-off spot.

        2. I think that’s a great move IMO. While Jimmy’s approach isn’t that of a two hole hitter but there’s the potential to be up 2-0 after two batters.

    2. Yes, that’s what I’m thinking also. If they can’t get either of these two, I think a trade is the most likely next scenario. If I was a betting man, I’d bet on Upton.

    3. I don’t like Upton or Bourn, I believe Gillies can play center and put up similar or better numbers then either one of those, I would sign Hamilton for the corner and give Gillies a chance to prove me wrong.

      1. I agree and disagree with you, I think there is a good argument to be made that center field is a position that can be filled internally. I know people have different feelings on each of these guys but there is a center field prospect at each level (Gillies, Collier, Altherr, Tocci) and you could say that each year you go with the next guy until one sticks and blocks the rest of them. If you go this route I can’t see justify giving Hamilton the contract he is looking for. Hamilton is a clear going for it move, and if you are going to lock yourself even more into an aging team you can’t give a starting job to an injury prone CF, if you sign Hamilton you need to sign one of the big three FA CF (Bourne, Upton, Pagan).

        1. My point is that with the production of Hamilton you can afford a light hitting center and since none of those 3 that you mentioned is more then light hitting might as well save the money and play a good defensive young player. I just don’t think spending 6-10 million on a center fielder that hits 250 is worth it.

          1. It should be obvious for anyone reading my posts regularly that I disagree with all of this & why. Two points:

            “6-10 million” is not a lot of money for a starting regular. At all. The Phillies can spend something like 165 million for 8 regulars, 5 starting pitchers, and one closer. That’s an average of about 11 million each. A decent regular center fielder at that price would be a bargain.

            A related point is that, at the end of the day, from a winning perspective (as opposed to a profit perspective), following the advice of the people around here who hate spending on free agents makes no sense. Say they end up with a payroll 20 to 30 million under the cap. How does that help them competitively? Unless you think that (a) the FA market will be better next year (if anything, it looks worse), or (b) the players inside the organization who would have to step up are better than the available free agents (they aren’t), then leaving 20 to 30 million payroll on the table might be great for profitability (actually, it wouldn’t, because the team would lose more and MOST fans don’t particularly want to watch a bunch of AAA players try to play major league baseball), but a lousy move from a competitive standpoint.

            As for Gillies, sigh. Look, I like him. But the notion that you slot in as your center fielder a guy who (a) doesn’t appear able to stay healthy, (b) has 580 PA over the past 3 years, (total, not average) and only 425 PA above A ball, and (c) has an upside probably as a slightly below average major center fielder is crazy. That’s the kind of strategy that small market, second division teams follow. Actully, no, even they would probably hesitate in this case, if only because of the injury concerns.

            1. I think Gillies’ upside is quite a bit higher, but his injury history is so checkered that we can’t possibily rely on him to be a major leaguer, let alone a starter. But I’d keep him around because his trade value is so low that he’s worth more to us than he’d ever fetch in the open market.

            2. The upside I guess is the one area where I might be selling him a little short. He is a harder guy to peg than some. But if you look at his performance in AA, I see a guy with below average plate discipline, average contact skills, and below average power. Reports on his fielding are good but not outstanding. He has plus speed, but the hamstring injuries seem to have sapped that to a large extent – in 2 years in Reading he has 10 SB and 8 CS.

              Now, if you want to go back to 2009, even taking the offensive context into account, he looked like a guy who could have developed into something more. But he hasn’t, and I question whether it is reasonable at this late date to expect him to.

            3. Well, I base my opinion on a few things. First, although he seems brittle as glass at times, when he finally got a chance to dig in this year and play, he was pretty darned good and he was surging at the end. Second, I have seen him both in person and on tv and, for what it is worth, whenever I saw him play, he looked like the best player on the field and it was not close – this guy is brimming with untapped talent. My impression from seeing him was that if he could get his at bats and stay healthy (and, yes, stop acting like a moron at times), he had the ability to be an above-average major leaguer for a good team. I thought perhaps it was just me, but when interviewed this summer, he essentially said exactly what I was thinking, namely, that Gillies had the ability to be a good centerfielder on a championship calibur team. I believe he meant it, but the fact that this may be his upside doesn’t render Gillies a healthy player or a mature person, so who knows?

          2. Well theoretically that could work. Except between Hamilton and Gillies how many games can we expect them to actually play? Would it even be 160 combined? Filling two outfield spots with injury-prone (that’s putting it mildly) players when we already have Utley as a question mark, no real 3B, and Howard coming off a nasty injury (not to mention Jimmy and Chooch, plus the random injuries that happen every year like Herndon and Stutes) is just a recipe for disaster. Now anyone can get hurt, but why increase the chances by using multiple players who are constantly hurt?

    4. Larry…the only quibble I have with this analysis (and it is minor) is that Bourn is an elite defensive centerfielder whereas Upton is merely average. If you have have two players who produce approximately the same value offensively and one is markedly better on defense, why wouldn’t that be worth the larger contract?

      1. Because I meant overall they have the same value. I could be wrong on that, but I see Upton as having significantly more value as a hitter, with Bourn having an edge as a fielder and as a base runner (though base running is also one of Upton’s strengths).

        The case for Bourn having more value overall is that recent seasons should have greater weight. I can see that, but even so, it’s close. Upton is a better hitter, the question being only how much better & whether it is enough to outweigh Bourn’s advantages.

  4. I would want upton because he is right power. which i believe we really need. love bourn. but this team is too lefthanded.

    1. If the season started today, our line up would probably be:

      Rollins
      Mayberry
      Utley
      Howard
      Ruiz
      Ruf
      Brown
      Galvis
      Hamels

      It’s not as left handed as people think it is. The bench is lefty heavy but that’s about it.

      1. My Preference: Rollins, Utley, Ruiz, Howard, Mayberry, Brown, Ruf/Nix, Frandsen
        or
        Top Lefty: Rollins, Brown, Utley, Howard, Ruiz, Ruf/Nix, Mayberry, Frandsen

        1. My preference is anything that involves Mayberry in AAA. Or Pittsburgh. Or Seattle. He’d be a great Mariner.

          1. Don’t go overboard, Mayberry could be a very good 4th OF and back up 1B. That’s what he is, a back up with skills that can help in lots of ways. He’s just not a starter.

    1. Since you are Anonymous who would know if you are there?
      I like Brown, Utley, Pagan, Howard and the rest.

  5. At this point, I think the Phils are close to pulling the trigger on Upton and they’re looking at corner OF options also in players like Cabrera, Hunter, and Swisher. I think RAJ is torn between whether to sign a corner OF or not and the price will determine it but he knows he needs a gold glove caliber CF and he intends to get it. Pagan is a nice player but he’s not a gold glove caliber defender and he won’t be a Phillie. At 3B, I just don’t see any options that excite me. I would try to sign Ian Stewart to a make good deal but someone else might offer him a major league deal. Its hard to believe how weak the SS and 3B market is across baseball. Btw, RAJ clearly stated, even though it was in a joking manner on MLB the other night, that he expects to have the CF deal done before the owners’ meetings in December. That alone tells you he doesn’t want Bourn because Boras won’t let that be done until January.

  6. The Phillies’ problem last year was that, in order to afford their pitchers, they fielded a triple a line-up for much of the year. With Utley and Howard operating at levels that are below what we have come to expect, they need a power right handed bat both at third and in the outfield. I have thought since the end of the season that they did not have enough in the system to handle this. If they plug holes in the outfield and at third with what we have in the system, we will not hit enough to protect those precious pitchers. The Phillies must have the two outfield positions filled by competent power bats if they want to be World Series contenders. If they want to be pretenders they will stay with the status quo, which may get them a playoff berth, but nothing more.
    With Doc adjusting to his “less than blow-away” speed and question marks around Worley, they will need the bats. We know what we have with Lee, Hamels and Kendrick. None can do well without run support.
    If third base is a poor option in FA and they go with Galvis/Frandsen, the Phillies will be undermanned at that position. By testing Brown, with a Ruf, and Mayberry platoon, they will be undermanned in the corner outfield. They have to sign a couple of outfield FAs for center and right fields who can contribute in a significant way or it will be a long season.
    The price of success and trading good minor league talent to stay on top has left us with very little impact talent at our high level minors. To expect Ruf to be a diamond and pin our hopes on him is unrealistic. I hope he can do the job. He is a good hitter. That doesn’t mean he will come up to the majors and be an impact player right away. Don’t patch the coat, sign FAs who can deliver.

    1. I agree with your points but the elephant in the room is that there is only 1 FA that fits that description and he comes with a huge price tag and a ton of question marks and that doesn’t even take into account the side he hits from and where he would hit in the Line-Up.

      From many angles it makes no sense to sign JH unless you have a trade partner for Howard.

      I am going to throw a name at you guys and you tell me what you think it would cost you…Alejandro De Aza. He fits the bill as a lead off hitter and he plays an above average CF.

    2. We can’t say that Dom or Ruf WON’T hit, only that they carry a big risk. The same is true with Frandsen. While its unlikely that he repeats what he did this year, he is a guy that hit every year in the minors. As for all this talent we supposedly traded, name one guy that we traded who would start for us this year if he were still with the team. I can’t think of one. I don’t expext a 3B to be signed so I guess they’ll have to go with Frandsen and Galvis. I want them to add a corner OF to hedge against that risk but RAJ is sounding more and more like a guy ready to give Ruf a shot and we know Dom is going to get his shot. To get someone to sign here, he has to be assured of playing time and that might be a problem. In the battle of Schierholz vs Nix, its looking like the Phils will release Schierholz because of nix’s guaranteed contract (we all opposed that 2nd year!) They could always keep both and only Galvis as a back-up in the IF but that’s unlikely with Utley’s health history.

        1. You think Gose would start for this team? Not a chance, not yet. If they had D’Arnaud, they might be interested to trade chooch but D’Arnaud hasn’t been able to start in Toronto yet either. My point was that most of the guys we’ve traded have not done well and none have become major league starters yet. Singleton will have the best chance to break that streak.

          1. Gose is already starting center for Toronto how would he not start here? He’s a gold glove caliber defender who can fly and id take that right now wouldn’t you? Also, the phillies have been interested in getting D’arnaud back but Tornto wont trade him.

            1. What is the projection for Gillies, other than injured :)
              It is impossible to assume he will be healthy but if, for comparison’s sake, Gillies was going to be fully healthy, how would he compare to Gose for 2013?

            2. Gose put up an .622 OPS in Toronto in limited time after having so-so numbers in the PCL so I wouldn’t say he would be the starting CF job right now. He’s fast but a particularly good offensive player right now.

            3. Gose has struck out almost 33% of the time with Toronto and hit .223. His OBP is in the Rollins range. He is good at stealing when he on, but, overall, the stick is too weak for an outfield starter right now. If he doesn’t show improvement with the bat, I doubt that he will continue to start for Toronto much longer.

              D’Arnaud may be major league ready, but he isn’t going to start over Chooch anytime soon!

              Murray’s point holds.

    3. Yes, they need a CF.

      Third base there just isn’t anyone out there except Youk, and IMO considering his recent career path I’d pass.

      Corner OF is the wild card. There’s 4 guys out there I’d sign given the right deal. But my guess is they are going to have to over pay to get one of those guys, and, unlike center field, the team does have reasonable internal options. Once you get past the top 4 guys, they wouldn’t really be upgrading the team. Of course that’s free agents; if they could find a way to get the younger Upton in a trade without gutting the minor league system, then sure they should go for it.

      1. I’d give the rangers a call about Leonys Martin. I think that kid is going to be a stud in this league, a lot like Adam Jones. Maybe the Rangers feel the same way about him and he’s not on the table.

        Point is my focus would be on trades for younger controlled talent. A new core if you will.

        if the WS in the next 1-2 years is your goal who are we talking about as league MVP? I ask the question because let’s face it its not that often that the two teams playing in the WS don’t have a player that is in the league MVP race.

        We need that player and he’s not in this year’s class of MVPs. Hamilton yes for the next year or two maybe 3 but he doesn’t fit here.

  7. Mayberry as your 4th OF is the way to go. If they do decide to go with Ruf in LF he is your natural late inning defensive replacment and we know he can spell Howard at 1B against tough lefties if needed.

    He is extremely valuable in every sense excpet that of an everyday player…

    1. I don’t think anyone knows the answer to your questions about Utley. The team will almost certainly wait until the season is over or is very far along before making any decisions about him and his contract. My feeling is that the Phillies want to keep Utley and Utley wants to stay with the team – if it looks like he can be reasonably productive expect both sides to bend over backwards to make a contract work. Chase Utley is a Phillie – I think everyone wants to keep it that way.

      On Upton – he is clearly worth 5 years at $10 million a year, but he is probably not worth 6 years and $15 million a year (although someone definitely might pay him that) – his value lies somewhere in between, in my view. If the Phillies sign him, judging by prior Phillies contracts and the market, I think, the AAV would be around $13 million and I would expect a 5 year contract with a 6th year option and valuable option buy-out of, say $5-7 million. By the way, I am not necessarily endorsing this contract, just predicting what it would look like.

      1. Those numbers seems about right to me. Last week I said I thought it would take a 5 yr/$70M deal. Since I think they absolutely need a gold glove level CF, and he’s only 28 yrs old, I think he’s the guy to sign and I think RAJ agrees. If someone offers more money, it will get tough though.

      2. Pass on Upton and try to work out a trade for any of these-Alex Rios, Michael Brantley, Denard Span or Alejandro DeAza before you pay BJ that kind of dough…Yikes!

        1. Good point on Span – he is a very attractive alternative and will probably be affordable. If I could get him for a reasonable price, I do it, sign a corner outfielder, keep the pick and use the excess money to address other needs. Span would be my first priority if I were the Phillies.

          1. Dexter Fowler would be my choice in a trade, if the return compensation to the ROX is reasonable. If Span could be obtained for lesser prospects, that would be acceptable to me.

        2. DMAR, these are mostly good names who the Phillies should inquire about. And sure the team could use a good young potential MVP type. But … everybody loves young, major league or major league ready, cost controlled regular/potential regular position players. They don’t come cheap. None of those guys are going to come cheap, if they are available at all, and they will cost us prospects, not our older players under contract.

          Which doesn’t mean that Amaro shouldn’t make some calls, see who is available, see what the cost is. But If I have a choice between giving up two of our top 5 prospects for Span versus 5/60 for Upton, you better believe I’ll take Upton. (And FWIW, Span is a few months OLDER than Upton.) Now, Span may be cheaper than that, or one of the other guys you list may be, and Upton probably will be more expensive. So as I said, it’s not as if I’m saying the team shouldn’t at least kick the tires on those guys. But a strategy of ignoring free agents in the hope that you can trade for a young borderline star player without giving up a king’s ransom in prospects would be foolish.

          Not to mention that none of those guys are the potential MVP type player you say we need. Those guys just don’t get traded. In the rare instances when they do, it’s either because they were traded well before they were that kind of prospect, or because the team trading them made a huge error in talent evaluation.

          1. How many MVP winners in the past 25 years weren’t either (a) with the team that drafted him/signed him as an international player, or (b) post free agency? I’m just scanning the list, but on a quick scan I see Hamilton, a special case, and ONE guy who really fits the bill (Bagwell). Go back a little further and you have Sandberg. Might have missed one or two, but generally those types of players just don’t get traded.

            1. Miggy? He probably won’t win this year because of Trout, but he’s essentially an MVP that was traded (not his fault he gets blocked by people putting up ungodly numbers while his are just a hair lower).

            2. Here are MVPs that were traded before they won the award, since 1990L

              Josh Hamilton – traded 2007 – won 2010
              Alex Rodriguez – traded 2004 – won 2005 & 2007 (won in 2003 the year before he was traded)
              Ken Caminiti – traded 1994 – won 1996
              Jeff Kent – traded 1997 – won 2000
              Sammy Sosa – traded 1992 – won 1998
              Dennis Eckersly – traded 1987 – won 1992
              Jeff Bagwell – traded 1990 – won 1994

              The trend here (outside of ARod) is that the players broke out on their new team and were not traded quite in their prime. But it is definitely something that has happened

    1. Nope, a 28 yr old will hold out for a 5 or 6 yr deal and I’m confident he’ll get offers for that from multiple teams.

  8. I agree with the sentiment that CF is the absolute top priority for Phillies.
    I am not a fan of Upton for many reasons (lost draft pick, attitude, inconsistency, long contract, poor contact, still going to pay for his ‘potential’, …)
    BUT, he does fit the primary needs of the team (Excellent CF defense, RH power, Younger)

    I like Youkilis and Hunter because they fit a few of those criteria (RH power, good OBP, good clubhouse guy, short contract).
    Once the Phillies get a middle of the order RH bat, I think they can ‘wait and see’ about the other openings looking for the right value/fit.

    I also think they should aggressively pursue an 8th inning reliever. I’d pick the risky guy they like from: Madson, Soria, Uehara, Adams; since the deal will be short and relatively cheap. Personally, I’d go after Uehara since his numbers are just awesome and he will likely be the cheapest.

    1. I understand that people look at last year’s bullpen and think it’s our Achilles’s heel, but a reminder of some of the bullpen signings we’ve had recently: Baez, Qualls, Lidge (something like a 4.78 ERA after his perfect season and re-signing), Contreras, and Papelbon. Papelbon’s, so far, is by FAR the best of those signings. Think about that. And these are all guys (save for Contreras, kind of) that were seen as late inning relievers.

  9. The way I see this off season, the Phillies need to pursue more than a CF’er and a BP piece if they want to compete for the Division and not just a WC. I assume that it will take a win total in the high 90′s to take the Division, which means they need to create a run differential of about 150. One way to get there is to score 750 offensive runs (they scored 684 in 2012) and allow 600 runs (they allowed 680 in 2012). The Pythagorean winning % would then predict 97 wins. During his tenure, Manuel has had the team within one win of what would be expected from Pythagorean.

    First, will they prevent 80 fewer runs from scoring in 2013 by simply adding a solid 8th inning set-up man? I believe that is very possible considering that if you extrapolate their second half performance over a full season, the pitching staff would have allowed 613 runs. So if Halladay returns as more than a shadow of himself, that alone should do it.

    Next, where do they find 66 runs to get to 750? Well if I were anointed GM, I would attempt to trade for Denard Span for CF (Twins have hinted that they will listen to offers), and sign Torii Hunter and Kevin Youkilis to 2 yr deals. Their projected slash lines and RC/27 for 2013 are (according to The Bill James Handbook 2013):

    Torii Hunter: .271 / .336 / .428 and a RC/27 = 5.00
    Denard Span .281 / .350 / .379 and a RC/27 = 4.74
    Kevin Youkilis ..265 / .371 / .465 and a RC/27 = 5.84

    Assuming that all the regulars play 150 games, except Youkilis and Utley who I assume play 135, and Ruiz 120 (Kratz the other 42), then a rough estimate based on their projected RC/27 gets the team to 753 runs. If they sign B.J. Upton for CF instead, his projected RC/27 is 4.89 but the slight offensive gain is more than lost in defensive runs saved when you weigh his defense v. Span’s. But how they handle RF and especially 3B could mean as much as six wins from lost production yielding only a WC spot. Sorry for the long post – got a little carried away there.

  10. Someone mentioned Dexter Fowler as a candidate for CF. But his home – away splits are scary.
    .295 / .395 / .487 home v. .248 / .331 / .367 away (ugh!)
    His BA adjusted for play in Coors Field is .252, remarkably close to his away BA.

    Defensively, he ranks as the worst CF for mishandling balls after a hit and he has allowed base runner to take the extra base on his arm at a significantly higher-than avg. rate (Fielding Bible).

    Also, he has stolen 64 bases but has been caught 33 times for a 66% success rate. So he is hurting his team with poor reads / poor running decisions. I’d spend the extra in prospects for Span, who is young, has speed, plays a very good CF, gets on base, has gap power, and is signed to a team friendly contract for the next couple of yrs. He is LH but he hits LHP and RHP about the same.

  11. It seems that many people believe that B.J. Upton is an above average CF except for John Dewan and Ben Jedlovec of the Fielding Bible. He is what they write about B.J.

    Upton was a below average defensive CF in 2011. He is notorious for playing a very shallow CF and trying to use his speed to get to balls over his head. However, he has consistently posted negative numbers on balls classified as “deep.” Upton has great speed and athleticism, yet his range numbers have been trending negative. Upton has had a tendency to mix in spectacular plays along with misplays. This is evidenced by him ranking among the leaders in both good fielding plays and defensive misplays between 2009 and 2011. Upton has plus arm strength for a CF. His accuracy on throws is average. Upton can get too aggressive at times leading to him mishandling balls after a hit, wasting throws, throwing toward the wrong base or missing the cut-off man.

    The article goes on to say that, “Upton has all of the physical tools to be an above-average defensive CF, but so far it hasn’t happened for him. It sounds as though he is as inconsistent in the field as he is at the plate. Reading this also makes me question whether those who claim he is an above average CF have been unduly influenced by his spectacular plays and have not sufficiently weighting in his miscues.

  12. Span. why, he has no power, isnt righthanded, he can field and hit 260, and field.guys like that are a dime a dozen, he is not the answer.unless you have a power hitting third basemen and leftfielder. who are right handed and a left fielder who can hit , then you can have a no hit,good fielding center fielder.

    1. Span is a superb fielder and plus offensive player who gets on base. He was approximately a 4 fWAR and 5 bWAR player last year. He’s very good. He is also affordable, under team control for 3 more years and should not exact an enormous trade premium. The idea would be to acquire him in a trade, add other free agents as well, and keep the 16th pick.

      1. According to Fangraphs, and Denard Span is second to Peter Bourjos as the only CF to save more runs per inning over the last two seasons.

  13. Look this isn’t my money. But if your serious about winning, Then you go after hamilton and tori hunter, veterans who can field and hit. use the young arms in the bullpen. worst case if they cant be eight inning guys, then you go out and get someone at trade deadline.with those two guys, galvis at third, fransen on bench, to fill in at third and second. nix, mayberry,and another cheap bench player. like orr . and would love to see pierre back. then i would think we are a improved team.

    1. ‘ Look this isn’t my money.’ Good thing….Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal reported Wednesday the Phillies’ television ratings on Comcast SportsNet dropped 38.6 percent from 2011 according to The Nielsen Company. That decline was the biggest in Major League Baseball. Despite their slide, the Phillies still had the fourth-largest average audience in MLB with 168,000 TV sets tuned to each CSN Philly broadcast. Only the New York Yankees (296,000), New York Mets (173,000) and Detroit Tigers (168,000) had more. Detroit was listed above Philadelphia since its average audience improved 37.7 percent from 2011 on Fox Sports Detroit.

  14. Excellent posts fellas. I see some great ideas flowing here. I would only do a Hamilton deal if I knew I could move Howard otherwise they would be to prone to a LH specialist and I can’t come up with a single team that would be in on Howard.

  15. Haven’t been posting much, but lurk daily, and will chime in today on a few points:

    1. I would not go after any retreads (e.g., Youkilis, as much as I like the guy, too risky, with holes in his game).

    2. I would not go after any underperforming younger guys (both Uptons have big holes in their game, Phils need smarter AND more talented bats in their lineup).

    3. I think a platoon of Frandsen and Galvis is a problem. Freddy’s splits favor him as a RH batter so he could play up against lefties. So give the position to Frandsen, who has earned a second look, with late defense and spot starts for Galvis in all three infield positions. If Asche gets hot in AAA, put him in the mix ASAP. A Frandsen-Asche platoon gives you the best chance of avg to avg+ offense among current resources.

    4. While Halladay is certainly in the decline portion of his career, that does not mean he can’t be an outstanding pitcher next year. Whatever arm issues lingered in 2012 could be ameliorated by his hard work over the winter. His arm could come back to 90% of what it was, maybe better on some day. Like a Warren Spahn late in his career, that could still mean an all-star year. The bottom line, is that he will be given the opportunity and he will work hard on it. Arms can still go up and down, year to year, in an aging guy.

    5. The names I like best as OF fill-ins (till Gillies or others arrive) are Pagan and Victorino.

    6. Don’t like the Uptons for plate discipline and underperforming for world-class physical talents. Get me a big impact guy or one of the guys above. A Victorino/Pagan and a power hitting Ruf in left, combined with a healthier Utley and Howard, are our onliest chance, Obiwan.

  16. Span is the perfect age, highest RF in the majors, and an east coast guy . Funny the last three years he has hit LHP better than RHP.

    1. Lots of guys are talking about getting Span like it would be easy. He’s a reasonable option, no doubt, because he’s a gifted CF with a decent bat and good speed. However, the current thinking is that we won’t have power at 3B so we need to add it in CF. We used to get it from 2B but that ship sailed. What would Span cost in prospects? Please don’t offer up just the ones we don’t want…. Would you trade Worley plus one of Morgan/May/Pettibone? The Twins need pitching. As for getting our 8th inning guy, Affeldt and League’s contracts have raised the price considerably on a good 8th inning guy like Adams.

      1. Would you trade Worley plus one of Morgan/May/Pettibone? Worley or Kendrick and one of the prospects you mention, plus I give them the option of one of Gillies, James, Dugan, Altherr or Castro for good measure, if they so desire.

        1. I’d do everything I could to hang onto Morgan from that group. If you were to include Worley in a package he would be my pick to step in and fill that void right away….

        2. If Worley and Kendrick are valued equally, and the prospects are valued equally, they can have Kendrick and Pettibone. Worley is cost-controlled, which is huge for us (especially since we’d then need to sign another SP). No way in hell I give them Morgan, so between May and Pettibone I’d rather bet on May’s great stuff than Pettibone’s ability to actualize his #5 potential.

  17. Pagan has the highest RF in the NL but several AL CFs are in front of that.. Am I to take from that that the DH effects RF???????

    1. Range factor as a league is always about 27, it merely records who makes the outs. The only CFers with a higher range factor who played 100+ games in center are Denard Span and Adam Jones.

      1. Range factor takes into account total chances at a given position. So, saying this number is around 27 is not correct. There are many plays where there are multiple chances per play (for instance, a 4-6-3 DP has four chances, but only two outs). The calculation is ((total chances/innings played at position)*9)

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