What to Expect in 2013: Corner Infield

The next installment in the off season look at prospects are corner infielders.  Traditionally the corner positions are where teams stick pure hitters and is generally the source of power in a line up.  Overall offense has been down across the league, and it has become more important that a player has to be a capable defender as well as have a bat that profiles for the position, especially at third base.

Before jumping into the discussion of how these prospects line up next to one another I encourage everyone to read gregg’s end of season wrap up on the corner infield position.

First Base:

To be a first base prospect you have to rake at every level along the way, all the way up to the majors.  True first base prospects are rare and their bats are special, many impact first baseman are playing the outfield or third base in the minor leagues and will be forced to first when their defense does not cut it for their current position.  Many college first baseman drafted will sit in the middle of A-ball lineups for years and provide stability and coaching to prospects, while never getting their own chance in AA.  In the Phillies system there are possibly 3 actual first base prospects and one of them (Darin Ruf) is currently playing the outfield and will be addressed when that position comes up for discussion, otherwise the real hopes for a slugging first baseman for the Philles are playing corner outfield spots in the low minors.

William Carmona (21):  Carmona was the Phillies 11th round pick in 2012 and easily could have made the third base list but I believe he will primarily playing first base going forward.  Carmona does not have prototypical power for the position but is a solid hitter.  He is still relatively young and could be more than an org guy if he builds on a late season surge.

Chris Serritella (22):  Serritella was the Phillies 4th round pick in 2012 and they gave him slot, which is really good for a college first baseman.  When he wasn’t injured Serritella raked in college.  Assigned to Williamsport to start his career, he was one of the top hitters in the NYPL.  Serritella will likely have to move quickly, but his bat is good enough to carry him all the way.  Serritella has some defensive questions has he is a below average defender currently.  He will have to hit all the way to get a shot but he has the tools to make it.

Some other first baseman who may put up good numbers: Chris Duffy, James Murphy, and Cody Overbeck

Third Base:

Third base has been a black hole on the major league level since Scott Rolen left town, for the first time in many years there are a string of legitimate prospects at the hot corner from AA to Rookie Ball.  This group of prospects offers some real hope that one of them can develop into a solid regular and possibly an All-Star for the Phillies at the hot corner.

Cody Asche (22):  Most people on this site are familiar with Cody Asche’s year.  Asche has above average contact ability but he has below average power.  At third base he has a good arm but his defense is still below average.  There is not a lot of projection left for Asche but he could likely transition to the majors without many stumbles.  Currently Asche profiles as a fringe regular at third with his current tools, if he cannot stick at third there is not a good position where his bat will profile well.  His spring training will determine whether Asche starts in AA or AAA, either way he is a hot start away from making his major league debut.

Harold Martinez (22): Martinez was a 2nd round pick in 2011.  He has struggled since making his professional debut, he has good plate discipline but has a tendency to strike out at a high rate, additionally the power he displayed in high school and early in college has not translated.  Defensively Martinez is adequate and has been moved to first base at times to make room for Franco.  The coming 2013 season will be make or break for Martinez if he can find consistent ABs.  Martinez likely will return to Clearwater in 2013 where he will defer 3B to Maikel Franco.

Maikel Franco (20): Franco broke out in 2011 and after a slow start he came on in the second half ending with a .280/,336/.439 slash line.  Franco is still growing into his body and their is still some projection there.  Franco has good plate discipline to go along with a chance to have above average contact and true plus power.  Defensively Franco is not special but he is above average and solid at third base and is almost guaranteed to stick there long term.  There are rumors that the Phillies will double jump Franco to AA to start 2013 but it is likely that he starts in Clearwater, however the Phillies have started to indicate they are willing to move Franco along quickly if he shows success.

Mitch Walding (20): A high school shortstop who the Phillies converted to the hot corner.  While a 5th round pick Walding received an above slot bonus.  The scouting reports on Walding where very positive in his debut but after getting off to a good start he struggled with large contact issues.  Walding has the tools to be  a profile hitter at third with good discipline, power, and average.  Defensively Walding struggled at times as he made the positional transition but he should a plus defender with a plus arm at third in the long run.  Walding will start 2013 in Lakewood where he will likely spend the entire season.

Zach Green (18): Green is another high school shortstop signed to above slot bonus.  Green’s swing is a bit long but the Phillies will look to retool it so that he can handle better breaking balls.  His swing can generate good power and average but he has some contact issues.  Defensively Green has transitioned well to third base and he could potentially be an elite defender there.  Green is one of the youngest players in the system so there is plenty of time for him to improve on his issues.  Green is probably ready to handle Lakewood to start 2013 but both third base and shortstop are blocked by Walding and Quinn, so it is likely that the Phillies hold Green back in Extended Spring Training before sending him to Williamsport.

*Just a note, Cameron Perkins will be covered in the corner outfield section since that will likely be his primary position.

Some Questions Facing this Group:

Is Franco or Asche the long term answer at third?

Can the results match the scouting reports for Walding?

Outside of Darin Ruf is there a true first base prospect in the system?

88 thoughts on “What to Expect in 2013: Corner Infield

  1. Realistically, Franco is our best hope at 3rd base. I would not mind him getting a chance in AA, they can always slide him back down to Clearwater if he struggles.

  2. I’m curious, was Ruf not discussed in the main section because of his age, doubts over whether he’s a prospect, or because he had a cup of tea at the big league level?

    1. The Phillies are treating him as a corner outfielder so that is how I will treat him even if I think he can only realistically play first base.

      As we get into positional groups with major leaguers who are not “prospects” by eligibility but are still prospects by development they will make some small appearances (players like Galvis, Brown, and Diekman)

    2. I would vote for doubts about his prospect status. I think if Ruf does not make the phillies in the spring he will essentially be org filler/AAAA guy. He is just too old to have alot of chances left in my often humbled opinion. Also, to answer “Is Franco or Asche the long term answer at third?”. I think the answer is yes. I believe between the two of them either could start for a major league team. I feel Franco is the real long term answer as Asche’s lack of power would cause the Phils to make up those hr’s at a different position but the low minors does have alot of guys who seem to have good power potential and could possibly play 2nd if Asche was good enough to handle third but not shift off of it. Who knows, maybe Asche handles third and later on Walding or Green move to second.

      1. I agree on Ruf though I would give him some sort of opportunity to see if he can repeat his success but there is not a whole lot of leash to give him. He is essentially finished developmentally so it is all down to can he make the small adjustments to profile in the majors.

        Just based on reports on their tools plus their pure athleticism, I would suspect that Asche would be bumped to LF make room if his bat was worth keeping in the lineup. Neither Walding or Green profiles well defensively at second, neither is especially quick, and both are big body fast twitch players with strong arms and are prototypical defensive third basemen.

  3. Asche seems like he might be the short term answer at 3B starting in 2014. It is his defense that concerns me most as I agree his bat at this time doesn’t profile anywhere else. However, with third base in most of MLB being the wasteland that it has become, if Asche can develop 20-25 HR power with Alvarez/Ramirez/Cabrera type defense he would have some value. Franco is definitely the guy to dream on right now and will hopefully be the long term solution but seems to still be a few years away.

    It really is to early to tell on Walding as I don’t know if he has enough bat to be a regular major league thirdbaseman. As far as the lack of 1B prospects I have little concern about that since we still of the Big Albatross for at least 4 more years. Plus, Larry Greene could always be move there assuming his bat develops it to what made him the high pick he was.

  4. Most surprising quote from recent MILB article on Phillies top minor league performances:

    Outfielders

    Kelly Dugan, Lakewood (117 games): The only player on this list to spend his entire season with the BlueClaws, Dugan showed promise as the team’s primary No. 3 hitter. He exhibited a little pop (33 doubles), some patience (.387 OBP) and an ability to move where needed (played first base until making a permanent shift to right field in early June). The 22-year-old particularly excelled in the second half, thanks to a .331/.415/.485 line in the last 69 games. The Phillies only hope he can carry that momentum into Clearwater, where Dugan is expected to start the 2013 season.

    “I got a bad read on him in the spring,” Jordan said. “He had a hurt hamstring, and we were playing him at first base where he couldn’t do much of anything. We kept him back to get the leg healthy, but after that, he showed that he has some ability. He can throw, something we wouldn’t see at first base. It was fun to watch my first impression be so wrong. … He could have hit 30 homers in Reading if he were there.”

    1. Well that is interesting to read. I like Dugan and believe he is still a legitimate prospect. Seems Joe Jordan feels that way also.

    2. ’30 homers in Reading’…I guess that is a pretty good compliment, though I had to think about it, being Reading is one of the friendliest hitters parks in America.

    3. No way he hits 30 homers in a year in Reading…

      Probably because he will start the year in CLW and make it to Reading halfway through the year. I think the bat is legit (not super star but RF profile) and he can play RF defensively with a very good arm. Sometimes guys take a while, especially when injuries are involved.

  5. I’ve written enough previously on my opinions on Asche so I won’t go there. Franco also looks like a player when you watch him play. I think he’ll start at CWater this year and see how it goes with a late promotion to Reading very possible. Walding was one of my biggest disappointments this year (with Eldemere). Watching his swing, I thought I saw a star in the making. He’s very young and he’ll get his chance to rebound next year. He’s a big kid so I’m curious to see if he comes to ST stronger. Defensively, I’m not worried about at all. As for Green, I haven’t sen him play yet but he looks good on paper. Its nice to see 3B possibly be an organizational strength. We’ve seen how short the majors are on good 3B so depth here would provide terrific trade value in a year or two. As I’ve said before, I think Asche can really hit and his 15 homers, instead of a preferred 3B who hits 25, won’t be a problem if he hits 40 doubles.

    1. I have started to come around on Asche’s bat and think he could get to a 60 hit tool and 40 power (peak of 15HRs or so). The problem is the defense and it is starting to sound a little like Ruf in that it just be he doesn’t have the athleticism for it and the best he can do through hard work is be average there and that might not be good enough for the Phillies long term.

    1. If you are talking about Wil Myers the OF prospect for the Royals, then he is way out of their league. Myers is a Top 10 prospect in baseball and Biddle may be right around 50-60, Morgan could be somewhere between 80-100 on some lists and there might be a outlier placement for Martin or May. There is really nothing the Phillies have that the Royals would want for him except maybe Hamels.

        1. Meyer is 6′ 9″ so he gets a ton of downward plane on his pitches. His fastball sits 93-97, he has a plus slider, and a change up that could profile as average. I would slot him in right behind Biddle, given that they are on the same level and Biddle is almost 2 years younger and left handed. Meyer is almost a year younger than Martin who has similar stuff but doesn’t have Meyer’s command. I have Martin higher than May, so I would say he would be the #2 pitcher in the system in a tier of his own.

  6. Yes…Larry Green for 1st base…to follow Howard IF he produces as hoped. That was an prediction seen by several of us here when he was first drafted.

    On Asche: he must have favorably impressed the FO in his stint in the AFL. There was an assessment by some scout at the AFL who said Asche’s defensive skills seemed above average. It is a guarantee that he is and will continue working (hard–his work ethic has been compared to Utley’s) and IMO will become a good or better 3rd baseman in short time.

    And, I would be surprised if he weighed in at 180 when arriving at spring training; suggest he’ll be at 190 together with weight training to generate more power is on his winter menu. It is clear to me–and maybe others–that the FO views him as their nearest answer at 3rd base. Signing Frandson and Josh Fields strongly indicates that they will hold the position warm for Cody…who MIGHT be arriving at mid-season should his production continue. No big signing or trade for somebody else for 3rd UNLESS Asche is dealt away…unlikely.

  7. I like Asche a lot. As far as not having the “Power Tool” to stick at third, this has become irrelevant. That theory is over 20 years old when you typically got nothing offensively out of second base, shortstop and catcher. Aside from a handful of guys, how many 20/25 homer guys could you name from the 80′s who played short, second or catcher. A few but not many. This is why it was important to get power out of your third basemen. Times have changed. Teams get offense from every position on the field. Look at the Yankees and Scott Brosius. His last three years with the Yankees he averaged 15 home runs, 24 doubles and around .250. This production didn’t matter to the Yankees (who were pretty successful) because they were getting production from Jeter, Posada and Soriano. So when evaluating Asche offensively, I am totally throwing out what position he plays because it doesn’t matter. I think Asche can be better than Brosius. I think he can hit .280, 30 2B, 15 HR and walk some. He can make a nice 2 hole or 7 hole hitter. I love his swing. (I mentioned before he reminded me offensively of Rico Brogna. That got some laughs but Brogna was productive for a couple years.) Look at someone like Sean Casey. Firstbase is a “power postion” and he only hit 20 or more home runs only three times in his career (20, 24 and 25) Mark Grace was a .300 hitter but his highest home run total was 17.

    Probably the best comparison at third base is Aaron Boone who was an all star in 2003 hit .267, 24 HR and 33 doubles. I think Asche can hit a little higher with maybe less home runs.

    My point is, he doesn’t need to be a superstar, or even an all star, but I think he can be a productive player offensively. So just forget about everything you read on this guy and watch the man hit. He has an awesome swing and the ball just jumps off his bat. He will be a above average starter in the majors.

    Now, all that said, his defense is an issue that can’t be ignored, so I am in agreement with everyone on that. I just really really like his swing.

    1. I hadn’t thought of Mark Grace, what a great comparable for what Asche can become. Pretty good player and a real gamer.

      1. Well, Grace was a pretty good hitter and awesome with the glove. Don’t know if Asche can be that kind of hitter but I used Grace to point out that there are players who play “power positions” that don’t have power but are still pretty good.

        1. My favorite is Keith Hernandez. I grew up around NY and have a soft spot for him. He was a superb player – really one of my all-time favorites. He never hit more than 20 homers, but he was a greater gap power hitter, got on base all the time, was an outstanding fielder (I see the recent bWAR defensive numbers don’t give him much credit – but those numbers do not agree with what I saw and I think the fWAR defense numbers are better) and was like a coach on field. He controlled the whole game from first base. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.

            1. Yes, “He’s Keith Hernandez” and, yes, there was a second spitter (who can forget, “Nice game pretty boy”?).

    2. +1 I think there are many here who disagree but I’m not one of them. From a team standpoint, you need to get your power from somewhere but it really doesn’t matter from where. From a player standpoint, if you play first base or corner outfield and don’t swing a lively bat, you’d better field the position like crazy and keep looking over your shoulder because job security could be an issue.

      1. Glad you agree. Also, how many home runs did Wade Boggs hit? How about Tony Gwynn. 3B and Corner OF are both positions where you NEED to hit for power, right?

    3. The profile power is the normal need for third base especially with declining offense across the league, that being said I don’t think a player needs to have huge power. If they don’t, they need to be elite elsewhere, most of your examples had either elite defense, hit tool, or plate discipline (not all of them).

      Just because you are getting atypical production elsewhere doesn’t mean you should punt a position offensively (and frankly the Phillies are not getting atypical production at anywhere but short and catcher). You can get away with playing a poor offensive player but that doesn’t make the player good. Here is the important thing POSITION MATTERS FOR VALUE, your value is how good you are against your peers and what a team could replace you with. If you are below average for what can replace you, you are below average regardless of whether the team plays you there or not.

      Asche’s power ceiling is probably about 15HRs and 30 2Bs, he should hit around .280, but he doesn’t have the walk rate to make that much more than an empty average.

      1. I think it’s still too soon to put such a specific ceiling on Asche. Coming out of the draft the scouts said he had good power, now it’s below average. Scouts before questioned his hit tool, now more scouts seem to like it. Some scouts say his defense is fine, some say it’s not. I think because he’s had two incredibly different seasons since he’s been drafted, he hasn’t been totally pinned down by the scouting community. Even his stats between Clearwater and Reading are very different.

        People sometimes dismiss his homers at Reading because of the league/park, but you know what? 20 homers over a full season there is still pretty solid. And 5 of his 10 homers came on the road. If he had enough ABs to qualify for the Easter League leaderboard, he would have had a better OPS than anyone in the league not named Darrin Ruf. Also he’s not a 23 or 24 year old guy hitting against younger players in AA. He was 21/22 last season- age appropriate or even a little young.

        I just think we should wait it out more. I’m very aware that his chances of being a star in the majors are very slim, but before we say his upside is definitely this or that, lets wait until we have more information.

        1. I agree. This is particularly true given his age and his reputation as being a hard worker in the mold of Chase Utley. A bright and motivated guy who literally goes at it all day long in his quest to improve (according to reports he would show up at Reading hours before anyone else other than the stadium people and just work like crazy). I’ve been counseling patience on pre-judging his power. Let’s let it play out a little longer. I think we’re going to be a little surprised at what our friend Cody Asche can do.

          1. I have only seen him play twice, but when I look at that guy swing I can’t imagine how he won’t be useful in a lineup. With a swing like that….better swing than Pence, Victorino, Pierre, Galvis, Rollins, Frandsen, Mayberry, Brown, and even Howard. I like the way Chooch swings and of course, Utley…and those two could be gone in 2014. I’m just saying, regardless of what position he plays, if there is a guy on second, I rather see a guy with Asche’s swing than a guy with Victorino’s swing (and so on) Obviously I am not a scout and need to see him more, but I am telling you, the more and more that this thing plays out, the more and more people will be impressed.

  8. and speaking if Utley, here are his minor league stats. Not that minor league stats are a pure indicator of major league success, not am I comparing Utley to Ashce, but based off Utley’s minor league numbers, we knew he would be good but probably never this good. Attribute that to hard work. If Asche has the same type of work ethic, who knows, I am sure he can exceed expectations as well.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=utley-002cha

    1. Utley was the worst minor league infielder I ever saw, no lie. It’s hard to believe that he turned himself into an above average 2B.

      1. Agree Murray..if he had a the range and arm of a Brandon Phillips he definitely would have been considered an outstanding 2nd baseman.

  9. Anyone else think Franco is going to breakout and become a Top 100 prospect next year? He definitely has the profile to become one.

    1. I would be a little surprised if he doesn’t become a top 100 prospect. He’s certainly the best third base prospect we’ve had since Rolen.

    2. Judging by where he appeared on the SAL Top 20 and what I have heard he is likely in the Top 150 type range but could get a few Top 100 votes by people right now. I think he is only going to get better over the next year.

  10. For the foreseeable future, there will be questions about the health and related declining production at the plate for Howard, Utley, Ruiz, and Rollins. There are a number of existing questions about LF, CF and Brown in RF.

    If Asche plays decent defense at 3B and hits .280, has an OBP of .330, with 25-30 2Bs, 15 or so HRs, he will not be the weak link in the lineup, nor will he be a question mark in the absence of some Bryan LaHair-like statistical anomaly (.865 OPS against RHs, .292 OPS against LHs) or complete lack of discipline at the plate. If Asche can be at those levels, he would be better than many of the guys we have had at 3B since Rolen left town (The Good: Polanco, Feliz. The Bad: David Bell. The Ugly: Abraham Nunez, Wes Helms). Sitting here today, we are about to head into a season with Kevin Frandsen and Galvis as our 3Bs. I have to think it will not be difficult to surpass their collective contributions at the plate.

    If and when Franco is ready to take over 3B full-time, Asche can move off of 3B or if there is no spot to put him, move on, but that is getting so far ahead and there are many variables between now and that point. As for Walding and Green, I am excited for their progression.

    I am no scout and can only go by what others have stated and the numbers, but it appears that we have a number of legitimate prospects at 1B (Serritella, Carmona, leaving aside Ruf — and there are some that may shift from other positions, Dugan, etc.) and 3B (Asche, Franco, Walding and Green, and if he can put it together, Martinez). Even if none of them are truly upper-echelon prospects (maybe Franco can be), we have reason to be justifiably optimistic about the future at 1B and 3B. If you think about it, that is kind of amazing that we actually have so many what appear to be actual prospects at 3B and C in light of the fact that about 18 months ago, both positions seemed pretty limited or bereft at projectable major-league talent rather than organization filler, 4A’s, or guys that hit the injury lottery like Steven Lerud (no offense to him intended).

    1. We need to look at our farm honestly. We do not have a number of legitimate prospects at 1B. We have Chris Serritella, a 22-year old for all of last season, who put up a .768 OPS at Williamsport. He is an interesting pick as a non-primo round college senior, but 22 is old for Williamsport and that just isn’t a good OPS for a solid 1B prospect. William Carmona is only 21. He had a nice OPS starting in the GCL, but a college junior playing in the GCL should hit very well. When moved up to Lakewood, his OPS fell below .600. Lakewood was probably a bridge to far for him in his first partial season. Next year will tell the tale with him, but I don’t think we can label him a legit prospect. It needs quite a bat to stick as a starting major league 1B.

      1. Carmona played weak competition in college. Good hitter, but he hasn’t faced good pitching on a consistent basis.

        1. My comment, poorly written, was meant to convey we have a number of legitimate prospects at 1B and 3B in combination. Sorry for the confusion.

          1. Sorry for the mis-read. That is actually what you said, although I think it would have been more accurate to limit it to third base until Carmona or Serritella actually assert themselves.

  11. Any chance the Phils make a Rule 5 pick out of one of the following?
    Josh Satin OF (Mets)
    Ty Kelly 3B/OF (Orioles)
    Jonathan Galvez 2B/SS (Padres)
    I have no idea what the scouts say about them but their numbers are intriguing..

    1. Satin seems like a worse option than Ruf. Kelly seems interesting, I am concerned that a team with a relative weakness at third base (the Orioles) did not protect him (from checking Orioles sites it seems like a org guy having a career year), Galvez can’t really play short so it would be near impossible to carry him (especially with Galvis’s defensive flexibility)

  12. For all those concerned about Asche’s defense at third, I offer you a couple tweets from former scout Bernie Pleskoff from the AFL season:

    @BerniePleskoff
    #AFL12 #Phillies I’m as impressed with Cody Asche’s defense as I am with his offense. Have watched him all fall-he plays both side of ball.

    @BerniePleskoff
    #AFL12 Show Me Something I Didn’t Know About You: Cody Asche has very quick first step at 3B, Mike Zunino might have hole on inside corner.

    @BerniePleskoff
    @Mitch_Rupert Don’t know his reputation on defense, but he’s been outstanding here. Moves well, anticipates well, good range and arm. Solid

    So there’s that …

    1. ‘Bout time someone who HAS SEEN him play and EVALUATES talent for a living has a favorable and optimistic report. Of course in three weeks from now, many posters will again have Asche’s defense as marginal with many concerns. In any event, thanks Mitch for the update.

    2. What seems to have happened is that Cody Asche has worked his tail off on defense and has improved and, apparently, improved substantially. I suspect the work on defense will continue this winter and he will hit the weights. If he can become a 15-22 homer a year player, he could be especially valuable. I, for one, am very excited to see how he progresses next year because this guy is very easy to root for.

      1. In an interview, Asche said he was working very hard on his footwork defensively in the AFL. I’ll be very surprised if this kid doesn’t become a solid major league 3b at least. I’m very excited to see him hit in AAA, remembering that this will only be his second full season in the minors so additional learning and developing is to be expected.

    3. It is nice to see a positive opinion from a scout because the reports from many sources was that he looked poor on defense in the AFL, could be an inconsistency thing as he gets better. I hope he improves because the reports from AA were not positive.

    4. Lets remember that these players are not static and just because they are labeled a poor fielder they do have the ability to improve (Utley). And Bernie seemed to have seen asche a couple of times with his reviews. ON Asche’s defense there has never been a consistent report on his ability, and there is a large gap between being adequate at a position and being a GG fielder.

  13. Those are confirmations of that other scout’s report that he was impressive at 3rd base, i.e., better than average.

    Now that’s something to build on.

    1. yes ArtD agree with you wholeheartedly…but what do the paid scouts know! Keith Law and the national pub guys determine a player’s prospects..

  14. I just can’t see the Phils bringing in Youk for more than a one yr deal which will probably leave them out on Youk. Asche wil be the man in 2014 if he has another good year in 2013.

    1. How’s about two years for Youk, with his second year being an option. He does give you some 1st base fill-in flexibility, though John Mayberry gives you that also.

    2. It will probably take a two year contract to get Youkilis – probably somewhere around 2 years, $18 million or so. It’s worth the risk, particularly since Youk can play first if Howard gets injured. If I’m Ruben, what I want this year is four solid infielders (Howard, Utley, Rollins and a FA or trade target at third) plus Galvis and Frandsen. No matter how you look at this Galvis should get a ton of playing time under this scenario even if everyone is healthy, spelling Rollins at short, Utley at second and whoever at third, including days when he is a late inning replacement when he does not start. If you have a guy like Youk and Howard gets injured, you can slide Youk to first and have Galvis and Frandsen man third with little disruption. If Utley or Rollins gets injured, Galvis slides in at their positions and starts. Yup, having Youk would solve a ton of problems and allow for depth at all infield positions. It just makes sense.

  15. The only way I see being able to get Youk on a one year or deal is if he thinks he can have a big bounce back year and get a bigger contract after next season ala Beltre a couple of years ago. A lot of that would be determined by how hot the market is for him.

  16. I think u can still get youk on a two year deal. The second if Cody is legit then platoon them. And if he keeps working and becomes legit. Then you can sub him in 7th inning on some games.

  17. The Dodgers are the X-factor on Youkilis. If they want him, they could easily go 2 years at $22M or more. If the Dodgers don’t want him, I think the Phils could outbid other teams on a one year deal. Sad reality is that Howard is a better bet to play 150 games than Youkilis.

  18. Maybe this is the time for the phillies to start to rebuild. the braves are still going after outfielders. they now they have unloaded hanson contract, they have great starters. and best bullpen in baseball imo. The nationals are really the cream of the crop. The phillies can start by trading lee , halladay for prospects. and try to unload paplebon.even if they have to eat salary, and dont resign chooch or utley trade them at trade deadline for young players, build around hamels. and young bullpen guys and maybe worley. its time to get smart, we are locked into too many long term big contracts and have no real legit prospects, so we should bite the bullet, and rebuild.

    1. If this were Tampa or a small market I might endorse the full rebuild there are some problems:
      - the TV contract is up soon and getting a deal close to the Dodgers (Phillies have better ratings) could set the franchise up financially for decades
      - the is no way to move Howard and unless you think Ruf is a sure thing there really isn’t anyone to play there
      - Halladay has no value until he proves that he is what he used to be
      - Unless you are getting good value there just isn’t a lot on the farm to point to and say this is who we build around. There are plenty of guys who could be solid regulars to fill in but the closest guy with anything resembling star potential is Franco but more likely you are looking at Quinn in short season

      I think that is definitely a good idea but it is in no way practical for the Phillies and the interest they have gained, especially with the other teams having a down year the Phillies have a real chance to fully gain control of the city’s sports market.

    2. I have thought long and hard about this too since it seems we need so much and there re so many impossible to fill holes like right handed middle of the order bat (something better than Youk). In the end however, we still have Halladay, Hamels and Lee. If Halladay recovers 75%+ of what he was and we an get something from Utley and Howard this team is still good enough to make the playoffs Hell it won 102 games in 2011 with a pretty poor lineup. Once in the playoffs it’s anyone’s game. I still like our pitching and if we can get one Cody Ross like post-season performance I. I just don’t see us getting fair value back in any of the suggested trades and definitely not the kinds of guys you want to build the future around. You need to draft the Trouts and Stantons. You are nor going to trade for them.

      1. Very much this. This team was still .500 last year in a tough division while many things went wrong, and the year before won 102 games. It’s not unreasonable to expect playoff contention; and if you can get in you have a shot.

        1. Agreed, if you get in all it takes is a good start or two by two out of those top three and you can make it all the way. The best team doesn’t always win, it would be about time for it to go our way.

    3. Bill, Atlanta has great starting pitching-really? I agree their bullpen is top notch but their starters are their weakness.

  19. Now is not the time to rebuild. The Phillies were one of the best teams in baseball the second half. They’re not far off. Seriously, if you add pagan, Swisher and (Uehata or Adams) you stay under the 2014 LT limit and have a stacked lineup, great rotation and a top 5 bull pen.

    1. Swisher is an interesting case that I am surprised I have not seen mentioned here before. His lefty/righty splits last year break the wrong way for us but his career history is better. My biggest concerns are that he is subpar defensively and has been absolutely dreadful in the post-season.

    2. The problem is that Swisher costs the pick and I don’t think he is anywhere the near the caliber of player that is worth it. I think they can solve the power outfield bat in a more creative way without giving up the pick.

      1. I’d love to keep the pick, but Swisher does such a good job of working the count, getting on base and has solid power. Who would you like in RF? Ross, Ludwick?

  20. I dont agree on howard. You could move him, if you pick up a large portion of his contract. he still can be a power threat as a dh,dont you believe a team out there would pay him 50 over 5 years/ I do and we pick up the rest.

    1. If Howard has a good year (for him) this year (.35-40 homers, .265 Avg., 120 RBIs), I would bet money that somebody would pick up about $45 million of his last 3 years. But the Phillies love their “run producers” (paraphrasing of their words, not mine), so if he has a year like this (not a great year, mind you, but a slightly better version of what he did in 2011), then I think they’ll keep him. I don’t think they should under those circumstances, but their history suggests that they would.

      1. I don’t necessarily disagree with this, but it is an argument of what they can do next winter, not now. Now you can’t move him without eating the majority of his salary. That’s not really a good deal. If you eat enough of is salary that the other team gets him for what his remaining salary is worth, then you’ve saved nothing. You’re certainly not going to get much of value back, by way of players or prospects, in such a deal. The only reason of thinking of such a deal is if Ruf is for real with the bat, but can only play 1B. Again, an issue for next year, at which time we’ll know how well Ruf can hit over a full major league season and how close to adequate he can be as a defensive LF. At 1B he was okay, certainly not a gold glover, so it’s best if Ruf can stay in LF. This isn’t like the old Thome/Howard situation, where neither could play anywhere except 1B and Thome wasn’t expected to be able to play 1B for the length of his contract and needed to DH.

      2. If he produces like than he is probably worth keeping. You aren’t going to replace that on the $15 mil a year you are saving and it’s not like they have 30-45 homer guys at first base knocking at the door in AAA. Also you have to add an extra $10 million onto your figures for the buyout at the end of the contract (or an extra year at $23 million).

          1. The White Sox and Phillies are the two most aggressive teams in pursuit of a third baseman, a source tells Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. Kevin Youkilis is the object of both team’s pursuit. Hayes writes the Sox may have to move another high salary in order to afford Youkilis and floats the names of Jeff Keppinger, Mark Reynolds, and Eric Chavez as alternatives……mlbtraderumors.com

  21. Howard got extended precisely in the hope that he could put up those numbers. It’s not like he has speed to lose. I think it’s the concern that Howard is now an 85-90 rbi guy that makes Hamilton even worth considering by Amaro.

  22. I see the following assignments for 3B:
    AAA: Fields (plus hopefully another vet) then Fields plays 1B. I want as many options as possible if Frandsen / Galvis is the ‘plan’, just in case one of the vets has a “Bradon Moss” season.
    AA: Asche – I’d keep him in AA so he can start wth some success. There is really nobody else for AA, and I want as many 3B options stashed in high levels as possible.
    A+: Franco – As a top prospect his assignment takes first precedent. He is still quite young and seems to have good second halves. No reason to mess with his annual schedule.
    A-: Walding – He should continue to move annually as well.
    Green likely at WPT but I liked the fact that they continued to give him some reps at SS.

    1B is more difficult since it could be a place to get at bats for players from other value positions.
    AAA: Overbeck if he is still around. Joseph and Fields and Ruf may all get time here
    AA: Murphy or Duffy: Not sure who else might be there. Duffy was terrible at CLW so a jump to AA seems unlikely but I just think he has more upside than Murphy. Not sure both these guys make a roster.
    A+: Martinez (since Franco at 3B). He was such a high draft pick I think they need to get him more at-bats. Dugan may have time here as well. Maybe Duffy sticks around here for a while.
    A-: Serritella – I am guessing he moves one level at a time to provide lineup protection.
    Carmona probably in LWK also moving between the corners. Maybe Perkins does the same thing in CLW.

  23. Crazy thought- would Polanco take a minor league deal to come to ST to show he’s healthy? I like the Fields signing, I wold love an Ian Stewart minor league deal too if possible. Figgins doesn’t excite me though unless he’s willing to be a bench guy and can still run. If so, I’d bring him in on a minor league deal.

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