Last week I started exploring the future of the Phillies with a luck at what could be in 2016. The series continues with 2017 as some more money comes off the books and a couple more guys arrive in the majors. Just as before here are the starting assumptions.
- The Phillies are not trading away any players
- Minor Leaguers will progress as “normal” and will not have any career ending injuries.
- The Phillies will be rational about resigning players
- I am not accounting for FA acquisitions and Draft Picks, however I will have a salary total that can be used to dream on FA acquisitions that could fill in the holes
- Arbitration figures for salaries are taken from similar players
This isn’t going to be a great defensive pair but it should provide plenty of offense. In this scenario Knapp is likely in a back-up position given his inexperience, but he could overtake Joseph depending on how his hitting progresses. More than anything else this pair should be really cheap. Salary: $1 million
First Base: Maikel Franco
With Howard off the roster there is a gaping hole at first base and help possibly a while away. To compensate the 2017 Phillies slide Franco across the diamond and reinstall Cody Asche at third. While this may not be ideal to have Franco at first base he should be a good hitter with plenty of power. Franco should be well established at this point in his 4th year. Salary: $14 million ($10 million Howard buyout)
Second Base: Roman Quinn
With nowhere to put Quinn and a projected retirement by Chase Utley second base becomes an intriguing option. Quinn’s biggest problem at shortstop has been his footwork and transfers. At second base he could play a bit slower and be able to be adequate defensively. On offense Quinn has surprising pop and his speed is a real weapon. Quinn’s arrival to the majors is pushed back by his 2013 offseason injury, and there is a chance that even second base won’t work out and he is destined for centerfield. Salary: $500,000
In 2017 Crawford is entering his second year in the majors. The bat might not be there is 2016, but with a year under his belt I would expect improvements across the board. Crawford is likely to never be a middle of the order hitter but his bat should provide value and his defense can carry him. Freddy Galvis reprises his role as Utility Infielder #1. Salary: $3 million
Third Base: Cody Asche
Asche is a borderline average regular at third base, and while adequate is not ideal in this scenario. If for some reason the Phillies don’t add anyone at an infield corner before 2017 there will be a lot of hope levied on Zach Green and any of the first base options to upgrade the position. That said Asche should be a fine placeholder here. Salary: $1.5 million
The 2016 crew return for another round in the outfield. A Dugan/Perkins platoon is far from ideal but a settled in Altherr and 6th year Domonic Brown should provide offense in the other two positions. The salary has gone up here as Brown enters his last year of Arb. Salary $19.5 million
Losing Cliff Lee hurts a lot right here and you really need someone to step up or a big time pitcher drafted. The two newcomers are a pair of high upside arms. Watson profiles more as a mid-rotation starter if he bounces back from his 2013 should injuries. Mecias will miss significant time in 2014 to Tommy John recovery, but it is an arm with a great changeup and a good amount of projection. There is also Adam Morgan, Jonathan Pettibone, and Andrew Anderson around the AAA area in this scenario. Salary: $32 million
A lot of cheap names from the 2016 bullpen. Adding to the group is Hoby Milner as a long reliever, solid to better changeup, decent fastball and a frame that won’t hold up to a starter’s workload and Miguel Nunez a hard throwing RHP with a big fastball and feel for a breaking ball. The goal here is to young and cheap. This bullpen is a bit more expensive then the 2016 version due to arbitration raises, but still much cheap than the 2013 version. Salary: $7 million
Summary: Again this team is not looking like a title contender, but what it does have is a payroll under $80 million. That leaves nearly 100 million to upgrade across the board. Theoretically this team has a star starter, two stud young infielders (Franco and Crawford), and a All-Star outfielder (Brown). Filling in around that is cheap talent, is a much better situation to be in than the current 2014 outlook because you have that money to make direct upgrades on near free talent. If 2017 is the year to compete there will also be plenty of good talent in AA to use as trade pieces.