9 Moves to Make

With the big club historically putrid, lets look at several moves to make to help move the proverbial ball forward, primarily to help gauge what we may have in the future with several “test” projects that we wouldn’t typically allow for in July.

1.  SP Aaron Nola to Philadelphia–Nola is a guy that will gain nothing more from a half dozen minor league starts.  He is a polished pitcher with less than overpowering stuff that will be a very good major league pitcher, hopefully for the next decade.  With the absolute pounding the bullpen is taking, there is no reason not to add stability into a rotation that has been anything but.

2.  RP Nefi Ogando to Philadelphia–Ogando is on the 40 man and performed well this year at Reading and in his first half dozen AAA appearances.  Put simply, what is the downside?  Send Hector Neris down and move Ogando up.

3.  RP Adam Loewen to Philadelphia–If not now, then in September.  Loewen signed a two year minor league contract last season and had a good year last year and has been borderline incredible over the last 6 weeks in Lehigh Valley, as a dominating lefty out of the bullpen.  This prevents another Jason Grilli/RyanVogelsong/Brandon Moss situation by simply giving him a shot in the majors.

4.  OF Aaron Altherr to Philadelphia–He is having an outstanding year, improving in all aspects of his game.  Likely not a long term answer as a starting OF, but also likely better than the AAAA guys thrown out there day after day.

5.  OF Kelly Dugan to Lehigh Valley–Dugan has proven he can hit AA pitching,  He needs to show he can stay on the field and hit with some power.

6.  RP Joe Denato and Matt Hockenberry from Lakewood to Clearwater-Clearwater can use some help in the bullpen and both of these guys are beyond ready.  Both were established  college pitchers who, when healthy, have dominated the competition at this level.  Challenge them.

7.  RP Tyler Gilbert and Anthony Sequeira from Williamsport to Lakewood–Both 2015 draft picks and both have been lights out in the early going.  With too many pitchers and not enough work, allow Gilbert and Sequeira to backfill for Denato and Hockenberry in the Lakewood ‘pen.



52 thoughts on “9 Moves to Make

  1. On a prospects board, here’s my play involving a lot of prospects.

    to the Tigers:

    Cole Hamels, Ben Revere

    to the Cubs:
    Jonathan Pabelbon, David Price and OF prospect Steven Moya (Det.) + $5 M from Philadelphia

    to the Phils:

    P Buck Farmer (Det.), C-OF Kyle Schwarber (Chi.), P C.J. Edwards (Chi.), IF Javier Baez (Chi.) and OF Billy McKinney (Chi.)

    Detroit locks in a top-of-the-rotation starter for 3 + years. Maybe the Cubs use an in-season time window to negotiate an extension for Price, who would pitch for Joe Madden once again. The Phils fire all their bullets and get the building blocks of a real re-build. Baez, if not the Phils day 1 SS, is a candidate for a position switch to 1B or LF.

    1. Great trade for the Phillies if you think Schwarber can catch or play OF I suppose. I don’t understand why the Cubs would do that deal for half a season of David Price.

      The Cubs will want a lot more money than just $5 mil too. It’s definitely creative.

    2. That makes zero sense for the Cubs unless they have an agreed upon extension in place for David Price.

    3. phils fans would have fun with that name Buck Farmer, i would think.

      Chicago does seem like logical landing spot for Paps due to Epstein, Lester and closer issues there. Was thinking Baez would be worth a flyer in return package just because this team has no power outside of Franco assuming Howard is gone at some point.

    4. Jayson Stark said this yesterday “teams don’t want to give up their top prospects” (you DO have to give up a top prospect for Hamels, plain and simple) but you think the Cubs would give up 4 of their top prospects for a rental in Price (you can’t guarantee that he’s going to sign an extension, huge gamble there), Papelbon (Motte and Rodon have done a good job w 17 saves, 3 BS. Not to mention there will be cheaper options out there money wise and prospect wise) and an OF prospect who one highly regarded scout put a hit tool of 20 on (not to mention the Tigers system is as thin as it gets so they trade one of their only prospects). The Cubs have one of the best systems in baseball but you WONT see a team mean 4 top guys like that.

      You also mentioned Kyle S has value at 1B, explain that to me. Have you seen him play 1B? The answer will be no bc he has NEVER played there. You can’t say someone had value at a position they have NEVER played and at a position where you have to absolutely rake at to have an impact as a prospect.

      One of the best ways to look at it is this . . If you are the Cubs do you make that deal. The answer is No.

  2. dont like that trade at all to be honest.

    really wanna see loewen in philly bc u knw there are teams hoping he never gets teh call andbecomes a free agent

  3. 1 through 3 I think are locks to happen. Can I ask you Dan what you don’t like about that trade proposal? I think it is more than we actually get.

    1. I just don’t like Baez. Question for you, if something like that is done, is Schwarber a catcher for us? Most reports say he can’t play there long term.

      1. I love posting a trade idea on a board where detractors each sound like the scouts responsible for signing the prospects suggested in the trade. I guess there’s a reason scouts aren’t GM’s.

        On your question, I don’t think anyone knows if Schwarber is a big league catcher. The Cubs have used him as a DH in interleague play. On a team like the Phils, where neither first base or left field is locked down, he has value even if he can’t cut it behind the plate. When you look at top level prospects that the Phils might want if moving Hamels, Schwarber’s position uncertainty makes him more likely to be available than most others.

        I think the Cubs with their Tribune $ can afford Price and the question would be whether the Tigers offer a time window for negotiation in-season. Price has said he wasn’t necessarily going for the largest offer in free agency so if re-uniting with Madden appeals, then it makes sense. Perhaps it’s natural on a prospects site for people to believe teams won’t move prospects for All Star talent. I think the NL Central could be in play for 3 teams, this year and beyond, so I’ll stand by the proposal.

  4. Wow. 4 of the 9 moves the Phillies have to make involve promoting 23 year old, low A ball, middle relievers to the next level of A ball. No telling how much of an improvement boost the system gets from those moves.

  5. I agree with the top 5 and don’t know enough about the names in the last two to disagree. I will say though on one – I wouldn’t call up your #2 prospect in order to save the bullpen, they should only do it cuz it’s the right thing for his development.

    As for Altherr, I’m MUCH higher on his potential than your assessment.

    1. I am certainly hoping Altherr turns out to be more than a 4th OF/ AAAA level player. But if that’s all you see in him, why waste time promoting him to begin with?

      1. Rick, there is no such thing as a 4th of/AAAA player. Those are two very different things. As Keith Law often points out, when he says he sees somebody as as 4th OF, he is saying that person is in the top 120 in the country as his position. There is no shame in being a 4th outfielder, and they often play crucial roles on good teams. They often can turn that into a starting job somewhere down the road as well.

        AAAA players are organizational fodder who may get a call now and then when needed but not a consistent ML player.

        1. Sorry I wasn’t clearer – wasn’t saying its one in the same. Was referring to the earlier thread that seemed to pigeon-hole him into nothing more than one of the 2.

          My point was, if he’s only got a ceiling as one of those players, why is it urgent to move him up this year?

          1. because he could be more than that, and the only way well know is if he gets a chance, and the guys we are throwing out there arent worth not giving him that chance.

  6. man I disagree. There is zero incentive to push Nola up too soon as he is still working on things. Everything I see from Aaron Altherr tells me he can be starter long term.

  7. Bringing Nola up is not pushing him he is as polished as they come. Having said that is it smart from a business standpoint would be the question.

    1. Agreed. Nola is ready to pitch in the majors right now. I’m not saying he’s done with his development, only that he can pitch in the big leagues now and be pretty good. Right now, in my opinion, he’s at least a solid 3 and I think he’s got room for quite a bit of growth (definite #2 upside, moderate possiblity of becoming an ace). So, at this point, it’s slightly a developmental issue, but it’s mostly an economic issue. I expect him to be recalled the moment Hamels is traded – it’s an historical Phillies practice to create some good news when they also create controversy.

  8. Nola and Altherr need more time to adjust to the higher level of competition. The first time around is not as important as seeing pitchers and hitters a second time. They will make adjustments and our players have to counter.

    Don’t get too excited over 60-80 AB’s or a handful of starts.

    1. Agree with Nola…September would be alight with me. But they will probably not let him go much higher then 180 IP…he has not been over that level yet, even last year as a senior at LSU and as a Phillie. Now he is at 106.

      Disagree with Altherr. His age and MiLB PAs of over 2600, indicates he needs to make the move, His long-term future I would think, would be something similar to a John Mayberry role.

  9. As soon as Hamels and Franceur or Revere gets traded, Nola and Altherr will be called up. Ogando will be up as soon as Pap goes and Loewen should be up soon as well. Envisioning the rotation after a Hamels trade is picturing the worst rotation in the history of the league.

    1. It is not that bad. Go back and look at the late 80’s/early 90’s rotations.

      That was bad. Bruce Ruffin, Don Carmen, etc.

      Back then ownership just flat out refused to pay for pitching. That in itself is much worse than paying guys on one year deals as reclamation projects.

      I remember going to the Vet back then and paying $5 for upper level seats.

      1. David….700 level seats!
        Lots of action up there during some of those Phillies’ games….if you know what I mean!

        1. I used to work in the dining room in at the vet. They had that goon squad. all those guys did was smoke pot. when a fight broke out. they came running and started throwing punches it was great to watch.

      2. Nope, it is that bad. It’s dreadful. It’s not hopeless because there’s some real pitching coming down the line and the team can afford FA acquistions when they get closer to competing, but once Cole Hamels leaves the rotation will be among the worst we’ve all seen, especially if Nola is not promoted until September or later.

  10. Regarding Nola, considering the state of the team right now, he does not need to complete his development in the minor leagues, he could do so in the majors. Everybody I talk to agrees he would not come up right now and get hit around. He may have some bumps here and there, and he may not be dominant right away, but he isn’t going to come up and get killed and lose his confidence. The decision is really around the business side of things and the tradeoff between getting him started in the bigs now and having him become a FA one year earlier vs having him continue in AAA and push out his FA one year.

    Regarding Altherr, he really deserves the opportunity to play in the big leagues sooner than September 1st. If he stays healthy and keeps playing well, I’ll be very upset if he is not on the major league roster and starting CF by August 1st. He has played enough years in the minors and has been consistently good all year so he is ready for that opportunity. What he turns out to be we don’t know, but his upside is significantly higher than Herrerra or Revere, so playing him in CF in Philly sooner rather than later is a lottery ticket they need to play.

    Regarding promotion of prospects, a few weeks ago I posted a whole bunch of random comments from a scout on Phils minor leaguers. He was very critical that the Phils do not promote certain players fast enough, particularly college bats. He also shared some comments on this topic that I didn’t post then but seems relevant now. He said there are a few reasons why teams will not promote players that are dominating and performing really well. One reason is a pitcher, as an example, could be pitching really well throwing a 2 seam fastball, change up, and curve ball, but has been working on a 4 seamer in bullpen sessions, and they want him to start throwing it in games but would rather him do that at a level he is comfortable with, vs moving up a level and having to try to learn a new pitch. He said another example of this are minor mechanical changes. A guy could be successful, but the team wants him to tweak something, and it could impact his velocity or control, and they’d rather he do that in an environment he is comfortable in.

    His point in all of this is that you can’t just look at statistics and say a guy is ready for the next level and be critical of a team for not promoting him. There could be more going on with the player, including physical circumstances like the ones mentioned above, or mental circumstances regarding confidence, other things, that the public doesn’t know about but a coaching staff does. Having said all that, he was very passionate that the Phils are more conservative than they need to be, in his opinion, most of the time.

    1. Expect Altherr to platoon when he gets to Philly. He’ll play against any lefty and they’ll let Asche, Herrera, and Dom play against the righties (with Ruf and Howard doing the same dance). He might come in for defense also if they’re ever ahead late in a game.

      1. Altherr has a huge advantage – he can play center and he can play the corners. I think his likely worst case scenario is as another Mayberry of sorts, but he’s a far better fielder than Mayberry, is faster than Mayberry and has much better plate discipline than Mayberry. The key is whether he can continue to develop power and whether the hit tool will translate to the majors. But he’s becoming a nice player.

        1. Mayberry was a 1WAR player for the Phillies…..but he did club 50HRs. And though defensively he had short-comings, he was versatile, and probably was the best LF on some of those Phillies teams, and seem to be even better then ‘UZR King’ Ryan Howard at first base whenever they had him over there..

  11. I’d say leave Nola in the minors until September. I’d only call up Altherr if somebody gets hurt. I don’t see him as an upgrade right now over any of the outfielders in the majors and it’s probably better for him to play every day in Triple A. As for Ogando and Loewen, I think the Phillies have nothing to lose by bringing them up. Both have walked a lot of batters this year but have also improved a lot this season and hopefully will continue to get better. I agree that Dugan should be in AAA and I don’t know too much about the Single A players so I will agree with you on those guys.

    1. Altherr would be an upgrade over each one of the outfielders starting now. Defensively and offensively. But maybe the Phillies are holding him back because they don’t want to win to many games.

      1. Probably true defensively (at worst around even with Revere, but probably better). Offensively, we won’t know until he’s been around for a while. It’s very, very difficult to predict major league offensive performance with minor leaguers, especially someone like Altherr who is a bit older, hasn’t done well until recently and has not demonstrated any standout offensive skill. I hope he does well offensively, but the jury is very much out on that one.

        1. Agreed, time will tell but at this point where RF is hitting 200 and the LF is hitting 250 why not give him a shoot and see. If nothing else he is an upgrade defensively.

          1. I didn’t say they shouldn’t try him. They should! I’m saying I’m not sure he will hit much – we’ll have to wait and see.

      2. It’s really not that clear. Altherr’s numbers this season pale compared to what Asche put up in the minors last season, so how can you be so sure that Altherr is better? Moving to Philly is a big jump. Altherr’s got good numbers, but they are not knock-your-socks-off good. Asche’s were. Franco made a seamless jump to MLB, not everybody does.

        1. I am not sure how they pale against Asche’s. I asume you mean his 13 season so lets compare.
          Asche 2013 in LV 104 games .295,.352,.485 ops 837
          Altherr 2015 in LV 19 games .316, .384,.526 ops 910

  12. I think Altherr gets called up when Revere is traded, and from what I understand, is already a very good Defensive CF. That fact makes him better, I think, than Mayberry, and can provide him with a very nice career as a 4th OF, if his bat does not make him an every day starter. Nola comes up as soon as a SP trade is made, and if Hamels is not traded, we may not see him until September. That is my view of the Phillies plans, not my opinion on whether or not he is ready. He is clearly better than some of what has started here in Philly this season.

    1. Altherr is better then Mayberry defensively.
      I will hold my opinion about what he can contribute at the plate vs what Mayberry did in his 6 years in Philly.
      i hope he surpasses and does well.

  13. If they play their cards right, the Phils will control Nola through the 2022 season. That means Nola should not be brought up before 7-10 days after the beginning of the 2016 season. Alternatively, the Phils could bring up Nola in September of this season, send him back to AAA to start the 2016 season, and recall him in May.

    IMO, Nola is very close to major-league ready, but his readiness is not the determining factor. The extra year of team control is the key issue re Nola.

    1. Seems to be what all teams are doing nowadays.
      They want that extra year, and then you have one last big long-term contract if the player is willing to sign.

    2. Yup and they are usually canny about that sort of thing, but I don’t see them doing that in this case. They are so concerned about the nuclear fallout from this disastrous season and the backlash that they perceive will result from the Hamels trade (honestly, most people will want the trade, but I don’t think the Phillies will think about it in those terms), I see Nola being promoted in early August. It’s not what I would do if I were the Phillies, but that’s what I think they will do. To give them a little credit, the team will clear so much payroll space and have such a large revenue stream that, unlike a scenario with Oakland or Tampa Bay, Nola hitting FA a year early shouldn’t be an earthshattering issue. If he turns out to be as good as I expect him to be, I think there’s a good chance they’ll have signed him to an extension long before he’s a FA.

      1. yes, when the phillies send out emails with the headline being Amaro says Nola is close, they are going to bring him up soon regardless of whether its the best thing long-term.

  14. As were getting into trade season, thought I would throw out a couple more scenarios

    Hamels to Astros for Hader, Fisher, Feliz and Reed

    Hamels to Dodgers for Holmes, Deleon, Schebler and Lee

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