Looking Back at Our 2019 Free Agent Acquisition

This is just a just a random thought that came to me.  I don’t feel one way or the other.  But, I thought I would share to get some opinions.

The Phillies signed Zach Wheeler to a 5-year contract last off season.   This would have been his age 30 season.

My question, whether we play a partial season or lose the whole season (and each outcome might produce differing opinions), do we still like the Wheeler signing?  And, actually, this concern applies to all free agent signings across baseball, not just the Wheeler contract.

We expect there to be some lesser value when a long-term contract  is signed.  We might accept losing some value in year five and maybe even year four.  But,  if we lose a year of value at the front-end of a five-year contract, when the player is expected to be at the top of his game, would we have preferred to keep the #2 pick in the draft  and the $500K international money?

Thoughts?

23 thoughts on “Looking Back at Our 2019 Free Agent Acquisition

  1. I don’t regret the signing. He can help the Phillies win a short season World Series

  2. My bigger concern is that we haven’t locked up JT. If we let him hit free agency it is a massive mistake. I don’t know why they dragged their heels so much.

    1. As I recall, it centered around the luxury tax for 2020.
      It seem that was the driving force to wait…and from what I believe both sides were in agreement with waiting until the opportune time.
      Who would have ever thought a world-wide pandemic virus would occur!

      1. I also recall that Realmuto was committed to going to arbitration for the association and catchers in general. And, he was looking for a better deal than Joe Mauer’s 8/$184M. We may think that 5/$125 would have gotten it done. But, we aren’t one of the parties involved in the negotiations. It takes two parties in agreement to make a deal.

    2. Agreed. It would be frustrating to lose JT but with the amount of owners crying poor, whether they truly are or not it should be tough to build a market.

      I think the Phillies are in decent shape to keep him. Arrieta comes off the books, Gregorious, etc. McCutchen the year after. Even if they slashed payroll next year they could backload a deal.

  3. I guess if we were all knowing of future events, we could look at Wheeler’s 5 years and see if it was worth doing. We might even be able to look at what the 2nd rounder would do over his career and if the $500K made a hill of beans of a difference. And while we’re at it, we could see the Pandemic and sold short every airline, cruise ship company and a bunch of retailers until March 23rd. Then go long Tech stocks, Tesla, Zoom and every stock that’s done very well until recently. And it could go on and on.

    But based on where we were and where we might still be, I’d stick with the Wheeler signing. Maybe missing most, if not all of this season, might make the arm hold up another year at the end of the contract. Is most of an arm’s diminishing capacity caused by age of workload?

  4. Don’t have a problem with it. Question is, is the concern for the backend of the contract related to his age or the # of innings accumulated on his arm? Obviously, not pitching this season eliminates the concern for accumulated innings. Outside of that, his age isn’t a big concern assuming he continues to stay in shape.

    If anything, the abbreviated (or non-existent) 2020 season and corresponding reduction is $$$ makes his contract more like a 4-year deal.

  5. I still believe that his talent was worth what we paid to acquire him. I think he is going to get even better, so I am on board. v1 and Romus, I brought this up in another thread. I believe, as Romus does, that it was directly related to the luxury tax hit for this year. The Phils felt comfortable that there number would be the one JTR got, while he wanted to set a new standard. A deal could still have been done and used the Arb number for this year, but that didn’t happen. I was completely against the Luxury tax level 1 having any impact on acquiring talent, but the Middleton/Buck group did. Losing JTR would be a huge case of mismanagement, and I don’t know who to blame. Klentak will take the blame, however.

  6. With Phillies draft history, I am pretty much always fine with the free agent signing especially if they have #2 type stuff.

  7. Instead of signing one big FA each year and losing the #2 pick each year, I would have much rather they had double or triple downed on one year, so they lose #2, #3, #4, one year, and keep the #2’s each subsequent year.

  8. So the JT scenario is really fascinating. Sadly I don’t think there’s gonna be a baseball season this year. If there is not how do you guys think that will impact negotiating from the Phillies and JT‘s camp perspectives? What will be the timeline where the Phillies can even negotiate with him to sign him to a deal? I would think this would also change the thinking of other teams that are interested in him one less year of wear and tear without him having played this year; how do you think this is going to play out?

    1. The consensus among those “in the know” is that a 2020 baseball season will commence, even if it’s 50-ish games. MLBPA will reportedly propose 89 games on Wednesday in response to the latest by the league, which proposed 76 games. The original 82 games seems to be the meeting point after all. Becomes a matter of salary/post season TV money breakdown.

      1. …the last resort 50-ish games is the commissioner’s option to implement should no agreement be made, according to the current CBA.

    2. Pops, since the owners claim that they are losing money this year, I would be a little surprised if many teams are very active in the free agent market. In addition, several owners have indicated that they will recoup their losses. Lower offers during free agency is one way to start recouping losses. If this happens, and it is too obvious, we might expect another collusion case like the one the owners lost 20-30 years ago?

  9. I think it was a good move still because we need better pitching to compete. I also think the high cost of quality pitchers is why we’ll take a pitcher in the draft at 1/15.

  10. I still like the signing because after Cole there really wasn’t a “reasonably” effective pitcher with any solid projection for the $$$. In the “season” that is likely to unfold – 80 games or so – you cannot afford a losing streak and the good pitchers will be even more valuable than ever – as it turned out this signing could be more prescient if he is truly a No. 2. There will be no time to experiment with the # 4 and # 5 pitchers. You have to win day to day.

  11. Personally, I feel better about the signing. If he gets out of this year healthy that’s a half of season of wear and tear avoided. It might extend his effectiveness later in the deal.

    Likewise if we’re only looking at 50-75 games it’s imperative we have an elite 1-2 punch. 10 starts from Wheeler in a 50 game season is a major upgrade over the next best option.

  12. Next year’s free agents will feel like the guys with the Will Work For Food Signs. Owners are currently losing tens of millions and who knows when fans can come back.

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