Long before the arrival of July 31, writers will predict Chase Utley’s departure from the Philadelphia Phillies to a new city with a pennant-race opportunity. But will that be just hype?
Please, scroll down for this edition of Genuine Insight: Reality.
This article represents the thinking of a baseball man in my opinion. Reading people is the answer to their decisions: past, present and future. Also, there is a humanizing element.
There will be a published storyline each week.
Trade rumors are like dreams except they will vanish on August 1, not the following morning.
When you combine three recent statements from Ruben Amaro Jr., you get a clearer picture of his mind-set. Supposedly, he is making every player available on the 25-man roster, and his preparation is the groundwork for negotiations if the squad tanks. But he also has stated that a full rebuilding is not possible in Philly. Lastly, adding that the franchise is willing to go backwards to go forward, the head honcho revealed more flexibility than in previous seasons.
In front-office language, the general manager will deal veterans for an acceptable return: the right balance of quality prospects and salary relief. However, you should not expect a fire sale, which means only one or two stars might change their address. Therefore, going backwards will mostly be possible if a replacement is in the organization or an offer from another GM.
The trickiness for a decision-maker is not one dimensional. Among the many considerations are the tipping point, the competition, the traded player’s successor and the talent received. The club will reach the critical stage when postseason possibilities are a long shot. In other words, that means 10 games out of the divisional and second wild-card races.
The first barrier was playing .500 ball against Atlanta, St. Louis and Miami. For June’s challenge, the red pinstripes went 7-8.
To see the second roadblock, you only have to look at July’s schedule. The first 20 battles will be against the Marlins, Pirates, Brewers, Nationals, Braves and Giants. If the Phils can tally 13 victories, they will improve to 49-53.
According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Amaro believes that every team has warts. But these days those flaws are more noticeable and widespread. The explanation is easy: Baseball parity has been years in the making and the standings tell the “tale.” For instance, only Milwaukee in the NL is more than 10 games over .500, which means that a 20-15 record–the last 15 contests in June and the first 20 battles for July–will keep the Phils in the mix. That said, the Brewers are the biggest surprise in the senior circuit.
The replacement issue complicates matters because the franchise will have to receive a catcher, a second baseman, a shortstop or a right fielder if they trade Carlos Ruiz, Utley, Jimmy Rollins or Marlon Byrd. At first base, Darin Ruf is ready to fill that slot. Meanwhile, second sacker Cesar Hernandez, shortstop Freddy Galvis, receiver Tommy Joseph and outfielder Cam Perkins do not inspire confidence for a smooth transition at those spots. On the rubber instead of Cliff Lee or AJ Burnett would be David Buchanan: Burnett would likely be the swapped starter.
Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Adams have successors: Jake Diekman, Justin De Fratus and Ken Giles. To clarify, when Amaro said a backwards move for any position, he meant a filled role by 2016. For example, many fans can envision Giles as a closer; however, you cannot feel that same confidence with Hernandez, Galvis or Buchanan.
The Price Tag:
In this section, the review mostly groups the availability of the veterans. Keep this in mind: Most front offices want a bargain and will hold out until the final week before the July 31 deadline. Under most conditions, many head honchos are not willing to part with top prospects or take on burdensome contracts.
Rollins and Utley will only wear another uniform if the organization has a fire sale, or management receives an extremely generous offer from a desperate GM. That stated, you can expect Rollins and Utley in Clearwater next February.
In order for Amaro to swap Ryan Howard, the embattled general manager would have to swallow $15 million per campaign through 2016. The remaining total is $68 million, and the Phils would have to cover 60 percent or approximately $41 million. And that doesn’t take into consideration getting a youngster from the low minors or a medium range talent at Double-A. Can you say no way?
Cole Hamels is the cornerstone for the new Phillies. And joining him are Cody Asche, Diekman, Giles, De Fratus, Domonic Brown, Jesse Biddle and Maikel Franco. College pitchers–Aaron Nola and Matt Imhof–selected in the first two rounds of the MLB draft are solid possibilities as well.
With Ruiz and Byrd, specifics will involve the youngsters from a trade partner. A deal for Ruiz will have to include a receiver, while Byrd will have to net a right fielder, a center fielder or a “bottom of the rotation” arm. Paying part of Byrd’s salary is not a requirement for the Phils, and they can receive a decent prospect.
For Lee, the decision-maker needs two starting hurlers from Double-A or higher and relief for 75 percent of the southpaw’s remaining financial commitment, which is almost $53 million. The club would eat $17.5 million. That stated, the opinion here is they won’t find a taker at that price, which means Lee will be back for 2015.
Besides the right fielder, Papelbon, Adams, Burnett, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez are the candidates that will bear watching in July. Kendrick’s departure will depend on his re-signing cost: He will be a free agent after the season. If the team is considerably behind in the standings around July 7, they will have three rotation studs, a power bat, a closer and a setup man on the block. However, if the NL East becomes tighter, Amaro will re-evaluate his options after each series.
A lot can change in one baseball week, and one month remains before the–current?–GM will decide to sell, stand pat or buy.
All Tables Are Updated.
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