In case you haven't heard, the Phillies moved Justin DeFratus and Phillipe Aumont to AAA last night. That to me says the Phillies think both could be September callups this year, and could be on the major league roster at the break of camp next year. Those two, along with thier new AAA teammate Micheal Schwimmer, give the Phillies 3 really good relief prospects in AAA, and 5 really good, young cost controlled relievers in total, with Stutes and Bastardo already making hitters look silly in big leauges.
Jose Contreras is under contract for next year, as is Herdon. I think the 7 guys I mentioned would give the Phillies a pretty strong bullen next year. You could also swap Herdon out for a LOOGY (maybe Zagurski), which wouldn't be a bad idea. 2 things I'm assuming: Lidge will be bought out (fingers crossed), and Kendrick doesn't come back next year. The reason I believe Kendrick doesn't come back next year is he's already making more than he's worth, and will likely get a raise if the Phillies take him to arbitration.
The big question in my hypothetical situation is who would close, and I would say Bastardo. He's been pretty much unhittable this year and has closed a few games out already. In the event that the league figures him out, or he gets hurt (which is a definite possiblity given his history), I believe that Aumont, Contreras and DeFratus could form a 'good enough to get by' closer by committee.
The point is, the Phillies just don't need Ryan Madson. Especially if he's going to be looking for $7-10 million a year. It would be nice to have him, but the Phillies have some holes to fill elsewhere next year, and with $113 million already commited to the 2012 team, they really can't afford to be spending money on luxeries like a closer.
We need to resign Hamels, we need a new LFer, we need to resign Rollins/sign someone else to play short, and we need to decide about Oswalt. I think I remeber Jayson Stark saying that he believed Hamels would get about 5 yrs/100 million, which I think would be fair given how dominant Hamels has been this year. I think the Phillies will ultimately end up picking up Oswalt's option, which is $16 million. While $16 million seems like a lot for a declining Oswalt, you have to remeber that the buy-out on his contract is $2 million and therefore a sunk cost. I don't think we are going to find a better option on the market at $14 million for one year.
With Oswalt and Hamels signed, the Phillies will be up to $147 million dollars in payroll, and would still have to fill the other two holes mentioned. My gut says the Phillies resign Rollins for about $40 million/3 yrs, brining the payroll up to around $160 million, without a left fielder. I expect payroll to be around $170 million next year, like it is this year, so that would give the Phils about $10 million to play with.
To me, it comes down to this; would the Phillies rather have an unproven, but talented, closer and a pricey left fielder to boost the offense, or would they rather have Madson closing with a logjam of young bullpen arms while being forced to play Ben Francisco for 130 games next year?
In my mind, the better option is clearly to let Madson walk. And if you've made it this far down the fanpost, you'll probably be happy to hear that Madson will likely be a type A FA, which would net the Phillies two high draft picks, which is never a bad thing.