The Trade Conundrum: An Examination

The Present vs. The Future

more after the jump...

I posted this as a comment to LeQuan on his trade post:


For the record let me start off by saying, I think this team is great, and pretty much a lock to make the playoffs, and possibly the World Series, however, no team is perfect, and every team has flaws. For instance, I hear the term crapshoot around TGP a lot lately (more than I’ve ever heard in my life, in fact lol) and while I agree to an extent, let me illustrate an example for you:

For the record, IF we acquired an outfielder, I would want him to replace Ibanez, not Brown, because if we acquire someone at the expense of Dom losing at bats, I’m not for that at all, but we all know Ibanez’ best days are behind him, and while he’ll have hot streaks, he’s not really the guy I wanna rely on in the clutch. (Even though, I’m almost positive Cholly would leave Ibby in the lineup and take Dom out.)

Theoretical situation:

Let’s say the Phillies are down 4-3 , bottom 7, in Game 6 of the World Series, their’s runners on 2nd and 3rd, 2 outs, and let’s say Ibanez is up, who is notoriously streaky, and let’s say he’s in an absolute funk as we’ve all witnessed for most of this year, and we need a clutch hit to take the lead, Ibanez weakly grounds out to the second basemen. Phils can’t score in the later innings, game over, possibly series over.

Let me preface this again, by saying, I’m in NO way saying that Hunter Pence or Carlos Beltran are cure-alls, or the missing pieces to push this team over the edge, but for anyone to say that either one of these guys wouldn’t be at the LEAST a marginal upgrade over Ibanez is fooling themselves. Could Pence or Beltran be equally as cold as Ibanez in that spot and that situation? Of course. Would the numbers dictate that to this point in the year, or even for their career norms that they would come through? No, not necessarily, but THIS year, they’re much more consistent than Ibanez, and therefore in my eyes have the more likelihood (albeit not by much) of being the more productive player.

I’ve read TP’s argument against getting Hunter Pence, and I’ve seen arguments made as to why we shouldn’t trade certain prospects, and while I agree mostly, I also think we overvalue some of our prospects, much like other teams do. I want to state clearly though, that I would not, under any circumstance, trade Domonic Brown. Not only because of his potential, but because the Phillies will need cost-controlled players in the near future as salaries continue to rise, and it would be essential to get solid production out of Brown for 5-6 years for very little money.

I don’t claim to be an expert on the Phillies farm system, but I do know a decent amount, and from all the information I’ve collected via scouting reports, first hand accounts, and stats, I’ve arrived at this conclusion, the term “untouchable” as in absolutely do not want to give up should only be given to 3 players in the Phillies system: RHP Jarred Cosart, LHP Jesse Biddle, and C Sebastian Valle. In my second tier, (which is where we could possibly net a guy like Pence) I’ve got: RHP Trevor May, 1B/LF Jonathan SIngleton, and RHP Brody Colvin. You’ve got your toolsheds like OF Jiwan James, and OF Domingo Santana, solid glovemen, like SS Freddy Galvis, and now the newly inked SS Tyler Greene, and your solid-average guys, like the bullpen arms (DeFratus, Schwimmer, and Aumont) starters (J Pettibone, J Rodriguez, JC Ramirez), some guys further away than others.

But this is my point, we all know the high attrition rate of prospects, you could have half those guys become solid major leaguers, or you could have all but 2 completely flame out, and that to me, is also a “crapshoot.”

I love seeing guys develop and I love to dream on their potential, but the cold, hard, fact is, 3/4 of those guys will never come close to realizing their potential, and that prospects are not only used to develop your major league team, but to enhance it by bringing in premium talent, that is the other function of the farm system that I believe is a bit overlooked. Are we all wondering how Jason Knapp is doing? Do you still dream on Kyle Drabek now that you’ve seen Roy freakin’ Halladay fire a perfect game and a playoff no hitter? Do you miss J.A. Happ tight-roping his way out of an inning all the while carrying an unsustainable BABIP? Because those 3 guys, along with others, netted us Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt, and that friends, while we sometimes take it for granted, is pretty damn impressive.

I know that acquiring Pence would cost a lot, and if it required any of the untouchables I mentioned earlier OR Dom Brown, no deal, but if Rube could pull off a quantity over quality deal perhaps with Worley and or May/Singleton as the centerpiece, I would be fine with Rube pulling the trigger because while Pence is nowhere near a superstar, or some kind of savior, he’s a pretty good complementary player that’s under team control until 2014 on a team that’s on the tail end of its prime and is fully equipped to have a shot at being WFC’s for the next few years, he will be due a pretty good bit of money, and that could be a sticking point where Rube would possibly have to work a little magic, but so far, I don’t put anything past him. As far as Beltran goes, I’d take him over Ibanez, but only if the Mets picked up ALL the salary, and accepted a few B prospects for him, because you can’t get draft pick compensation when he walks, and he’s an injury risk still.

Our farm system is rated 10th in baseball by BA, and our lower minor leagues are stockpiled with young talent brimming with potential, if you trade May or Singleton, you’ve got guys like Lisalberto Bonilla or Ervis Manzanillo possibly ready to step up, you never know where the next guy’s gonna come from because prospects are so volatile.

So, to sum up this extremely long post, I would trade a few prospects for a guy that would make the team better, because you’re not mortgaging the future with the depth of our minor league system, and we’re essentially built to be a team that goes deep in the playoffs the next few years. I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers, just merely stating my opinion, and on this site, I feel like people can respect that, because there are quite a few knowledgeable people that post here. I love my Phils and want to win just like you guys

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