Phillies Hot Stove Predictions from The Good Phight - Starters

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The Good Phight contributors got together for a roundtable discussion to give you their predictions for the 2013 Phillies. Part one: Starting Rotation and Position Players

With the Hot stove season officially underway, the staff at The Good Phight bring you our official predictions for the 2013 Phillies. We're doing this in two parts. Part one is the Starting pitchers and starting lineup. In the coming days we'll give you our thoughts on the bullpen and bench. These predictions are based on what the team will bring to Clearwater, assuming no injuries. It's not predictive of the opening day lineup, rather, what we each see as the moves the team will make this off-season.

A disclaimer: for the most part, these predictions are based on what we each think the Phillies WILL DO, not necessarily what they SHOULD DO. So without further ado, in no particular order, the Good Phights 2013 predictions:

JOECATZ

C Chooch 1B Howard 2B Utley 3B Alex Gordon SS Jimmy Rollins LF Dom Brown CF BJ Upton RF Jon Mayberry/Laynce Nix

SP: Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, DAVID PRICE/JAMES SHIELDS, Kyle Kendrick

The more I think about the Kansas City Royals and their need for starting pitching, the more I think Vance Worley is gone. With the Ervin Santana deal, they increased their payroll significantly, and a cost controlled starter like Worley would be a great fit. Alex Gordon is getting expensive, and somewhat expendable. Worley and Schierholtz for Gordon is my prediction here, but it wouldn't surprise me if they targeted Moustakas as well, or got insane and sold the farm for Chase Headley. the larger point is that the Free agent options won't appeal to him, and I don't see any scenario where Ruben Amaro enters the season with Kevin Frandsen or Freddy Galvis at 3B, and I can't see him making a small acquisition for a guy like say, Eric Chavez. He stocked up this summer to buy, and he's gonna buy.

I originally felt the Phillies would wait out the Market for Josh Hamilton, but after thinking through things, I think they're gonna pounce early on CF. Bourn and Hamiltons price tags will be high, and Ruben will overpay for Upton over those guys. the Phils signed Steve Henderson to be the hitting coach this year, and part of me wonders if that wasn't done to lure BJ. (Henderson was his hitting coach in Tampa in 07 and 08. Upton hasn't been the same offensively since.... ) Plus, the snark in me needs to hear the talk radio chatter about Rollins Upton and Brown being lazy next year. It's just too perfect for words. The only way this doesn't happen, IMO is if Uptons ask is so ridiculously high that it forces Rubens hand to make a decision on a guy like Pagan first, or if Ruben values the first round pick it would cost to sign Upton correctly. I don't see that happening, though.

I also think that Ruben's penchant for acquiring elite starting pitching will materialize with a deal to the Rays. The Rays need a catching prospect badly, Darin Ruf is a natural fit for them, and depending on how deep Amaro gets, Price could be his with a drastic prospect overpay to the tune of Biddle, Tyson Gillies, Ruf, Joseph, and a cost controlled reliever like Aumont or Schwimmer. It's exactly the kind of trade and exactly the kind of player Ruben covets. Shields is probably the cheaper option here, costing something more like Valle and Ruf, which I could stomach a lot more... and don't rule out a real simple deal for Hellickson, Niemann or Wade Davis. But man, Price, Hamels, Lee and Halladay??? One can dream.

The key here, for me, is that we're set up for at least one trade of epic proportions, based on the sudden depth at the AA/AAA/ML level between OF options (Brown, Nate, Nix, Mayberry) RP (9 guys with Ml experience competing for 4 spots) SP (Biddle/May/Martin/Morgan, et al) C (three guys in Joseph/Valle/Rupp, plus Lino down below) and provided we sign a CF, Tyson Gillies and Jiwan James. if the right deal materializes, the farm is gone. I wouldn't put it past Ruben to sign Hamilton, trade Lee for Olt and go after Grienke either. that just smells like something he'd consider.

Peter Lyons

C - Carlos Ruiz; 1B - Ryan Howard; 2B - Chase Utley; SS - Jimmy Rollins; 3B - Kevin Youkilis; LF - Darin Ruf; CF - Angel Pagan; RF - Domonic Brown

SP1 - Cliff Lee; SP2 - Cole Hamels; SP3 - Roy Halladay; SP4 - Vance Worley; SP5 - Kyle Kendrick

All in all I think Mr. Amaro is going to have (for him) a relatively quiet offseason, his hands tied to a pretty great extent by budgetary constraints and roster constipation (ronstipation?).

I have a feeling that Pagan will be Amaro's November impulse purchase, the sheen of a fresh World Championship glistening on the center fielder's neatly manicured facial hair. And since Pagan did not receive a qualifying offer from the Giants, signing him would not cost the Phillies their first round (16th overall) draft pick in June, a pretty big deal for a team that needs to restock its farm system.

The Youkilis deal will happen later in the winter.

Phrozen

Rotation:

Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Zack Greinke, Kyle Kendrick

Hamels has earned the top spot, if not by actually being better than Cliff Lee et al, then by producing better results. Lee was an enigma this year, but I expect both he and Halladay to rebound closer to their 2011 form next season. With an expected trade of Vance Worley for Chase Headley/Evan Longoria/Mike Trout to play third base, Kendrick should round out the bottom of the rotation; and I expect Tyler Cloyd to be the next name on the depth chart.

That leaves Greinke. Every year during his tenure as GM, Ruben Amaro has acquired a big-name pitcher, generally the best available; either by trade (Lee 1, Oswalt, Halladay) or through free agency (Lee 2, Papelbon, and arguably Hamels). Given the late-season success out of the bullpen, I expect Ruben to go after a starter rather than a top-shelf relief pitcher, and, if not Greinke, it’ll likely be Anibal Sanchez or James Shields. There’re a couple other names that fit that mold, but not many, and Greinke is the most Rubenesque of all.

Starting Eight:

SS Jimmy Rollins, CF Angel Pagan, 2B Chase Utley, 3B Chase Headley, 1B Ryan Howard, C Carlos Ruiz, RF Nate Schierholtz, LF Darin Ruf

Starting with the obvious: Rollins, the lazy overpaid should of traided loafer that he is, will remain a fixture at the top of the order. Utley No-Knees, One-Leg Howard and Chooch are about the only carry-overs from 2012. I’m predicting two position-player moves for the Phillies this year: Angel Pagan and Chase Headley. Pagan, a free-agent starting next week, is an easy and obvious acquisition target. He’s an above-average defensive CF, who finished second to Andrew McCutchen in CF rWAR. He’ll no doubt be due a raise, but his 2012 salary was only $4.8M. I think a 4 year, $60M deal should be enough to get it done.

Headley is the other, more difficult target. The Phillies have a hole at 3B, and the lower-end options, like Kevin Youkilis, aren’t Amaro’s style. Plus, chicks dig the dingerz, not walks. I’m seeing a trade along the lines of Worley, Brown, May, Gillies, Valle and cash (Cash?) for Headley and a throw-in as being workable. Maybe I’m just nuts. Plus, how awesome would be to have Chase follow Chase in the batting order?

That leaves your last two OF spots, which I think have to be filled internally. Schierholtz has shown some promise, and I think he can be a decent corner OF. And Ruf, well, baby, I’m a believer.

TheOrangeCone

Position Players

Catcher - Carlos Ruiz: No surprise here, the man has been a solid presence behind the dish with his defense and game-calling for quite a while now, but his past couple of seasons have shown him to be a machine at the plate, which is always a big bonus for a catcher.

First Base - Ryan Howard: $25 million per season all but ensures that Howard isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and as long as he's healthy, you know Charlie is going to play him.

Second Base - Chase Utley: See above, but for about $10 million less. But unlike Howard, Utley can still be (and some would argue still is) in an elite class of second basemen with his game, so having a full year of him can only mean good things.

Shortstop - Jimmy Rollins: Gold Glove defender, base-stealer extraordinaire, and can hold his own at the plate among the rest of the full-time shortstops.

Third Base - ???: I really have no idea, and there are so many options to consider that I don't feel I can make any sort of prediction. Does Ruben Amaro, Jr. go out and find a cheap free agent like Jeff Keppinger or Eric Chavez, or a more expensive one like Kevin Youkilis? Does he trade for Chase Headley or Evan Longoria (yeah, right)? Does he run out Kevin Fransden on a regular basis after his good showing in 2012? Is Chase Utley going to make the shift there and screw up my second base prediction, or will Freddy Galvis make the shift instead? Is Cody Asche going to be prematurely promoted? And why am I asking you all these questions? Stop the ride! I wanna get off!

Left Field - Darin Ruf: The Eastern League MVP and Reading's new home run record holder certainly impressed with his cup of coffee in late 2012, and has reportedly been tearing it up in winter ball. They're absolutely going to give him a chance in Spring Training

Center Field - Melky Cabrera: Yes, I know he's a dirty rotten cheater, but think about what dirty rotten cheaters cost in this day and age. Cabrera can almost certainly be had for less than he's worth, and I sincerely doubt that him being off the junk is going to significantly diminish his play by much. I would imagine Amaro feels the same way.

Right Field - Domonic Brown: Now that Hunter Pence is gone for good, it looks like right field belongs to Brown once again...which is mildly amusing and just as infuriating at the same time. But hey, the guy's starting to look like a real major league hitter at the plate, and he's got a hose and a half out in the field.

Rotation

Cliff Lee - My number one even after his "down" (read "fantastic") season. The man throws a ton of strikes, gets K's, limits the walks to a point that rivals Roy Halladay, and is almost an automatic 200+ innings with an xFIP somewhere around 3.00. I don't care what you say, that's an ace by all standards.

Cole Hamels - My 1.5 starter. Really the only thing that separates Lee from Hamels, at least for me, is the walks. To take a line from RememberThePhitans

I'm guessing we see something like another 4.5ish WAR season with an xFIP of 3.30, 200 IP, 50 walks, 200 K's, and a 15 - 11 record.

And really, that's pretty damn awesome for the second guy in the rotation.

Roy Halladay - It kills me to not have Doc penciled in the number one spot, but he might not be on that level anymore. His second half of 2012 was pretty rough by most standards, and he is starting to look older and older. Of course, knowing Halladay, he could easily come back and surprise all of us next year, winning 20 games and the Cy Young award as easily as you would cross the street. You never know with baseball.

Vance Worley - He's going to start in the rotation, but some of us (namely Joecatz) believe that Worley will eventually become a permanent fixture in the bullpen at some point in 2013, and frankly, I'm not so sure Joe's wrong about that. We'll see how much the surgery improves his pitching, if at all.

Kyle Kendrick - I don't know if this will be the first season that Kendrick gets an Opening Day rotation spot due to performance rather than another member of the rotation going down because of injury, but I'll be damned if I don't like it. Kendrick went on a tear for a good part of the second half of the season holding down a rotation already in flux because of so many injuries, and he deserves a shot to have a permanent place now.

DAJAFI

On October 3, 2007, the Phillies took the field for their first playoff game under Charlie Manuel. Of the nine men in the lineup that day, it’s possible that five of them—Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Cole Hamels—will occupy the same spots when the 2013 season kicks off on April 1. This remarkable continuity is the biggest reason the last few years have marked the most successful stretch in the 130-year history of the franchise.

Of course, the thing about keeping a core together so long is that its members get older and more expensive. As we saw in 2012, stars on the disabled list, or active but at less than full strength, don’t add much. But that wasn’t the biggest reason the Phils faltered this year after five straight division titles.

As this homegrown core helped the Phillies pile up wins and playoff appearances, the team around them changed. The ever-swelling payroll became the solution to every problem: GM Ruben Amaro ruled the winter free-agent market with quick and costly signings of Raul Ibanez and Jonathan Papelbon, among others. And he dominated the summer trading market by landing the biggest and most expensive names out there: Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence. Individually, many of these moves made sense, and some of them—okay, the first Lee trade—were masterstrokes. But each time, the price in prospects rose and the short-term return fell.In 2012, the bill came due, as the team finished with its worst record in a decade.

Whether 2012 ultimately stands as a one-year fluke or the beginning of a new dark age of Phillies baseball will depend in large part upon how well Amaro manages to fill those other four slots in the 2013 opening day lineup. He’s got some money to spend and, after adding to rather than depleting the minor league inventory in last summer’s deals, some depth to trade from. I see the Phils making one major free agent addition, signing B.J. Upton to man centerfield, and a smaller deal with Macier Izturis, who will share time at third with Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis and offers depth at the other infield positions. One outfield corner will be filled through trade: a deal with the Cleveland Indians to bring in right fielder Shin Soo Choo, sending Vance Worley and John Mayberry Jr. to the Tribe. Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf get a shot at platooning in left field.

The rotation is clear through the first four slots, assuming Roy Halladay is good to go. I see the Phils signing former Pirates starter Kevin Correia to round out the rotation, figuring that at least one of Jonathan Pettibone, Ethan Martin, Trevor May or Adam Morgan will be ready to take a starter position in-season as injuries or ineffectiveness dictate. It's this same depth that should enable the Phils to trade Worley.

Your Opening Day lineup: Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Upton CF, Howard 1B, Ruiz C, Choo RF, Brown LF, Izturis 3B, Hamels P

Rotation: Hamels, Lee, Halladay, Kendrick, Correia

Trev223:

Hittin' Season: C - Carlos Ruiz; 1B - Ryan Howard; 2B - Chase Utley; SS - Jimmy Rollins; 3B - Chase Headley; LF - Darin Ruf/Nate Schierholtz; CF - BJ Upton; RF - DOM DOM DOM

So, first a caveat: I desperately tried to figure out how to trade Ryan Howard in thinking through this lineup. Unfortunately, outside of an A-Rod/Howard swap -- which is pure fantasy, as far as I can see -- I just don't see it happening. Presuming that Howard'd be going to an AL team as a DH, and assuming that the Phillies would only trade him if they could see the money come off their payroll, you're looking at a few limited possibilities based on this chart of committed 2013 payrolls. Out of the top AL teams, the Angels have so many high-strikeout, high-power 1B/DH types that they can't even manage to field them all at the same time; the Tigers are doing just fine in terms of offensive pieces thankyouverymuch; the Rangers will need a place for Mike Olt or Chris Gentry or one of their infinite high upside offensive players; the White Sox, Konerko and Viciedo notwithstanding, are deeply unpredictable, and that's coming from a guy ensconced in their media market for the last three years; and (jumping down the list a bit), the Red Sox are already spending on Papi. The only team that even remotely fits for Howard is, weirdly enough, the Houston Astros. Admittedly, they won't want all of his contract, but they need a DH, and, before arbitration, they have a hilarious $5.5 MM committed for 2013. Is it a longshot? Yes. Would I have no idea who he would be traded for? Nope. Would I still be a bit sad? Bet on it. Is it kind of an intriguing possibility? Eeyup.

That all said, it won't happen, so let's focus on the lineup as I see it. Upton, to me, is the crucial piece. Here's how to think about that deal: you're looking at a CF who has all the potential in the world at 28, who is only two seasons removed from an 8+ WAR season, and who is reconnecting with his old hitting coach. Unless we're interested in Melky Cabrera -- and I don't want to suggest that he'd be a bad gamble -- Upton is the best buy high candidate out of the Josh Hamilton/Michael Bourn/Angel Pagan perfecta. He's likely to be worth any 5/75 contract he'd pull, draft pick as well, and his floor is high enough that we're likely not going to feel this one later.

As far as Chase Headley goes, let me be clear: I don't expect to like this trade, I just expect it to happen. And that's okay in a lot of ways, because Headley's just the kind of hitter I've been wanting, and I'm sure he's the kind that Ruben is drooling over: a selective hitter with a career .351 On-Base percentage, and a 10.2 walk percentage, not to mention a guy who hit 13 home runs out of the Sarlacc Pit that is Petco Park (okay, okay, five were just enoughs and two were lucky homeruns, but how bout those 2 no doubters). Will he be worth the Biddle, May, Asche/Walding, Quinn package that we send for him? Haha, no. But he'll be welcome.

Finally, that Ruf/Schierholtz platoon? Based on two things: 1) that Charlie doesn't actually trust Ruf entirely, even after his blistering end of season run, and 2) that the team is going to want to get the most value out of Schierholtz possible. But, actually, it's not a terrible idea, small sample size notwithstanding. Ruf's major league career thus far featured a blistering 375/389/938 line against lefties (18 plate appearances) and a horrible, embarassing 294/316/529 line against righties (19 PA). Nate Schierholtz, on the other hand, in 2011 (his last season with more than 300 PA), hit 234/265/297 against lefties (68 PA), and 288/340/461 (294 PA) against righties. Is this airtight? Nope, but it seems worth a shot, right?

Also, this is the year when I talk about Dom Brown so often and with such constant admiration that my wife literally bores a hole through my head with her irritated glare.

Pitchin' Season: SP1 - Cliff Lee; SP2 - Cole Hamels; SP3 - Roy Halladay; SP4 - Van Swirley; SP5 - Kyle Kendrick

Boring, I know. Now, the caveat here is that I can totally see Ruben signing Greinke (and, trust, I love Greinke, so that'd be just fine) or trading Worley, or pulling some sort of crazy third option, but frankly, I just don't see it. And while this requires some wishcasting (PLEASE DON'T TRADE CLIFF), it's an imagined solution that still is a potentially useful and positive-value rotation.

Cliff Lee pitched well this year, and there's really no reason to assume a drop off. Cole Hamels is Cole Hamels. Roy Halladay is due for a bounce back, or else I'll cry, which no one wants. Worley will be healthy and hopefully ready to take another step. And Kyle will continue to improve upon his newly found strikeout rate. Look, I know this isn't a lock, but this is a rotation that can be successful, and I just will not believe otherwise until I see them flounder. The only thing I'd like to see Ruben do this offseason is sign Scott Baker, but as this is a prediction and not a "BE THE GM!" piece, I'll leave that out. Let's say I'm not holding my breath.

David S. Cohen

C Carlos Ruiz, 1B Ryan Howard, 2B Chase Utley, 3B Kevin Fransden, SS Jimmy Rollins, LF Dom Brown, CF Josh Hamilton, RF Jon Mayberry Jr.

SP: Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Zack Greinke, Vance Worley

I am working on two basic propositions here. One, Ruban Amaro thinks big. Two, the Phillies did not make the playoffs. Put those two together, and I am firmly convinced that the Phillies go after the two biggest fish in the water this off-season - Hamilton and Greinke - and they get them. The offense needs upgrading, and Hamilton will do that in spades. The starting pitching should be better with a healthy Halladay and Worley, but Ruben will go for overkill and get Greinke to have "four aces" once again. It's bold, it's big, it's unncessary - it's Ruben Amaro, Jr.

Money you say? This is going to cost a lot? Yes, indeed it is. But when in the CBP-era has that ever stopped the Phillies before? Sure they'll talk about how they're cost constrained and have a budget, but then they'll do this anyway. It's the Phillies way now. Face it, we're the Yankees of the NL.

And when the Yankees don't make the playoffs, management does drastic things to correct that. Hamilton and Greinke will be this year's drastic things for the Phillies.

RememberThePhitans

I just want to look at everyone else's paper before I hand mine in.

C Carlos Ruiz, 1B Ryan Howard, 2B Chase Utley, 3B Kevin Fransden, SS Jimmy Rollins, LF Darin Ruf, CF Shane Victorino, RF Dom Brown

SP: Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick

I resist change. It resisteth me like a lass resisteth the Scottish Laird in my spouse's semi-sleazy bodice-rippers. I kind of *want* change, but sort of secretly.

The rotation, after Hamels and Lee, makes me nervous. I fear Halladay may be cooked, but a cooked Roy Halladay as the #3 starter may be workable. It's just not going to be 7.0 WAR Roy Halladay, and the big three in the rotation will be diminished. I am also less convinced that Worley has a future as a quality start type of pitcher. He seems more and more like a swing man, but he's less flawed than many #4 starters in the bigs. Kendrick? I've been burned too many times, ok? The Phillies will see probably 20 starts from someone other than these 5 pitchers, though. These will result fromm scheduling issues, injuries, etc. The Phillies used 9 starters in 2012, but mercifully few were not from the aforementioned 5 plus Blanton. 2013 will see more marginal players start games, and I am not predicting that this will be good. I think starting pitching needs can be met internally, though.

I think the cure for a hangover is penance. The Phillies will underwhelm in this offseason if your expectation is a big, splashy acquisition. I think they bring back Shane Victorino for a modest, 2 year deal and keep their draft pick intact, as well as keeping their powder dry. I think they continue to let the farm restock itself rather than raiding the pantry for a Chase Headley deal.

The outfield will be a mix of pitcher matchups, with Victorino getting more or less full-time play in center, with occasional spells by Mayberry. Brown will play every day in right, and Ruf gets a shot in left facing LHP and Schierholtz will play against RHP. Ruf may see time at first, too, with Howard getting more days off, especially against LHP. Mayberry slots in as the platoon part in left on those days, as part of a RHB-heavy lineup option.

I think Frandsen and Galvis bounce around the infield, accumulating innings at third, and spelling Utley and Rollins to keep the old folks reasonably fresh.

I'm thinking 90 wins for 2013 if the Phillies, barring some sort of crazy Grienke/Headley acquisition. If the Phillies get Upton, I will be happy, if only for the promise of a season-long Kate Upton Bounce gif-fest.

CORMICAN

Starting Rotation:
Doc, Zack Grienke ,Hamels, Worley, Scott Baker

Position players:
B.J. Upton, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz ,Dom Brown, Torii Hunter, Mike Olt

Yeah, you see that up there in the Starting 5? Selling Lee this summer seemed to get some momentum. I don't really get the idea, but sometimes ideas seem to take root with Amaro (dogged determination to acquire Halladay, dogged determination to reacquire Lee) and trading Lee and acquiring Grienke (FA) would actually not be too bad. Grienke is younger (though quite possibly worser, but still a pretty elite Starter), but Lee would be traded directly to the Rangers for the quite possibly overrated Olt and a few other guys who fans will never bother to learn the names of.Taken in total, it's better than trading the farm system for Chase Headley, I suppose (though it also would mean less posting of pictures of Harvey Korman).


In the OF, Rubes goes a bit more budget by gambling on Torii Hunter. Can he continue to fight off father time? I expect he'll play LF and split his time with Nix, Merberry and... Ruf. I think Ruf will get a chance to play semi-regularly next year in Left and spelling Ryan Howard at First (provided Howard's foot doesn't fall off in Spring Training. Clearly the next step in his injury progression). I doubt Ruf gets traded, because I still think Scouts view him as a throw in AAAA guy. With that in mind he gets 2013 to prove he can hit Major League pitching and possibly boost value for a deadline trade.B.J. Upton, is just my personal hope, more than anything overly logical.

And there you have it. So what have we learned? Well, Someone not on the roster will be in CF, Most of us think we'll sign or trade for a 3B, which is what most everyone already felt. But we're split almost evenly on whether the Phils will go into the season with Worley and Kendrick at the back of the rotation, with the big three intact. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this as well in the comments. We'll be back in the coming days with our predictions for the bench and bullpen. In the meantime, try not to let the rumors linger.

Catz Out

Tony Verduci

Starting Rotation:

Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee ,Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, Scott Baker

Position players:
B.J. Upton, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz ,Dom Brown, Justin Upton, Kevin Youkilis

"The Big 3" of the starting rotation stays in tact, with some minor adjustments in the rotation. I have Kyle Kendrck back into the starting rotation following a very solid second half. I've moved Vance Worley from the the rotation into the pen, because I think that's where he reaches his true value. It seems to me at least, that Worley's struggles seem to be facing hitters the second or third time through the order, and his "fearless bulldog" mentality fits a bullpen better, since he has no real "plus" pitches to be an elite starter. Scott Baker would be the man taking his place, since he would fit perfectly as a "5th starter" here. I see Baker coming here on a one-year deal to build up value after undergoing Tommy John surgery last season.


The position side, is more of a fantasy for me. As a Philadelphia Flyers fan, I'm thrilled to see brothers Brayden and Luke Schenn play together on the same team. I suppose I'm a sucker for the "_____ brothers" idea. And that's where I'd like to see the Fightins go. I'm a little bit apprehensive about the potential figures behind a BJ Upton contract, after seeing what some beat reporters like Ken Davidoff and David Lennon have BJ Upton getting as many as 7 years and up to 100 million dollars. For a guy who's a far from perfect player, that kind of albatross is what I don't want. However, I personally predict Beej getting a deal of 5 years/65 million, which is more along the lines of what I expected when the postseason ended.

Justin Upton is a pipe dream, but one of those glorious lucid pipe dreams. A 25 year-old with a ceiling as high as space, under team control until 2015 for reasonable dough. Justin Upton posted a WAR of 2.4 last season, but is one year removed from an unbelievable 6.4 WAR season. There is no reason for Kevin Towers to part with Upton, but it's possible. It just depends on if he's blown away by what the Phillies have. In my fantasy world, I see Darin Ruf, Tyler Knigge, and Sebastian Valle going to Arizona in exchange for Justin. Doubtful, but lesser packages have netted superior players. With that, you would have Domonic Brown in left field, with the Upton Brothers patrolling center and right. I can dream, can't I?

The infield remains mostly unchanged, with Kevin Youkilis signing on with the Phils on a 2 year, 18 million dollar deal. Youk's option being declined gives the Phillies another possible third baseman that's actually serviceable (besides trading for A-Rod or Chase Headley). Most see the Phillies getting a stopgap third baseman until Cody Asche is ready, and that's what I see as well. Plus, we could see Chooooooch and Yoooooouk bat in the same lineup.

Now there's a lot of names I could throw out there as well that I would love to see. Josh Willingham and Shin Soo Choo, to name two. I would love to see either of those guys patrol a corner spot. I personally wouldn't mind being wrong if one of those guys comes to Philly. Don't expect A-Rod or Chase Headley. Not happening.

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