It's the most wonderful time of the year! With the World series coming to a close last night, Hot Stove season is officially upon us. The Phillies are in first (and last) place among every single team, and the phones will start ringing, the texts and emails will be sent and replied to as Ruben Amaro looks to do something, ANYTHING to improve on last season.
For those interested, there are two must read links. The first is MLBTR's free agent tracker and guide to key dates This is a detailed explanation of everything you need to know about how things will go down.
The second, is this absolutely phenomenal breakdown of the Phillies expected payroll and AAV situation by Crowhop. Just great stuff there that shows you just how difficult a time Ruben will have as he tries to both improve on last year and stay under the luxury tax limit of $189,000.
For those who DON'T want to click through Crowhop's piece, here's the joecatz cliff notes:
- the Phillies should have about $138,000,000 committed to players under contract, including arbitration eligible players that should be retained, and low salary players, plus 40 man salaries and insurance. That number does not include Ruiz and Kendrick. So if the Phillies were to decide to increase payroll to the luxury tax limit, they have roughly $51mm to spend on 2 starting pitchers, a catcher, a corner OF, a bench bat to replace Mayberry, and one relief pitcher.
- Should they retain Kendrick at $7,000,000 and resign Ruiz at $7,500,000 they'd have roughly $37,000,000 to spend.
- Ruben Amaro inquired on Giancarlo Stanton. He got no response.
- Quiet Period ends, and free agents are free to negotiate at 10:59 CT.
- Qualifying offers are due by 4PM CT Monday as well.
- Any contract options must also be decided by then. So basically, next Tuesday you know who's a free agent for sure.
- Ruben calls again on Stanton. Still no response.
- Qualifying offers must be accepted or declined. So free agents tendered a QO have one week to gauge the market interest. We do not expect any Phillies to be offered a QO. But players declining cost a draft pick.
- GM/OWNERS Meetings begin (through the 13th) in Orlando. This is where a majority of the legwork for trades are discussed, and usually one deal goes down as well.
- Ruben corners Jeffrey Luria at the sushi bar at Bluezoo. Offers Dom Brown, Jesse Biddle, Maikel Franco, Ben Revere and Chase Utley's dog for Giancarlo Stanton. Luria politely declines.
- Ruben pops up behind a counter at a Miami Best Buy and offers Luria "everything I offered before plus Mayberry and Frandsen AND a chance to cut in line for the discounted 72 inch Mitsubishi black Friday flat screen" for Giancarlo Stanton. Luria heads to Target.
- Non Tender deadline for arbitration eligible players. Basically, anyone eligible for arbitration must be tendered a contract, or the team must decide to go to arbitration, or as in the case of Nate Schierholtz, Ruben will make the first bad decision of the off season that sets off a catalytic shitstorm.
- The Phillies players eligible for arbitration (with Matt Swartz expected figures) are Kyle Kendrick ($6.6mm) Antonio Bastardo ($2mm) John Mayberry ($1.7mm) Kevin Frandsen ($1.3mm) Ben Revere ($1.5mm)
- Of the above players only Revere is a 100% guarantee, and Bastardo and Kendrick are very likely to be tendered. Mayberry and Frandsen are tougher calls. Don't be surprised if Frandsen or Mayberry are traded before December 2nd, as both have value. But their contracts become guaranteed as of this date.
- Ruben bribes the general manager of the Swan hotel to give him a connecting suite with a non locking door to the Marlins War Room.
- Winter meetings (also in Orlando). This is where a lot of stuff gets done. The Ben Revere trade went down at the meetings last year, and the Michael Young trade was all but finalized as well.
- Jeffrey Luria returns to his suite on the evening of the 11th to find Ruben sitting on his couch, with a bottle of scotch. He refuses to budge until they can "get something done" . Luria finally breaks down.
- Ruben trades Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon and 90% of their remaining salary including options, Domonic Brown, Maikel Franco, Jesse Biddle, Roman Quinn, Ben Revere, Chris Wheeler and the Phanatic to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton, the horrible thing in centerfield and their entire latin broadcast team. He also agrees to a clause in the trade never allowing Giancarlo to play against the Marlins.
- Ryne Sandberg resigns. Larry Bowa is named manager.