Catz corner: Can Domonic Brown save us from Ryan Howard?

Practicing Sayonara? - Rich Schultz

The Phillies face some serious conundrums in the off season, and with the changing scope of the free agent market, no one should be untouchable if the right scenario presents itself. A creative GM should look to deal Domonic Brown in the right scenario. Especially if it means getting rid of Ryan Howard.

This morning over at the always insightful Phillies Nation, Eric Seidman posed a question: Should the Phillies consider selling high on Domonic Brown? It's a very good read and one I encourage all of you to check out before delving into this piece.

In essence, what Eric concludes is that Dom Brown's value may be at its highest point right now, and when you consider his average or slightly below base running skills combined with his -6 fielding, his offensive value is somewhat mitigated if he does not continue to produce elite numbers.

It's a bit of a leap of faith to look into the future in any situation, but for me, I have to admit that for the first time ever I'm not opposed to the Phillies listening on Dom Brown. Provided that the player in return is an elite talent in his own right, or that dealing Brown along with a bad contract nets a positive return overall.

A few of the things that Eric didn't touch on, things that have been issues for me in regards to Dom Brown in the back of my mind, is that while he broke out HARD this season:

  • he's 26 years old as of September 3rd. And while he's coming into his prime, people tend to forget that he's just 14 months younger than Darin Ruf. So why are there fewer questions about Brown's age than Ruf's, other than the prospect pedigree?
  • he's missed significant time due to injury every season since 2010. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong on this.)
  • he's arbitration eligible in 2015, meaning he really only has one more year of super cheap value to production.
  • he's represented by Scott Boras, who is as likely to sign him to a team friendly extension as he is to show up and babysit for my kids this Saturday.

One only has to look at the free agent landscape, and the Phillies current place in the reverse standings to realize that, should the Phillies decide (and they will) to go after an impact bat in a corner outfield spot, to do so on the free agent market would likely cost them somewhere between the 11th and 15th pick in the 2014 draft.

But there figures to be some interesting names on the trade market as well, namely Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez or Jose Bautista. Realistically folks, you can believe that the Phillies could package any number of players for Stanton that don't include Domonic Brown, but the conversation, for the Phillies at least, begins and ends there.

And frankly, trading a 26 year old former number one prospect who is a year away from arbitration who had a semi breakout year for a 23 year old superstar who has put up close to 15 wins since 2010 that's the RH power bat this team has been looking for since the dawn of time should be a no brainer hell yes. It would take much much more, to convince the Marlins to do it, likely one of Asche or Franco, perhaps Jesse Biddle, and a few others, but including Dom Brown in a deal like that severely increases the Phillies chances of competing with a team like Texas, or Minnesota, or Boston should the Marlins decide to open up bids in the Stanton sweepstakes.

But even then the chances are slim. Inter-divisional deals rarely come to fruition.

So here's a thought.

What if a team was looking for a first baseman? I don't know, maybe their franchise player was retiring or something... What if that same team had an elite corner outfielder who was about to get very expensive?

Say that guy was set to make $64mm over the next four years? and they had a shortstop making $20mm for the next seven for his age 30-37 seasons?

Would that team be willing to trade Carlos Gonzalez and his $64,000,000 for three years of Ryan Howard at $85,000,000 if the Phillies paid, say, $30,000,000 of that contract AND included Domonic Brown? Maybe a few other fringe players?

Think about it for a second. Ryan Howard in Coors Field. Domonic Brown in Coors Field. for what amounts to a combined $16-17mm a year, which is essentially what they are paying CarGo.

Simply put, can you dangle Domonic Brown to get out from under Ryan Howard? Improbable, but not impossible.

The beauty of a deal like this is that for the Phillies, AAV is more important than actual cash. For the Rockies? it's the other way around.

If the Phillies agreed to pay the buyout on Howard's contract, and ate an additional $20,000,000 based on the terms of Carlos Gonzalez deal? His AAV combined with the portion of Howard's contract still attributed to the Phillies would be approximately $17-18mm per year.  Giving the Phillies an additional $7mm in cost savings.

That basically would mean in laymans terms that if they allocated, say $15mm to a corner OF spot they now have $23mm to allocate there if they wanted.

Go out, sign a Corey Hart, or Carlos Beltran or a non-QO OF, give Darin Ruf a shot at 1B, or hell, make a play for Jose Abreu.

Is this realistic? Maybe, maybe not. It's just one scenario that ripped through my crazy head as I turn my attention towards the off-season.The point is including Brown, or at least talking about Brown, in relation to Ryan Howard, and moving his contract might actually be a fantastic idea, if you can find the right creative deal. the right situation, and the right return.

But the devil in the details, and what I can't wait to read in the comments is this:

If it meant GETTING RID OF RYAN HOWARD'S CONTRACT, WOULD YOU TRADE DOMONIC BROWN?

Cause I think I'd do that in heartbeat.

Catz out.

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