Similiar to articles by Jonah Keri and Dave Cameron who produce annual Trade Value Rankings, what would the results be if we looked at the most valuable assets on the Phillies roster? What makes this hard is that none of the current Phillies have shown up on any of their lists, so we'll be starting from scratch. As a quick refresher - we're looking to find out which player would command the most value in return if traded today. Contracts, age, durability are all factors - so just because Ryan Howard might hit better than Cody Asche in the games he plays in 2014 doesn't mean he's a more valued asset. There is going to be a lot of opinion here, as creating some type of all-inclusive metric for trade value is well beyond anything I could ever calculate, so feel free to debate. Also, I DQ'd any non-MLB player to eliminate even more wild speculation that is already happening.
#10. Jonathan Pettibone. Young, pre arb, and MLB experience is good enough to crack this top 10. If I tried to make a rough formula of expected WAR over expected salary, he would probably rank higher, but what that wouldn't capture is the lack of any peak value. Lack of any projection in the future keeps his cost/age advantage in check.
#9. Darin Ruf. With each ranking I tried to think of a best case and a worst case, include the financial ramifications of such, and find a middle ground. So while he may never amount to anything above a bench peice, even if he hits the crap out of the ball, his classic power numbers would jack his arbitration numbers up. The potential of a big season given the shot edges him over Pettibone.
#8. Cole Hamels. The commitment to Hamels is likely just too much in both years and dollars to rank him any higher. In this day and age, extra years of team control can just be extra years of risk. I personally like his contract for the most part, but if you look at it from a trade value perspective, I don't believe there's really a ton there.
** UPDATED: Burnett's deal is actually a 2yr/$22.5M that can grow as high as $31.75M**#7. AJ Burnett. While only a rental player at the age of 37, Burnett could have easily been expected to command more money if open to a longer term deal. Capping his commitment to just 1 year boosts his trade value above a better pitcher such as Hamels.
#6. Carlos Ruiz. Even projecting a decline as he ages, Ruiz is still among the top half of starting catchers in the league. His defense last year may be a sign that will no longer be true.
#5. Cliff Lee. What Lee has over Hamels and even Burnett is the ability to be among the best in the game for long stretches. Any younger or cheaper and Lee is probably going to the top of the list, however he is neither. I went back and forth on Hamels' and Lee's rankings, and I just see a team more willing to take on a couple of Lee's elder years for a big return before I see them ponying up resources for a longer, more limited upside in Hamels.
#4. Cody Asche. Asche jumps ahead of the other pre-arb players because he has the chance to be an everyday starter. I am basing this off of his chance to develop into a high average hitter as he's shown through the minors and the ability to be good enough to merely stick at 3B for the length of his team control.
#3. Ben Revere. His athletic potential should be able to improve his defense in CF, which will heavily dictate what his value can be moving forward. His bat could stay about the same and still become an asset if he finds a way to excel defensively while also creating value on the bases. His Super Two status and healthy raise already cuts into him a bit.
#2. Chase Utley. You can look at him a couple ways - he's either only owed $27M for a couple more ~3 Win seasons or he ends up staying healthy allowing him to vest his options up to $70M while racking up much higher WAR. The flexibility of the contract cuts down a lot of risk that almost any team would be comfortable taking on.
#1. DOM Brown. Far from any type of guarantee, he still sticks out like a sore thumb on this roster in terms of cost controlled years and MLB performance. Some of his biggest strengths as a top prospect have gone unrealized in terms of plate discipline and use of both fields, yet he's still been able to become an asset in the bigs. If the Phillies wanted to make any moves this upcoming season, its hard to see any team not putting him a top their list.