Members of the Philadelphia Phillies will be attending the Winter Meetings in San Diego this week. This we know. What we're not as sure about is just who will be in charge.
It might be Pat Gillick, the so-called "interim" President of the team. It might be Ruben Amaro, the general manager who all of a sudden seems to be second banana to Gillick. Or it could be John Middleton, one of the minority owners who is reportedly close to getting a majority share of the team.
At this stage, no one really knows who is captaining this ship. All we know is, captain or no, it's going to make port in San Diego, and someone will be having conversations with executives from other teams about players on the Phillies.
So, as the Meetings get set to take place, here's my ranking of the trade value of every member of the Phils' 40-man roster, as of December 6, 2014.
1. Cole Hamels
This is a no-brainer. Hamels is the best player on this team, a true ace, and one with an affordable contract. He is the one player who should bring back the type of young talent this team needs to usher in a new era. Of course, the Phils should be in no hurry to trade him, as Cole is still relatively young and could be a part of the next good Phils team, provided it happens within the next 2-3 years.
2. Ken Giles
Seriously, it took me about 10 minutes to think of who the second person on this list would be. I chose Giles because he can throw 100 mph, had an outstanding rookie season, costs almost nothing, and would provide a team with a potential closer for years to come. Of course, it's for those very reasons it's hard to imagine the Phils dealing him.
3. Maikel Franco
He's the third-best prospect in the organization (behind J.P. Crawford and Aaron Nola) and the hope is that he is the team's third baseman or first baseman of the future. He'd certainly be high on any team's wish list of players on the Phils' roster, but again, he's a young position player with some talent, and the Phillies aren't giving him up.
4. Jake Diekman
Like Giles, Diekman emerged as a dependable young bullpen arm with tremendous stuff. Plus, he's a lefty, which makes him even more intriguing. Again, the Phillies would certainly be hard-pressed to involve him in any deals.
5. Chase Utley
Utley is still one of the better second basemen in baseball and will make only $10 million this year, with a vesting option of $2 million for next year in the balance. Utley has full 10-5 no-trade rights, so even if the Phillies were to find an interested party (say, the Oakland A's), it would be up to Chase to approve a deal. That might not be out of the question, now that it seems clear the priority will not be on winning games next season.
6. Marlon Byrd
Byrd is a guy who absolutely should be traded, either over the winter or at the trade deadline next July. He's one of the few right-handed power bats on the market, but word is the Phils have been asking too much for him so far in trade negotiations. Teams are wary of his $8 million vesting option for 2016 as well, and Byrd does strike out a ton. Still, with Nelson Cruz off the table and teams like San Diego and Kansas City in desperate need of power, Byrd could be a good option for them.
7. Jimmy Rollins
Like Utley, Rollins has full 10-5 no-trade rights, and has apparently already used them to block a potential deal to the New York Mets. There were also discussions about Rollins with the New York Yankees, but they never got very far. Rollins' offensive numbers aren't what they once were, but he's still an above average defender who would make a team like Oakland much better. Still, he's unlikely to move, because of those 10-5 rights.
8. Ben Revere
He hits home runs now. Perhaps you didn't know. Yeah, he hits for average and steals bases, but now he's added masher to his repertoire. For the Phils, he's a lead-off hitter, but for most other teams, he'd probably hit near the bottom of the order. With his speed, you'd think the defense will improve somewhat, although that wet noodle arm in center field couldn't throw out a 12-year-old trying to tag up to second from first base. He's got a lot of flaws, but a .300 hitter is a commodity to some teams.
9. Carlos Ruiz
For those in need of a catcher, they could sure do a lot worse. Chooch has lost some of his power in recent years, but he's still an on-base machine and knows how to handle a staff. He's not terribly good at the art of pitch-framing, if you believe that's a real thing, but if there is a team in need of a veteran catcher, and can afford one at $8.5 million each of the next two years, then they should check in on Carlos.
10. Jesse Biddle
While Biddle had a horrific 2014, on the heels of a subpar 2013, he's still regarded as one of the team's five or six best prospects. Last year he was derailed by a concussion after being hit in the head by a piece of hail. However, even before that he was erratic, and some scouts are way down on him. At this point, it's uncertain he'll ever appear at the Major League level. He'll likely repeat Double-A Reading for a third straight season, at least to start. But, he's a young lefty with the chance of becoming a middle-of-the-rotation Major League starter.
11. Domonic Brown
You know how teams are always looking for those buy-low opportunities nowadays? You know, those players who are coming off a down season or two but who are young enough to bounce back, and have shown enough flashes during their Major League career to at least make you hope it can come back? Brown is one of those guys, and even though he was quite possibly the worst position player in the Majors last year, there is bound to be a GM or two who would be willing to give the former All-Star one more shot. Plus, he still works cheap, although he'll be up in the $2 million range this season.
12. Antonio Bastardo
This is another guy I can't figure out why he's still on the team. He should have been unloaded last July, but the Phillies kept him, and tendered him a contract last week, which was understandable. He's a good bullpen arm, but with Diekman in the fold, the more expensive Bastardo is not a necessary piece right now for the Phils. They are actively shopping him, and now that Andrew Miller has signed with the Yankees, that could open the door for Antonio to find a new home.
13. Jonathan Papelbon
The pluses: he notched 39 saves for a last place ballclub in 2014, blew only four saves, and finished with an ERA of 2.04, his lowest since 2009. The minuses: his attitude and demeanor (the crotch-grabbing episode for one), the lack of confidence some GMs apparently have in his decreased velocity, and his salary, $13 million this year with a very reachable vesting option for another $13 million in 2016. With David Robertson out there ready to receive a deal close to Papelbon's, it could be a while for Jonathan finds anyone interested in taking his bloated deal.
14. Cody Asche
Amaro said a few weeks ago that Asche will head into next season as the team's de facto starting third baseman. This despite a season in which he was largely unimpressive, both at the dish and in the field. Still, he's just 24, and has the potential to at least be a 2-win player if he can develop more consistency in his second year as a starter. He better, because if Franco gets off to a hot spring, or sizzles in Triple-A at the start of the season, Asche could find himself out of a job sooner rather than later.
15. Darin Ruf
Ruf is no everyday outfielder, and most see him as a platoon first baseman. He had a tough season last year, getting hurt shortly after being sent down to the minors in spring training. When he came to the Majors as a September call-up, he didn't get a lot of starts. If he has any trade value, it's because in his 447 career MLB plate appearances, he's hit 20 home runs and slugged .466, with a wRC+ of 123. Maybe there's an American League team who can find a use for him.
16. David Buchanan
Last month, Amaro said Buchanan was not guaranteed a spot in the Phils' rotation next season. That's interesting given how after Hamels, Lee and Jerome Williams, Buchanan is the most viable starting candidate. So, unless the team is about to go hog wild on the free agent market, I'm pretty sure Buchanan is going to be on the bump every fifth day for the Phillies next year. And in 2014, he was better than you might have thought, posting a 3.75 ERA in 117.2 innings.
17. Justin De Fratus
The bullpen was clearly the strength of the Phils and is the only group on the team that has the potential to be a plus next season. De Fratus doesn't have the velocity of Giles or Diekman, but he's a decent right-handed reliever that can get the job done. Hopefully he'll be given more of a chance by manager Ryne Sandberg in 2015.
18. Mario Hollands
Another reason why Bastardo is expendable is the lefty Hollands, who gave up just a .623 OPS to left-handed hitters last season. He's mostly a LOOGY, but as Phils fans have seen over the years, those are some useful humans, especially in the late innings.
19. Grady Sizemore
His trade value isn't as high now as it might be in July, should he perform well and a team at the deadline is looking for a veteran outfielder. Of course, the hope is that he doesn't see enough playing time this year to really make a dent in the trade market, but we all know he's going to start 130 games this year, right?
20. Freddy Galvis
There are some who still want to see him as the everyday shortstop, but I don't get it. Sure, he has more pop in his bat than you'd think, and plays outstanding defense, but is prone to huge slumps, doesn't have patient at bats, and simply isn't a very good hitter.
21. Cesar Hernandez
I've always liked Hernandez probably more than most. He makes contact, plays decent defense, and has a future as a utility infielder and spot starter. He wouldn't bring much back, but could be useful as a throw-in. I like Galvis a bit more than Hernandez, simply because Galvis can play more positions.
22. Kelly Dugan
Dugan had a nice season in Reading with a .383 on-base percentage and a wRC+ of 130 for the Phils' Double-A affiliate. At 24, he'll be promoted to Triple-A this year, and will be one of the position players to watch in the Phillies minor league system.
23. Aaron Altherr
Altherr will turn 24 next month and had a down season for Reading last year, slashing just .236/.287/.399 in 492 PAs. However, he still has some potential, even if it is as a fourth or fifth outfielder.
24. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez
The problem with MAG is that no one has ever seen him do anything consistently yet. We don't know if he's a reliever or a starter, and he's making $3.67 million next year and $4.67 million next year, guaranteed. He could rocket up this list if he turns out to be a decent starter though. Or, even if he becomes a useful bullpen piece. But right now, I don't think they'd get much for him.
25. Luis Garcia
Garcia throws very hard, mid-90s, which is always something to covet. But whenever he's been called up to the Majors, he's stumbled, with a career 4.57 ERA in 45.1 career innings.
26. Jonathan Pettibone
He pitched only 35 innings this year after battling shoulder problems. But he made 18 starts in 2013 and acquitted himself well enough, posting a 4.04 ERA that season. He'll be healthy enough to break camp with the team, if he's able to pitch well enough in spring training.
27. Adam Morgan
Morgan was on his way to being a part of the Phils' big league rotation at some point in 2013 or '14 until a shoulder injury forced him to miss a year and a half. He's just back now, building arm strength, and at 24, the hope is that Morgan can once again be a prospect upon which to build. But his uncertain future makes his trade value sketchy at best.
28. Nefi Ogando
Acquired in John McDonald trade, the 25-year-old reliever throws hard and strikes a lot of guys out. He also gives up a ton of runs and has no idea where the ball is going. Still, a hard-throwing reliever in his mid-20s is always better than a soft-tossing reliever in his early 30s.
29. Hector Neris
He's a 25-year-old right-handed reliever who struck out a batter per inning at Triple-A this year, with an ERA of 4.19, but a FIP of 3.77. He could be a bullpen piece for the Phils in 2015.
30. Elvis Araujo
He was available for anyone to sign, but the Phils are the ones who nabbed him this off-season. He struck out a batter per nine last season for Cleveland's high-A and Double-A teams, and has been lights out in winter ball.
31. Jerome Williams
Williams had a nice season for the Phillies last year. Don't expect a repeat. I'm expecting an ERA in and around 5 for most of the season.
32. Cesar Jimenez
He's not injured or anything. So, that's a start. He's a journeyman reliever who has bounced all over the place.
33. Ethan Martin
He had potential to be a reliever for a while there, but injuries have sapped him of his velocity. He'll try to get it back this season.
34. Cameron Rupp
He'll enter the season as the team's back-up catcher, someone able to handle a pitching staff but won't provide much at the plate.
35. Tommy Joseph
The Phils hope he still has a future as a catcher, but the guy just can't stay healthy. He has more upside than Rupp, but concussions have seriously derailed his momentum to reaching the bigs.
36. Phillippe Aumont
I can't believe he was even still on the 40-man roster.
37. Ryan Howard
Well, he had to go somewhere, and even though he was abysmal for the Phillies last year, and even though he makes at least $60 million over the next two years, the guy did hit 23 home runs in what, we now know, was a very trying season for him, personally. Perhaps if he can get to an American League team where he could stay off his feet and not kill a team with his defense at first base, he could slug 25-30 homers for somebody. That would be the dream scenario for someone. Unfortunately, his salary is so bloated, and there is so much negativity surrounding him, he just has absolutely no value in a trade.
38. Cliff Lee
Until he comes back and proves he's healthy, no one is taking a chance on him, certainly not at $25 million this year and $12.5 million in 2016. I can see a scenario where a team might trade for Howard. I cannot see one in which a team trades for Lee. Not until he proves he's healthy.
Listen, I won't lie to you. Once I got into the 20s, it started to get pretty difficult to separate the chaff here. But, this is my rough list, one I'm sure you'll disagree with.
Onto the Winter Meetings, where for the Phillies, almost nothing is sure to happen.