After two days of the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Cole Hamels is still a Phillie.
At least for one more day at least, the Hamels jersey hanging in my closet that I bought after the 2008 World Series is still relevant. However, it appears as if the Phils are working a couple possibilities concerning two of their veteran players.
Sources: #Orioles met with #Phillies today to discuss Marlon Byrd.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 9, 2014
Baltimore has already lost outfielders Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis this off-season, and needs another outfielder to team up with Steve Pearce and Adam Jones. While Byrd would not be expected to match Cruz' homer output, he did hit 25 home runs last year, one year after bashing 24.
And if you think that kind of production isn't a lot, think again.
Corner outfielders last season with as many homers and doubles as Marlon Byrd: Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Upton. That's it.— Corey Seidman (@CoreySeidman) December 10, 2014
Earlier this week, Oakland continued their purge and traded outfielder Brandon Moss to the Indians. Last year, Moss hit .234/.334/.438 with 25 homers, 81 RBIs, had a wRC+ of 121 and an fWAR of 2.3. Byrd, meanwhile, hit .264/.312/.445 with 25 homers, 85 RBIs, had a wRC+ of 109 and an fWAR of 1.9. Byrd is also 37, while Moss is 31.
Steamer projects Moss to hit .249/.333/.485 next year with 28 homers and put up a 2.6 fWAR, while they project Byrd at .243/.292/.394 with 17 homers and a 0.4 fWAR. Of course, these projections are not gospel, and the comparison between the two players is legitimate.
Oakland received second base prospect Joey Wendle, who was not among MLB.com's ranking of Cleveland's 20 best prospects. But many believe he is a decent prospect with some offensive potential. This is the type of prospect the Phillies might be able to expect back for Byrd. But they probably shouldn't get much greedier than that.
Of course, the Phils should not be in a rush to just give Byrd away. He was their home run leader last year, and there is no young player nipping at his heels for playing time. Keep in mind, they're talking about giving Jeff Francouer a lot of time if Byrd is traded, so, let's just consider that for a moment.
The Phillies should take their time and talk to teams like Seattle, San Diego and Kansas City, all of whom also still need bats.
RED SOX TALKING ABOUT BASTARDO
With Jake Diekman and Mario Hollands already in the fold, the Phils are actively shopping their long-time set-up man Antonio Bastardo. And according to MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo, Boston is interested.
The Red Sox and Phillies have had discussions this offseason about a deal that would send left-hander Antonio Bastardo to Boston in exchange for a package involving infield prospect Sean Coyle, according to a major-league source with knowledge of the situation... Coyle, who recently switched representation, is currently ranked by SoxProspects.com as the team's fourteenth best prospect, and is thought of as trade bait due to the Red Sox' glut of young infielders.
Coyle hit .295/.371/.512 with 16 HRs and 23 doubles last year in 384 PAs for the Red Sox' Double-A team. Coyle projects as a 2B/3B, and back in October, Fangraphs ranked him second among all Boston prospects in terms of projected WAR.
Seems like too good of a prospect for Bastardo, who is an effective, if erratic relief pitcher. But hey, I'm not complaining.
RUBEN AMARO'S ABOUT-FACE
The statements being made by Ruben Amaro this week in San Diego sound like those of a changed man. Or, perhaps more accurately, a man who is getting his marching orders from a different bandleader.
In a remarkable piece by Tyler Kepner today in the New York Times, Amaro made a series of comments that, for the first time, appeared to show the team realizes they may have decided too late to move on from their glorious five-year run.
"You identify, and fans identify, with players like Rollins, Utley and Howard, who are arguably the best players at their positions in the history of our franchise," Amaro said. "It’s hard to cut them loose. And yet, sometimes, you have to have that mentality like, you know what, maybe we were a little too loyal, maybe we were thinking that we could squeeze some more blood out of the stone.
"But that’s also a good learning experience for me. Maybe we’ve got to do things a little differently, and think about doing that shift a little earlier."
And then, on Tuesday night on the MLB Network, Amaro continued along those same lines.
Ruben Amaro just admitted on @mlbnetwork it’s time for the #phillies to rebuild. Admitting there’s a problem is the 1st step to recovery.— Michael Baron (@michaelgbaron) December 10, 2014
Amaro said its possible the decision to rebuild the #Phillies came too late. "We’re listeners on everyone," he said.— Michael Baron (@michaelgbaron) December 10, 2014
Of course, rebuilding is easier said than done. There are high-priced veterans who are virtually unmovable. There really aren't any good, young players ready to take their places if they were. Amaro missed his window at the 2013 trade deadline to trade away guys like Cliff Lee, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, and the prospects he received in the Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino deals didn't pan out.
Even last July, the team held pat when it seemed for all the world the fire sale would begin. There seemed to be the sense that the Phils still believed their players were great and that they had the mandate to continue to be competitive.
Then, David Montgomery stepped away to fight his battle with cancer. Pat Gillick stepped into the fray. And the rhetoric and actions of the team have done a complete 180.
It ain't a coincidence.
Sure, the Phillies are in a terrible spot. Other than dealing Cole Hamels, there really isn't all that much they can do until some contracts come off the books and/or some people retire.
But at least the talk coming out of the Phils' representatives seem to show they have a grasp on reality now, admittedly, perhaps a little too late.