Hey Guys, How's it going?
Don't get too excited--I can't stick around too long, but it's trade season, the Phillies plan on being active and it doesn't feel right if I don't chime in. So at 6:30 on a Saturday morning (which is about when I have enough free time with the new job to devote to writing about my favorite baseball team) I find myself trying to sum up my thoughts on the deadline into the one piece I'm probably going to get to put out there.
So rather than talk about who should go and who shouldn't, and where they might land and why they won't land here or whether they should rebuild or re-brand, or retool, I tried to find a common theme.
And from just about everything I'm reading that theme is pretty simple. The Phillies suck so they should trade everyone they can get MAX value for and focus on 2016/2017. People may disagree on who matches up for Cole Hamels, or Cliff Lee and Marlon Byrd, and there's certainly debate about whether to trade Rollins or not, etc... (clause or no clause).
But from what I'm seeing, pretty much everyone agrees with the idea that if there's a good deal out there, no one is untouchable, and the Phillies need to move players to build for 2016 and 2017 because hey... they're gonna suck in 2015 either way.
That's the general wish of the fan base, smart and casual alike.
CATZ SAYS BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.
In 2011, the Phillies were better than the Oakland A's right now. There was NO END in sight. The biggest gripe about the Hunter Pence trade for Santana, Singleton, Cosart and Zeid was NOT the overpay, as much as it was that the Phillies didn't need Pence for the drive and the playoffs were a crap-shoot. NO ONE expected or complained that trading for Hunter Pence was going to kill the Phillies because it was their LAST SHOT. It wasn't gonna hurt them in the short term (in fact, most people expected Cosart's arm to blow up by now) and probably wouldn't really affect them at the major league level for three years.
In other words, the Only worry was really about 2014 in 2011.
We all know what happened six months later after Ryan Howard lying on the ground in agony became the perfect image of transitional angst for the next god knows how long its really been but is seems like a decade. Pence was unloaded AFTER the Phillies went out and spent a zillion dollars on Jonathan Papelbon, for what at the time seemed like a pretty fair return in Tommy Joseph, Nate Schierholtz and the other guy (I call him the other guy, because I always have to think for a minute about Seth Rosin.) A capable platoon player, our catcher of the Future, and a decent future bullpen piece...
And today, we've got a broken catcher who may not ever catch again...
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.
You know who would have made a difference in 2013 AND 2014? everyone involved in the first Hunter Pence trade INCLUDING Hunter Pence. Both trades at the deadline were bad because they were unnecessary and done for the wrong reasons. The second trade may have been decent value at the time, but we non-tendered Schierholtz, Rule Five'd Rosin and Joseph looks like a dud.
Volume deal. with nothing to show for it two years later.
For an OF who has played in 310 straight games, put up over 10 fWAR, led his team to a World Series and made two all star games...
Basically, for me, what this organization proved is that they take the best deal, and let the market tell them they have to buy or have to sell. But there were better fits for Pence in the off season, and frankly, better returns for what they gave up the first time if they held on to those pieces a little longer.
A trade has to be PERFECT for it to work. and in most cases that's match up, and willingness. Volume trades, unless overpays in the most drastic way, rarely work out.
And when you're a team like the Phillies, who are going to figure out a way to reinvest down the line, two years or three years from now is here before you know it.
I'm not excited about the next three weeks, mainly because there is no real impact out there for the players we can logistically move. I don't see a single "good trade" scenario out there, there's no contending team that we really match up well with.
Everyone has clauses...and that scares the hell out of me, because I know they're gonna sell off.
And I don't see a good return. I see a lot of maybe, a whole lot of middling, and best case scenario some salary off the books that they'll go out and spend on Alex Rios in the off season after they dump Marlon Byrd.
When in reality, if you look at the FA market for OF, Marlon Byrd likely becomes a valuable trade chip in the off season or a valuable piece for the Phillies.
I'm prepared to be disappointed, and anything short of a Red Sox/Dodgers blockbuster type "get Howard and Papelbon off the books and I can't believe he pulled that off" type of deal will be anti-climactic.
In the off chance they DO pull off a coup type deal, the Orioles decide to go for it hard and agree to send two of Kevin Gausmann, Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey for Cole Hamels and Papelbon...which is like the dream scenario best possible deal you could find out there based on the contenders.... I'll eat some crow.
That is, until they take one of them, Franco/Biddle/Crawford/Nola whoever and package them next summer for the next Hunter Pence, after they find themselves two games over .500 at the deadline because no one saw that coming.
Then we'll all be bitching about "why did we trade Hamels in the first place." And boy won't that be fun?
Not because they're winning, not because they're losing, but because they're interesting.
That's all anyone should care about. That this team does things to stay INTERESTING.
And I'm sorry but most of this has to do with the fact that the idea of seeing Cole Hamels in another uniform makes no sense to me. Some players (Rollins/Utley/Hamels) just aren't supposed to go.
They're what makes this team interesting. I have more fun thinking about trading Rollins and talking about it that I will if it actually happens. I secretly love the controversy he creates on the blog.
And I believe in my heart that none of us can predict two years from now. The cycle will work itself out too.
I have little faith in the trade deadline. But I'll always have Phaith.
Thanks for letting me vent.