In their quest to get younger and more talented, there are reports the Phillies may be dangling one of their young, talented pitchers at the general manager meetings going on in Boca Raton, Florida.
According to a report by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Phils are considering trading their closer, Ken Giles.
Now, this might not make a lot of sense to you, and on the surface, it seems like a pretty awful idea. After all, Giles is one of the best closers in the game, and at 25 years old, is a guy who cannot become arbitration eligible until 2018, and cannot enter free agency until 2021.
Last year he went 6-3 with a 1.80 ERA in 70.0 innings, striking out 11.19 batters per nine and an insanely low HR/FB rate of 3.3%. That's coming off a 2014 season in which he pitched 45 2/3 innings and posted a 1.18 ERA, striking out 12.61 batters per nine, with a HR/FB rate of 2.8%.
But that's the point. He's really, really good. Among qualified relief pitchers, Giles' 2.0 fWAR and 1.80 ERA were both sixth-best in baseball. He is an elite closer who made just $519,000 last year and will see a raise to just over a million dollars next season.
He's awesome and he's under team control. But he's also a closer on a team that is likely to lose about 90 games this year and could be two or three years away from playoff contention.
Of course, Heyman's explanation of why the Phils could look to deal Giles didn't really make a whole lot of sense.
Even the Phillies' hard-throwing young closer Ken Giles is said to be available, though that may be more about a team looking to change as much as they can coming off their disastrous season.
Huh? Um, the team has already pretty much changed everything they can, and that inference suggests Giles was part of the previous problem. While Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz are still around, the Phils are already a totally different team now than they were at the start of the 2015 season.
Trading Giles has nothing to do with a team "looking to change as much as they can coming off their disastrous season." In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who will look back at 2015 and call it "disastrous."
Most Phils fans are actually encouraged by the direction the team is headed. If the Phillies were to trade Giles, it would be because they were so blown away by an offer they couldn't say no.
Of course, as Heyman mentions in his piece, the closer trade market is flooded. Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel, Mark Melancon and Andrew Miller are all said to be available, although all four of those players are far more expensive than Giles.
But Giles could be more attractive than any of those guys, even though he lacks a lot of closing experience. He did the job very well after Jonathan Papelbon was dealt last year, however, going 15-for-17 in save situations.
Heyman noted that Chapman and Kimbrel would net "a haul of young players," and the Yankees would "only consider trading Miller if they could get back an ace or big-time star," although he admits a deal like that would never happen.
Chapman made $8.05 million and will see another raise in arbitration, maybe close to $14 million. Kimbrel is owed $11 million next year and is guaranteed another $13 million in 2017. Melancon made $5.4 million and could see a raise of up to $9-10 million next year, and Miller is owed $9 million a season each of the next three seasons.
Again, Giles is going to cost about $1 million in 2016. So when you factor in how much money a team could save over some of the other options, one could expect the Phils to ask for a legitimately ridiculous package for Giles.
Of course, it's far more likely that Giles will be with the team in spring training next year. New general manager Matt Klentak and team president Andy MacPhail would have to be blown away by someone in order to deal him.
But if a team is willing to trade a potential ace prospect and perhaps a couple of bats with upside, don't be surprised to see the Phillies pull the trigger.