We all know the Phillies need to make some changes to get back to being competitive, but do they rebuild or add? Well, with a man like DD up front, we know both could happen at the same time. In the spirit of DD, I bring a modest yet tactful offseason plan that serves to fix the club’s weaknesses while keeping an eye on the future. Here we go!
Total Cost: $16.3 million
Nothing crazy here. The Eflin choice is a curious one, but I would like him extended before he hits free agency, so I keep him. I would consider an extension as part of this plan, but for the sake of keeping things simple we say if he is extended, but plays 2022 on his arb rate. I like the idea of trading a player for prospects and then signing a replacement that could hopefully fill that player’s role, but for the sake of the difficulty in predicting the 1B trade market (as a low-priority position) we will say Hoskins stays. Toe and Quinn were borderline cases, and I have them as non-tendered and brought back, part because I believe they could be easily brought back and aren’t a risk to be exposed to the open market, and part because I simply think they won't need to be paid the MLBTR projected rates to be kept. (consider it settling before arbitration if you will)
Total Cost: $5.5 million
Nothing much to say here. I believe neither of these players are worth the net cost to keep them. We will, however, revisit Herrera later.
Kwang-Hyun Kim - 2 years, 1 option year
2022 - $5 million with games started, relief appearance incentives
2023 - $6.5 million, same. Opt-out.
2024 - $6 million team option, becomes vesting option based on various criteria (GS, G, IP, postseason, Cy Young, etc). $1.5 million player option. $500,000 buy-out.
I like the work Kim has done in STL, and in a saturated starting pitching market with his injury history, Kim could be had for cheap. The injuries make this a risk, but I think his production makes it worthwhile, and he’s also shown well in the pen before, and is almost inevitably going to make some relief appearances, hence the varied vesting criteria. Could cost less, but the goal being to make sure you secure his services.
Odubel Herrera - 2 years, one option year
2022 - $8 million
2023 - $8 million, small incentive package.
2024 - $10 million club option. $1 million buyout.
Herrera signs something of a miniature version of his last contract. A little longer than I’d like, and maybe he doesn't cost this much, but once again perhaps a tiny overpay to counteract a middling CF market.
Freddy Galvis - 1 year
2022 - $1 million
Made $1.5 last year, and has expressed the desire to remain in Philly, so $1 isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Reyes Moronta - 1 year, 1 option year
2022 - $810,000
2023 - $3 million vesting option (G, GF, SV, postseason). $1.5 million team option. $500,000 buy-out, right to reject arbitration upon decision to buy-out.
It’s possible you get nothing out of this contract, given he passed through waivers unclaimed, but I love the idea of taking a risk on Moronta’s upside. If he cant stay healthy or the velocity doesnt come back, then you’re only out $1.31 million over two years. If he returns to form then you have an elite BP arm for at most $3.81 million over two years.
2022 - $5 million, small incentive package (G, SV, postseason)
2023 - $7 million dollar mutual option, $2 million dollar player option, $1 million buy-out (forfeited if team accepts mutual option but player declines).
Colome isn't favored by sabermetrics, but generally tends to outperform them, so I think he can keep doing that. Likely the team’s closer for 2022.
Ronald Torreyes - 1 year
2022 - $1.35 million
See note in arbitration section.
Roman Quinn - 1 year
2022 - $650,000
See note in Arbitration section.
Yorman Rodriguez - 1 year, two way*
2022 - $600,000 in Majors, $100,000 in Minors
*This assumes Rodriguez is a Minors free agent, which he should be. If not, this is a R5 selection (I’d expect he isnt protected by SD, having seen no indication of him fitting into their 40-man logjam. If they are of the mindset of dealing him ahead of the R5, this move may become a trade for Rodriguez sending a lottery ticket in return.).
Is this bold? Arguably, but I believe the risk isn't too much. I looked through some AAA rosters for R5 or MiLBFA eligible catchers and found Rodriguez as a great flier candidate. He landed on my radar last year when he went to the Padres in the Minors portion of the R5. .319/.364/.435 career Minors hitter, only 24, and hit well in AAA this year (.323/.356/.545, granted in the ex-PCL and with uninspiring AA numbers), and has seemed to hold his own behind the plate in the past. If he falls flat, then you’re out at most a prorated portion of $600,000 plus $100,000. I personally don't think the team plans on starting out with Marchan on the 2022 roster, and would consider trading him with O’Hoppe looming, but I did not find a proper deal to make that includes him, so he remains as a reliable fall-back option.
2022 Cost: $22.41 million
Overall, these deals are designed to limit serious long-term spending. The collective guarantees of these deals could remain about the same or even decrease from 2022 to 2023 depending on future arbitration decisions, opt-outs, and buy-outs. Additionally, all of these players could become attractive trade targets down the road should the team eventually choose to sell. No salary obligations exist for any additions by 2025, and very little is guaranteed for 2024.
Didi Gregorious, Ramon Rosso, Braeden Ogle, Ethan Evanko, PTBN or cash, and $3.5 million for David Price, Eddys Leonard, and 2x PTBN or cash (PTBN conditions largely based on roster standing and performance of Didi based on roster status and production by end of window. Phillies may send up to $.5 million or player if Didi is released, and if Didi performs well in the allotted window, then Phillies may obtain any combination of prospects or cash within two PTBN slots)
Price - $16 for 2022
Total cost - $19.5 million
Okay, this one is wacky. The point being neither team probably wants their biggest names in this deal, and so a bad contract swap happens. Price is probably a better value right now, but the uncertainty surrounding Didi’s health makes this deal odd. Perhaps Didi clears his condition well and LAD keeps him on board or maybe deals him again. In this case the Phillies receive additional compensation in the form of 2x PTBN or cash. If Didi remains damaged and LAD wants to get rid of him, then the Phillies chip in more cash or a low-level player. LAD likes to arm cycle, so they get a few arms to play around with. Eddys Leonard is an interesting prospect, but the depth of LAD’s system could make LAD be willing to part with him for the cash savings and the added arm-cycling.
Damon Jones, J.D. Hammer, Jojo Romero, Nicolas Torres, and a lottery ticket for Caleb Thielbar, Ralph Garza Jr., and Kenta Maeda
Maeda - $3.125 million for 2022
Thielbar extension - 2 years, 1 option year
2022 - $1.5
2023 - $2.25, incentive package (G, holds, postseason)
2024 - ARB. Thielbar may decline arbitration for free agency.
Messy, I know. MIN sends the solid but somewhat aging Thielbar and the damaged Kenta for some interesting arms, and the move remains 40-man neutral (3 40 man players on each side, both Jojo and Kenta will likely miss the season or most of it with injuries). Thielbar, Kenta, and Garza cost very little combined, but enough where MIN may also like the savings here, and the Phillies get a decent RP arm in Thielbar who can perhaps work in the 8th, an optionable RP arm in Garza who seems to provide a higher floor than Hammer, Jones, or Romero at this point, and a possible 2023 rotation or pen piece in Kenta who is fairly cheap. Thielbar also is extended to lock him in some financial security given his advanced age, while also allowing him the flexibility to become a free agent early if he so pleases.
Kyle Gibson and Kyle Dohy for Casey Sadler, Brandon Williamson, and a lottery ticket
Sadler - ARB - $1.25 million
Gibson is a nice starter, but I’ll invoke the trade a guy then sign his replacement idea here, wherein Kim is Gibson’s replacement. SEA will likely let go of Kikuchi, meaning they lack veteran SP arms after Gonzales. Looking to move back into contention and having cap space, the wily Dipoto tabs Gibson. The Phillies send Dohy along as a sweetener, and get the enigmatic Sadler, whose 2021 isn't sustainable, but I still think is a nice cost-controlled option, and Williamson, a strong SP prospect, but one possibly blocked by SEA’s coming wave of solid SP options. DD also picks up a sweetener of his own that is lower down in SEA’s system for his troubles.
The point of these moves is opportunity. Give the trade partner what they want - LAD to move Price and look at options in replacing Seager, MIN enticing rebuild options for players who will likely be gone by the time they are back in power again, and Dipoto that sweet sweet enticing move he loves to make. Here we see that the biggest asset dealt is the fungible Gibson and no prospect that is too valuable is dealt away. The team manages to once again maintain cap flexibility here, and notably retains most of its prospects for potential deadline deals.
ARB+ Payroll add: $25.375 million
SP1: Zack Wheeler ($26 million)
SP2: Aaron Nola ($15.5 million)
SP3: Ranger Suarez ($563,500)
SP4: Kwang-Hyun Kim
SP5: David Price
CL: Alex Colome
RP: Seranthony Dominguez
RP: Connor Brogdon ($563,500)
RP: Jose Alvarado
RP: Caleb Thielbar
RP: Sam Coonrod ($563,500)
RP: Casey Sadler
RP: Reyes Moronta
C: JT Realmuto ($23.875 million)
1B: Rhys Hoskins [assuming healthy]
2B: Jean Segura ($14.85 million)
SS: Freddy Galvis
3B: Bryson Stott ($563,500)
LF: Alec Bohm ($563,500)
CF: Odubel Herrera
RF: Bryce Harper ($27,538,462)
Backup catcher: Yorman Rodriguez
Bench: Matt Vierling ($563,500)
Bench: Ronald Torreyes
Bench: Roman Quinn
Bench: CJ Chatham ($563,500)
Injured otherwise-26 players:
Kingery ($6.25 million)
This lineup is built to rely relatively little on the team’s more unproven players, but also to allow them the ability to move into the lineup if they prove it. Price and Kim have relieved recently, so can move to the pen when Eflin gets back. A good portion of the pen remains optionable, allowing for arm-cycling, and it’s weakest links can be dropped without issue. Galvis exists the weakest link on the infield, but hopefully can provide solid SS work to help the defense, and is cheap enough where he can be dropped if he struggles, or moved to the bench if a deadline addition is made. To me, the team’s aggressive pushing of Stott, coupling with his responding well to every challenge makes me be able to say he can pull a 2021 Jonathan India. Only Toe amongst the bench players will make even $700,000, so these spots are fluid. Chatham finds himself in the final bench spot, but in theory this could also go to Maton or Williams with similar results. Quinn could find himself off the roster by Opening Day, but the club likes him, and at his price-tag he could certainly provide value while also being able to be easily dropped.
Pre-ARB and guaranteed carry-overs: $117,957,926
PAYROLL SPACE: $7,457,038
The final number is key here. The team will, under this general plan, have roughly $7 million in full season payroll space, and this is assuming $195 is their effectual cap, which could certainly be exceeded. This space means that they can add players as they see fit throughout the season. Notably, my team plan doesn't include any MiLB FA players, mostly because they are somewhat hard to predict as far as their roster bonuses go, some of this money could go there. We also see what the Braves did at the deadline this year and realize that being able to make impactful deadline moves is huge, and this space should allow for that.
All in all, I feel this plan does a good job being able to make the team a contender for 2022, while also keeping the team’s prospect depth intact for the future, or big swings at the deadline or next offseason. I believe the team will be better off in most areas under this plan. The back-end of the rotation is somewhat shaky, but offers decent upside and flexibility. The pen isn't horribly deep, but offers solid back-end options that should make it blow less saves. I believe a full season of Galvis at SS, moving away from Didi and Cutch, and moving Bohm to LF should help team defense. Bohm should improve at least a little, having to worry less about grounders and with Long in the fold, and Stott should be able to provide the lineup with some added talent. The bench features less proven options than last year, but if used properly should deliver for the team, and features enough fungible pieces wherein upgrades can be made through Minors deals, the system, or deadline moves. Outside the 26, the team maintains most of it’s better 2021 depth, with Falter, Crouse, Sanchez, Moniak, Maton, Williams, Marchan, Muzz, O’Hoppe, and others being possible options this year. The additions of Williamson and Leonard, meanwhile, serve to help add some more talent to the system.
Is it certain all of these moves can be made as I suggested? I wouldn’t bet on it, but I think this plan is crazy enough to work - without the team having to really do anything resembling a crazy overhaul.