· Andrew Knapp
· Odubel Herrera
· Ronald Torreyes
· Travis Jankowski
· Zach Eflin – $6.0MM
· Jose Alvarado – $1.9MM
· Rhys Hoskins – $7.6MM
· Seranthony Dominguez – $800K
· Roman Quinn – $700K
Total Cost: $17 million
No surprises here. Eflin is good enough to be a starter on any playoff team. He’s decently young and has flashed some excellent stretches in the past. He lasts very long into games, which takes a lot of pressure off the bullpen. Roman Quinn has a lot of speed and was making progress as a bench player last season. It’s always good to have one guy on your team who can run.
· Andrew McCutchen - declined $15 million team option ($3 million buyout)
· Odubel Herrera - declined $11.5 million team option ($2.5 million buyout)
Total cost: 5.5 million
Raisel Iglesias: Four years $56MM. ($14 mil AAV)
Ryan Tepera: Two years $12MM. ($6 mil AAV) provides stability
Archie Bradley: Two years $5MM. ($2.5 mil AAV)
Raisel Iglesias is a true closer and shutdown guy. He doesn’t lose it under pressure which is huge for a Phillies bullpen that always seems to be putting itself under intense duress. He’s the perfect guy to solidify the bullpen and take the pressure off of everyone else. Think of him as a star version of Ian Kennedy. Tepera is expensive but provides stability in the setup role. Archie Bradley also provides stability and fared decently in Philadelphia. In a lesser role, he has the potential to thrive.
Kyle Schwarber: Four years $70MM. ($17.5 mil AAV)
Seiya Suzuki: Five years 55MM. ($11 mil AAV)
Schwarber and the Phillies new hitting coach Kevin Long seem to have developed a special coach and player bond that revitalized Schwarber’s career. He is the perfect cleanup hitter to give Harper and the offense more of an opportunity to put runs on the board. His production last season was incredible even if he was sidelined a bit due to injury. Ultimately, adding another 900+ OPS player would transform our offense.
Suzuki is an incredible talent playing oversees. He possesses an electric bat and has superstar potential in the MLB. He has been a top 10 player in Japan since he exploded onto the scene at 21, and he continued to improve every year. He walks at the same rate as he strikes out. He’s patient and has an incredibly efficient swing. His raw power and numbers are incredibly impressive. He has all the talent in the world and a much higher floor than most players coming from overseas. He’s the type of player that you need to go out and sign if you as an organization believe in him.
Freddy Galvis: One year $1MM.
Ronald Torreyes: One year $1MM.
Brad Miller: Two years $8MM. ($4 mil AAV)
Galvis and Big To are great defenders. Brad Miller is a great clutch hitter. All 3 seem to get what we are trying to build here. These 3 are comfortable and good additions to the bench.
-Whit Merrifield (2.95MM. for 2022, 6.5MM. team option for 2023) for Hans Crouse, Francisco Morales, and Kyle Gibson (Remaining contract counts 9.33MM. towards the luxury tax)
If a trade does not make you as a fan uncomfortable, it probably will never happen. So, this one probably won’t, but this is about as much as I could string together for what I have deemed the perfect trade candidate for this Phillies team. While Merrifield is coming off a down year, he is arguably the best true leadoff hitter in the MLB. A fresh start might bring him back to his roots of getting on base, stealing, and providing excellent defense. He is very durable and has incredible intangibles. Clubhouse leadership for the Phillies has been a problem, as Hoskins has routinely failed to get the team on track in key slumps over the last couple of years. Harper, Realmuto and Segura are incredible workers and talents, but they have never been credited with getting the ship back on course (aside from maybe Harper’s win 9/10 prediction). Whit Merrifield would set the tone in big moments in October and in the small moments in July that always seem to crush us.
The "stupid money" era Phillies haven’t ever had a consistent offense, mostly due to hot / cold hitters in the top of the lineup (Rhys, 2019 Bryce) and their lack of a good leadoff hitter (other than pre-achilleas McCutchen). Last year, the struggles came to a head and Bryce Harper couldn’t knock in runs during an MVP campaign because nobody was getting on base before him. Whit would supply us with the last key piece of a more potent and consistent offensive attack.
The Phillies are sacrificing some pitching depth and giving up 2 decent prospects for 2 years of a 34-year-old player who may be in a decline, but that player is Whit Merrifield. The Royals receive 2 high caliber, MLB ready pitching prospects who are not on the Pipeline top 100. The Royals need young pitching desperately, so maybe they would require Mick Abel or Andrew Painter, but ideally the Phillies could hold onto their most prized prospects. Kyle Gibson is an interesting addition to the trade but is somewhat valuable and could be flipped at the deadline by the Royals the same way the Rangers flipped him. Kingery could also be thrown in there last second as a Royals development project because he could be developed like Whit in a super-utility role.
Phillies net salary: -$6.38 MM.
-Phillies receive LHP Justus Sheffield (pre arb.) and RP Paul Sewald (arb. 1.75 MM.) for DH Rhys Hoskins (arb. 7.6 MM.) and SS Didi Gregorius (1 year and 14 MM. remaining)
Justus Sheffield barely contributed to the Mariner’s 90-win season due to injury and poor performance. However, the lefthander is extremely talented and very young. His pitches have plenty of movement and he certainly has the potential to be a lights-out starter. The Phillies are helping the Mariners unload some of their pitching depth to improve their offense, which is projected to be lackluster. The main piece Seattle is getting is Hoskins. Hoskins would fit great into a DH role and will almost undoubtably contribute an OPS north of 800 to the Mariners upcoming playoff push.
The Mariners only have 80 million dollars counting towards the luxury tax, and the new CBA will almost certainly instill a 100-million-dollar salary floor. In a small market, Seattle won’t want to spend a ton of money on long term commitments because if they go south, their team could be strapped financially for years. Because of this, they would likely value a boom or bust contract like Gregorius’. Didi gives them the chance to bring some pop to their infield. He isn’t very far removed from very successful seasons in 2020 and 2018, and his addition to the trade would help the Phillies clear up a lot of cash. Paul Sewald is a stabilizing force in the bullpen, and he can serve as a good setup man.
After spending big hypothetical money to solidify the offense, it doesn’t make sense for the Phillies to sink 21 million dollars into what is essentially just depth at this point. Likewise, the Mariners proved that they could win without Sheffield, and the Phillies are offering them a great chance to improve their depleted offense with this deal. Bryson Stott’s emergence is also a key factor in this trade. He gets better and better every day and refuses to top out. His bat is becoming very impressive, and his glove is decent (arguably better than Didi’s). However, if the Phillies don’t have full confidence in Stott, then this trade can’t happen.
Phillies Net Salary: -$17.6MM.
SP1: Zack Wheeler
SP2: Aaron Nola
SP3: Ranger Suarez
SP4: Justus Sheffield
SP5: Zach Eflin
RP: Raisel Iglesias
RP: Ryan Tepera
RP: Paul Sewald
RP: Seranthony Dominguez
RP: Archie Bradley
RP: Jose Alvarado
RP: Sam Coonrod
RP: Connor Brogdon
C: J.T. Realmuto
1B: Kyle Schwarber
2B: Jean Segura
SS: Bryson Stott
3B: Alec Bohm
LF: Whit Merrifield
CF: Seiya Suzuki
RF: Bryce Harper
Bench: Rafael Marchan
Bench: Brad Miller
Bench: Freddy Galvis
Bench: Ronald Torreyes
Bench: Roman Quinn
1. Whit Merrifield
2. Seiya Suzuki
3. Bryce Harper
4. Kyle Schwarber
5. Bryson Stott
6. Jean Segura
7. Alec Bohm
8. J.T. Realmuto
Total 2022 Salary: $194 MM.
The defense is my most pressing concern. Bad defense is a huge separator between good and mediocre teams. I am confident in both Stott, and strangely Bohm because of their youth. Bohm is a relentless worker, and the organization is completely committed to him being a third baseman so I guess that is what he will have to become. Schwarber plays a mediocre first base and Jean an impressive second base when he is trying, but realistically we can only expect a mediocre infield. Suzuki won a few gold gloves in right field overseas, and he would play an average center field because of his plus speed. Girardi would also have the option to play Merrifield at second, Jean at third, Bohm at first, and Schwarber in left if Bohm remains an abysmal third baseman. A bench loaded with good defenders would also lead to interesting combinations. Overall, I think the defense would improve, especially with good coaching.
The lineup, on the other hand, will be elite. Kevin Long will be given the chance to get the most out of an absurd amount of talent. The only question mark for me is Alec Bohm. Most star hitters go through a sophomore slump, and he was incredible his rookie year with his high batting average, line drive style hitting, and power. The Phillies have learned from Dominic Brown and are no longer going to baby a player into early retirement, so I’m glad that they are making him fight for his job. I believe that he can recapture and even expand upon his rookie magic. This offense is filled with grinders, and clutch hitters, and it would be incredibly exciting to watch it fire on all cylinders. Even without a reemergence from Bohm, this lineup could still conceivably be the best in the majors. No other lineup could match the production from all 8 spots and the high average / power combinations.
The rotation also is very exciting. Wheeler is a durable top 5 pitcher in the MLB, and Suarez put up an incredible ERA with a terrible defense which is an amazing feat. Suarez was also 8th in WAR for pitchers, and he pitched at least 60 innings less than every pitcher ahead of him. Suarez isn’t fazed by pressure and has improved every year since he was signed out of Venezuela. Most of Nola’s failure last season came from predictable pitching and losing command in 2 strike counts. He also had a ton of bad luck and a good FIP. I believe he will get back on his feet and return to his ace status (coming into 2021 he was a borderline top 10 pitcher with his strikeouts, durability, and ERA). The rotation has a lot of talent that can be taken advantage of. Even if there are a few guys who you have to take a chance on it’s a crapshoot every year (think 2021 Padres).
The bullpen has the chance to be legitimately good in this plan. We would finally not have to rely on chucking Neris and Alvarado out there in the ninth, or the huge injury risk associated with Robertson and Neshek. This bullpen would be polished and balanced. Everyone would be in their proper role, and the blown saves that killed us would be minimized.
This would be the best Phillies team in a decade, a world series caliber roster. While depth in the minors is an issue, the actual offense and pitching is talented enough to take a hit and keep producing. If the core remains healthy as it did in 08-11, we will have a great team on our hands. Depth in the minors is something that is critical to build up over time as we transition from mediocre into the upper echelon of teams.