We asked, you provided. Let’s dive right in.
Who is likely to be traded from the Phillies?— Freddy Burns (@FreddyBurns_) December 13, 2021
This is an interesting question that will likely get answered right away when the team is allowed to make moves again. Dave Dombrowski has never been shy about trading prospects to acquire impact major league talent, but his reputation of emptying the farm system all the time is undeserved. Looking back at his career with Montreal, Florida, Detroit and Boston, the only time he really dumped top prospects, he got Miguel Cabrera (who was just entering his prime) and Chris Sale (who was in the middle of it). Those are deals every GM would make ten times out of ten.
That said, it would be silly for the Phillies to make a deal involving Mick Abel, Bryson Stott or Andrew Painter right now unless they are getting that impact talent. Bryan Reynolds or Jose Ramirez would qualify as that, so you could justify making a deal for one of those two, but other than that, that trio should stay put.
So, let’s circle back. Who is likely to dealt? One of the catchers - Rafael Marchan or Logan O’Hoppe - should hold some appeal to other teams that might have questionable catching depth. Mickey Moniak might be able to bring them something if another team sees the opportunity to unlock something the Phillies couldn’t. If a deal comes along where Alec Bohm could be moved for an impact deal, they should explore it. Unless the Phillies are willing to take on most of Didi Gregorius’ contract, he’s going to stay here. So of all the candidates that have been mentioned, I’d put the two catchers at the top of the list. O’Hoppe might be more valuable than Marchan because his hit tool might be higher, but Marchan is ready for the big leagues now. Neither is going to be enough by themselves to bring back something alone (they’d be a nice second piece in a package), so we’ll just have to wait and see.
If the players association gets their way with the luxury tax, do you think it will be more likely the Phillies go after Correa or Story?— depressed phillies fan (@TheBallerOfThe1) December 13, 2021
So, without published reports of what the players’ association actually wants, it’s difficult to put a number on it. From everything that we have seen, they’ve been discussing more of a salary floor than anything, believing that forcing teams to spend money will help those that are trying to tank. There has been some numbers bandied about at the top of the scale ($214 million was one that I saw), so let’s go with that.
Adding an extra $4 million to the top line rate right now only leaves the Phillies with about $33 million spend if they are going to continue treating the luxury tax as a soft cap. If the luxury tax is still in place in any way that is close to the current $210 million, then the answer to this question is an easy “no”. Signing Correa or Story, plus whatever else they still are rumored to be getting (Mychal Givens? Kyle Schwarber?) would put them into that danger zone of getting taxed. If the luxury tax goes higher than that, say, $225 million, now we’re talking. Now it’s far more likely that they would consider one of the big name shortstops as a free agent target. Of the two, it’s probable that Story would be the target over Correa for a few reasons. First, Correa will probably demand more money, which might price him way out of the Phillies’ theoretical comfort zone. Story’s down season last year depresses his market a touch, but he’s still going to command a pretty penny. It might just be closer to what Marcus Semien or Javy Baez got than what Corey Seager signed for. Second, Story might be more willing to shift to a new position if Bryson Stott is ready to come up. There hasn’t been much written about that, but Correa seems dead set on playing shortstop no matter what. Story just left Colorado. He’ll probably play anywhere so long as it’s with a contender.
Curious your thoughts on Alec Bohm noting getting that personalized help from the team during the off-season like was supposed to happen. Do you think that will negatively impact his improvement?— michael antico (@MichaelAntico) December 14, 2021
I’m not sure how personalize instruction from team officials can be a bad thing. If we’re talking about Kevin Long heading to Clearwater or Bobby Dickerson helping him out, I don’t see any downside to them giving him personalized instruction. This team has a lot riding on Bohm. The runner up for Rookie of the Year in 2020, he was supposed to be an impact bat for them only to see him falter in 2021 with the bat. They need him to get back on track and if giving him some one-on-one time with the coaching staff prior to spring training is their plan, we should be all for it.
Talk to me about Scotty Kingery. Is there a place for him besides being jettisoned into the sun??— Michele Bade (@jerseygirl1961) December 14, 2021
The only place for Kingery on this team is on the payroll. It would be shocking if Kingery played any kind of role on this team in 2022. Is there a slight, minute, ever so small chance that he regains his prospect pedigree?
I mean, maybe?
But he’s not even on the 40-man roster and the team has him exposed to the Rule 5 draft. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if someone rolled the dice and took him, but they’d also be committing to his contract, which is probably a non-starter for team (I might be wrong about that). For now, he just looks like a sad story about placing too much on a prospect way, way too soon.
Where have we heard that story before?
What do you see guys like Nick Maton, Luke Williams, Mickey Moniak and Matt Vierling doing this up coming season?— Molly (@mollycarbs) December 14, 2021
None of these guys are stars, nor are they going to be stars. That’s totally fine. They’re all destined to be role players, maybe a squinch more, but that’s also totally fine.
What has separated the Phillies from a lot of other teams is their lack of depth as an organization. When an injury occurs to a team like the Dodgers or the Astros or the Rays, they have someone ready to plug in and if not play at the same level, play darn close to it. At least they are playing at a level where the dropoff in production isn’t massive. With the Phillies, they haven’t had those kinds of players to help step in and produce. Prior to last season, when someone got hurt or wasn’t playing well, they relied on veterans that weren’t very good (Ronald Torreyes) or young players that clearly weren’t ready (Kingery). Now that we have seen the quartet mentioned be able to come into the majors and at least produce a bit, the team shouldn’t be as concerned about a massive dropoff if a player goes down.
Now, that’s not to say that these guys are pushing for playing time or that they should be taking a spot in the starting lineup. Of the four, Vierling looks most ready to give them the best production, but even he may not be more than a 2-3 WAR player. Were we to see a lot of any of these players, it’s likely they would be exposed for what they are. The best usage they would have would be a few starts during the week, regular pinch hitting opportunities and defensive replacements during the game. With the anticipated gain of the DH in the National League, those pinch hitting chances will probably be slim, but there is depth here for the team to play with. That’s a really, really good thing.