SB Nation Philly
Like us to subscribe
I'm always somewhat skeptical of the term "overpaying," which I think is often overused in sports. A lot of the detractors of the Phillies trade for Hunter Pence claim that the team "overpaid" in the deal. We've hearing a lot of "Oh I like Pence, but they gave up too much!"
Let's think about that for a second. In what way can we say that the Phillies "overpaid?" Would you judge the value of the prospects given up to be greater than what they got in return? Further, if the value of the prospects is greater than the return does that automatically mean that a team "overpaid?" Are future assets weighted the same as present assets?
Or would you say that they "overpaid" in the sense that Pence could have been had for less? I would say personally that that would have to be true to term it "overpaying" in the truest sense. To make this claim would be almost completely indefensible. There is no evidence that Pence could have been had for less than he was. Presumably, the Astros entertained offers from multiple teams and this is the best offer they got. That said, I suppose you could counter that by saying they could have potentially found Pence's production, not Pence, for less. It would be just be a guess, but it would be a point.
It's much easier, especially in baseball, to judge overpaying or getting a bargain in free agency. We can look at certain stats to judge value, see what they generally cost around the league and put a cash value on what a team is paying to get them. But in trades? It's not nearly as simple. In fact, projecting prospects, especially ones as young as the Phillies gave up here, is a very inexact science, and yet you hear so many fans do it with <em>such certainty</em>.
It's just interesting to see a guy like Keith Law say the Astros return was not great and then see some Phillies fans say the Phillies overpaid.
Is this enough of a return for two-plus years of Pence at arbitration salaries? I’d call it a reasonable return, but not a great one, given the risk attached to both of those prospects. This deal could easily result in disaster for Houston, if Pence gets a few more fastballs in Philly and regains what he seems to have lost at the plate this year, and if the red flags on these prospects (especially Cosart) prove prophetic.
I do think a player who’s more than a rental should return one prospect of a little more certainty than either of these two guys can offer, or that it should have included one more major prospect from Philadelphia. For the Phillies, Pence isn’t a star, but is better than anything they were likely to run out in left this year or next, and perhaps getting off the league’s worst team will lead to a small resurgence in his performance.
And that's not to say that I think Keith Law is any smarter than the next guy, but I think it does bear out that this grading of value in trades, especially those involving risky prospects, is a lot more opinion than baseball stat people like to admit. Plus, it does make me wonder whether we get a little bit attached to our own prospects and whether we let that color our judgement of what they're actually worth?
Maybe Law hasn't spent as much time following the careers of these guys as some Phils fans have and maybe he doesn't not know as much about them as they do... but also it could maybe be that he's simply a bit more objective?
On the same day that the Philadelphia Eagles made a major move to bolster their championship credentials, the Philadelphia Phillies were not be outdone. According to SI’s Jon Heyman, the Phillies have agreed to a deal that will send prospects Jarred Cosart and Jonathon Singleton to the Houston Astros for all star outfielder Hunter Pence.
Per Heyman, the Astros will also receive two players to be named later and the Phillies will receive some cash in the deal to keep them from hitting the luxury tax threshold. Pence was pulled from the fifth inning of tonight’s game in Houston and was seen hugging players in the dugout.
Originally, the reports were that the Phillies may have to include Domonic Brown and/or Vance Worley in any deal for Pence, but that turned out not to be the case. However, it’s not as if the Phils got away cheap here. Cosart and Singleton were the organization’s top pitching and hitting prospects respectively. However, it’s worth noting that Singleton was blocked at first base by Ryan Howard, so he was also going to be trade bait anyway.
In Pence, the Phillies get the right handed outfield bat that GM Ruben Amaro has clearly desired. Plus, they get Pence under team control through the 2013 season. So while this deal is absolutely about winning the year, Pence is also the replacement for Raul Ibanez, who is in the final year of his deal. It sets up the Phillies outfield for the next three years as Pence, Victorino and Brown.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting this evening that the Phillies and Astros have made progress on a trade that would bring righty outfielder Hunter Pence to Philadelphia. According to Rosenthal, the package would include Class A right-hander Jarred Cosart and Class A first baseman Jonathan Singleton. There could be another prospect or two added to the deal as well, but Domonic Brown will apparently not be part of the trade. Rosenthal says that Astros would prefer younger prospects.
Much of the resistance to the idea of a trade for Pence among Phillies fans and writers has been to the idea that Brown would be involved in the deal. If he's not part of it, the trade could be more palatable. Singleton is a good power prospect, but is blocked at first base by Ryan Howard. Once Howard signed his big deal and Singleton failed to work in the outfield, he was basically relegated to trade bait. Giving us Cosart however, the organization's top pitching prospect, would be a big price to pay.
The Braves are also in discussions for Pence, but are reportedly putting even more restrictions on the trade than the Phillies. Rosenthal also say that the Astros have put a deadline on the deal for the Phils and Braves. If a deal does not get done today, they will apparently move on to other possible suitors or just hold on to Pence and try to deal him again in the offseason.
Multiple reports say that Phillies have been sending scouts to take a look at Chicago White Sox OF Carlos Quentin, who looks like a possible trade target as the Phillies pursue a right handed bat prior to the trade deadline. Quentin is a middle of the lineup, power bat that would change the complexion of the Phils lineup. He’s hit at least 20 home runs in each of the past four years and already has 20 on the season.
He’s also only 28 and has another year of arbitration left. He is making just over $5 million this year and has been having a good season. 2.9 WAR, 20 HRs, 26 doubles, 20 HRs and he's getting on base at a good clip (.356). He would upgrade the lineup, there's no doubt.
The biggest question is of course what the cost would be. Considering he’s a power hitter in his prime years that’s not a rental, he wont come cheap and leads us back to the discussion we’ve been having for weeks. Why make a blockbuster move? What is the need? The Phillies already have the best record in baseball, already have the best run differential in the NL, since Chase Utley’s return they’ve been scoring as many runs as as other team in NL.
This team is not broken. Far from it… why make a major move that potentially hurts the franchises’ future?
CBS Radio reporter Jen Royle cites a source who says that Rays GM Andrew Friedman & Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr are "trying to work out a deal for B.J. Upton." She also says that Nationals remain interested in the 26 year Rays outfielder.
Upton is only signed through next season, so while he is still young, he has already accumulated six years of MLB service because he debuted so young. He isn’t a flat out rental like Carlos Beltran, but he’s also not a long term solution, unless of course the Phils were to re-up him.
But would they want to do that? After great showings in 07 and 08, Upton has regressed. This year he’s hitting only .229 and getting on base at a .310 clip. He is a good defensive player and has a ton of speed, but he also strikes out a lot, isn’t a great contact hitter and has had his share of discipline problems. Rays skipper Joe Madden has twice had to bench Upton for lack of hustle and last year he was involved in a dugout shouting match with Evan Longoria after the 3B confronted Upton about loafing on a fly ball.
Upton’s tools are as good as any player in baseball, but he’s not a prospect anymore. He’s a player with six years of big league experience and he’s a .258 career hitter. The Rays are going to ask for a big package in return and they’ve shown that they’re a team that usually wins these types of trades. So while Upton could be an elite player just entering his prime, he could also be just what he is now… It’s a risky move.
While much of the rumor and speculation around the Phillies leading up to this trade deadline has centered around blockbuster-type deals for righty bats like Hunter Pence or Carlos Beltran, not much attention has been paid to more under-the-radar type targets. As we’ve noted time and time again… there really is no need for the Phillies to do anything drastic here at the trade deadline. Giving up top prospects for a rental like Beltran simply makes no sense.
That said, the Phillies could benefit from an extra right handed bat in the outfield. One possible target, who would fit the Phillies needs and cost very little, is Reed Johnson of the Cubs. The 34 year old makes only $900K this year, so cost is no issue. He’s set to be a free agent after the season, so you’re not locked into anything long term. The Cubs are awful, so they wouldn’t benefit at all by keeping him. Finally, Buster Olney reports that it would take very little to get him.
The real attraction, as Onley notes, is that Johnson owns left handed pitching this year. He’s posted an on-base percentage of .407 and an OPS of nearly 1.000. As a platoon type player or simply a guy to break up the lefty heavy lineup against a particularly good lefty pitcher, Johnson could be plenty valuable for the Phillies in the playoffs.
Not a sexy move, but with the best record in baseball, the best run differential in the NL and almost 30 games over .500, the Phillies don’t need a sexy move.
Yesterday, we noted that the Mets are asking for top prospects from teams interested in all star Carlos Beltran. However, the Mets aren’t in a great position to do so given that Beltran is a true two-month rental whose contract expires at the end of the season and can walk without even draft pick compensation.
So, it should come as no surprise that the Phillies, who are among the teams interested in Beltran, have refused to surrender either of their two top prospects. According to Sports Illustrated’s John Heyman, the Phillies have told the Mets that OF Domonic Brown and RHP Jarred Cosart are off limits.
Brown was rated as the top prospect in all of baseball last year (also he's .321 this month) and Cosart is the teams’ top pitching prospect. It’s good to hear the Phils would rebuff any request for those two for Beltran because as we’ve noted time and time again… there’s just no need. The Phillies hold the best record in baseball. Since Chase Utley returned to their lineup, the team has been scoring as many runs per game as any team in the league.
There’s just no need to sell out the future of the club to a help a present that doesn’t need it.
According to SI’s John Heyman, the Mets asking price for Carlos Beltran could be prohibitively high. He says that they’ve asked for top prospect Domonic Brown or top prospect Brandon Belt from the San Francisco Giants.
However, one AL GM said this week that the Mets asking price for Beltran is too high, considering he’s nothing more than a two month rental.
An American League team official said that the Mets’ asking price – the likes of Domonic Brown from the Phillies or Brandon Belt from the Giants – is high considering it is a true two-month rental with no arbitration offer allowed and no draft picks in return if he leaves as a free agent in the winter.
It really would not seem to make much sense from a Phillies perspective to give up their best young player, who is an outfielder, for an older outfielder who will likely be gone for nothing in two months. Even worse, they would give the Mets a cheap Domonic Brown for the next five years.
It just doesn’t seem worth it on any level. Plus, it is likely that the price could come down in the next week. The New York Daily News said yesterday that “there remains virtually no doubt that the Mets will trade Beltran next week.”
The Mets are arguably more desperate to trade Beltran than any of the contenders are to get him and that could surely bring the price down as the deadline draws near.
Along with discussing Carlos Beltran with the Mets, the Phillies seem to have a contingency plan in case that deal falls through--Royals' Melky Cabrera. As of right now, Cabrera is hitting .294/.331/.456 with the Royals. He's only 26-years-old so he may not be a rental like Carlos Beltran would undoubtedly be.
Matt Poullot at HardballTalk points out that the Royals may have good reason to move Cabrera:
If Cabrera were to come to the Phillies, he would most likely be in a backup role. Is he a good fit for that role, though?
Cabrera, though, isn’t particularly well suited for such a role. He’s not a stellar center fielder, and while he’s a switch-hitter, he’s been considerably weaker against left-handed pitching in his career (.684 OPS, compared to .735 against righties).
SI’s John Heyman is reporting that the Phillies and Red Sox are currently the “leaders” in the race to capture Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran before the July 31st MLB trade deadline. Beltran is having a resurgent season and would certainly add the kind of major right handed outfield bat the Phillies are looking for. The question is, at what price?
The Mets are reportedly offering to pay most, if not all of the $7 million left on Beltran’s deal in an attempt to bring the best prospects possible in return. According to Heyman, the Mets have their eyes set on Domonic Brown.
“While most of Philly’s better prospects are pitchers, two people with knowledge of the talks said the Mets’ first target with Philly would be top outfield prospect Domonic Brown. That may seem at first blush like a big asking price, but the Phillies are probably the World Series favorite and are clearly going for it this year, they need to get more righthanded (Beltran is a switch hitter while Brown is a lefty), Beltran is the best hitter on the market and they can fit him onto their team without paying a cent.”
Heyman later doubted that the Phillies would give up Brown, saying they would be more likely to surrender some of their young pitching. That makes more sense as giving up the organization’s major leauge ready, top prospect to a rival for a half season rental at the same position would be… just terrible.
Of course, surrendering the organizations top young arms for a rental when you’ve already got the best team in baseball is a questionable move as well… As our pals over at the Good Phight point out, what is there really to be fixed on this team? Where is the need for a move like this?
The record, which is the best in baseball (and has been for what seems like forever)? The run differential, which is the best in the NL and third-best in baseball? The runs allowed, which is the best in baseball by a lot? The runs scored, which is seventh best in the NL and is behind teams that aren’t threats at all?
So yes, Carlos Beltran does make this Phillies team better right now… But how much better do they need to be?
The most popular rumor for the Phillies as far as when they may be looking for in the trade market is a right handed outfield bat. The name that could potentially fill that desire that has been the most popular is Astros OF Hunter Pence. There's a lot to like to about Pence. He's above average both at the plate and with the glove. He's under team control until 2014, although he's not cheap. He's 28 and in his primem would provide a needed right hand bat and would be a nice upgrade over Raul Ibanez, whose contract is up after this year.
In fact, ESPN's Matt Meyers named Pence to the Phillies as one of his five NL trades that "should happen."
The Phillies could really use a right-handed bat, particularly in the outfield, to balance out their left-leaning lineup. Pence won't be a free agent for another year and a half, so he wouldn't be a half-season rental. Therefore, the Phils would need to give up their top pitching prospect in order to get him. The Astros are the worst team in baseball and years away from competing. They've already shown a willingness to deal their "name" players, when they moved Oswalt and Lance Berkman at last year's deadline. Pence is good, but not good enough to build the franchise around, and should be moved for a younger, cheaper player.
The top pitching prospect he refers to there is Jarred Cosart. Plus, it's likely that they may also have to include John Mayberry Jr (which they'd have no problem doing if they got Pence) as well as guys like power hitting prospect Domingo Santana, Michael Stutes or other major pitching prospects Brody Colvin or Jesse Biddle. Point is, it would be a heavy price to pay. As The Good Phight pointed out recently, the Phillies have done a few trades with Houston, who is currently run by ex Phils GM Ed Wade, and they've basically paid retail on every occasion. So the Phils will need to pay up if they want Pence.
However, as Taco Pal, who wrote the aforementioned piece also said, is this the time to mortgage your future?
Of the three, Adams would seem to make the most sense. Bell is obviously the best of the three, but he's due to be a free agent and would likely take a notable minor league player to acquire. Mike Adams, on the other hand, is under team control until 2012. The righty has had a fantastic year so far pitching to a 1.32 ERA and 0.71 WHIP through 41 innings. That said, given that he's controlled for another season, the Padres may be less willing to give up him right now than they would Bell, who is all but certain to leave after this season.
The other possibility is 32 year old righty Chad Qualls, who has also been strong this year with a 2.60 ERA in 45 appearances. Qualls is only making $1.5 million this year with a club option for next season.
Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline is July 31st.
We'll email you a reset link.
If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.
You must be a member of SB Nation Philly to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Philly. You should read them.
You must be a member of SB Nation Philly to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Philly. You should read them.
Choose an available username to complete sign up.
In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.