It’s tough to get good conversation going in the baseball off-season unless their is a big trade of some kind. We kind of broke that barrier with our HOF discussion, and I’m hoping to do it again with this feature.
I’m sure many of you have read Bill Simmons’ NBA trade value column. Like him or not, it’s a fun exercise and always a great read.
Here is how it works. You rank all the players from a given group (in this case, the Phillies org.) by their trade value. This includes a lot of factors, including player performance, age (I’ll be using Opening Day 2011 age) and contract situation (I will be putting only the remaining money owed). #1 on the list would not be traded for anyone else on the list under any circumstances. #2 on the list would only be traded if you got #1 back in return. #3 would only be traded for #2 or #1 and so on.
I thought this would be fun and interesting to do with both the major leaguers and minor leaguers for the Phillies as kind of an overall snapshot of where we stand. It will probably be a good off-season exercise every year to see how people have moved on the list.
As far as prospects go, I will use those I’ve ranked in my top-20 in addition to few extras. The rankings here don’t necessarily coincide with my prospect rankings because this is a different type of exercise.
Alright, let get going.
1. Roy Halladay, RHP, 33 (4 years, $80 million)
The un-tradable man. For most pitchers $80 million left for a 33 year old would be a problem. For the guy with the best work ethic I’ve ever seen, not so much.
2. Chase Utley, 2B, 32 (3 years, $45 million)
Utley would be #1 if not for his recent injury problems. When healthy, he is elite in every facet of the game, and he plays a position where production is rare. His contract takes him through the back end of his prime years, and is slightly under market value.
3. Cole Hamels, LHP, 27 (1 year, $9.5 million, 2012 arb. eligible)
A real tough decision between Hamels and Cliff Lee here. Hamels gets the nod because he is 5 years younger, has a no-risk contract, and is likely to be just as good as Lee over the next several seasons.
4. Cliff Lee, LHP, 32 (5 years, $120 million)
As with Halladay, there are many pitchers you wouldn’t want to have $120 million dedicated to at age 32. But Lee, a hard-working, lefty control pitcher who started his career late, is as low-risk as they get.
5. Domonic Brown, OF, 23 (minors)
You could make the argument that he should be #1 on this list because we wouldn’t trade him for Lee or Halladay. However, his pro debut left something to be desired. Still a top-5 prospect in all of baseball though. As a note: Prospects rank high because they are super cheap and under your control for 6 years. Using J-Roll as an example, for his first 6 years (2002-2007) we only paid him $18 million dollars. So if you are thinking ‘contract’ status for high-level minor league guys, think something like 6 years, $20 million. Good, young players are the #1 asset in baseball.
6. Jonathan Singleton, 1b/OF, 19 (minors)
Blessed with one of the sweetest swings in the minors and excellent plate discipline, Singleton is the hottest prospect in the Phillies minor leagues. The Phillies refused to part with him in the Roy Oswalt deal, much to my delight. Which leads me to…
7. Roy Oswalt, RHP, 33 (1 year, $16 million, 2012 club option)
An another ace, but one with a short, reasonable contract.
8. Brody Colvin, RHP, 20 (minors)
Top-of-the-rotation potential and just kept getting better as the year wore on in 2010. Gets the edge over Cosart here because of Cosart’s injury history. Could make the argument to put him ahead of Oswalt, but I’ll take 1-2 years of guaranteed ‘ace’ to a possible 6 years of young cheap pitching starting in 2-3 years given the Phillies current situation.
9. Jarred Cosart, RHP, 20 (minors)
The highest upside of any arm in the system, Cosart can hit 97mph as a starter and has good control for his age. Injury concerns are the only thing preventing him from being the 2nd ranked prospect on this board. He, or any of the prospects mentioned so far, could land us another big fish if we wanted to go that route. I would prefer we hang on to these guys.
10. Carlos Ruiz, C, 31 (3 years, $11.45 million)
That contract for the player with the 3rd best WAR among all catchers in 2010, behind only Joe Mauer and Brian McCann? Yes, please! Easily the best value contract on the club.
11. Ryan Howard, 1B, 31 (6 years, $145 million, 2017 club option)
Easily the hardest player to place on this list. Yes, his contract is terrible and as time goes by, he will continue to move further and further down this list, but right now, his is still a very productive offensive player, and we need him. But if a team came to me and said we will give you a quality major leaguer, a high-level prospect and we will take the entire contract off your hands? I’d be listening.
12. Shane Victorino, OF, 30 (2 years, $17 million)
I’d take him for his defense alone, but Shane is one of many players on the team who really need to step up their offensive game in 2011. Big dollar commitment, but not really on the years, and like I said, his defense makes it worth it.
13. Jimmy Rollins, SS, 32 (1 year, $8.5 million)
Like Victorino, his glove makes the remaining contract worth it. Also like Victorino, he has a lot to prove offensively in 2011. If there were still several years left on this deal, he would rank a lot lower considering his offensive production the last two years.
14. Trevor May, RHP, 21 (minors)
Another high upside pitcher, but with less upside, and less polish than the two already listed. Top-100 prospect though, according to some.
15. Jesse Biddle, LHP, 19 (minors)
Pretty much all projection after only 43 innings last year, but teams rarely trade away high-upside players before seeing at least a full season of them in the minors.
16. Ryan Madson, RHP, 30 ( 1 year, $4.5 million)
The short deal actually hurts Madson here because it’s likely he will demand a lot more on the open market after this one season. If he were locked in at this price for 3 years (like Ruiz), he’d be a steal, but in this case you have to factor in future cost.
17. Brad Lidge, RHP, 34 (1 year, $11.5 million, 2012 club option)
On the other hand, the 1-year helps Lidge, who as a feast or famine pitcher, could be worth at least most of his very high 2011 salary (or none of it). But clearly one would rather have Madson at almost a third of the price.
18. Vance Worley, RHP, 23 (minors)
Looks like he could be a 5th starter in the majors right now, and is practically free.
19. Joe Blanton, RHP, 30 (2 years, $17 million)
This is basically what Blanton would have gotten on the open market, so despite the fact that Cliff Lee’s arrival made him very trade-able, it’s not a bad contract. Plenty of teams could use a pitcher like Blanton and as these rankings show, the Phils should hold on to him unless they get offered a decent prospect or quality reliever.
20. Sebastian Valle, C, 20 (minors)
Good catching prospects are hard to come by, Valle is potentially the future replacement for Carlos Ruiz.
21. Jiwan James, OF, 21 (minors)
Ultra athlete with as pretty good chance of never reaching the majors. But if he ever puts it together, he could be Dom Brown 2.0. Tough to rank.
22. Justin De Fratus, RHP, 23 (minors)
Flamethrower has the potential to be a future closer. Should at least be a solid middle-reliever.
23. Ben Francisco, OF, 29 (1 year, $1.2 million, 2 arbitration years)
Cheap, and could be an above replacement OF. But he’s probably a 4th OF, and those are pretty easy to find.
24. Placido Polanco, 3B, 35 (2 years, $12.5 million, 2013 mutual option)
Polanco is a popular player with a great glove, but last year he showed his age might be a problem as he spent almost the entire year dealing with injuries. 2 more years for an aging, injury prone player isn’t exactly desirable. Could shoot up this list next year though if he shows he can stay healthy.
25. J.C. Ramirez, RHP, 21 (minors)
Showed some promise as a younger pitcher in AA this year. Could still be moved to reliever.
26. Julio Rodriguez, RHP, 20 (minors)
Intriguing prospect with great K/9 rates who will be watched closely this season.
27. Aaron Altherr, OF, 19 (minors)
Apparently I missed the boat on this kid in my top-20 propsect rankings. In the Dom Brown / Jiwan James mold.
28. Tyson Gillies, OF, 22 (minors)
Still has a good shot to be an everyday outfielder, even after his lost 2010.
29. Antonio Bastardo, LHP, 25 (TBD, 5 years remaining under Phils control)
Inexplicably underused last year, Bastardo could be a quality lefty reliever if he reigns in his control a little. Not sure why the Phillies think Romero is an upgrade over him.
These next fall into the same category of ‘decent prospects who you wouldn’t mind if we traded at all, but could still make some kind of impact in the majors’ – so I’m just going to quick-rank them…
30. Austin Hyatt, RHP, 24 (minors)
31. Jonathan Pettibone, RHP, 20 (minors)
32. Matt Rizzotti, 1B, 25 (minors)
33. Domingo Santana, OF, 18 (minors)
34. Harold Garcia, 2B, 24 (minors)
35. Phillippe Aumont, RHP, 22 (minors)
36. Mike Schwimer, RHP, 25 (minors)
37. Ross Gload, Util, 34 (1 year, $1.6 million)
Nice, cheap contract for a quality bench guy. OPS over .800 last year. But if you got offered a decent prospect for him, you’d certainly take it.
38. Jose Contreras, RHP, 39 (2 years, $5.5 million, 2013 club option)
Multi-year deals for almost any reliever in this day in age are risky. Contreras is 39, has a lot of wear and tear on his arm, and even though he was decent last year, I feel someone like De Fratus or Schwimer could be just as good and a fraction of the price and risk.
39. Kyle Kendrick, RHP, 26 (1 year, $2.45 million, 2 arbitration years)
I’m sure some MLB team could use Kendrick, and I’d be happy to get a prospect of any value for him.
40. Scott Mathieson, RHP, 27 (minors)
At 27, it’s hard to get a read on what future, if any, Mathieson has with the club. The Phillies clearly don’t think his secondary stuff is good enough for the majors, cause his 99mph fastball sure seems to be.
41. Raul Ibanez, OF, 38 (1 year, $11 million)
Obviously worth nowhere near $11 million, and obviously not trade-able or else the Phillies would have done so already. However, unlike the players listed below, he actually has some legit potential value on the field.
42. Wilson Valdez, SS, 32 (TBD)
Valdez might be a fan favorite because of his rocket arm, but he has little value and good defensive SS’s who can’t hit are always available.
These next couple guys can be categorized as “guys who are on the active roster, who I don’t think will make a positive impact ever, but at least we aren’t paying them anything.”
43. John Mayberry, OF, 27 (TBD)
44. Mike Zagurski, LHP, 27 (TBD)
45. Drew Carpenter, RHP, 25 (TBD)
46. David Herndon, RHP, 25 (TBD)
47. Drew Naylor, RHP, 24 (TBD)
48. Cesar Hernandez, 2B, 20 (TBD)
49. Freddy Galvis, SS, 21 (TBD)
50. Michael Martinez, 2B, 28 (TBD)
51. Carlos Rivera, SS, 22 (TBD)
52. Brian Bocock, INF, 22 (TBD)
53. J.C. Romero, LHP, 34 (1 year, $1.35 million)
The 1 year contract is good, sure, but I’d be surprised if he got a major league offer from any other club.
54. Brian Schneider, C, 34 (1 year, $1.5 million)
Not really better than anyone we could find on the scrap heap (Paul Hoover, Paul Bako, etc…)
55. Danys Baez, RHP, 33 (1 year, $2.75 million)
The least trade-able player on the team. Anyone want to pay $2.75 mill to a reliever who is worse than 60% of the guys in your farm system? Didn’t think so.