The Full Deal: The Doc For A Boatload Of Prospects

Everyone is focusing on the recent deal of Cliff Lee out, Halladay in, but keep in mind that the Phillies traded for General Lee in the ’09 season meaning that they have shipped out 7 prospects in return for Halladay, Ben Francisco, 3 prospects, and cash. Cliff Lee negates himself overall.

Additionally, keep in mind this concerning prospects. According to Baseball America’s Organizational Prospect Rankings of April 1st, 2009 (so, pre-trades) running from Texas at #1 to Houston at #30, the Phillies were #12, while the Mariners were #24.

Net IN:
Ben Francisco is a backup OF for the Phillies. Generally backup OFs tend to be defensive, but BenFran is a below average fielder and the Phillies starters were all above average last season. BF has good power, but he doesn’t hit for average and his OBP is neither great nor bad (in 3 PAs he will hop on board once). I would think this spot could be used to bleed in a prospect since Raul Ibanez is a year older.

Roy Halladay is basically the best pitcher over the past decade. Ok, you can make a case for Zack Grienke over the past couple years, but no one really comes close to Halladay for the full 2000’s (Santana has unfortunately fallen prey to the Mets syndrome – “I will regress”). He moved from the AL East where he was pretty damn good to the NL East where he could be pretty damn better.

$6,000,000 will get you Cliff Lee for 2009, the next two seasons of Pudge or Jason Kendall, or almost Oliver Perez for 2008. If the Phillies have set a cap for themselves for 2010 and Halladay is getting $20 million per year from 2011-13/14 then that makes and increase of $10.25. So they will either be raising that cap a bunch in 2011 or attempting to shed salary.

You may only take as much as you can compress into a baseball.

Tyson Gillies played all last year at high A and showed remarkable improvement in batting for average, getting on base, and speed. His power seems limited to doubles and triples (speed helps) and he plays OF (CF). In Baseball America’s Organization Top 10 Prospects for the Mariners from last year (update comes Jan. 22) he didn’t make the top 10 but was listed as Fastest Baserunner and Best Outfield Arm.

Phillipe Aumont is the gem for the Phillies in this trade. He split 2009 between high A and AA displaying great K rate but struggling slightly in AA. In Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects from early 2009 he is ranked #93. Unfortunately there are usually two or three other Mariners ranked ahead of him, but the Phillies weren’t able to wrangle those better choices. In the top 10 org. prospects he was #3, the top pitcher, and the Best Fastball. He can start, but is apparently being bred for bullpen duties. He is also 6’6″.

JC Ramirez, also known as Juan Ramirez, was the second best pitcher prospect in the Mariners org. and #5 prospect overall. He spent 2009 in high A with less than appealing numbers.

Overall: Halladay – Great, Cash – Whatever, 3 Prospects – Restocking system with 2 low-minors guys and 1 better guy who is a bullpen pitcher – Not Good.

Net OUT:
Carlos Carrasco (to Cle) hit BA’s Top 100 at #52. In their Jan 6, 2009 top 10 Phillies prospects he was #2 and had Best Fastball and Best Change-up. He has shown success at every level of minor ball and even made 5 starts for the Indians…going 0-4 with an 8.87 ERA and 2.28 WHIP. He’s not there yet, but is the best prospect out of the 10 involved in these trades.

Jason Knapp (to Cle) came in at #10 in Phillies org. rankings. He has had some troubles in his A ball adventures between Philly and Cleveland, but his K rates are great and his FIP (Fielder Independant Pitching) in comparison to ERA suggests less than decent defense at his back. He has had some shoulder issues.

Lou Marson (to Cle) hit #66 on BA’s top 100 and was #3 in the org. with Best Strike-Zone Discipline and Best Defensive Catcher to boot. He has seen limited time in the Majors (76 PA), but his OBP is usually better than average to Beane-desirable. There isn’t much power and his BA has zoomed all over the place in his minor’s life (.243 to .314). He would have been at best a backup on the Phillies or a starter for anyone signing Jason Kendall or Pudge. Cleveland already has a talented catching prospect so Marson will either enjoy the backup life or get traded again.

Jason Donald (to Cle) weighed in at #69 on BA’s top 100 and #4 in the Phillies org. He is an infielder (SS) who could hit for average before bottoming out at AAA or due to injury. He has also shown excellent plate discipline in the lower minors, but has less than average power (or average power for middle infield). His plate/injury troubles at AAA could just need time for him to play it out or he could just suck against better competition.

Travis D’Arnaud (to Tor) was the next best catching prospect for Philly. He was #7 in the older BA Philly org. rank and in the newer one he bounced up to #4 and took Lou Marson’s old Best Defensive Catcher status. He is young for a catcher and his offensive abilities have been fairly loopy in his few seasons of low minors. He did display a surge in power this past year.

Kyle Drabek (to Tor) is a name that I’ve heard in every trade rumor for the Phillies for some time now. He jumped from #5 to #2 in the org. ranks and held Best Curveball for both. Given some more time in the minors (at AAA) he should develop into quite a nice top-mid rotation pitcher.

Michael Taylor (to Tor to Oak) moved from #6 to #3 in Philly’s org. rankings and has been their Best Power Hitter for both of those rankings. He has displayed the ability to hit for power, average, OBP, and run. He unfortunately is missing out on great defensive ability, but would make a reasonable RF/LF. There is a good chance that he’ll see modest to significant time in the Bigs.

Overall: From the earlier Organization Top 10 Rankings the Phillies traded 7 of those. The other three were J.A. Happ (who will most likely not see the same level of success) and two OFs (Domonic Brown – #1 twice now (remember what I said about bleeding in new talent over Ben Francisco) and Zach Collier – dropped off second ranking). They traded away significant prospects, but some of them have enough question marks/injuries that this could still be a major steal.

Over-Overall:
Trading away large amounts of your farm system really sucks. Replenishing it with less than equal prospects is better than doing nothing but still kind of sucks. Look at it this way – 4 better ranked prospects from the #12 system were turned into 3 lower ranked prospects from the #24 system. Yes, Lee was in the final year of his contract and making $9 million would push the Phillies over some arbitrary cap limit they have, but look at the (better) alternative. Keep Lee (paired up with Halladay!) and when he walks get two great draft picks. Trade one of the less necessary starters…Blanton is due for a raise in arbitration and that would cut payroll slightly…for some of those prospects (not as great as a Lee haul, but better than nothing). Two draft picks plus 2-3 mid-grade prospects with upside seems like a better deal here. I respect wanting to keep a farm system stocked and payroll at reasonable levels, but at the same time, biting the bullet and putting yourself in prime position for a WS run (rematch) seems like a no-brainer.
Right now the only thing that went right is that the Phillies upgraded Cliff Lee into Roy Halladay and no team in the NL has made any significant enough moves yet to put them ahead of the Phillies.

Ace Swap

Roy Halladay

Doc would be one of the 3 best pitchers in the NL

There will be more about this as details emerge, but a deal is in the works that would send Roy Halladay to Philly, Cliff Lee to Seattle, and a lot of prospects flying around like shrapnel.

It remains to be seen if the upgrade from Lee to Halladay (if one can even call it an upgrade) is worth the prospects Philly will give up.  My initial reaction is two-fold:

  1. If anyone can pull Cole Hamels’ head out of his ass, it’s Roy Halladay.
  2. I hope the Mariners are trading Brandon Morrow to somebody.  He is and will always remain for me not Tim Lincecum.

Best Trade Ever! LOL!1

….since that Zambrano-Kazmir sweetness…am I right?

Three Team Deal, from a year ago today:
Mets – J.J. Putz, Sean Green, Jeremy Reed all from Seattle.
Seattle – Ezequiel Carrera, Maikel Cleto, Mike Carp, Endy Chavez, Aaron Heilman, Jason Vargas from the Mets and Franklin Gutierrez from Cleveland.
Cleveland – Luis Valbuena from Seattle and Joe Smith from the Mets.

Cleveland didn’t receive all that much since Luis Valbuena, while having some power for a 2B/SS, can’t hit worth a damn nor is he all that impressive as a fielder and Joe Smith, while he improved on his so-so numbers, still doesn’t make up for trading Gutierrez (more on him in a bit). Smith may improve even more and turn out to be another Mets regret, but he probably won’t.

Seattle receives a handful of Mets minor leaguers including Jason Vargas who is one of those “He will be great one day, but that day never comes” kind of guys and Mike Carp who may actually have a decent future with the Mariners. Also from the Mets came Endy Chavez, which was really kind of disheartening since he was a great guy (and that catch!), but to be honest the Mets were too thick to give him enough playing time (Willie liked him). Aaron Heilman was the final jettison by the Mets and he was shortly flipped for Ronny Cedeno and Garret Olson of the Cubs. Then Cedeno was moved with a butt-load of minor leaguers and Jeff Clement (crap) for Ian Snell and Jack Wilson of the Pirates…so a win there for the M’s again (Mariners, not Mets). Finally, from Cleveland, someone had the boneheaded idea that including Franklin Gutierrez in the deal would just be the tits, man. And so Seattle obtained possibly the most underrated OF (def. best defensive OF, Fielding Bible – Winners) and, just wow, he even had a pretty decent year at the plate. Just imagining Chavez, Suzuki, and Gutierrez running and bouncing around out there like gas particles is insane.

Hi, I'm Franklin Gutierrez and I'm really freaking awesome. Just look at my hair!

Now the fun part. The Mets received Jeremy Reed, who was a “defensive 4th OF,” which essentially means the Mets got shafted because he was slightly good defensively, but he couldn’t swing his way out of a batters box…well, he could, but out is the key word here. Sean Green is a “He’s got great stuff ,but he just really really sucks” type of guys…and he spent his season with the Mets proving that (he could have been worse I guess, but we have other pitchers to do that). J.J. Putz appeared in 29 games before crapping out entirely meaning that the Mets paid him $6 million for a K/BB ratio of 1…yup. So for every K he got paid about $315,000. For each inning he pitches he received roughly $205,000. He allowed 29 hits in 29 1/3 innings. His ERA and WHIP were his career worsts and he just sucked so much. Instead of paying him $8.9 million to get injured again or suck more the Mets paid him $1 million to not be overpaid. The possibility of getting him back was still there, which I was open to since he can’t really suck for too long (right?), but that door just closed since he signed with the Chicago White Sox for one year at $3mil.

Trade Grades
Indians: Fail
Mets: Epic Fail
Mariners: A+

Ok, now I have to go read more about how the Mets are destined to sign Bengie “Suckface” Molina.

Chone. It’s prounounced “yes”

No more unfair expectations of home runs from our 3B

As a Mariner fan, it’s an unusual feeling to trumpet my team’s adventures in free-agent signings (see: Richie Sexson, Carlos Silva, Rich Arulia).  But it looks like the Mariners are signing Chone “play anywhere and do so pretty well” Figgins to a four-year deal.  We now have two of the best leadoff hitters in the game.  Find us a player to knock them in, and we’re in business.

Figgins walked 101 times last season.  Off the top of my head, I think that was more walks than the entire Mariners infield drew last season.  I guess if you want to improve OBP and you can’t sign Bobby Abreu, you sign somebody who hangs out with Bobby Abreu.