Megadeal Confirms Existence of Boogeymen – Phillies Nation
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Megadeal Confirms Existence of Boogeymen

PHOTO: AP

It has already been a few days since the Dodgers and Red Sox engaged in one of the most unprecedented, and seemingly improbable, swaps in baseball history. While the instant returns have seen the Dodgers lose two straight and the Red Sox win two straight, the deal becomes a defining moment in the paths of both clubs: the Dodgers have shown they are willing to eat and absorb as many bad contracts (Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and, to an extent, Nick Punto) as they can to obtain one piece they truly covet (Adrian Gonzalez) while the Red Sox have shown they are willing to take a mulligan when offered. Both positions effected the Phillies more than what appears on the surface.

First, the Dodgers’ willingness to absorb somewhere between $260-272 million in guaranteed contracts in one deal shows that the Dodgers threat to offer Cole Hamels whatever he wanted and more was real. In this regard, the boogeyman was real – he was in the closet the whole time, counting Magic Johnson’s money, ready to cut as big a check as necessary to pair the lefty Cy Young candidate with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley to form one of the most formidable rotations in all of baseball.

Second, it shows that the Dodgers were completely serious about trying to create a deal to acquire Cliff Lee off of waivers. Ken Rosenthal stated over the weekend that the Phillies “blew it” by not trading Lee and his approximately $90 million left on his deal to the Dodgers. While it is true that Lee may not be pitching himself into the Cy Young debate, Lee has bounced back in recent starts. After being worth $30.7 million last year to the Phillies according to FanGraphs, Lee has been worth approximately $14.7 million to the Phillies this season.

Rosenthal suggests the impetus to trade Lee was to free up salary to shore up help to the Phillies line-up for next year and re-tool; what Rosenthal ignores is the fact the Phillies did just that by dealing Hunter Pence, effectively avoiding a messy arbitration process and a near $16 million salary for an above average outfielder, and avoiding a messy break-up with Shane Victorino, where a one-year qualifying offer would have needed to be in excess of $14 million to qualify for the compensatory pick, likely much more than Victorino would have made annually in a long-term deal. Also, Rosenthal, in a different piece, states that the Dodgers had to make the deal because there is a limited supply of impact free agents this winter, making a salary shedding move for a team still in contention for the next few years (the Phillies) a head-scratcher.

Within Rosenthal’s own article, he states the Red Sox were only willing to trade Gonzalez if they received a transformative deal for their franchise. In this regard, if the Phillies were able to do this, say package Lee with Ryan Howard‘s gigantic contract, this would have been a game-changer. But, as Rosenthal’s article also confirms, he states that the Dodgers are one of the team’s known to be on Lee’s no-trade list. Not only would a Lee trade been a near-straight salary dump as the Dodgers do not have any prospects that particularly fit the Phillies needs at third or in the outfield, but it would have been unlikely the Phillies would have been able to convince Lee to waive his limited no-trade clause. Without any desirable prospects, without taking on Howard’s contract, and without convincing Lee Los Angeles is a nice place to spend his summers, there was never a chance Lee was headed to LA.

The third way this trade complicates the landscape for the Phillies, but makes their decision to keep Lee more favorable is because, quite frankly, players keep tabs on which teams are more and less likely to trade you once you sign with them. Take for instance Mark Teixeira, who revealed to Bryan Hoch, that he ultimately did not sign with the Red Sox in the winter of 2008 because of their unwillingness to engage in a no-trade-clause. Or Kevin Kaduk of Big League Stew and Yahoo! Sports who thinks that this trade not only may cost Boston big names in the future but also may cost them more cash to lure big names because of a possible growing reputation that they may be dealt once they are signed.

These three factors give favorable hindsight to the decisions to extend Hamels and keep Lee at least through 2012. Whether Hamels and Lee perform to the value of their contracts remains to be seen, but signs point favorably to the success, and ability to sign more free agents, in the franchise’s near and distant future.

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  1. George

    August 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I’m not sure I’d call the Dodgers a boogeyman. To me, they’re more like a loose cannon, dangerous to everyone because they are being reckless.

    The part of this post that so many people forget is the one about “a limited supply of impact free agents this winter.” If you’ve gotten salary relief (by dumping Lee) you aren’t always going to find a comparable player. Greinke, for instance, will cost a bundle and he’s probably not as good as Lee. An outfielder might help, but a good one also costs, and without Lee, you’d also have to find another starter, because no one else is ready except Cloyd, who right now is not an experienced ace.

    • schmenkman

      August 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      Good points. Scoring more runs while also allowing that many more will not help you win more games. In fact, you would probably win even fewer.

  2. betasigmadeltashag

    August 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I was thinking with this trade and the Dodgers getting another OF, does that mean they do not plan on extending Vic. And could it be possible to sign Vic in the off season say for 3 years 24-27 million. Is 9 million a year too much? Would Vic come back to Philly for 7-9 million a year. And did I miss something did Dom Brown get hurt? he has had the last few games off, and though I have watched all the games, I tivo them and fast forward through a lot to the chatter.

    • Lefty

      August 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      I would have no problem if the Phils re-upped with Vic if reasonable terms can be worked out. After watching that ball bounce off wall and go through Lance Nix’s legs, I’d rather have our old gold glover out there.

    • George

      August 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      Brown has had a sore knee the past few days. He did pinch-hit in one of those few games he didn’t start, so it’s probably not a real serious issue.

  3. psujoe

    August 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    A staff of Halladay, Hamels, Worley, Kendrick and ? would be a total disaster. After this season the Phils will have plenty of money to get what they need. At least $34.4 million off the books while adding Shirholtz, Lindblum, Frandsen, Brown, RP(minimum). it’s around a net of #0 million plus the luxury tax floor goes up around $10 million. I said in another thread that a good start would be Adams as setup, Pagan in CF and Headley at 3B. You would still have 15-18 million for a LF.

    Blanton AAV of $8 million
    Victorino around $7.25 million
    Contreras $2.75 million
    Polanco around $6 million
    Pence $10.4 million

  4. moondog

    August 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    The next time Rosenthal and Heyman get anything correct regarding Cliff Lee will be the first time. Too many Yankee, RedSox ,Dodger, Met, Cubs fans in the national media.

    • Lefty

      August 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      “The next time Rosenthal and Heyman get anything correct regarding Cliff Lee will be the first time. ”

      Well stated sir. I’d add that it would be one of the few times they get anything right.

  5. Ian Riccaboni

    August 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    @Moondog – it blows my mind, too. Rosenthal simultaneously wrote Phils blew it by not trading Lee while following with Lee has Dodgers on No Trade list. He answered his own question (Phillies probably literally could not trade Lee) but blames them anyways for something they couldn’t do anyways. Oh well.

    Check out his back-to-back pieces about that trade, too, for a big switch in opinion. Does good pieces but often is too wishy-washy.

  6. psujoe

    August 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I should’ve pointed out that Pagan and Adams were mentioned in articles on this site as good options. I agree with those options. I did a rough check of 1 and 2 run games and the Phils lost at least 11 with blown leads in the 8th inning. Not counting blown leads in the 7th or 9th.A team built on pitching can’t throw those games away.

  7. BART SHART

    August 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    The Dodgers will implode, not this year but in two years. They will be salary strapped and in panic mode. Mark my words.

    It would be outstanding if we could land Chase Headley, but don’t count on that. It would also be outstanding if we could land a couple of solid-hitting, decent-fielding outfielders. It appears that Cody Ross is off the table after the Red Sox salary dump.

    It will indeed be very interesting to see how good Ruben Amaro, Jr. , really is as a trader and free-agent signer this year. If we do not get two solid hitting and fielding additions, then I will quote Ricky Ricardo, “Ruben, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do here , fella !!!”

    • brooks

      August 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      @ Bart – implode like the Phils have?

  8. Lefty

    August 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    The idea that they may have been able to get rid of the Howard contract is intriguing, I have to admit.

    Relax, I don’t hate Ryan Howard. But I’m not in love with the contract RA Jr gave him. Maybe it was necessary, maybe not- that can be debated without resolution forever.

    I’m just curious, I wonder if any Howard/Lee talks really happened. If the Dodgers were willing to take on all the contracts they ended up with, I think it’s possible. I doubt we’ll ever know.

  9. Bob D

    August 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Overpay for Hamilton?? That would provide that one big bat they need

    Headley would come in trade – likely cost Phils Worley + (Pads want a starter)

    Adding one top RP (adams or other) would likely be enough as the young arms will be a year older and wiser. Bastardo, Horst, Schwimmer, DeFrautus, Deikman, Savery, Aumont, Herndon, Lindblom, Rosenberg, Stutes, Valdes provide Phils with a great depth behind Papelbon and also trade potential for other players.

    I dont feel Mayberry nor Sheirholz are answers for everyday players, but Brown will likely be. Add Nix to the mix and a Hamilton or other big bat (maybe via trade) that may do. I’d rather keep Peirre over signing Bourne – higher OBP and just as productive. Maybe Ruf will be added to LF???? With Phils management – not highly likely

    • schmenkman

      August 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Not only is Bourn much better than Pierre, but there’s arguably not much separating him and Hamilton overall (and Bourn is 1.5 years younger). Hamilton is the better hitter, but Bourn is the better fielder and baserunner. Hamilton turned 31 in May, and due to injuries has played more than 133 games only once (in 2008), although he’s up to 120 already this year.

      Not sure I want Bourn either (he’ll be expensive after a very good year), but I am pretty sure Hamilton will not be worth the contract he’ll demand (and probably get) as a FA. Pagan is ok, but is a (very) poor man’s Victorino.

      Also, while I agree that Mayberry and Schierholtz aren’t everyday players, I think together they would make a productive platoon.

  10. TheDipsy

    August 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Its “impetus”.

    The Dipsy

    • schmenkman

      August 28, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      and “existence” 🙂

    • Ian Riccaboni

      August 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      I have NO idea what you guys are talking about!

      Ha, thanks! Ran through this one quick last night/this morning, sorry about the misspellings, there. At least FanSince09 did not call me out on it!

  11. psujoe

    August 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Padres want a starter, but you can always include a 3rd team that might like some of the Phillies prospects. Padres have a young 3b prospect that is tearing it up in AAA and is considerred major league ready for 2013. I’d love Bourne, ut people are throwing around 6 years $120 which the Phils need to avoid. I think they have enough in the system to get Headley and would be willing to overpay in prospects to lock down 3b.

    • George

      August 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      I think if if the Padres really thought that 3b prospect would be ready for 2013, they’d have traded Headley. Their team was going nowhere, and they certainly had enough offers, but wouldn’t budge from what most considered really high trade demands. I don’t think the Phils should overpay to get Headley, either. One just needs to review the Pence deal to know what that kind of thinking can do.

      I agree with you on Bourn. He won’t be worth the money he asks, or the years.

      • psujoe

        August 28, 2012 at 7:11 pm

        Over Paying is one thing, but the Phils were raped in the Pence deal. Throwing in Santana was insane. Gyorko, 23 year old AAA 3b prospect is hitting .338 with an OBP of .388 and an OPS of 1.001. This after leading the fall league in hits his first year. He was preseaon MLb #57, #6 3B right behind Olt of the Rangers AAA. if the Padres don’t trade Headly in the off season they’ll rtade him at next years deadline to bring him up.

        Just don’t see many options at 3b unless they stick with Frandsen and get power in LF and CF.

  12. betasigmadeltashag

    August 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I would take Vic for three years under 10 million per over 6 years 18 million for Bourne. If you believe Lee and Halladay can have come back years next year you would have Cole-Halladay-Lee then KK and a young arm would be a good enough rotation. Like all releivers not named Rivera they are all hit or miss. With the depth in armns this organization has I think you can find middle guys-especially if Charlie manages like he has the last few games, and pitch multiple guys in an inning. Headley would be a nice get, I think JMJ is a fine 4th OFer and has shown at times to be able to PH pretty consistantly. Along with Nix and Wiggington the bench is pretty strong. If you resign Vic and have Brown you can mix Nix Pierre and JMJ pretty easily. If Headly cost Vance I think I would take that

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