Hot Stove: Nats Acquire Span, Lopez Trade Stalls – Phillies Nation
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Hot Stove: Nats Acquire Span, Lopez Trade Stalls Acquire Span

The biggest news in baseball today is the Nationals’ acquisition of center fielder Denard Span. Span, 28, has two years, $11.25 million left on his contract and a $9 million team option for 2015. The Nationals parted with 2011 first-round pick, right-hander Alex Meyer for Span. Span is a career .284/.357/.389 hitter and a plus defender in center.

The trade for Span narrows the Phillies’ options, however, it also takes a potential destination off the table for the other free agent center fielders. With the Giants still the favorite for Angel Pagan until further notice, it appears that the Phillies may have their pick between Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, Shane Victorino, non-tender candidate Andres Torres, and others as free agents and the Yankees’ Curtis Granderson and Rockies’ Dexter Fowler as trade targets. The teams still seeking center fielders is believed to be narrowed to the Phillies, Reds, Red Sox, Indians, Marlins, and Rays, although it is believed that of those teams, only the Phillies, Reds, and Red Sox have money to spend.

Upton Offered $20 Million Less By Phils

The Phillies reportedly came in second place in the B.J. Upton bidding war. The Phils’ offer of five years, $55 million was topped by over $20 million by the Braves according to’s Mark Bowman.

Trade Falls Through

The Phillies/Astros deal to bring Wilton Lopez to Philadelphia has reportedly fallen through. Per Jim Salisbury of CSN, the Phillies have “put on the breaks” on the trade and the two rumors include that the Astros have drummed up interest from other teams and that something related to Lopez’s physical may have turned the Phils’ interest sour. Todd Zolecki was the first to report that the trade looked unlikely and it was learned (ESPN Insider) that the deal was thought to include pitcher Tyler Cloyd and catcher Sebastian Valle, who is among the best position-player prospects in the Phillies’ system.

Park Retiring

Chan Ho Park, member of the 2009 Phillies World Series team, will retire at age 39. Park was the first Korean-born player to reach the Major Leagues. Park spent 2011 and 2012 pitching in Korea and Japan and last pitched in the Majors for the Pirates. My favorite Park memory? The game in early 2009 where he and Johan Santana took dueling no-hitters into the sixth. Park took his longer (5.2 IP) but lost 1-0.

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    November 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    With regards to being an aggressive trader, is it a possibility that Ruben, Jr. has developed a blister on his once itchy trigger finger…………Or that the GMs are reluctant to deal with him these days?

  2. Psu joe

    November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Nats got the best of that deal. How would Meyer rank compared to the phillies pitching prospects?

    • Ian Riccaboni

      November 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Dave Cameron, within 10 minutes of the trade being announced, wrote “Nationals Steal Denard Span From Twins”. Meyer has the first round pedigree but is already 22. He’s 6’9 and throws high 90’s with a killer slider but projects more as a reliever than a starter.

      For how cost-controllable Span is, and that Meyer is a relative unknown quantity with only one year of pro ball under his belt, this looks and feels like a steal for the Nationals. I’d say Meyer profiles closest to Colvin but with a better fastball and a better secondary pitch. Colvin has more variety and options with his pitches.

      • Ken Bland

        November 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm

        My instincts tell me to trust Jim Bowden’s differing opinion from Cameron’s in this instance. Bowden’s take is that te Twins got good return, calling Meyer a top of the rotation candidate. It’s hard to imagine the Twins, so in need of starting pitching would trade their most valuble chip (economic factors included in that conclusion) for a guy that doesn’t project pretty well as a solid starter.

  3. George

    November 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I find the Phils’ offer to Upton somewhat low, particularly since all sources believed he was Amaro’s primary target. Something about BJ must have raised some questions.

    The Lopez trade maybe was nixed because of some physical issue, but possibly the Astros decided at the last minute they wanted more for him. Trading Cloyd wouldn’t have been a problem, but perhaps a decision was made that should a catcher be included in a trade, it should be in a trade for someone of more importance, like a center fielder.

    It’s all a little strange to me; both Amaro’s rather cheap offer to Upton, and the trade that didn’t happen.

    • hk

      November 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm


      If the reports are true that they only offered $55M/5, maybe the answer is that Upton wasn’t the Phils’ top priority and they just floated the rumor to get the Braves to up the ante. If so, kudos to RAJ for doing so. Now that Upton has signed and Washington has traded for Span, the Phils should have more leverage in the free agent CF market.

    • George

      November 29, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      That’s a possibility, of course, although the invitation to CBP and other gestures by the Phils, plus their showing no interest yet in anyone else would certainly appear to indicate that they were definitely interseted and may have changed their minds.

      Whether these things (Span to the Nats and Upton to the Braves) actually give the phils more free agent leverage is debateable. Upton, along witjh Bourn, were considered by nearly everone to be the top center fieders. Bourn will still get some high bids, and will likely be overpaid. That leaves leverage to sign a middling candidate, for sure. But that might not be a good thing.

    • hk

      November 30, 2012 at 7:03 am

      Now that the Braves and Nats are out of play, what other teams would you even consider to be contenders for Bourn? I can’t think of one team that both needs a CF and has shown a recent willingness to take on a contract in the $14M to $16M per year range for 4 or 5 years, much less bestow that kind of contract on a no power, defense and base running oriented player.

  4. Lefty

    November 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I applaud RA Jr. for not offering crazy money to BJ Upton if what has been reported is true.

  5. Psu joe

    November 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I wouldn’t have traded Biddle for Span although he is slightly better than Meyer. I really didn’t want another lefty. Bourjos was mentioned earlier. Might be a good combo with Swisher.

  6. bacardipr

    November 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I applaud him to Lefty. However theres still time for Rube to give some one a outlandish deal.

    • Lefty

      November 29, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      Outlandish is a sign of the times, it may be impossible to avoid. I just didn’t want to see him give it to a guy like BJ Upton, who is basically a league average player. As Brian Kenney says, there is nothing wrong with a league average player, you just don’t want to pay them like they are superstars.

      • schmenkman

        November 30, 2012 at 12:04 am

        Basically league average might be a bit harsh, a think. Using fangraphs WAR, only 8 MLB CFs were better the past 3 years:

      • Lefty

        November 30, 2012 at 6:54 am

        Why only the last 3 years? I’m serious, maybe I don’t understand, is that some sort of accepted standard? Why not the last 9? Using that he’s number 12.

        IMHO- 12-18 is middle of the pack, and that’s where I formed my opinion. Our friend Michael Bourn is right there with him at #16, and should be offered no more than Upton was. On the other hand Victorino is 6th.

        I guess you could say we should throw out his rookie season and that’s a valid argument, but Shane’s rookie season is included in this too. Why are the guys in the middle so highly regarded, while a guy that had one mediocre season last year isn’t?

      • hk

        November 30, 2012 at 7:11 am


        The reason that you shouldn’t use 9 years is that Upton has not played that long and WAR is a counting stat. All but 2 CF’s ahead of him on your list had more PA’s than Upton, so a number of them have higher WAR’s just by nature of playing more. For instance, David DeJesus has 20% more PA’s, but only 3% more WAR. Johnny Damon has 30% more PA’s and 5% more WAR. If you are going to do a list of 9 years that includes many players who have only played 6 years or less, you should rank them on WAR/PA.

        Another problem with the 9 year list is that it has Upton ahead of Matt Kemp.

      • schmenkman

        November 30, 2012 at 8:45 am

        hk touched on the issue that not everyone has played 9 years, but I typically use 3 because it’s recent history, while taking out some of the variability of single years.

        The more accurate way to do it, if one had time, would be to weigh the more recent years more heavily, and also factor in the player’s age and whether they are likely to improve, decline, or stay the same. That’s what the projection systems do, like the one by Bill James, which is the only one I’ve seen published so far and is included on the players’ pages at fangraphs.

        Here are the hitting stats the James model projects for 2013 for Upton and others:

        BJ Upton … .248/.329/.436 (765 OPS)
        Bourn ……… .273/.344/.363 (707 OPS)
        Pagan …….. .277/.332/.403 (.735 OPS)
        Victorino …. .269/.338/.418 (.756 OPS)
        Hamilton …. .289/.356/.540 (.896 OPS)
        Span ……….. .281/.350/.379 (.729 OPS)
        Bourjos …… .262/.316/.411 (.727 OPS) – based on just 1 full season and 2 partial ones

      • Don M

        November 30, 2012 at 11:31 am

        Using the Bill James projections ….

        Nick Swisher for next year: .256/ .362/ .458 (.820 OPS)

        If we have a capable defensive CF (Mayberry?), i’d rather have Swisher in RF, instead of the platoon in RF, and Bourn in CF

        I think i’m beating a dead horse, but I really think he’s the best FA bat for this team’s needs

      • Lefty

        November 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm

        Hk, Upton has played eight years, but I went back nine as I wanted to look at his whole body of work, that’s why I picked that number. ( he missed one year) But your other positions are valid. Is there a WAR/PA ranking list kept?

        Schmenkman- You make good sensible points, I just like to look at the whole body of work when I hire and decide how much to pay someone. I wouldn’t just look at Mike Trout’s last two months- August (.836OPS) September (.866OPS), that would paint a different picture than seeing the entire year. (.963)

        Also, and I think someone asked me this here last week, why is everyone thinking Upton is a “project type” player. he’s going into his age 28 season, his eighth. 2007 was far and away his best season. I just don’t see him as a “riser”, I think he is what he’s going to be at this point. Bill James numbers make me believe that Victorino is the right choice. He won’t hit as many triples at this age, but he might cost less.

      • Double Trouble Del

        November 30, 2012 at 10:36 pm

        The potential of a Bourn signing still concerns me (See: particularly his ridiculous strikeout numbers 140, 140 155 for the last three seasons. I would much rather have Swisher and Victorino than Bourn and I think Bill James projections nail it. I really hope that that bridges between Victorino and the Phils weren’t burnt last summer.

  7. psujoe

    November 29, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    I liked the attempted move for Lopez. It didn’t work out so no reason to panic. Upton 5/$75 no thank you. Phils are closer than people think. Love that RAJ is holding his powder. Phils have about $30-$33 to stay under the 2014 CAP not counting Utley’s and Halliday’s expiring $35 million(Roy goes 225 innings it vests, I hope he does).

  8. Don M

    November 30, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I’ve heard/read for quite some time how the Phillies have a lot of “top pitching prospects” . . . but then heard to today that the Phillies didn’t have enough to get Span .. but the Nats only traded ONE pitcher

    so I checked out’s prospect rankings … and saw that the Phillies only have one player in the top 100 … #75 Jesse Biddle (the #7 LHP)

    #11 = Travis D’Arnaud
    #25 – Jonathan Singleton
    #50 – Alex Meyer (who the Nats gave up for Span)
    #76 – Jarred Cosart
    were the top 100 with Phillies connections

    Rounding out the Phillies Top 10:
    2- Trevor May, RHP
    3- Brody Colvin, RHP
    4- Tommy Joseph, C
    5- Larry Greene, OF
    6- Phillippe Aumont, RHP
    7- Sebastian Valle, C
    8 – Ethan Martin, RHP
    9 – Shane Watson, RHP
    10- Cesar Hernandez, 2B

    • psujoe

      November 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Matt over @ phuturephillies rates biddle higher than Meyer. Same level, but two years younger. IMO Phils could’ve had Span, but no way they part with Biddle. I really like Martin and Morgan. It’s a pretty big year for a a lot of the Phils minor league pitching prospects.

  9. Golfmaniac

    November 30, 2012 at 10:43 am

    The Phillies are sitting pretty. Sometimes it pays to let the market play itself out especially when the supply of CFs is greater than the demand. Bourns price has got to have fallen and Pagans numbers are very comparable to Bourns, so he is a viable option. So Rueben spends less for a CF than originally thought then they can spend some of that savings on a strong setup man.

    • Double Trouble Del

      November 30, 2012 at 11:03 am

      Neither Bourn nor Pagan offer the kind of right handed power this lineup needs to protect Howard. Maybe the scouts believe Ruf is the real deal???

      • Don M

        November 30, 2012 at 11:27 am

        To me, the guy that improves the lineup the most… is Nick Swisher… OBP, but with the ability to drive the ball out of the park . I understand that we don’t “need” a RF, but I feel like he’s the best available bat besides Hamilton .. I also believe that he’ll be cheaper than Bourn.

        The Phillies webiste (for whatever that’s worth), lists the Depth Chart as:
        LF – Darin Ruf, CF – Mayberry Jr., RF – Dom Brown

        *** Bill James project Dom Brown to post .274/ .347/ .445 next year, with 17 HR, 80 Runs, 77 RBI, 12 SB

        If that’s real, we’re still sitting on a star in Brown

      • schmenkman

        November 30, 2012 at 11:32 am

        Most scouts don’t believe in Ruf, but they’ve been wrong before, so time will tell. But I wouldn’t rely on that without a backup plan.

        The concept of “protection” has been studied and its existence is a matter of debate. For example there is no evidence that Howard saw better pitches after Pence arrived last year.

        I don’t worry so much about whether they get power or not (or even a RH or LH bat), as long as they add value and improve the team.

      • hk

        November 30, 2012 at 11:57 am

        @ Don M,

        I also like Swisher’s bat better than Bourn’s, Pagan’s and Victorino’s, but I am concerned about JMJ’s bat vs. RHP’s and also JMJ’s defense in CF. I don’t think JMJ is suited to be an everyday player, especially not in CF, and the Phils don’t seem to have a platoon partner for him in CF. Therefore, the question is, is the team better (accounting for offense, defense and base running) with an OF of Swisher in RF, JMJ in CF and Brown in LF or are they better with JMJ and Schierholtz platooning in RF, Bourn or Pagan in CF and Brown in LF? It’s a tough call, but it sure wouldn’t hurt their bargaining position with Bourn or Pagan if they let it be known that they are interested in Swisher.

  10. Don M

    November 30, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I just think that if the thing that’s been killing us the past few years is consistency on offense … than that should be the primary goal, to improve that aspect of the lineup.

    The Phillies COULD look better offensively by shuffling the deck a little- if you went just based on skills, Brown would leadoff, Rollins hitting something like 5th or 6th , etc . . . but they won’t do that. . also, I think the SABR folks have formulas out there that show how the specific placement of a hitter within a lineup doesn’t really make much difference … that said, if Rollins was hitting behind Howard, it definitely would have a direct impact on his ability to steal bases/ take the extra base, etc.

    I will not be upset with any additions they make this offseason, because they’ll be making the team better… Pagan is a good player, would he take 3/ $33 ? Can Brown play everyday? If we’re going to a platoon, who plays RF vs LHP .. Mayberry Jr? Who plays LF vs. RHP … Brown, Nix, Schierholtz? I can see that working, but I think if we save $$$ on CF – we need to take a chance on Youkilis at 3b for a year or two

    • hk

      November 30, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      I would be okay with them adding Swisher, Bourn or Pagan, as long as the price is right. I think by waiting, they might get one of those three at a reasonable price. If they add Pagan or Bourn, I could see them platooning Mayberry and Schierholtz in RF, playing Brown as the primary LF and using Ruf to PH, DH in AL parks, replace Howard vs. some LHP’s and replace Brown vs. other LHP’s.

      If they save money on a CF, I would sooner see them allocate the saved money towards a starting pitcher (Shawn Marcum for $20M/2 plus an option year?) than a 3B. I think they can get by with some combination of Frandsen, Galvis and maybe a cheap free agent or trade acquisition (Wilson Betemit?)

    • schmenkman

      November 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm


      Have the Phillies really been inconsistent? If we measure inconsistency by looking at how the runs scored vary from one game to the next, than they were one of the more consistent teams in the NL last year.

      Even if they have been inconsistent, does that really hurt them? If they’re scoring lots one night and 1-2 the next, then they’re more likely to win their “good” games, and less likely win their off games. Not sure it would really kill them over a full season.

      Lastly, would the way to fix it be by getting more contact guys? Is the idea that high power/high strikeout hitters are more susceptible to prolonged slumps, or that just by making contact, hitters can make some occasional progress towards scoring runs even when they’re not hitting well?

      • Don M

        November 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm

        I think they “hope for the 3-run homer” thing that people say about the Phillies has a definite ring of truth .. Not sure if there is a measure for situational hitting somewhere, but the Phillies have not done a very good job in the past few postseasons of getting ‘timely hits” .. they don’t have guys that work deep counts, draw walks, move runners/make productive outs…

        I wanted Upton – so i’m not saying that the HR -or- K is definitely wrong .. teams have won with that type of offense in the past … I just think they need to focus on building a lineup that gets on base, and makes more contact … that’s what I mean when I say i think the offense needs “consistency” … we’ve looked simply overmatched at times the past few playoff series with too many swings and misses

      • Lefty

        November 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm

        I don’t have a link, but Vince Gennaro has done some great work with ranking hitters against good pitching, as opposed to against all pitching. I just jumped in for a second and have to get back to work, but if you look into that, it might provide some answers as to why some teams hit better in the playoffs.

  11. Chuck A.

    November 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I totally agree that if there’s not a clear offensive upgrade at CF that they need to consider Youk. I’ve screaming that for a few months now. Would he come here for say one year/ 12M or 2/20??

  12. psujoe

    November 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Bourjos, Swisher, (Uehata or Adams). I believe the team would be much improved. You cuold add Youk, but only on a 1 year deal. Not sure what it would take to get Bourjos or even if he’s available.

  13. Jeff of Nova

    November 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    We need an impact bat!

    I am fine with Hamilton at the right price, biding that he can play CF
    I like Swisher but he can not be our CF
    Bourn I do not want..

  14. Jeff of Nova

    November 30, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I would love to see Ruf earn LF and Brown earn RF. Then if you have Hamilton in the middle that would be good

    • George

      December 2, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      Those three might be okay offensively, but I don’t think they’d cut it on defense. Brown still has difficulties (although he does have a fine arm), Ruf has had less than a full season as an outfielder, and a lot of experts think Hamilton would be best playing a corner spot, not center.

      If Brown and Ruf do actually earn left and right, it’d be with their bats, and there really wouldn’t be as much need for Hamilton, anyway. They’d need a defensive CFer.

  15. The Original Chuck P

    December 2, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Ugh… the Nats are going to be really good again this year and the deficit between where we are and they are isonly getting wider. They still need at least one starting pitcher but they have no holes other than that – they don’t even need to bring back Adam Laroche (they can play Mike Morse at first). Looking ahead, they’ve got the best third base prospect (Anthony Rendon) in all of baseball to fill in for Ryan Zimmerman when he is set to leave, they’ve got young talent all over the diamond and a one-two-three punch at the top of their rotation that is going to be as good as any. Our lineup is not good enough – unless you get Howard and Utley 100%, it’s just not even close. Our pitching window is closing (we absolutely need Halladay to bounce back) and our farm consists of a lot of baby aces who are probably three years away from being where we need them to be. I think that this group can make one more run – they play well when thay have something to prove but you can’t turn back the clock. If you’re going to make another run with this group, you have to do something big like signing Hamilton. I don’t think that tinkering is going to close the gap. I don’t think you can rely on Howard and Utley being healthy… and without them, you’ll need to convince me that there’s enough there to provide meaningful run support because I’m not seeing it.

    • Ken Bland

      December 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Strikes me as a pretty fair assessment of the world at large. Just the fact that Washington is a year closer to prime on the whole, and the Phils are essentially a year further removed from it isn’t especially encouraging. Tow players don’t make for the whole story, but that Nat club could realistically offer the best pitcher and player in the sport this year. That’s a nice prospect for them. If they do get Zack Greinke, I’d imagine there will be a lot of enthusiasm for them as WS favorites. But his presence would have more to do with being built for a 162 game run than short term power.

      So what’s all that mean? A little. It’s a little early yet, and the games are played on the field. Plus, you have 2 wild card entries, and the Phils would be competitive for those. Squueze in, and it would make for some fun billing of the next team with dynasty potential against the one last gasp for the dynasty that didn’t materialize as hoped.

      Getting to that matchup’s gonna be challenging. But it seems like the chances are better than last year. At least from a worry about yourself and the things you can control perspective. .

      • Chuck A.

        December 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm

        I seriously think the Phillies win 90 games this season and grab one of those 2 Wild Card spots. And once in….it’s anybody’s game. I just can’t see them not winning 9 more games than last season if they have Utley and Howard when the season starts and for 140ish games each. And, yes, Halladay HAS to bounce back.

      • Ken Bland

        December 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm

        Guess I’m the meat man in this discussion, sandwiched between 2 Chucks. Whatever happened to the Chuckwagon? Good sammiches as I recall from years of long ago.

        Well, I used the word challenged, which typically, least from when I HEAR it, caries a polite negative connotation. Guess I kinda use it literally as I understand it which leads me to what might seem like the fence I’m straddling between 2 Chucks. I can see 90, and you’d think that gets you at least the 2 card, but as I sit here in the mode of sportwide offseason optimism, it’s pretty easy, especially with moves pending, to see several clubs hitting the 90 mark, and forciung the NL East 3rd place club to have better records than the 2nd palce finisher in the Central and West. All I virtually KNOW is the wild cards won’t be without drama, and hopefully, the drama isn’t as s-t-r-e-tc-h-e-d as it was for the Phils last year.

        Howard and Utley considered, it’s still easier to go from 102 to 81 than it is 81 to 90 when you consider the possibilities of other things going wrong. Sure agree about Doc, but anyone would.

      • schmenkman

        December 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm

        Jessica Savitch fan? You certainly keep your avatars interesting.

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