A Quick Take on Jose Bautista

brownAt face value, and under normal circumstances, Jose Bautista would be an absolutely intriguing trade option. Even at 33, he’s still a productive power hitter that can change the course of a game with one swing.

“Game-changer” was tweeted to me by someone named @Beef5669 on twitter this morning when describing Bautista. It’s true, he can be that. But what he isn’t is a “season-changer” or “franchise-changer.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see Domonic Brown as either one of those. But I do see a 26-year old outfielder finally breaking out, and doing it as cheaply as possible.

The point of his exercise is to say that while Bautista still may have a few productive seasons left at just $14 million per year, the name of the game with the way the Phillies roster is constructed is to stay as young as possible, not get older. With the first signing of the offseason, Marlon Byrd, the Phillies are going in the opposite direction that is needed.

If we’ve learned anything over the past two seasons, it’s that contracts for aging veteran players aren’t the way to build. Adding Bautista, who has missed 114 games the last two years, pushes this franchise closer to the nursing home. The team is already banking that 30-somethings Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins, along with Byrd, can keep them afloat for another title run.

Say the Phillies were in a different position, looking for a piece like Bautista to put them over the top. Then, the trade can be spun as a prudent move. Sure, the Phillies need right-handed power, but we also know there aren’t any quick fixes.

Looking at WAR, Bautista was a 4.1 player this year, while Domonic Brown was 2.5 WAR. The odds of Bautista, at 33 surpassing that number a great deal over the next three seasons, seems like a pipe dream. Players at this age rarely show upward spikes in ability and durability. Brown may have plateaued right around 2.5 WAR, but you would take the risk that a 26-year-old would ascend over a 33-year-old who has had his previous two seasons derailed by injury.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer rounded out his Wednesday morning article with this:

Could they move Brown for a more proven commodity? Sure. That would require answering this question: Are the odds better of the Phillies winning in 2014 than they are in the subsequent three years before Brown becomes a free agent?

David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News also adds:

While Jose Bautista is obviously a better player than Domonic Brown right now, keep in mind that the Phillies wouldn’t just be trading away Domonic Brown, but they’d be trading away everything else that Domonic Brown could possibly be traded for. And for a team that is a lot more than one player away from serious championship contention, that’s a significant fact to consider.

I would answer Gelb’s question by saying the Phillies are indeed closer to winning this season than they are in 2015, 2016, or 2017 because we have no idea what the future holds. However, you’re banking on the fact that Brown would hopefully get better, while Bautista is more likely to regress. If this trade were to gain more steam, it then becomes more about trying to strike it rich for one more season rather than building back to the spot the Phillies were when their impressive five-season run began.

As for Murphy’s comment, if you’re trading Brown, you have be sure you’re getting a player that changes the course of the franchise, because as we’ve seen over the last two years, the team is indeed a lot more than just one player from a serious run.



  1. Hogey's Role

    November 13, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I would like to add Bautista, I would prefer Bautista over Byrd, but not at the expense of Dom brown…

  2. Depot Dan

    November 13, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Mayberry has got to go.he is terrible. Move him keep ruff. Also, move brown, another primadonna loser. Bautista would be asset, but for less talent than brown,who should bring more , even though I am negative on him.

  3. Jael

    November 13, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I keep brown do something if Mayberry

  4. Bart Shart

    November 13, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Bautista should go to a contender, not a team that is rebuilding with youth. If Amaro goes in this direction, he should be thrown out of office. He cannot stick to a plan and he has no discipline

    • schmenkman

      November 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      The plan is to compete in 2014, Bart, unless you’ve heard otherwise.

      • c. schreiber

        November 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm

        Really schmeck, you think the P’s can compete this year!!!! Really. REally Really Really?

      • schmenkman

        November 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm

        I never said I think they can compete, I was just passing along what I think the stated plan is.

        As to whether I think they can compete: with a good off-season, and some luck, and good health, etc., I they can be in the hunt, yes, but that’s true of about 25 teams. Ask me on Feb. 13, when P&Cs report.

  5. Pamikedc

    November 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    @Pat, I totally agree w you.

    And I heard the Red Sawks were the team that offered Ruiz 2-20.

  6. Brass Villanueva

    November 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    There are too many bad contracts and players in the twilight of their careers for this team to realistically compete in 2014. So once again, RAJ’s plan is cross his fingers and hope that older players stay healthy and somehow play at the level that “the back of their baseball card’s” show they were once able to. Marlon Byrd has exceeded 12 HRs twice in his career and suddenly at age 36 he’s the righthanded “power bat” that Amaro’s been searching for? This “plan” of Amaro’s is pure insanity.

    • George

      November 13, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      With bad contracts and players in “the twilight of their careers,” there isn’t much you can do EXCEPT to cross your fingers and hope for health. You certainly can’t trade those bad contracts, and they tend to fill positions where they otherwise could add.

      Byrd is only one signing. I’d wait a little bit, wait for more moves, before I’d decide what his plan actually is. Byrd may not be the power bat Amaro ultimately goes for, but he certainly IS a defensive upgrade in the outfield, which is something Amaro has also (rightfully) cited as a need.

  7. lefty

    November 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Good post as always Pat. Given the Byrd move, and if any of this Bautista stuff is true, then it seems to me that everyone except the Phillies front office believes that acquiring older vets to try to win now at the expense of giving up youth is not the correct approach. The only reason I can think of for this line of thinking is that they are worried about cashing in on the upcoming TV deal. IMO- It’s just irrational on so many levels to even consider Brown for Bautista. Thank goodness it’s highly unlikely.

  8. Brass Villanueva

    November 13, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    “So just stop with the “one good month” malarkey. Among players with at least 900 plate appearances since the start of the 2011 season, Brown’s .775 OPS during that span ranks ahead of Jason Heyward, Shane Victorino, Brian McCann, Brandon Phillips, Jon Jay, Michael Bourn, and, yes, your newest Phillies fan favorite, Marlon Byrd. Among players younger than 26, he ranks ninth, trailing Giancarlo Stanton, Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Upton, Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman, Willin Rosario and Brandon Belt. In 1,032 career plate appearances, Brown has a .764 OPS and 107 OPS+. So he has been an above-league-average hitter for the equivalent of two full major league seasons, despite playing uninterrupted as a regular for only one campaign.”

    • Phillips Fan from Germany

      November 13, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      Problem is that you also have to play defense in the NL. Since 2011 Brown has a Grand total of 1.0 WAR in 962 PA. I am Not discussing if a Bautista for Brown Deal Would be a Good Trade considering Age and value but One Thing is very Probable: Bautista Would be a Upgrade over Brown in 2014 and likely also in 2015.

    • Phillips Fan from Germany

      November 13, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      Problem is that you also have to play defense in the NL. Since 2011 Brown has a Grand total of 1.0 WAR in 962 PA. I am Not discussing if a Bautista for Brown Deal Would be a Good Trade considering Age and salary but One Thing is very Probable: Bautista Would be a Upgrade over Brown in 2014 and likely also in 2015.

  9. chris

    November 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    As much as I would love to add Bautista, like Hogey said…Not with the expense of Brown (couldnt say it any better). This trade will not happen. The Phils are looking to get younger and rebuild. I would pull the trigger on a Dom Brown/Kendrick/and Ashe for Weiters and Hardy, and shift Hardy over to 3rd

  10. Rob h

    November 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Here’s my take brown should be traded end of story. If were going to try and make a run as long as we don’t give up franco why not trade for a guy like Bautista using brown as the main chip. If we are looking to the future we should still trade him because by the time we get good again he will be over 30 looking for a big deal.

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