It doesn’t seem that long ago that the Phillies had one of the most feared lineups in all of baseball and we just hoped we could get enough pitching to get by. Now in just a short period of time, that logic has done a 180. This is now a team who hopes they can scratch together enough ones to get one of their great starters the victory. The Phillies entered today’s game 9th in the National League in runs, 10th in batting average, and 9th in homeruns. This has caused a lot of tension among the Philly Phaithful as they turn to Ruben Amaro for some help.
The phans can ask for some more hitting all they want, but it might not make a difference. Amaro has already stated that they have almost maxed out on the payroll and this won’t allow them to make a major move. Most within the organization have stressed that they have the players capable of producing and that guys like Howard, Utley and Rollins just have to get better. Regardless of these sentiments, this team isn’t getting any younger and it’s hard to imagine a major turnaround this late in the season. I’m going to take a look at some possible accusations the Phillies could make before the trade deadline, some are realistic, some are not likely and some may just be a dream.
Michael Cuddyer Minnesota Twins RH RF/1B Age 32
2011 Stats: .259 8HR 21 RBI’S
Remaining Contract: 1 year/$8 M (2011 Club Option $11 million $1mil buyout)
Cuddyer is coming off his best seasons of his career, last season he batted .276 with 32 Homeruns and 94 RBI’S. Like most of the Twins roster, he is having a down season. If he were to be acquired he would give the team versatility and could be a very useful right handed bat. He has started 29 games in RF, 13 at 2nd and 15 at 1B. In addition to platooning some with Ibanez or Brown in the outfield, he could fill on for Utley or Howard on a given day. I doubt that the Twins would pick up the option if he remains with them all season, so with FA looming he should be very affordable in terms of prospects for the Phillies.
Jason Kubel Minnesota Twins LH RF/LF Age 29
2011 Stats: .310 5HR 30 RBI’S
Remaining Contract: 1 year $4.1 million (2011 Club Option $5.25M $0.35M buyout)
Kubel has been on the disabled list since May 31 with a foot injury. It appears to be minor and it currently looks like he should be activated shortly after he is eligible. He hit just .249 last season but hit .300 with 28 homeruns and 103 RBI’s in 2009. Kubel has played both left field and right field so far this season. He may be a better hitter than his teammate, but his left handed bat wouldn’t be a huge upgrade over Ibanez. Plus his team friendly contract and younger age will probably cause the Twins to ask a lot more for him.
Josh Willingham Oakland Athletics RH LF Age 32
2011 Stats: .234 10HR 39 RBI’s
Remaining Contract: 1 year $6 million
The Phillies have seen a lot of Willingham as he spent most of his career in the NL East with the both the Marlins and Nationals. He is a career .262 hitter and has hit 20+ homeruns in 3 of his 5 full seasons a pro. Willingham has mainly played in LF during his career, but has seen very limited action in RF, 1B and even catcher. He isn’t going to win any batting titles, but he would provide the Phillies will a big right handed bat who can take the ball out of the ball park. The A’s have fallen out of contention early but Billy Beane is a sneaky GM to trade with and his demands might be too high.
Jeff Francoeur Kansas City Royals RH Age 27
20111 Stats: .281 9HR 40 RBI’s
Remaining Contract: 1 year $2.5 million (2012 mutual option)
The Phillies had at least some interest in Francoeur during the offseason, but he chose to go to Kansas City where he would receive a starting spot. He once was a promising prospect with the Braves but is not on his 3rd team in the last 2 seasons. Francoeur is a player who doesn’t know what a strike zone is and has been a free swinger for his entire career. He would give the Phillies similar offensive results as Willingham but he still has one of best throwing arms in the game and is a better defensive player than Willingham.
Ryan Ludwick San Diego Padres RH Age 32
2011 Stats: .265 8 HR 37 RBI’S
Remaining Contract: 1 year $6.775M
Ludwick had some very productive seasons in St. Louis before being traded to the Padres last season. In 2008 he had 37 homeruns and 113 RBI’s and in 2009 he had 22 homeruns and 97 RBI’s. He has played all 3 outfield positions but spent most of his career as a corner outfielder.
Hunter Pence Houston Astros RH Age 28
2011 Stats: .315 8HR 45 RBI’s
Remaining Contract: 1yr/$6.9M (2012 ARB 3, 2013 ARB 4, 2014 FA)
Pence is by far the most talented player on this list so far, he would provide a huge spark for the Phillies and give them a viable right handed bat for the next several years. The biggest question is whether the Astros would be willing to deal the young outfielder. Plus if they do choice to trade their best offensive player, they will likely ask for a lot in return. Some phans think they could offer any player to the legendary Ed Wade and he will take the deal. He may not be a great GM but he isn’t stupid, acquiring Pence would requiring sending some very talented players to Houston and I doubt the Phillies want to do that.
Carlos Beltran New York Mets SH RF Age 34
2011 Stats: .282 9 HR 35 RBI’s
Remaining Contract: 1 year $18.5M
This may not be a popular choice, but I don’t’ think anyone can debate that he would instantly give this lineup a boost. With his contract expiring and the Mets in the middle of financial trouble, they will likely try to move the 34 year old outfielder. With the Mets and Phillies being in the same division, it is unlikely that they would want to get a deal done. Plus Beltran has a full no trade clause and it is unknown if he would want to come to Philly.
Delmon Young Minnesota Twins LF RH Age 25
2011 Stats: .233 2HR 15 RBI’s
Remaining Contract: 1yr/$5.375M (2012 ARB 3, 2013 FA)
Young spent some time on the disabled list and this has contributed to his poor start to the season. The former number one overall pick had a phenomenal season last year; he hit .298 with 28 homeruns and 112 RBI’s. If he were to be made available, the Phillies should have interest in him. But I highly doubt they would even consider moving him. The Twins do have a lot of money tied up with Mauer and Morneau and could be looking for some cheaper talent. After this season, he only has one year of team control. So it is possible they would look to move him but the price would be very high.
Let me dream
Matt Kemp Los Angeles Dodgers CF/RF RH Age 26
2011 Stats: .329 18HR 53 RBI’s
Remaining Contract: 1yr/$7.10M (2012 ARB 3, 2013 FA)
Kemp is off to an amazing start the season and is perhaps the MVP of the league so far. He is becoming one the best players in the game and will only continue to improve. Kemp is one of the rare 5 tool players that still exist in the majors and would look great in the middle of the Phillies order. The sad facts are that large market teams don’t trade players like Kemp. But the Dodgers are currently in the middle of a financial mess and they may be forced into a fire sale. If he is made available, I would do whatever it would take to acquire Kemp, but if the Dodgers know anything about baseball. He isn’t going anywhere.
The Phillies would explode for 7 runs on the night that I was planning to write about this topic. They stuck it to me and scored 11 runs when I claimed I would eat a dollar dog for every run scored few weeks ago. But even with the 7 runs tonight, this team could use another bat. Looking at the players available and the situation, Ludwick and Willingham look to be the most realistic and likely options. They would not cost the Phillies a lot in terms of prospects; both would give the team another right handed bat off the bench and would be able to spell both Brown and Ibanez on any given day. I don’t see the Phillies adding any major pieces between now and the deadline. Any deal made would be for a complimentary player. Though I would be surprised if the Phillies didn’t make a move to help the offense, but the current players will still have to step up their games if this team wants to win in October.