2009 Phils’ Outfield

25 09 2008

by Michael DeLuca

As pointed out by Mike Gill in last night’s article, Davey Lopes awkwardly and inadvertently gave us a glimpse into the future plans of the Philadelphia Phillies and their outfield.  Apparently, Pat Burrell isn’t in those plans.  The direction they seem to be heading, which I fully endorse, is to get a quality center-fielder in the offseason, shift Shane Victorino back to right, and move Jayson Werth to left field.  Lopes said as much in his fortuitous statement to Tom McCarthy during his in game interview.

The problem, however, is that there are few options at center field through free agency this offseason.  Here’s the list…

Jim Edmonds
Mark Kotsay
Gabe Kaplar
Rocco Baldelli
Willie Bloomquist
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Corey Patterson
Scott Podsednik

From that list, Mark Kotsay may be the best option.  Kotsay, however, will be 34 next season and is currently batting .275 overall.  He has struggled since joining the Red Sox mid-season, batting just .213 in 75 plate appearances.  He’s old, he lacks speed for a center fielder, and his batting average is beginning to slip.  He may, however, be willing to accept a one year deal, which might appeal to the Phils if they believe Greg Golson can take over as the every day center fielder in 2010.

If I were forced to choose from the available free agents, I’d go with Rocco Baldelli.  Baldelli will be just 28 years of age next season.  In 2000, Baldelli was the 6th overall pick in the amateur draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now the Rays).  He has been riddled with injuries throughout his career, missing the large majority of the 2007 season with a lingering hamstring problem. During this year’s spring training, Rocco was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder. The condition slows muscle recovery and can cause extreme fatigue. Effects of the disorder can vary greatly from person to person. Taking all of this into account, Baldelli should come at a drastic discount. I’d use the savings to go after a starting pitcher. If he were able to play a full season, I’d still project Baldelli as a .280, 24 HR, 12 SB guy. I’d have to assume his days of aggressive base stealing are over following the hamstring injuries. He does seem to have lost a step, but with another offseason of recovery, you never know.

The final option, one that I feel is the most likely, is a trade. The most likely candidate, in my opinion, is Juan Pierre. Pierre is stuck riding the pines in a crowded Los Angeles Dodgers outfield that includes Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier. He has already expressed his displeasure with his role saying, “I don’t see myself as a bench player. I haven’t accepted that. I know if they don’t want me to play out there, that’s their decision. But I don’t see myself as a bench player.” In 363 scattered at bats this year, Pierre has managed a .275 batting average and 38 stolen bases. In 2007, he batted .293 with 64 stolen bases. Pierre just turned 31 years of age on August 14th. He has three more years remaining on his contract at a total of $28.5 million, which surely will have the Dodgers motivated to trade him in the offseason.  He could probably be had for northing more than a Kyle Kendrick.




4 responses

25 09 2008

There’s also Mike Cameron and Reed Johnson. I believe both are on a way year pact with the Brew Crew and Cubbies. I love Baldelli, though. Agree, he can be effective and cheap. Don’t like Juan Pierre. He is way over rated and never has a great OBP for a lead off hitter. I like his speed and “slap hitting” ability, but he is over paid and over appreciated. Some other trade options the Phils may consider: Coco Crisp, Aaron Rowand, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, Felix Pie, etc.

Food for thought: Do they Phils do the (now) unthinkable and trade Howard this off-season rather than pay between 14 and 16 MM in arbitration? If so, a young stud CF and SP may be the package……just speculating, not giving my wishes! Don’t anybody comment back that I want to trade Howard!

25 09 2008
Michael DeLuca

I think Cameron has a $10 million dollar club option, which is why I didn’t list him. Also, he’ll be 37 next year.

25 09 2008

It is now being speculated (and it has been before) that Ryan Howard will be traded this off-season. Buster Olney of ESPN.com interviewed a high ranking baseball official who had this to say, “The Phillies could go out and find somebody to drive in runs in their park in place of Howard,” said an AL general manager. “But in that bandbox, they will always have trouble finding pitching. Cain misses bats; he’d be perfect for them.”

Cain of course is Matt Cain of the San Fransisco Giants. Cain would be perfect, but I would demand another player (Rowand?)

25 09 2008

For what its worth, Olney also mentioned the Brewers because of their inherent failure to lock up Prince Fielder in the same way the Phillies have had a hard time coming to an accord with Howard. Should be an interesting off-season.

Maybe Davey Lopes will agree to be interviewed for PCPSPORTS.com!!!!

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