As a baseball fan and an aspiring journalist, I tend to let the two sides of emotion merge. As the Wilton Lopez trade fell through for the Phillies, the journalist in me was alive and well, just furthering on information and rather plain opinions. This morning, after three major moves by three division rivals, I let the other side, the Philly fan in me, take over.
This was my first tweet this morning upon hearing that David Wright had signed an extension with the Mets just days after the Braves signed B.J. Upton and the Nationals acquired Denard Span.
3 big moves by division rivals in 3 days. Hate to say it, but truth is truth, #Phillies are getting schooled to this point this offseason.
This was met with some rather intense feedback. But I’m not going to disagree with the people who responded on twitter calling me an idiot or saying I made no sense. I let the typical Philly fan come out in me and, for that, I was wrong.
You see, this is exactly how you should not act about all of this news going against the Phillies. Let’s examine.
B.J. Upton was signed by the Atlanta Braves to a five-year, $75 million contract. He was one of the Phillies’ top targets. But the Phillies only offered five years, $55 million. So, determine it how you will, but either the Braves overpaid big time or the Phillies were not as interested as originally thought. Given their need for a centerfielder, I would go with the former, and applaude Ruben Amaro for staying away.
Denard Span was traded for a top prospect to the Nationals. Think about the reason the Wilton Lopez trade didn’t happen. Are prospects worth a health risk? No, so when the offer became too high for the Phillies’ liking, they walked. The Nationals, in all honesty, traded for a slightly above-average centerfielder.
And overreacting to the whole David Wright deal was stupid on my part. If you put any thought into it, you knew Wright was going to stay with the Mets and you know what talent he has because you get to see it against the Phillies 18 games every season. In all reality, nothing changes. Wright is an All-Star and the leader of the Mets, but who else does he have behind him? Not too much, really.
After the Upton signing, I listed my preferences of who the Phillies should target with Upton off the block. I’ve said it quite a bit so far, but I really do like how Angel Pagan would fit on the Phillies. I think he should be a leading candidate. I’m not overly high on Michael Bourn for a player who is in his prime, don’t want another past-his-prime big name in Hamilton and would feel much better with the Phillies thinking cheaper. Span wasn’t even on my list of five. Pagan fits the bill and there could still be money left for another solid outfielder. What about Cody Ross? What about Nick Swisher? What about…
I read something today that got me thinking. Now that the Nats have Span in center field, Bryce Harper will move to left field, Jayson Werth stays in right field and Michael Morse is left without a spot. That is only if the Nationals keep their first baseman of choice, Adam LaRoche. And because they are trying to do so, Morse is being shopped. Because he has the ability to play corner outfield positions, perhaps he is an option.
However, one of my concerns is filling holes on the 2013 team through trades. The Phillies don’t need to give up more future talent. In fact, I’d rather see them use their current young talent than trade a bunch of it away.
Someone pitched this idea to me a few days ago when I was analyzing the outfielders left on the market: why don’t the Phillies just stick with Nate Schierholtz, Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr.? This was an easy one to answer. Unless you want another 81-81 season, you best improve through free agency. Domonic Brown will get his chances this season, I truly believe. I also believe Darin Ruf will get his. But Schierholtz is no more than a backup outfielder and John Mayberry Jr. had his chance already. Do fans really want a repeat of his first half from last season again this season?
I would settle for the Phillies signing one of either Hamilton or Bourn (preferably Bourn if picking between the two) and attempt to sign one of either Pagan or Ross (preferably Pagan) to fill the outfield gaps. A week ago, I thought the Phillies’ pursuit of Upton was going to be enough to sign him. The Braves went above and beyond, and hey, if he turns out to still be the same .255 career hitter he is with the Braves, then the Phillies dodged a bullet.
But I wouldn’t be shocked if Bourn is the next one off the list that the Phillies make a push for. I believe the Opening Day outfield could very well be Ruf-Bourn-Brown. But two things to remember as news comes out: 1. it’s only Nov. 30, there’s a lot of offseason left, 2. paper is, as it has always been, just paper. Let’s see how things play out on the field before judging the value of a move.