Roy Halladay’s surprising retirement today, took a good amount of the attention away from the first day of the MLB winter meetings, for obvious reasons. Still, Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passen is reporting that the Phillies first area of focus today, wasn’t Roy Halladay’s retirement press conference.
Sources: Phillies actively shopping OF Domonic Brown. Looking for controllable starting pitching in return. Idea is to sell high on him.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 9, 2013
This isn’t a rumor that didn’t exist before the winter meetings, but every time I hear it, it puzzles me more and more. By signing Marlon Byrd and re-signing Carlos Ruiz (both of whom are in their mid-30’s), aren’t you saying that you are still trying to compete for a divisional title and beyond? As delusional as that idea seems to everyone not in the Phillies organization, that was the message that Ruben Amaro Jr. sent by making those signings. So why would you look to move a guy that was your best hitter a season ago, and your only All-Star?
In addition, why would we trade Brown for a pitcher? A rotation of Hamels, Lee, Gonzalez, Kendrick, and Pettibone, sounds like a pretty serviceable rotation, with a chance to be really good depending on how the back three pitch. The Phillies hitting, on the other hand, hasn’t been that way. There is virtually no certainty heading into 2014, with questions about just about everyone in the lineup. So why trade the guy who was your most productive hitter in 2013? That logic, or lack there of, is just mind blowing.
If you think Domonic Brown’s 2013 season was a fluke, I guess I can’t 100 percent say you are wrong. But, I usually don’t think that someone who was once a top-five prospect for Baseball America is a fluke, just because he took a few years to break out. Still, the risk that Brown ends up only being a one-year wonder and you are left without a return for him, is worth it. Brown will make next to nothing next season, is under team control until 2017, and has shown elite-power potential. If he ends up being a fluke, then you may not get a return, but you aren’t going to be penalized. If you keep him and he works out, then you have an elite power hitter, not making much money, and if you still decide to trade him, his value is even higher then.
The only reason that I can think that the Phillies would dangle Brown, is that they view the outfield as a spot that they can really improve the team, and the moving Brown would open up a spot for said player. You would trade Brown for a fringe two starter, and then either trade for an outfielder, or make a signing of a guy like Nelson Cruz.
Would that make the Phillies a better team in 2014? Potentially, but they still aren’t likely to make the playoffs then. Beyond 2014, Cruz would be another expensive guy approaching his mid-30’s, and it just really makes you wonder if going down that course would just set the Phillies back.