Philadelphia Phillies: Proactively buying is the right move

MIAMI, FL - MAY 10: Christian Yelich
MIAMI, FL - MAY 10: Christian Yelich /

The Philadelphia Phillies are bad, really bad, so bad that they’re on track for 108 losses this season.

Teams that bad should sell their assets for prospects right?

Not entirely. The Philadelphia Phillies have been bad for a long time now (on track for five losing seasons in a row to be exact) and trading for prospects only makes it a longer road back to World Series contention. This team is currently on pace for 108 losses and could finish with the worst record in team history. With that in mind, extending these losing seasons could cause more harm than good.

This is why instead of selling everything, the Philadelphia Phillies should proactively buy instead. There are a few rules for properly doing this since there are a few things that a team is looking for.

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Generally, trades for stars require at least one major league piece plus two or three top prospects meaning that there is a very specific type of baseball player who sought out in this type of deal. The Philadelphia Phillies should look for a controllable star who would be under team control until at least 2020. Any years over that would be gravy but it would also necessitate that the Phillies giving up a boatload in terms of prospects.

In most cases, guys like this are labeled as being untouchable but in some cases, teams can decide to trade their stars for more prospects. One team in particular who happens to be in this position is the Miami Marlins. The Marlins again find themselves in line to hit the reset button.

Fully healthy, the Marlins find themselves in a tricky situation mired in third place in the NL East at seven games under .500. They’re no closer to contention and, stop me if you’ve heard this before, want to blow things up.

More than 18 percent of the payroll is committed to Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon this season and it only get’s worse moving forward. Stanton’s contract is an albatross and the Marlins would do anything to get it off of their payroll, including packaging him with budding star Christian Yelich.

Stanton is owed about 295 million dollars over the next 10 years taking him into his age 38 season. Gordon is on a more reasonable contract that will pay him about 52 million dollars over the next four years. The crown jewel is Yelich who is under team control for five years until his age 30 season for an extremely reasonable rate.

What does this mean for the Philadelphia Phillies?

Looking at the current roster, the Philadelphia Phillies are more than one star away from contention. This is what makes their links to Gordon alone to be kind of weird. While Gordon is a very good baseball player that could bring a dynamic atop the order that hasn’t been seen since Jimmy Rollins was batting leadoff, the move alone isn’t enough.

The Phillies have a serviceable second baseman in Cesar Hernandez and assuming that they haven’t given up on top prospect J.P. Crawford then that means, Hernandez and Freddy Galvis are playing for one spot in the lineup. This would likely place prospect Scott Kingery at third assuming that Maikel Franco would be included in trade talks for a controllable star. Even with this, the more that the Gordon links are explored, the less sense that they make. The same cannot be said in regards to the Yelich + Stanton package.

The Philadelphia Phillies have a ton of outfielders, like seriously, a TON but the odds of any of them scratching the current production levels of Stanton and Yelich are quite low. Adding both of them would give the Philadelphia Phillies legit middle of the order bats for years to come. While it would require absorbing Stanton’s contract, if any team can eat those years without batting an eye, it’s the Philadelphia Phillies.

Before the team started shedding payroll, the Phillies were among the top spenders in all of baseball year in and year out. Once they’re ready to contend in the future, the Phillies will likely climb back up the spending ranks again. Also, taking a look at the roster, the Philadelphia Phillies are such a young team with controllable assets at the moment that they can likely mitigate that risk with having young talent for pennies on the dollar.

All things considered, the Stanton deal doesn’t hurt the Philadelphia Phillies as much as it would most other teams so it should be considered even if it’s just for the possibility of adding Yelich. A deal would solve the Phillies issues at the 3-4 spots in the lineup for years to come setting them up to at worst challenge for a National League Wildcard spot in the near future.

What would it take to acquire Yelich and Stanton?

As a start, the Philadelphia Phillies would have to give up a major league bat or arm with years of control in order to get the Marlins to bite on an offer. The good news is that there is no shortage of guys who fit the bill on the Phillies roster. Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr, Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco are names that come to mind at first. Tommy Joseph and Jerad Eickhoff aren’t guys who could likely headline a trade but together, they could be a place to begin talking with the Marlins.

Those controllable major leaguers would need to be augmented by a package of 2-3 top prospects as well. This is where the Philadelphia Phillies have an advantage over most teams. The Phillies have been acquiring high-end prospects for years now and they have a few with no clear path to the majors. Trading them for established talent wouldn’t be a huge blow to the depth of the farm system as a whole.

Some names to consider are Jorge Alfaro, Sixto Sanchez, Roman Quinn, Dylan Cozens and Mark Appel. While they are highly regarded prospects, losing them wouldn’t mean as much as it would mean to lose someone like Crawford. Appel would need to be a complementary piece due to his injury history but his arm could entice the Marlins into biting.

It will take a lot to make the deal happen but if anyone can swing a trade of this magnitude, it’s the Philadelphia Phillies.

Next: Tommy Joseph should be on the trade block

Final words:

Trading for a star is never fun, the team acquiring them always feels like they gave up too much and the other side is sad to see the face of their franchise leave. But when a team is faced with a chance of this magnitude to alter their fortunes, it has to be done. Whatever the prospects given up in this deal do in their careers will be easily forgotten if Yelich and Stanton form the core of a Philadelphia Phillies championship team. Matt Klentak and co have the future of the franchise in their hands, time to see how it plays out.