Hamels, Lee, Rollins, Pence and More …

It sounds crazy, but today could be Cole Hamels‘ last start at Citizens Bank Park in a Phillies uniform.

I don’t think it will be, though.

If the Phillies are willing to offer Hamels six years, which they are, then they are likely willing to offer him the money he wants (or at least get very close to it). And if the Phillies make that effort and Hamels still says no, well, then he made their decision to trade him easy. If he says yes, then they have Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Hamels together through next season, and that’s not a bad thing.

A few thoughts on this:

  • If Hamels signs, what’s the plan? The Phillies could have more than $150 million committed to just 11 players for 2013: Lee ($25 million), Halladay ($20 million), Ryan Howard ($20 million), Chase Utley ($15 million), Jonathan Papelbon ($13 million), Jimmy Rollins ($11 million), Carlos Ruiz ($5 million), Kyle Kendrick ($4.5 million) and Laynce Nix ($1.35 million) are already signed. I’m not sure how Hamels’ deal will be structured, but let’s go with a projected AAV (average annual value) of $24 million per season. Hunter Pence, who is salary arbitration eligible for the final time, could earn around $14 million. That’s a ton of money for just 11 players. The luxury tax threshhold next season is $178 million. If the Phillies are willing to go well over the luxury tax (i.e. more than just a couple million or so) there’s no problem. But if they’re not then they have about $28 million to spend on the rest of the roster. Did we mention the holes on the roster next season could include center field, third base, left field (unless Domonic Brown becomes the guy) and a couple reliable bullpen pieces? Try adequately filling those holes (and completing the rest of the roster) for about $28 million.
  • That’s why you’re hearing names like Lee, Rollins and Pence mentioned in trade speculation. It’s the only thing that makes sense: the Phillies are considering clearing salary. But I’m not sure how moving any of those players makes them better next season, unless they would get a ridiculous score of prospects in return. Can’t you see a situation next July — assuming the Phillies are contenders — where they are looking to fill a hole they created by trading Lee, Rollins or Pence? I can. They’ve already done it. They traded Lee in Dec. 2009 and found themselves needing a starting pitcher in July 2010, thus shipping prospects to Houston for Roy Oswalt. Would they let history repeat itself?
  • I don’t trade Pence, unless I’m totally blown away with an offer. Why? Forget for a second his slow start with runners in scoring position. He’s still on pace for 29 home runs and 98 RBIs. If you trade Pence, who is going to be your right-handed power bat? Chooch? Carlos Ruiz is having a fantastic season, but he’s a 33-year-old catcher and he’s never hit like this before. It would be a tremendous leap of faith to enter 2013 believing he can do this again, and be the team’s primary power bat from the right side. The Phillies lost Jayson Werth following the 2010 season and bet on Ben Francisco. Francisco wasn’t up to the task, so the Phillies sent a bunch of prospects to Houston for Pence. Would they let history repeat itself?
  • If the Phillies trade Rollins it means they are going with Freddy Galvis at shortstop. OK, he’s brilliant defensively and he’s cheap. But they better have a good backup plan for Utley. They can’t enter 2013 saying, “We like our infield because we’ll finally have Utley and Howard healthy the entire year,” after Utley missed the first couple months each of the previous two seasons. If they don’t have a good backup plan they could be going with Galvis and Michael Martinez (or a Mike Fontenot comparable). And that just won’t work. Plus, consider for a second Rollins’ .729 OPS is seventh among 23 qualifying shortstops in baseball. Yes, he leads the big leagues in infield pop ups, but consider the alternatives.
  • The Phillies are 41-53 and 11 games behind the NL Wild Card leaders with eight teams ahead of them in the standings. Even if they sign Hamels to an extension, does it make any sense not to sell? I don’t think so, unless they go 7-1 or 8-0 before the deadline. Get what you can for what else you’ve got (other players still available to trade include Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco, Juan Pierre, etc.). You won’t get the haul you’ll get for Hamels, but you could get something that might help next season.

29 Comments

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Trade Papelbon!!!

Luxury tax is not based on the year’s payroll but on the the average comp of the contract of each player. As example Chooch gets $5 mill next year but for luxury tax purposes it is the average of his contract which is closer to $3.5. Why not give us the right numbers? Kendrick lower Howard higher etc

Also why not trade Rollins? I think Theriot would be adequate and much cheaper. If the Phils shed payroll they can buy some FA to fill the holes. Keeping mediocre high paid players leaves no room to maneuver particularly with inevitable injuries. Sell!

Great info on how the luxury tax works. As for Theriot replacing Rollins, no way. I think of Rollins as middle range, not cheap but not expensive so there may be a slight premium paid to keep him on the team. The Phillies can afford slight premiums. What the Phillies can not afford is the dud spuds signed by Ruin Tomorrow Junior.annually. Death by small and not so small cuts. Of course Ruin does not really know they are dud spuds but, Hey!, what do you expect when you set up your recruiting booth in the Geriatric Ward? Polanco, Ibanez, Contrares, Baez. and, maybe even the Grandaddy of them all – Halladay.

Bob, the point is they are going to be at the luxury tax threshhold. Will they go over substantially or won’t they?

They should look at it as eating Ruins mistakes. This might entail luxury tax for the next two years. I look at it this way. It would be short sighted to look at it otherwise. If they don’t go into luxury tax territory to maintain, they will lose the sellout and break the spell they have on Phillies fans. Lose revenue but maintain attendance by going luxury tax or lose revenue through drop in attendance. It would be easier to bring the payroll down eventually than it would be to gain back fan enthusiasm. CBP is almost like a zoo at times. The kids are a pain in the ass and unruly at times but they do fill seats.

On July 21, 2010, the Phillies were 7 games out of first place. They went on to win the division by 6 games. A 13 game turn around. Currently 8 games out from a playoff spot- more than doable. But do the Phillies want to back into the playoffs? Hamels, Lee and Halladay at between $70 and $75 million is a waste of money and makes the Phillies no better than what got them into the current shit they are in. Hamels is the youngest and a lefty to boot. Sad to say, Cliff Lee is redundant as a leftie. Halladay is saved by the fact he is a rightie. But hopefully, the Phillies will be relieved of his salary after 2013. The Phillies caught lightening in a bottle in 2008. Junior has been running around with a bottle ever since trying to recapture that lightening. Enough is enough. Time to get someone who knows how to build a baseball team for the long haul. And, Ruin has found enough fossils for the Phillies roster to qualify for a Ph.D in archeology

They were 7 games out, but in second place. And, it’s spelled lightning. Lightening is what you do to your hair to make young girls think you’re datable.

So, pherris is a Hair For Men guy, Lightening, indeed.

Oh please. Its not “more than doable.” The season has been over since early June and everyone knows it. There’s more to it than just numbers and games behind. 2008 was the culmination of good scouting, Gillick finding the missing pieces (Werth, Moyer, Dobbs, etc…), and a bit of luck. The team remained very good for several years after proving it was the real deal. There’s not really any one way to explain this season (injuries, ineffectiveness, luck?) but its over. I’m not a fan of exploding the team for 2013 because I don’t think that needs to happen. Hamels needs to stay but if a return can be made on some of the older players (Vic, Rollins, Halladay, Polanco), the team should listen

Who is this “everyone knows it”. You either have a frog in your pocket or you have crystal balls. I know which one you wish it were but I vote for a frog in your pocket. What don’t you understand about math? 2010 – 7 games out of first place on July 21 go on to win the division by 6 games or a 13 game turn around. 2012 – 8 games out of wild card therefore 9 game turn around needed.

Yeah I remember what happened. But thats why I said its not about the math. Those previous teams were good. This current team hasn’t played well since mid-August of last year. You can hope and pray for a major collapse by multiple teams and a major turn-around to playing well and winning games all you’d like, but it won’t happen. By your logic, the Astros are also still in it, because, you know, the math hasn’t eliminated them yet.

And by the way, they are currently (after another devastating loss) 12 games out of a wild card spot. Still have high hopes?

It was never about how many games out they were. It was always about having 7 or 8 teams in front of them. That’s much harder than merely being in second place. But some of you didn’t understand that concept.

why not just enjoy the games? When was the last time you saw 2 pitchers hit HR is same inning? Saw chase and Howard hit HR is same game? saw Phillie get his 1000 hit? Saw Bastardo pitch well? enjoyed a well played, exciting game? relax: either we do or don’t make playoffs this year. We’re fans, we can only enjoy the game, not play it or decide on rosters

Agree! Watching this team is still a joy.

muleman, I believe most are familiar with your obsession with leap frog by now to which I can only say it more important where a team is at the finish line than where it was at any one point in the race. Leap frog is a participatory sport. Sometimes your the leaper and sometimes your the leapee. When doesn’t baseball depend on what other teams are doing?

Ugh.

LOL!! Appropriate response, muleman. I couldn’t have said it any better.

I was at the game yesterday and it was a fun day at CBP. The thing is, I didn’t have the feeling of excitement and anxiety that I’ve had in “close and late” games that I’ve had in recent years. My feeling was kind of like…whatever. That tells me in my gut that the season is over, no matter what the phan in me might want to think. At least the closeness and excitement of the game kept the E-A-G-L-E-S chants at bay.

No, phan52, the feeling in your gut was from all of cheesy nachos you ate and the beers you swilled.

That would be quite the trick, as I don’t ever eat cheesy nachos nor do I drink beer. Especailly $7.00 ones.

So how long have you been clean and sober?

I could not agree more with what F_I_J said (I think — I can’t figure out who writes what). ENJOY THE GAME! I’ve decided it’s like Zen and the Art of Baseball Watching. If it infuriates you, why do it? Just try to relax and enjoy the good stuff! I was there Saturday and had a BLAST at Photo Day (met Doc, Pence, Howard, etc.), saw something that hadn’t happened in 22, count ‘em, 22 years when both pitchers homered in the same inning and saw and Vic’s 1,000th hit. Saw Vic and Hamels both get thunderous standing ovations. Tell me that’s not some good stuff!

*saw Vic’s

This season has just been bizarre and I’m constantly shaking my head as to why this has happened (I know injuries, bad bullpen, bench have played a role), but it seems like someone broke a mirror. The Phils have had these problems in the past but not to this degree.

Glad to hear everyone enjoyed their time at the ballpark regardless of the outcome.

two walk off’s in a row? Am I in 2012 or 2008?

What is that sound I hear so faintly but seemingly drawing closer by the day? Wait there is again…..Rib-it Rib-it…Rib-it. Phillies, get ready to leap.!!!

Where would the Phillies be these last two games without Halladay and Lee?

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