Results tagged ‘ Jason Knapp ’

The Price for the Phillies Rotation

lee is back.jpg

Ruben Amaro Jr. said this week he expects Joe Blanton to remain with the Phillies this season, which means the guy the Phillies slated to be their No. 3 starter in 2010 is their No. 5 starter in 2011. It shows just how much has changed in a year. The Phillies shipped 13 prospects and committed more than $255 million in salaries to have Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Blanton in the same rotation at the same time.

I know the Phillies traded away Lee in Dec. 2009, which remains a regrettable trade. But if the Phillies had not traded for Lee the first time and had he not enjoyed his experience here, he would not have taken less money to sign with the Phillies in December. He would have signed with the Yankees or Rangers instead.

Here is a look at the prospects the Phillies traded to make this rotation:

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ROY HALLADAY

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud. MLB.com ranks him as the ninth-best catching prospect in baseball. Baseball America considers him the organization’s fourth-best prospect in its rankings. He certainly has the all-around skills to be a frontline catcher. In fact, including d’Arnaud in the Halladay deal gave the Phillies pause because of the dearth of catching depth in the organization and baseball.

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Phils Have Pieces to Land Halladay


Thumbnail image for halladay 02.jpgBaseball insiders agree: the Phillies have what it takes to acquire Roy Halladay.

In an informal poll of baseball personnel this week at the Winter Meetings, folks think the Phillies have as good a chance as anybody of getting him.

“They have the pieces,” one AL executive said. “I would say the Phillies and Red Sox have the talent to make it happen more than the other teams out there.”

“They’ve got the prospects,” a National League scout said. “They didn’t give up anything for [Cliff] Lee.”

The Phillies shipped Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, Lou Marson and Jason Donald to the Indians for Lee and Ben Francisco. Baseball America considered Carrasco, Knapp, Marson and Donald among the organization’s top 10 prospects. But they also were not Philadelphia’s best prospects. That designation belongs to Kyle Drabek, Domonic Brown and Michael Taylor, and the Phils still have them.

Some things to consider about a potential Halladay trade:

  • The asking price must drop. The Blue Jays originally asked for Drabek, Brown, J.A. Happ and Anthony Gose. The Phillies balked. And they still would balk, if they asked for that package. It’s simply too much to ask for a pitcher who could become a free agent after the season. “It could come down to the Phillies determining if they can significantly deplete their system for a player they may be unable to retain,” a NL executive said.
  • Can they afford him? The Phillies’ payroll seems to have a budget of around $140 million. They’re fast approaching it. Halladay’s $15.75 million salary would obliterate it. Ownership would need to make an exception for Halladay, or the Phillies would have to move salary to make him fit.
  • Talk at the Winter Meetings that Philadelphia has made Joe Blanton available might not be a coincidence. Blanton made $5.75 million in 2009, and is due a raise. Ruben Amaro Jr. declined comment when asked about reports that Blanton is being shopped, but one source said Tuesday that to get Halladay, the Phillies “would have to move Blanton. And he is on the market, by the way.”
  • But this is more than just the 2010 payroll. It’s about the future. If the Phils trade too many top prospects, they will have fewer options in their system to replace current talent. For example, Jayson Werth is a free agent after 2010. Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson will be free agents after ’11. Jimmy Rollins also will become a free agent after ’11, assuming the Phillies pick up his ’11 club option. I know what you’re thinking: prospects are no guarantee. And you’re right. But you can’t trade all of your prospects because if you trade all of your prospects then none of them will hit. And the Phillies can’t just replace Werth, Ibanez, Howard, Lidge, Madson, Rollins and others via free agency. They must have young, inexpensive talent to step in. “At some point … retaining all of their quality players will be difficult,” the NL executive said. “When you reach that point, there has to be depth in the system to cover needs. It’s tough to continuously deal your top prospects, extend payroll and have the ability to recover when the bill comes due.
  • Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said recently that he considered the Phillies and Yankees favorites to land Halladay. One reason is that Halladay lives in the Tampa area, where the Phillies and Yankees hold Spring Training. Halladay has a no-trade clause, but he would waive it for the Philies. “We’re not a Florida team,” Ash said. “I also don’t think he’s looking for a chance to win, he’s looking for a guaranteed win.” Nothing in baseball is guaranteed. But with a rotation that includes Halladay, Lee and Cole Hamels, they would be as close as you can get.

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A Look Back at Deadlines Past

gillick and amaro.jpgThe Phillies got Cliff Lee, the Tigers got Jarrod Washburn and the White Sox got Jake Peavy.

Roy Halladay?

The Blue Jays didn’t trade him. It appears Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi overplayed his hand before today’s non-waiver trade deadline. He would not budge from his asking price, and because he didn’t budge he will get less for Halladay in the offseason than he would have gotten today.

Doh.

The Phillies seem to have done a nice job. They got one of just four starting pitchers traded before the deadline — Ian Snell also got traded — without giving up three of their top prospects: Kyle Drabek, Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor. That’s not bad work.

Let’s take a look at the mid-season trades the Phillies have made since they traded Bobby Abreu, Cory Lidle, Rheal Cormier, Ryan Franklin, David Bell and Sal Fasano during their 2006 fire sale. These trades include trades made before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline and before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline.

2009

2008

2007

  • Russell Braynan from the Indians for cash.
  • Julio Mateo from the Mariners for Jesus Merchan.
  • Kyle Lohse from the Reds for Matt Maloney.
  • Tadahito Iguchi from the White Sox for Michael Dubee.

2006

The Phillies got Stairs, Eyre, Iguchi, Braynan, Moyer, Conine and Hernandez after the July 31 deadline. I mention that only because the Phillies still could make a move this season. If they do, I’m guessing it would be a utility player.

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Lee, Francisco for Four Phillies Prospects

lee 01.jpgThe Phillies got their Cy Young winner.

After it appeared the Phillies would land Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay before Friday’s Trade Deadline, the Phillies landed Indians left-hander Cliff Lee. Sources told MLB.com that the Phillies and Indians have reached an agreement that would send Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco to the Phillies for prospects Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson.

The agreement is pending a review of medical records.

If it goes well, an announcement could be made later today.

The Phillies improved their rotation and added a much needed right-handed bat for their bench. The Indians get four of the top 10 prospects in Philadelphia’s system, according to Baseball America. The Blue Jays? Well, they appear to have overplayed their hand with less than 48 hours to go before the deadline.

The deal seems attractive to the Phillies for a few reasons:

  • Lee bolsters a rotation that has pitched much better recently. Phillies starters had a 5.27 ERA through July 2, but have a 2.71 ERA since. Lee is the American League’s 2008 Cy Young winner. He is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA this season, and 3-2 with a 2.37 ERA in his last five starts. He had the eighth-worst run support of any American League pitcher this season. That should not be a problem with the Phillies, who have the best offense in the National League.
  • The Phillies got Lee without giving up the three players the Blue Jays had demanded in a deal for Halladay: Phillies left-hander J.A. Happ, Double-A Reading right-hander Kyle Drabek and Single-A Clearwater outfielder Dominic Brown. Happ is a legitimate National League Rookie of the Year candidate and Drabek and Brown are the organization’s top pitching and player prospects, respectively. The Phillies also didn’t give up outfielder Michael Taylor, who Baseball America considers a Top 25 prospect.
  • Lee has a $9 million club option for next season, while Halladay makes $15.75 million. That $6.75 million difference will impact the Phillies’ offseason, who have a $5 million club option on Pedro Feliz and expect Joe Blanton, who is salary arbitration eligible, to get a raise from the $5.475 million he makes this season.
  • Francisco is hitting .250 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs this season. He is an upgrade over outfielder John Mayberry Jr., who is hitting .189 with four homers and eight RBIs.

Of course, who goes into the bullpen? The Phillies have Lee, Happ, Blanton, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Pedro Martinez on the horizon. It’s a nice problem to have, but somebody is going to have their feelings hurt.

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Is Lee Close?


lee 02.jpgCarlos Carrasco
got scratched from this morning’s 11 a.m. start in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson also are not in the lineup.

Signs point to Indians left-hander Cliff Lee.

“Nothing is imminent,” one source said, although there are those inside the Indians organization who feel a deal likely will happen soon.

But Lee makes sense. Sources have said in recent days that talks between the Phillies and Blue Jays regarding Roy Halladay have slowed to a near standstill. The Blue Jays haven’t budged on their asking price for Kyle Drabek, and the Phillies haven’t budged in wanting to keep him. But while a potential deal for Halladay seems to have faded, I would say a very small chance remains it could happen — only if the Blue Jays realize the Phillies are about to go in a different direction and drop their asking price.

Left-hander J.A. Happ is scheduled to start for the Phillies tonight in Arizona. If he pitches tonight, it means the Phillies could make this trade without giving up Happ or Drabek — both pitchers the Blue Jays have demanded.

Stay tuned on that.

Are Marson and Donald in the deal? Not necessarily. It should be noted that everyday catchers rarely play a day game after a night game, much less an 11 a.m. start. That potentially explains why Marson is out. And I got word out of Lehigh Valley that because Donald is returning from knee surgery, he also had been scheduled to have today off.

But Carrasco’s healthy scratch was the flashing neon sign that a deal is getting close.

A trade is near. Ken Rosenthal said Single-A Lakewood flamethrower Jason Knapp is part of the deal that includes Carrasco, Donald and Marson. It looks like it’s for Lee, but nothing is imminent.

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Could It Be Martinez and Halladay?


pedro 2.jpgPedro Martinez
is going to throw one more time for the Phillies in the Dominican Republic.

If it goes well, expect him to sign, possibly next week.

But what does Martinez’s arrival say about the Phillies’ interest in Roy Halladay? Actually, it says nothing. A baseball source told MLB.com last night that signing Martinez will not prevent the Phillies from pursuing Halladay, who the Blue Jays have dangled as trade bait.

If they get Martinez, the source said the Phillies are going to make a run at Halladay, too.

Now how does that work?

Here is one man’s theory: If the Blue Jays require a young Major League-ready pitcher as part of any deal, they could demand J.A. Happ. Having Martinez in the picture — even though nobody knows how he will perform after struggling last season with the Mets — would give the Phillies more depth to consider the move.

Still, Halladay coming to the Phillies remains a long shot. The Blue Jays are going to ask a king’s ransom for him, and you can’t blame them. The Phillies have three untouchables in their farm system (right-handers Kyle Drabek and Jason Knapp, and outfielder Dominic Brown), but I think any of them could be moved for Halladay if the price is right. That price might include Happ.

That should not be surprising. Quite a few big names in the Phillies farm system would have to move to get Halladay.

I’m not sure that will happen.

I’m much more certain that Martinez will.

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Baseball America ranks Brown 17th, Taylor 23rd and Drabek 24th amongst the Top 25 prospects in baseball. Knapp is in the top 50.

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Amaro Talks Halladay, Martinez, World Peace, Etc.


ruben green.jpgRoy Halladay
! Roy Halladay! Roy Halladay!

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. spoke with reporters a few minutes ago at Citizens Bank Park. He would not comment specifically about Halladay, who is available via trade. But he talked about trading for the theoretical stud pitcher. He also said little about Pedro Martinez other than “we are trying to do what we can to add to our club, and if we feel at the end of the day Pedro is going to help us than we’ll make a run at him.”

Question: Can you go out and get a stud pitcher?
Answer: We have some flexibility. A lot of it depends on the player that we’re talking about. But we have some flexibility. It’s not unlimited. And as you know, we have the highest payroll we’ve ever had. We’re well over $130 million, and there is a limit to what we can spend.

Q: Are there untouchable players in your farm system?
A: There are some untouchables in our system. We feel that we’re building a pretty strong farm system. … We have to be prudent about what our future is about. It is important to win now, and we understand the importance of that. But that said, there are players we would like to keep for our future. And I would say they’re not as touchable as others.

Q: But it is a situation where you absolutely would not trade somebody? If the best player in the Major Leagues is available, are there still players you would not consider trading?
A: There are.

(Those players are right-handers Kyle Drabek and Jason Knapp and outfielder Dominic Brown.)

Q: Last year you reportedly finished second in the CC Sabathia sweepstakes …
A: Really? If you’re second, you’re last, I guess.

Q: Are you in better position to make a trade for somebody like a Halladay this year?
A: I think we’re in good position to do some things overall. Like I said, I think our farm system has improved. Again, when you’re talking about doing trades of any type, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We may think our guys are much better than they think our guys are.  We’ll try to be aggressive with the right deal. At the same time, we have to be prudent about what some of these moves might impact our future, too.

Q: You understand fans and the manager don’t like to hear that?
A: Oh, yeah, I understand that. The goal is to win this year. There’s no question about that. That doesn’t change. But we didn’t get CC last year and we didn’t get Manny (Ramirez) last year and most of these guys on the field right now are toting rings around.

Q: Would you substract from the Major-League roster to make a trade?
A: The goal is to add, not to subtract. That’s really the goal, so subtracting doesn’t necessarily help us.

Q: If there is a guy you’re pretty sure can help you win a World Series this year, but you’d have to give up a guy you think might be a superstar … is that a tough call to make? Kind of like Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz. Is it worth giving up a guy like Smoltz for a World Series?
A: Well, if you can guarantee me that it’s going to win a World Series then probably, yeah. You don’t get a chance to win too many World Series. But that’s the thing. When teams put a really huge investment in a move they expect to win. Some pretty big names got moved last year and while those teams made the playoffs, they didn’t necessarily make for a championship club.

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Asked about getting a right-handed bat for the bench, Amaro said, “I’d like to. Do we need to? I’m not sure. We’ve picked up guys like Matt Stairs late.”

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Halladay on the Move?

halladay.jpgHey, look, Roy Halladay is on the market.

Blue Jays general manager J.P. Riccardi told FOX’s Ken Rosenthal that Halladay is available.

“We have to see what’s out there,” Ricciardi said. “I’m not saying we’re going to shop him. But if something makes sense, we at least have to listen. We’re (leaning) more toward listening than we’ve ever been.”

The Phillies are interested in Halladay, and who wouldn’t be? But the price for him is going to be enormous. Rosenthal wrote that the Blue Jays would be looking for a deal like the one the Indians made for Bartolo Colon in 2002, when they got Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips. No question the Blue Jays would be looking for one or more of the Phillies top prospects: Kyle Drabek, Dominic Brown and Jason Knapp — although the Phillies have made it known that those three are untouchable.

Michael Taylor? Jason Donald? Lou Marson? Carlos Carrasco? The Phillies are willing to trade them.

But what if the Phillies have a real shot to land Halladay? What if including Drabek is the difference between making a deal and not making a deal? I understand saying no for a pitcher like Erik Bedard or Brad Penny, but Halladay is a different animal. He not only is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but he is signed through 2010 at $15.75 million.

So a trade market that looked remarkably weak just a few hours ago — the Phillies are taking a look today at Pedro Martinez — suddenly got a lot more interesting. And the Blue Jays hold the cards.

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