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Phillies Next Outfield Target is Reportedly Angel Pagan

Angel_Pagan

Phillies fans may remember Angel Pagan from his time with the New York Mets.  After helping the Giants to their second World Series title in three years, Pagan is a free agent.  After losing out on B. J. Upton and concerned about Michael Bourn's asking price, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies next target may be Angel Pagan.

Free agent Michael Bourn who turns 30 on Dec. 27, is a more established and perhaps even more dynamic leadoff man than Pagan, as well as an elite defender.

The Phillies, however, may be concerned by the perception within the industry that Bourn wants more than Upton, who signed a five-year, $75.25 million contract with the Braves.

The Phillies offered Upton five years and $55 million, sources say, and would pay Pagan less on a four-year deal. They then would have more flexibility to address their needs for a third baseman and setup man.

Pagan hit .288 with 8 home runs and 56 RBI in 2012.  For his career, Pagan has hit .281 with a .333 on base percentage in 695 career games for the Cubs, Mets, and Giants.  The switch-hitting Pagan could give the Phillies flexibility in their lineup.

Of course, reports of being interested could be a ploy to drive Bourn's price down.  Time will tell.


What the Phillies Must Do Now

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On the night of Thanksgiving, the only discussion piece in the NL East was the Marlins giving up for the next 7 to 10 season. No major moves were being made. No trades were being conjured up. No Greinke. No Upton. No Hamilton.

Things have changed.

On Wednesday night, Atlanta won the bidding war with the Phillies and signed free agent outfielder B.J. Upton to a 5 year, $75 million deal. However, it may not have been as big of a bidding war as previously believed. Several sources have said that the deal the Braves eventually signed Upton to was $20 million more than what Ruben Amaro and company were willing to offer. Yeesh. That means that either Upton was overpaid, or Amaro changed his mind in terms of a new center fielder.

After this signing, the Braves then traded away RHP Tommy Hanson to the Angels for reliever Jordan Walden. I actually like this move a lot. The Braves have had a pretty solid bullpen the last two years, with Cy Young candidate Craig Kimbrel shoring up the closer’s role. Now they’ve added the impressive arm of the 25 year old Walden. After the Phillies deal for Wilton Lopez fell through, I hoped they would go after Walden, who became expendable after the team signed Ryan Madson (sad face).

Following this move, the Mets would go on to sign star third baseman David Wright to a whopping 8 year, $138 million extension when combined with his contract for next season. Someone isn’t leaving the division any time soon. It’s a great move for the Mets, and an obvious sign that any slim chance there was for the Phillies to trade for him is now obliterated.

Last night, the Nationals made a move that, for some reason, has blurred the vision of some baseball fans. The leading members of NATITUDE pulled off a deal that would send speedy outfielder Denard Span from Minnesota to Washington. And in that one moment, Span turned into one of the best players in the game (kidding). But there are people who are making a huge deal about this trade, claiming it all but secures the NL East crown for the Nats next year. I just don’t see it. As Rich mentioned earlier, their adding Span’s bat to the lineup, only to lose a more powerful guy in Morse or LaRoche, plus RHP Alex Meyer, a highly touted prospect.

As for the Marlins, they’re done. They are, in no way, in contention this season. 5 of their highest paid players were shipped north of the border, and fans of the team are not happy. At least we won’t finish last this season.

This offseason, the Phillies have managed to lose Carlos Ruiz for 25 games, sign catcher Humberto Quintero (who I will now call BERR because of his Wikipedia pronunciation: [oom-BERR-to kin-TAIR-o]), and bring back Kevin Frandsen for another season, among other minor moves. I’m glad to see Frandsen back, but everything else is just disappointing. Ruiz will never be the same, and Quintero just sucks. I don’t need to give you stats to prove that. Erik Kratz could help, but the days of an offensive catcher are gone.

With all these moves made by division rivals, the Phillies must do something. I’ve got three moves the team must now make to stay competitive.

3. Get Mike Adams

There hasn’t been much buzz on Adams this offseason, but he would be a pretty good signing. He’s got a lifetime 2.28 ERA and averages a strikeout per inning pitched. Other than Papelbon, our bullpen was anything but good this year. Now, I do expect it to improve already, with names like Stutes and Aumont being a part of it. Bringing Adams in gives Charlie another option out there, an option with experience that can really shut things down. I would also still be open to bringing back former Phillies Brett Myers. He doesn’t have the same numbers as Adams, but he can be as effective when he’s at his best.

2. Trade for Chase Headley

A couple of days ago, I wrote about a potential trade for Padres third basemen Chase Headley. There’s no guarantee that Amaro has asked about him, but he should. Guys like Trevor May and Cody Ache are expendable, so giving them away for Headley would greatly improve this lineup. His ability to hit homeruns in Citizens Bank Park over his old home in San Diego would be dramatic. I’m not quite sure what spot in the lineup he could take, but that would be the least of our worries if he could drive in 100 RBI’s over the season. Wherever it would be, I would put him just ahead of this guy…

1. SIGN JOSH HAMILTON

I know that in my wish list, I gave several reasons as to why I didn’t want Hamilton in Philly. But after the moves we’ve seen the other teams have made, I think it’s a necessity. I have no desire to bring Angel Pagan here. Nothing about him impresses me. I’m a numbers guy, and I don’t like any of his. Michael Bourn would be entertaining, but he’s past his prime in uniform. Hamilton is a very high risk signing, but if the MVP caliber player arrives, Amaro will look like a genius, as long as the initial deal is no longer than 5 years.

There you have it. These are the most critical moves for the team to make right now. Each of these moves addresses a major need for the Phillies. While Amaro must make the best moves to improve this team, he must also act quickly. If a major move isn’t made any time soon, players will get picked up and the Phils will have no more options. And that, my friends, just can’t happen. So please, RAJ, if you’re reading this, do us all a favor. Give us some glimmer of hope as we head into the final month of 2012.

Follow Andrew Gillen on Twitter @BigGillen48

 


Phillies to Cut Outfielder Nate Schierholtz

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As ESPN's Jerry Crasnick just reported, the Phillies are soon to be parting ways with utility outfielder Nate Schierholtz. Schierholtz, acquired in the Hunter Pence trade this past season, was expendable with left-handed bats Laynce Nix and Domonic Brown. Schierholtz will soon be a free agent, adding another outfielder to the market.

The Phillies are obviously still in the pursuit of finding a centerfielder. With B.J. Upton now off the market, and Nate Schierholtz off the roster, the Phils may have to do a little extra shopping.

There are still many options for a centerfielder currently in the mix, including Josh Hamilton, Shane Victorino, Curtis Granderson, and Michael Bourn.

We're all waiting, Rube.


A Few Updated Phillies Thoughts

A lot is being made about the events in the National League East over the past 72 hours, from the Phillies failed trade for Wilton Lopez, to the Nationals successful trade for Denard Span, to the Braves paying $75.25 million to get B.J. Upton, and keep him out of Philadelphia. Ruben Amaro is taking a lot of heat, and I'm not sure I agree with that from fans who are generally not all that happy with sports right now in Philadelphia. So with that, my thoughts:

  • I did want the Lopez deal to go through because he's pretty good, young, and cheap. With that said, it's obvious that either the asking price got too high, or he failed his physical, which in either case should force Ruben to put the brakes on this move. All-in-all, I think he's right here.
  • The Phillies best offer to Upton was $20 million below the Braves eventual deal with him. In other words, the Phillies feel the Braves wildly over-paid for the center-fielder, which again, indicates that Ruben was smart to not move. I'm not going to second guess him when he's that far apart from the final offer. Obviously the Phillies can outbid the Braves if they want to, and didn't want to. While Upton was the guy I wanted, I consider this open and shut. Don't tell me how much better the Braves got either- while I like Upton more than Bourn, that's who he replaces in Atlanta, which is hardly a high-impact change.
  • When did Denard Span become Mickey Mantle? I've heard a lot of people angry that he let the Nationals get in front of them on this one, but again, is Span a difference maker who you would have traded a Biddle, May, Martin, or Pettibone for from your system? The Nationals traded a highly regarded arm to get this guy, and he's not a bad ballplayer, but I question the wisdom. Once again, the Nationals were running out an outfield of Werth, Harper, and Morse at the end of the year, with LaRoche at first. Now this means that they will trot out Werth, Span, and Harper, and either they trade Morse and re-sign LaRoche, or they let LaRoche walk and move Morse to first, but ultimately this is a Span for either Morse or LaRoche in the line-up, and a top prospect out. Doesn't seem like an upgrade to me, without digging real deep.
I don't feel like either team became a 100 win team by doing the moves they did, and I still think the Phillies could with the right moves and good health. That all said, i'm not concerned about 100 wins now, I'm concerned with them getting back to the playoffs and winning there, and it appears that their needs are a center-fielder, third baseman, set-up man, and possibly another outfielder. Here's my thoughts on these:
  • Center-Field- My clear preference now, if money weren't an issue, would be Josh Hamilton. Knowing that it isn't that simple, they have two roads to go down- one being sign Hamilton and go budget on the other spots, which is probably fine for opening day, or sign another player here and try to piece this together. I could deal with Michael Bourn though I don't love it, and Angel Pagan isn't my dream here, but he would fit in the two hole. I'd also like to see them at least kick the tires on both Dexter Fowler and Peter Bourjos, though both probably cost too much. I guess my order of preference is Hamilton, Bourn, trade, Pagan, and last, Victorino, who I'm not crazy about re-signing, but does make some sense in this crowd.
  • Third Base- I would actually be content to start the year with a Frandsen/Galvis platoon here and hope one wins the job, but my guess is that's not their pathway. Kevin Youkilis and Jeff Keppinger are my free agent names to watch, and I could be happy with either. Youkilis high on-base-percentage and solid power numbers make me get over his average, and Keppinger's versatility and good average make me accept him too. I'd like to see them kick the tires on Chase Headley again, he's one of the best out there, and I'd have to think he's obtainable.
  • Set-Up Man- I think they have to take a look at Mike Adams and Koji Uehara, though neither is young, and they should take a look at Mike Gonzalez. While the Lopez deal looks dead, the Phillies should definitely call the Angels about their 25 year-old Jordan Walden, who is apparently out of the closer's job with the signing of Ryan Madson this week to close there. Particularly if they go the free agent route on the other two spots, this would make perfect sense.
  • Other Outfielders- I think that the Phillies should, as a matter of trying out younger guys, plan on Dom Brown and Darin Ruf getting every chance to start this year, but it's not a bad idea to kick the tires on players who would be willing to share time with them. With that said, I'd probably skip this and go in-house. Nix, Schierholtz, and Mayberry are all on the roster, and while I don't love any of them, they're all average major-leaguers with some pop, who can spell Ruf a little bit. The reality is that if Brown and Ruf both bomb as starters, this team's probably not good anyway.
I'm just not all that worried about what I've seen. I think the Phillies will be fine, and I think Ruben will act. My guess is that they will make plays at Hamilton and Bourn, while staying in on Pagan, for center, and they'll make a push at the third baseman above. My dream scenario? Hamilton and Headley on their way to Philly. I won't get greedy though- yet.

One Fewer Option: Minnesota Twins Trade Denard Span to Washington Nationals

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Scratch one more name off the list of possible center field options for the Phillies: Denard Span.  According to Dan Knobler of CBS Sports, the Washington Nationals have acquired Span in a trade.  The move is interesting on many levels, but surely will affect the Phillies.

With B.J. Upton and Span off the board, remaining options on the free agent market include former Phillie Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton.  While last season there were some thought that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim would be willing to trade Peter Bourjois, the departure of Torii Hunter to free agency created space in the Angels' outfield for Bourjois, who was squeezed by the emergence of rookie All-Star players Mike Trout and Mike Trumbo.

With the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves off the board of teams who need a center fielder, there are not many teams remaining with money.   The Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays both have internal options to replace their departing center fielders.

Earlier in the day, ESPN and Sirius XM's Jim Bowden tweeted that the Nationals were becoming impatient with free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche and may look harder at Michael Bourn.   The Nationals figure to field an outfield of Jayson Werth, Denard Span, and Bryce Harper, with Mike Morse shifting to first base.

The Giants will need to replace departing center fielder Angel Pagan, should they not re-sign him.  There were indications a couple weeks ago that the Giants were still interested in retaining him.  It is starting to appear that the supply is going to exceed demand.

With "Michael Bourn" having come out of Ruben Amaro's mouth publicly and directly, I'm starting to think that there will be a Phillies and Bourn reunion.   With the Nationals and Braves out of the picture, the Scott Boras client just may not be overpriced.  Bourn remains friends with Jimmy Rollins and has spoken well of his time in Philadelphia.


Phillies Trade With Astros for Wilton Lopez is Reportedly Dead

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I'm glad they tried.  According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the trade that would have sent Astros reliever Wilton Lopez to the Phillies is pretty much dead.  Apparently the Phillies were not comfortable for the results of Lopez's physical:

A deal had been agreed upon, pending Lopez passing his physical, but it appears both teams are going their separate ways.

The Phillies would never publicly state that a player had failed a physical, but reading in between the lines in my bloggerly way, my opinion is that Lopez has.  If all had gone well, why wouldn't the Phillies have kept their deal?

While Zolecki points out that Lopez "would have been a nice addition to the pen", I would say that would only be the case if he was healthy.  With potential shoulder problems, there would be too must risk in sending good value for Lopez.

This is not the first time that the Phillies backed out on a deal because of health concerns.    In December 2010 the Phillies had agreed to terms with reliever Dennys Reyes and then nine days later backed out of the deal.   Phillies Assistant General Manager Scott Proefrock declined to explain why.   Reyes ended up pitching just 1 2/3 innings in 2011 for the Boston Red Sox and has not pitched in the major leagues since.


Angels Reliever Jordan Walden Could Be a Phillies Fit Should Lopez Deal Fall Through

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The agreed-to-but-not-final Wilton Lopez deal that may fall through gives us a little insight as to what the Phillies are thinking.   They want a reliever who can be strong in the 8th inning.  They want someone young, inexpensive, and who will be around a while.  That player could come from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Jordan Walden, suggests Marcus Morris of Pucktacular.  According to CBS Sports' R.J. White, Walden is "very available" with the Angels' signing of Ryan Madson.

Walden was the Angels' closer in 2011, and blew 10 saves.   After getting roughed up in April of 2012 to the tune of an 8.31 ERA, Walden settled into a set-up role and performed much better in May and pitched to a 0.73 ERA in 12 appearances.   For the season, Walden was 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA and one save in two opportunities.

Walden might not be as good as a healthy Lopez could be, but he might also cost less to acquire.  He's a name worth considering.


Is Tyler Cloyd Headed to Astros in Wilton Lopez Deal? Could Deal Fall Through?

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Though there were reports yesterday that the Phillies and the Houston Astros agreed on players exchanged in a trade for Wilton Lopez, the deal was still not complete as of Thursday morning.   Some reports indicated that Lopez was in Philadelphia taking a physical and that he needed to pass before a trade was finalized.

One name that surfaced today as going to Houston is starting pitcher Tyler Cloyd.  Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com says the deal could be a "2 for 1".   He named Cloyd as a possibility going to Houston and that the Phillies and Astros have discussed their young catchers Sebastian Valle and Tommy Joseph.  If the trade is Valle and Cloyd for Lopez, I think that would be a good deal for the Phillies.   The Phillies could stand to lose eitehr.

As for Lopez, his elbow may be an area of concern and why the physical is so important.  In 2012, Lopez had a stint on the disabled list for his elbow and missed a few games the month before.   In 2011, Lopez another disabled list stint.  So, the Phillies would want to make sure Lopez is healthy enough before consumating a deal.  

If the Phillies did not like the physical, they could simply walk away and set their sights elsewhere.


No B.J. for Phillies: Free Agent Centerfielder Upton to Sign With Atlanta Braves

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Photo: Wikipedia Commons

The Phillies new center fielder will not be B.J. Upton.   According to numerous reports including this one from FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, the free agent center fielder has agreed to a five-year contract with the Atlanta Braves.     The reported value of the contract is five years and $70 - 75 million.

Other free agent options in the marketplace include former Phillie Michael Bourn and Josh Hamilton.  Of course, the Phillies could land a center fielder via trade.


Bearded Brian Wilson of the Giants a Possible Fit for the Phillies?

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Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Well this is an interesting possibility.   Scott Lauber, former Phillies writer and current Red Sox writer for the Boston Globe had a very interesting reaction to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.  Rosenthal mentioned that the Dodgers and Red Sox were possible landing places for Giants closer Brian Wilson.  Lauber chimed in:

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Now, of course, if the Phillies finish the trade with the Astros for Wilton Lopez, they may no longer have a need for Wilson.   This is probably indiciative of Ruben Amaro Jr. turning over every stone in search of a dominant 8th inning reliever.  Having missed 2012 with his second Tommy John surgery, Wilson is now expendable for the Giants thanks to the emergence of Sergio Romo, who was a dominant closer for the Giants' World Championship run.