Phillies and D-backs fit well as trade partners
The Phillies and the Arizona Diamondbacks have the exact opposite outfield situation, so don’t be surprised if the two teams talk trade this winter.
The Phillies are looking for outfield help. They need an everyday centerfielder and a righthanded corner outfielder with power. Arizona has five outfielders vying for three positions.
D-backs GM Kevin Towers insinuated to the Arizona Republic
this week that the team plans to use Justin Upton in right field and Adam Eaton (no, not that
Adam Eaton) in center. The battle for left field pits Jason Kubel against Gerardo Parra, and Arizona also has centerfielder Chris Young.
According to the paper, Young has already been shopped and Kubel could be next. As Towers points out, the decision on who to keep is dependent on how the rest of Arizona's roster shapes up. In left field, Kubel is the power threat while Parra is better defensively.
Let’s break down the way each of these three players might fit with the Phillies...Chris Young - CF
Young, 29, is owed $8.5 million next season and has a club option for 2014 that can be bought out for $1.5 million.
After averaging 151 games per season from 2007-11, Young played in just 101 last year because of a quad injury and the effectiveness of the rest of Arizona’s outfield. He hit just .231 with 14 home runs and 41 RBI.
Young owns a career batting line of .239/.318/.437 and from 2007-11 averaged 23 homers, 71 RBI and 20 steals per season. He’s regarded as a tremendous defensive centerfielder. Over the last six seasons, only four centerfielders – Michael Bourn, Austin Jackson, Carlos Gomez and Franklin Gutierrez -- have saved more runs on defense than Young, according to Fangraphs
Unlike Kubel and Parra, Young hits righthanded. But offensively, he’s probably the least productive. He’d be a cheap centerfield alternative to Bourn, who is represented by Scott Boras and is in line for a huge deal. And Young is very similarly skilled to B.J. Upton, who figures to make at least $50 million in free agency.
What is attractive about Young is that he’s relatively cheap next season and if things don’t work out, you can cut ties for $1.5 million after 2013. Jason Kubel - LF
He’d give the Phillies a much-needed power boost. They certainly could have used his 30 home runs, 90 RBIs and .506 slugging percentage last season.
But Kubel is a lefthanded hitter and fits best batting fifth, and it makes little sense for the Phillies to hit him after lefties Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. That would set the Phils’ middle of the order up for failure against southpaws, especially since Kubel is a .238 career hitter against lefties and his OPS is 35 percent worse against lefties than righties.
Again, though, Kubel’s contract is an attraction. He only makes $7.5 million next season and has a $7.5 team option the following season. That is very cheap for a player with 30-home run power.Gerardo Parra - CF/LF/RF
The D-backs may not be inclined to trade Parra, but he’s probably the best fit for the Phillies.
Parra is 25, can play all three outfield positions well (he won a Gold Glove in 2011) and is a good hitter. He owns a career line of .280/.332/.400 and has the potential to bloom late the way Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez did. Parra doesn’t have the home run pop of Werth or Ibanez but he has gap power and speed to go with it. You need to find cheap, young players on the cusp of a breakout. Josh Reddick of the Athletics is a 2012 example.
Parra is a lefty and he doesn’t hit lefties particularly well, but he wouldn’t be batting after Utley or Howard so it doesn’t matter as much as it would with a guy like Kubel.
Parra is also incredibly inexpensive. He made $502,000 last year and is just now entering his first year of salary arbitration. Contract guru Matt Swartz of MLBTradeRumors
projects Parra to make $2.1 million in 2013. Acquiring a player like Parra would enable the Phillies to spend money on the bullpen and on a power-hitting outfielder.
Is Parra better than Bourn or Upton? No. But he’s about 1/50th of the cost, and that matters for a team that has so much money already committed to aging players.What to trade?
The Phillies have a wealth of intriguing young starting pitching prospects they could potentially shop.
Jonathan Pettibone took the next step in 2012, Adam Morgan has already been promoted twice by age 22 and Ethan Martin thrived after coming over in the Shane Victorino trade.
There's also Brody Colvin, Baseball America's 56th best prospect in baseball prior to last season. Former first-rounder Jesse Biddle dominated in Clearwater in 2012. And Trevor May might have the best pure stuff of them all.
Don't forget Vance Worley, either. He doesn't have as high a ceiling as the aforementioned pitchers, but he's 18-13 with a 3.50 ERA in the majors and just turned 25.
Ruben Amaro Jr. always does his due diligence, so you can count on he and Towers spending some time on the phone these next few months.E-mail Corey Seidman at firstname.lastname@example.org