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The Price for Adams: Singleton and More?

Posted by Michael Baumann, Mon, July 18, 2011 05:15 PM | Comments: 28
Analysis, News, Posts

After a week or so of rumors regarding a prospects-for-bullpen help deal between the Phillies and Padres, we finally have some actual names being thrown around. Tom Krasovic cites “a major league source outside the West” who believes the Phillies are willing to trade 1B/OF “The Boss” Jonathan Singleton, and perhaps more, to the Padres for reliever Mike Adams. Of Adams and Heath Bell, I’d rather have Adams, who is under team control for a year longer than Bell, and leads all active major league relievers in tERA since the start of the 2010 season. If you’re looking for a relief pitcher, particularly a right-handed relief pitcher, you’re not going to do much better than Mike Adams, despite the fact that he’s been under Bell’s shadow.

For Singleton’s part, the 19-year-old is one of the Phillies’ signature high-risk/high-reward minor league bats high school draft picks, and the former 8th-round pick has exceeded expectations, hitting .282 this season with patience and power against opposition two years or more older than he is. In two-plus minor league seasons, Singleton has fallen more on the “high-reward” side of the equation with some truly stellar performances for a player of his age. A first baseman by trade, Singleton has his path blocked by Ryan Howard, and has played left field for parts of this season, with limited success.

With that said, if Singleton is included in any trade for a reliever, I’m going to lose my shit.

Adams is a great reliever (so is Bell, for that matter), but the difference between him and Danys Baez or Jose Contreras in the bullpen would likely be no more than one marginal win this season and maybe two next year. A good starting position player, such as Singleton projects to be, is worth those three wins in one year, and he’d be under team control for another five years

beyond that, depending on the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement.

The major selling point for Singleton is his performance based on his youth. As a 19-year-old, he already has good plate discipline and power, and those skills stand to grow. Most 19-year-olds with major league aspirations are college freshmen or in low-A or rookie ball, and that Singleton is, essentially, two years ahead of schedule, makes his ceiling much higher than a comparable 21-year-old prospect at that level, or perhaps even a 21-year-old or 22-year-old putting up comparable stats at AA. Simply put, Singleton has the potential to be an all-star first baseman or outfielder, and no relief pitcher, no matter how good, is as valuable as any decent first baseman, much less the quality of player Singleton could become. Hitting that well at that level at that age is a trait exhibited by only the very, very best prospects, and Singleton is maybe only a step or two behind where Mike Trout, Jason Heyward, and Mike Stanton were at a similar age.

Concerning the idea that Ryan Howard is signed through 2016, and is thus blocking Singleton’s path, Dash Treyhorn of The Fightins put it well: assuming that Singleton can’t hack it defensively in left, and assuming that Howard isn’t shipped out at some point in the same type of deal that cleared Jim Thome from Howard’s path before the 2006 season (and both of which are big assumptions), Singleton will be 25 when Howard’s deal runs out, or the same age Howard was when he took over from Thome.

Simply put, Adams is great, and Singleton is far from a sure thing, but Singleton’s potential is too great for him to be traded at this point. It would be the epitome of foolishness to let him go for any relief pitcher, no matter how good he might be.

Avatar of Michael Baumann

About Michael Baumann

Michael Baumann has written 229 articles on Phillies Nation.

Michael is a graduate student at Temple University who lost his childlike innocence when, at the age of 6, his dad let him stay up for the end of Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Unsettled by the Phillies' recent success, he has threatened over the years to leave the team he loves if they don't start losing again, but has so far been unable to follow through. Michael spent 4 years as an undercover agent in Braves territory at the University of South Carolina, where he covered football and soccer for The Daily Gamecock before moving back up north. He began writing for The Phrontiersman in June 2009 before moving to Phillies Nation in January 2010.

 
 
  • Posts: 220 The Dipsy

    Avatar of The Dipsy

    Singleton is 19 and in A ball. Adams is a stud and will be our closer next year. When you add that to the analysis one can see us not having to replace Madson with a guy outside the organization who wants 10-12m for a year or two. Your closer is in house and cheap. So not only do you get a great back end guy for this year but you also free up even more money for next year. I’m not nuts about having to give up Singleton but it takes a lot of extrapolation to put him in the class of a Mike Stanton. He can’t field and he’s blocked. Make the move.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 10 Schmitty

    Avatar of Schmitty

    I’m in general agreement here. The Phillies have done a good job of knowing their own minor league talent. That’s the key. Gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to trade ‘em. And trade ‘em when everyone else values the player more than you do.

     
  • Posts: 0 Dark Leviathan

    Agreed. I understand the need for a deal now to bolster our bullpen, but at some point, long-term thinking must be factored in.

     
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    I’m of the belief that you can’t keep trading away young talent for high priced veterans. At some point it has to stop. I agree with Mike that I would lose my shit (not literally, mind you, and only 1/2 figuratively) if the Phillies traded Singleton for a RP. Adams is outstanding, there is no doubt about. I just hate giving up top-tiered prospects for bullpen arms that pitch one inning every other day.

     
  • Posts: 426 Publius

    Avatar of Publius

    This is a buyers market for middle relievers and closers. Adams is good, yes, but he’s not AMAZING. He’s in the top 20 in SIERA and xFIP in relievers, but there’s a lot of other no-names in there that might be available for cheap.

    That being said I understand why the Padres are asking as much as they are, since Adams’s ERA is low and GMs for some reason continue to overvalue ERA while peripherals tell a better story. Guys like Brandon League, Koji Uehara or others could probably do an equally serviceable job at a cheaper prospect price.

     
  • Posts: 220 The Dipsy

    Avatar of The Dipsy

    Let m tell you how I measure relievers against one another. By height.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 2978 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Good arguments both ways and it only FURTHER causes me to be on the fence with this one. Singleton is a prospect that any team, would just hate to lose.

    BUT….I do think that the Phils’ biggest and most glaring need….RIGHT NOW….is bullpen help. Adams is one of the best relievers in the game. He can set up. He could close. Contreras is a huge question mark. Bastardo and Stutes have been nice surprises (especially Stutes) but they are young and inexperienced, Juan Perez kind of stumbled into the picture and Madson’s future as a Phillie I guess is haning in the balance.

    So….with all that said…..do the deal.

     
  • Posts: 0 michael

    We really don’t need another back end guy. And while I like Madson, don’t know that we should spend 10 mill+ to keep him. We have lots of arms at high minor league levels, and Stutes and Bastardo are doing just fine. Personally I think that is the backend of the bullpen for years to come. At 19, you teach Singleton the outfield and help him along. You don’t give him to another team for a reliever you really don’t need. My opinion.

     
  • Posts: 426 Publius

    Avatar of Publius

    I can see where Singleton is probably expendable, given his age and his position, but I would much rather see him traded for a right-handed OFer with a couple of years left on his contract. The bats are the biggest problem. Come playoffs, odds are that Roy, Cliff and Cole can go 7, which means you really only need Bastardo and Madson to close things out. Another reliever would make it more comfortable, but I don’t see how that’s more pressing than our abysmal offense, especially against LHP/LOOGYs

     
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    I agree with Publius. What is this world coming to!?

     
    • Posts: 2978 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      See…I sort of agree as well. So now I’m back on the fence. But this doesn’t ignore the fact the Phillies need bullpen help. Oh, I just don’t know….

       
      • Posts: 426 Publius

        Avatar of Publius

        I’m not saying they don’t need bullpen help, I’m just saying that if Rube is gonna dip into the prospect pool in a trade, I’d rather it be for a bat. Relief help in this market will be cheap to find. Heck, Worley by himself can probably yield a good reliever for this year. As for next year, relievers can be found on the cheap in the offseason. Just look at what Tampa has done building theirs from scratch from practically nothing.

         
  • Posts: 222 tavian

    Avatar of tavian

    HEY FOLKS, WHAT ABOUT MATT RIZZOTTI ?

    Yes, he is older than Singleton, but he is more advanced and proven. The guy can really hit and if anyone is blocked from making the majors by Howard, it is Rizzotti. He has more power, presence and professionalism. He is someone that I would think would be more attractive because of his experience. Rizzotti for Adams, and perhaps another minor leaguer. WE DO NEED A STRONG BULLPEN.

    Dipsy makes perfect sense when considering Adams as our closer next year. Madson will want a king’s ransom with Boros as his agent. We all know that.
    Gr

     
    • Posts: 35 Michael Baumann

      Avatar of Michael Baumann

      What Pat said is right. There’s a chance Singleton could play OF, but probably not Rizzotti. As far as his ability with the bat, I don’t know what the holdup is. He’s hit everywhere he’s gone, so I’d like to see him at least get a chance in the majors, but that chance might not be with the Phillies because there simply is not a position for him here.

       
  • Posts: 222 tavian

    Avatar of tavian

    By the way, great discussion here.

     
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    Im not sure people see Rizzotti as anything but a DH right now, that’s the issue. And he’s a little older, which doesn’t necessarily help. Not like you can put him at 1B for a few years and he’ll give you marginal D. He’s just not a defender.

     
  • Posts: 2978 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Publius, ok….. so , in my opinion, if the Phillies are gonna go and spend prospects like Singleton…. for a bat….then it better be a damn good bat. Make some noise then.

     
  • Posts: 297 Jay Floyd

    Avatar of Jay Floyd

    Some thoughts on Singleton and other Phils prospects that will be discussed as trade chips in the coming weeks…

    Sebastian Valle should be the only untouchable player in the Phils developmental ranks. There just isn’t any catching prospect in the system and there aren’t many in baseball that are close to Valle. He’s a guy every team should want and NO team should get.

    Everyone sweating the potential loss of Jarred Cosart needs to look around the system at how many arms there are. The Phillies have May, Colvin, Rodriguez, Biddle, Bonilla, Claypool, Pettibone and others all starting great at the lower levels…then there are guys like Pettis, Sosa and more doing big things as well.

    And then there are the higher levels to consider- De Fratus, Ramirez, Hyatt, Aumont & Schwimer. Pitching is deep in the Phillies system. And I am not implying that Austin Hyatt or the others are Cosart-level…I am saying that when you have depth, you use it to your advantage and if the Phillies can get a big contributor for the Major League club to help win another pennant or better, they should do it and Cosart presents a great opportunity to do that.

    Singleton is different. Ups and downs this year as the youngest, or one of the youngest, guy(s) in the FSL should not raise flags or concern that he’s not a legit prospect. There are certainly other OF’s & 1B’s in the system, but none with similar upside to Singleton at this stage.

    Kyle Drabek and Travis d’Arnaud were very highly regarded with the Phillies and they were only expendable for a BIG TIME acquisition like Roy Halladay. Same applies to Anthony Gose for Roy Oswalt last year. d’Arnaud was expendable because the Phillies had Valle. Gose could go because there were other speedy/athletic OF’s like Brown, James, Gillies & more. Drabek was moved because of the Cosart’s, May’s, etc. that were behind him. There’s just not another Singleton in the system right now. Gillies is no longer a reliable prospect, due to health issues. Leandro Castro, Jiwan James, Aaron Altherr, Matt Rizzotti…they’re not Singleton. For his age, The Boss is still great, despite whatever statistical drop he’s had this season.

    Singleton should not be dealt for a need that is not urgent. With the potential additions of Lidge, Contreras, Kendrick and possibly Worley to the bullpen once the DL empties (as the returns of Roy Oswalt & Joe Blanton would force Worley & Kendrick from the rotation). Singleton’s the type of player that should get elite level return and, all due respect, but, Mike Adams is NOT that type of return the Phillies have grown accustomed to trading their top prospects for.

     
    • Posts: 2978 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      Nice break down, Jay. But is Adams, in your opinion, not an “elite level return” because he doesn’t have name recognition? (In other words, he’s not named Heath Bell). I mean…..look at the dude’s numbers. It’s hard not to want that.

      And I’m not sold on the fact that Oswalt, Blanton or Lidge will be healthy enough if/when they return. I think we need a strong addition to the bullpen. Moreso than a bat. Great pitching shuts down great hitting.

       
      • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

        Avatar of Pat Gallen

        Chuck, I don’t think a middle reliever is “elite” under any circumstance. Think about how many relievers come and go. Everyone thought JC Romero was the bees knees for 1 1/2 years. he flamed out. Brad Lidge had a perfect season, then followed it up with the worst ever. Not saying Adams is that type, but RP’s generally don’t last long and if they do, they are closers.

        Giving up your #1 prospect should be saved for guys like Halladay, Lee, etc. I agree with Jay – there is no other Singleton in this system. The Phillies would be crazy to give him up for a guy who will pitch every other day.

         
  • Posts: 297 Jay Floyd

    Avatar of Jay Floyd

    I wouldn’t trade Singleton for Heath Bell either, Chuck A. Adams is simply not elite level because he’s not Lee, Halladay or Oswalt, which is what I was getting at by talking about recent years’ trades and what the Phils had gotten accustomed to adding in exchange for top prospects.

    Bell & Adams are Joe Blanton/2008 acquisition types. While Outman & Cardenas were ranked pretty high in the org. back then, they weren’t regarded as highly Singleton or Cosart.

    Re-reading what I wrote, it seems I’m advocating Cosart for Adams instead. I really meant to advocate using the depth of pitching prospects for add a contributor at the big league level, not specifically Cosart. Although, because of the depth, I find Cosart far more expendable than Singleton.

     
  • Posts: 0 Corey

    I agree and disagree with you, but you have an error. Mike trout is the same age as Singleton. I agree with you that we need a guy like Singleton to stay in our system because of his high-reward foreshadowing, but I disagree with you about how you rank Adams with baez and contreras. We all know the Phils hitting woes at times, another good reliever isn’t simply valuable because of his ERA, he is valuable because of his presence and consistency. He offers Charlie more options, such as using madson and bastardo more or less often, earlier or later, etc. It creates matchup problems and turns us into a team that has 4 potent starters and 3 potent relievers. Imagine this scenario: Hamels/lee/halladay/oswalt are off just a bit, only make it through 6 innings. 7, 8 and 9 go to madson, bastardo and adams, whose ERAs are 2.20, 1.02, and 1.26, and if lidge finds a rhythm, hes available. An off night for 4 of our 5 starters leaves us a VERY good chance of winning, and how often are they off? just some food for thought. No such thing as having too good of a bullpen.

     
  • Posts: 220 The Dipsy

    Avatar of The Dipsy

    Singleton is soooooo young. The odds of him turning out to be a good major league player are still very slim. Yes, there is a lotta allure in that youth and talent but a lot can happen between A ball and the Majors. That said, Adams is not a “middle reliever”. At worst he is a great set up guy and most probably our closer for next year, saving us a shitload of money in the process. Madson goes and Adams stays and at a substantial savings. Anyone who does not factor that into the deal would be remiss. So far, Singleton has proven he can’t play the outfield. We have a boatload of minor league prospects. Minor league prospects are used for two purposes: becoming an integral part of your team or trading away for need. My only question is: Is the need really the bullpen? Cuz guess what? – Its easy to beat up on the Mets and Marlins but when you get to the Sox, Yanks, Giants, and Braves, we will need right handed bats.

    I could sit here all night and recite the names of can’t miss Phils prospects that….uh…missed. Don’t let Jon Singleton hold up trading for the need that the brass feels is most important.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 297 Jay Floyd

    Avatar of Jay Floyd

    If the concern about an Adams to Baez ranking was to me, you’ve misread something. I made no such comparisons or mention of Baez.

     
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    I like Singleton but I understand the reasons that he might be considered expendable… but selling him now would be selling his value short. Am I the only one that doesn’t think he’s capable of returning more than a relief pitcher? There is no such thing as a “can’t miss” but he has too much upside to give up for a set up guy… he did not pan out in the outfield but he has settled back in and he could end up being the heir apparent to the Big Piece. Either him or…

    Larry Greene… have you seen the size of that kid?

     
  • Posts: 0 biz

    IMO, Cosart and Valle are untouchable, and Singleton is only movable for Pence.

     
  • Posts: 0 F_I_J

    when we look at this year we see a pen of: KK (long) Lidge, Bastardo, Stutes (middle) Madson (closer. Adding Adams to this mix will be a great help. Next year he moves in as either closer or set up depending non whether Bastardo closes or not. Yes we have arms in the minors ready, but I don’t like trusting them exclusively. With the money we will save on Madson, Lidge, Ibanez, Oswalt (he’s not ncoming back next year) we have to get a LF and a SS.- unless you’re happy with a OF of Brown, Vic, Mayberry, Francisco,

    Singleton may be a great hitter, but isn’t anywhere near ready and plays a posistion we don’t need right now 9or in the next few years). some guys in minors are to fill your needs, others are bait to be traded to fill those needs.

    Think og this as another Lidge for broun type deal-it helps both clubs

     
  • Posts: 220 The Dipsy

    Avatar of The Dipsy

    F-I-J, I don’t know who you are but I like the way you think.

    The Dipsy

     
 
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