Phillies Offseason Plan: Corey’s Version

Posted by Corey Seidman, Thu, November 15, 2012 07:00 AM | Comments: 35
Analysis, Offseason, Payroll

My offseason plan looks different than Pat’s and Eric’s. They each outlined under-the-radar solutions to the Phillies’ problems, moves that could make the team younger and not put the Phils over the luxury tax.

Despite his deficiencies, B.J. Upton is worth a five-year deal for the Phillies.

I took a different approach. The Phillies need to improve, and I’m more concerned with upgrading the offense and bullpen than I am with getting the most bang for the buck. I see Eric’s points about what Peter Bourjos adds, but I don’t think he’s a big enough offensive upgrade. I agree that Ryan Theriot is a serviceable platoon option at third base, but he’s not much more than that and he’s very similar to Kevin Frandsen.

Here is my offseason wishlist:

B.J. Upton – five years, $78 million
Even if the elder Upton doesn’t realize his potential and has five more seasons like his previous five, he’ll be worth this type of contract. It may seem like a ton, but it’s what you pay in today’s world for a power-hitting, defensively sound everyday centerfielder.

I know about Upton’s deficiencies, his .298 OBP last season, his average of 162 strikeouts per season since 2009. But I care more about the 28 home runs he hit last season at a park that suppresses homers, the 40 steals he’s averaged over the last five years.

Upton may be a .250 hitter for the rest of his career. But this specific Phillies team needs power (17th in slugging percentage, 18th in homers), and could use some speed in the middle of the order. Upton could provide both after Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

He’s great defensively and has well above-average speed. He’s also 28 … almost two years younger than Michael Bourn and three years younger than Angel Pagan.

The possibility exists that Upton, in this park and in front of actual fans, could take his game to another level.

Kevin Youkilis – two years, $17 million
He’s the best available third baseman and would give the Phillies exactly the type of plate discipline they need. The Phils were also 17th in on-base percentage last season and haven’t had a true pitch-taker since Jayson Werth.

Signing Upton makes much more sense if you can also land Youkilis, because Upton could add power and speed while Youkilis gives you power and plate discipline. He doesn’t move well on the bases, but Youk could fit in as a second batter because of how often he gets on base. He has a .384 career OBP and figures to bounce back from last season’s career-low, which was mostly the result of a terrible April.

Youkilis is the only third baseman in this class that could improve the Phillies at the plate, so he’s the easy choice. Actually signing him figures to be tough, as the White Sox want to re-sign him and teams are interested in him as both a third baseman and first baseman.

The Phillies haven’t had a long-term option at the hot corner since Scott Rolen. Youk could be the guy for two years while Cody Asche continues to develop on the farm.

Mike Adams – two years, $15 million
He had surgery several weeks ago for thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition shared by Antonio Bastardo.

Adams’ injury limited him a bit in 2012, when he pitched to a 3.27 ERA in 61 appearances for the Rangers. From 2009-11, he was the best setup man in the game. He had a 1.42 ERA and a microscopic 0.85 WHIP.

Adams has a devastating cutter and doesn’t get lucky in his results. He is a bona fide filthy late reliever who was still effective in an extreme hitter’s park last season. You put him on last year’s Phillies – who had the second-worst eighth inning ERA in baseball and had 27 relief losses – and they might have won four or five more games. I’m not talking in abstract WAR terms, either, I’m talking in “games blown by Chad Qualls, Michael Schwimer, Bastardo and Phillippe Aumont” terms.

The Phils have been linked to Adams at recent trade deadlines (2010 and 2011) but made bigger moves each July, trading for Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence.

This might be the perfect time to bring him in, and his injury may have decreased his pricetag enough to make it possible.

Koji Uehara – two years, $12 million
Whether you get Adams or not, I’d also pursue his Texas teammate from last year.

Ordinarily, I’d never condone spending this much money on the bullpen. If the Phillies were to sign both Adams and Uehara to these proposed deals, they would have more than $25 million next season to those two and Jonathan Papelbon.

But you know what? This team needs a very strong bullpen. If you’re going to build a team on pitching, you need to be able to protect leads in the inning between the starter’s exit and Papelbon’s entrance. The Phillies didn’t come close to doing that last season and drastic measures need to be taken.

Aumont is not yet ready for everyday eighth inning duty, nor is Justin De Fratus or Bastardo or Josh Lindblom. Simply put, none of those guys have a good enough combination of stuff and control.

A back-end of Uehara (who has a 2.14 ERA the last two years and a 10.7 K/BB), Adams and Papelbon gives the Phillies so many options. Yes, they are flush with young relievers. But which of those young relievers are you actually confident in going into 2013? Potential is great. But for this specific Phillies team, I’d rather be as confident as possible in my late relievers. That relief trio inspires a ton of confidence.

Resulting Roster
These moves, for the proposed contracts, put the Phillies about $5 million over the luxury tax. The Phils have avoided exceeding the tax threshold in recent years, but it increases from $178 million to $189 million after this season and if you have to pay the price for one year, I think it’s worth it if you can fill three holes in legitimate ways.

As I said at the outset of this post, I am more concerned with the team improving than I am with it making the most efficient deals.

Easy to say, it’s not my money. But when you’re already spending this much, it becomes almost necessary to spend a little more to put yourself back into true contention. The Tigers keep on proving that.

SP: Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Kendrick, Worley

Bullpen: Papelbon, Adams, Uehara, Bastardo, Lindblom, Horst, De Fratus

C: Ruiz, Kratz

Infield: Howard, Utley, Rollins, Youkilis, Frandsen, Galvis

Outfield: Upton, Dom Brown, Darin Ruf, Laynce Nix, John Mayberry

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 JMills

    I have soured on Upton, reading that he is actually not that great as a center fielder. He has the tools but makes a lot of mental errors. No thanks to Youk. I want a lead off hitter and would go for Pagan and I agree with you on Adams. Then I would make a run at Greinke because I think this is Haladay’s last season with Phils. I am ok with a season of Frandsen/Galvis at third and would like to add Keppinger. This would put us over luxury tax but just for one season.

  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    B.J. Upton may hit more home runs as he continues to mature, but a move from the Trop to CBP by itself may not have the impact we expect.

    According to the site below, Tropicana suppresses home runs by RHBs by 9%, and CBP suppresses HRs by righties by 6%.


    Upton has hit 118 home runs in his career. 60 at home, and 58 on the road

    I think Upton will be a fine player over the next several years. I don’t care much about his strikeouts, but the biggest downside of signing him (as with Hamilton, Bourn, or Swisher) is giving up the 16th pick in the draft, which the Phillies would not have to do if they signed Pagan, Victorino, or Cabrera.

    • Posts: 0 brett

      you cannot go by those numbers to be honest with you…the reason those numbers are down is because the Phillies, the obvious team that plays there 81 games a year have always lacked a RH power threat other than Pat Burrell not too mention the obvious lack of power in the NL East…Rays have Longoria and Upton, 2 big power guys, and play in the AL East which is known for power over pitching…also the NL East has always had better pitching as a whole…that limits those numbers in CBP

      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Nope — the way those ratings are calculated is by comparing stats in a team’s home games, with stats in their away games.

      • Posts: 904 schmenkman

        Avatar of schmenkman

        To expand on that, if the Phillies lack RH power, they will lack it in both home and away games. If the Phillies have great pitching, they will have it in both home and away games.

        The makeup of the home team does not make a significant difference in the park effect ratings, because the ratings control for that by comparing the stats (by both teams) in a team’s home games, with stats (by both teams) in that team’s away games, against the same opponents.

        And because the park effects can fluctuate from year to year, they are typically measured over multiple years. The links above, for example, are for the past three years combined.

        The factors have consistently found the same things over the past several years:

        - CBP is an average (i.e. neutral) park in terms of overall hitting or scoring
        - It is overall neutral to slightly homerun-friendly
        - It somewhat suppresses homeruns by right handed batters
        - It boosts home runs by left handed batters (with the notable exception of Howard)

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I would like Corey to replace Ruben Amaro Jr …. or at least become his top adviser!

  • Posts: 0 MplsPhilsFan


    While I am with you on signing Upton, the contract you listed gives me agita. yes, I knwo that his OBP was a career low,a nd that he is normally around .330, but giving over $15 mm a year to someone who may or may not achieve their potential feels too risky to me. I am not sure I would go above a $13-14 mm year annual value, as he may start to lose value as his speed diminishes towards the end of the contract.

    Adams is a bit pricey, but he is a very good reliever who would fill a definite need. However, I think signing both he and Uehara is a bit of an overspend. One or the other would fill the need, but both seems excessive to me, and committing too much salary to the bullpen, especially with some promising young arms there already.

    Any idea why the Phils are being linked to Cody Ross, Hamilton and pretty much anyone other than Upton, who we all see as a perfect fit for them? Smoke screen, perhaps?

  • Posts: 0 FACE

    Wrong Upton but at least it’s not Cody f’ing Ross.That’s a lot of money too…I don’t know. I really wish they could trade for Justin Upton…

    I like the bullpen moves. I wouldn’t mind Youk either…

    This is honestly probably the best case scenario for the Phills.

  • Posts: 0 Pops

    I agree, best case scenario for the Phillies. Addressing the bullpen is critical. I would prefer Madson to Adams, but beggers can’t be choosers.

  • Posts: 0 phil

    This is the best scenario by a landslide. I agree spend the money and improve and I agree with all of your picks. If Adams and uehara aren’t obtainable you still have broxton madson soria soriano k rod and many others in the mix.

  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    One thing for sure. The bullpen would have impressive stock portfolios. I might be inclined to forego Koji. A strong setup guy 1-2 ing with Papelbon would be wise, , but sinking big money in ia 3rd reliever seems out of balance.

    I believe that if you are gonna put 12 mil more into the picthing staff, put it into a bottom of the rotation starter.

    All 3 2013 rosters didn’t seem too concerned about the rotation. I don’t know that Cloyd, as the backup is what you can feel good with when it’s probably gonna take some help from the baseball gods to line the starters up with 30 plus starts per.

    Gotta get some breakthrough from the likes of Aumont or Jake to make this only doing so much to make the pen work.

  • Posts: 1135 EricL

    Avatar of EricL

    Adams looks really scary to me:

    2009: 10.9
    2010: 9.9
    2011: 9.0
    2012: 7.7

    2009: 33.1%
    2010: 27.2%
    2011: 26.7%
    2012: 19.7%

    I don’t like that trend for a guy who is going to be 35 next season. It’s almost Quallsian. The Phils have an abundance of young, strong bullpen arms. This is where you use them and save some money.

    I’d also point out that Youkilis’ career low OBP wasn’t only due to a slow start as he was, in fact, worse in the second half of the season.

    1st half: .262/.341/.426, 112 OPS+
    2nd half: .214/.332/.395, 102 OPS+

    Mar/April (18 games): .219/.292/.344
    May (9 games): .313/.371/.531
    Jun (21 games): .208/.296/.306
    Jul (24 games): .250/.385/.489
    Aug (24 games): .244/.365/.488
    Sept/Oct (26 games): .219/.306/.344

    His first and last months were terrible and June was abysmal. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this is his new normal. Going into 2012 all the same arguments could have been made about how 2011 was a career worst year, hampered by injury, and that people might expect him to bounce back to something more in line with his career averages. Instead he followed it up with a 2012 even worse than 2011. No thanks.

    • Posts: 0 hk


      I could not agree more.


      What do you think Adams’s price tag would have been if the injury did not reduce it to $15M / 2?

    • Posts: 5346 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      I don’t know what Adams looks like- Uncle Fester maybe? Pretty scary, I agree.

      I have a new theory about pitchers. If their best numbers come from years where they pitched with Petco as their home park, those numbers can’t be trusted.

  • Posts: 565 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    So far, I prefer Pat Gallen’s approach and suggestions for filling Phillies’ needs for next season and doing it without spending a ton of money (offering Upton, he with a $7 million contract last season and a .240 type hitter with a ton of strikeouts, a ridiculous $78 million for 5 years..insane!). And there is no need for making wholesale changes with the roster or dipping into the team’s farm. That said, I think we can even be more conservative by looking more in-house for solutions.
    First, the news that the Phillies signed Kevin Frandsen for a 1 year contract worth $850,000 tells me that the Phillies management will give him every opportunity to win the 3rd base position as a regular. It is his to lose.
    The suggestion by Pat that Ryan Madson can be persuaded to take a 1 year salary of $5.5million is highly doubtful. Even with the Tommy John surgery, Madson, I think, believes he is far more deserving of a contract similar to Cincinnati’s team option of $11 million (in year 2013) for him that he agreed to when he signed as free agent last year.
    Personally, again looking in-house, we have Horst, Valdes, Stutes , all who have shown promise in the past and should be given the opportunity during spring traning to compete for the role of 8th inning relief. I do have one idea of my own for a bold move, I would use Dominick Brown (no longer a “can’t miss” but a must do) as trade bait to lure a more experienced 8th inning reliever from another team. How about Bobby Parnell of the Mets for Brown? The Mets made it clear that their objective is to get a potentially good outfielder. To sweeten the deal as enticement for the Mets, I would throw in Schwimer (from the minors) . It’s just a thought knowing teams in the same division don’t usually make trades with each other.
    Finally, looking at CF position, I still hold out hopes that Mayberry Jr with added experience can improve offensively (he showed that somewhat in the last two months of 2012 season). Defensively, he is not a problem and is better than average in covering his position. He also has added value in his ability to play several positions.
    There is another thought regarding CF, if Shane Victorino is still available as free agent late in the off season, GM Amaro should give serious thought in offering Victorino a decent contract. Victorino, I think, would love to play for the Phillies again. And you don,t need to think about Upton with Victorino’s speed on the basepaths, Mayberry Jr. can move to RF and Darin “Babe Ruth” Ruff (smile) can have the opportunity to win a job in LF.

    • Posts: 0 rc

      I don’t understand why people are so hellbent on Upton except maybe because CSN/Salisbury have been pushing him and the coaching connections. It’s a heavy price and Upton is similar to J-roll. Swing for the fences and strikes out a ton. Upton has been in the top 5 in strikeouts in the AL for years and he isn’t Ryan Howard. Do the franchise a favor, keep the 16th pick.

      I don’t think Frandsen and Mayberry are the answers either. Frandsen is shaky and players like him can get really exposed when playing every day. Keppinger is a player worth exploring if his price isn’t too high although he probably will get overpaid.

      In addition why not let the market play out some before you plunk down 15-16 million for a player with deficiencies.

      • Posts: 904 schmenkman

        Avatar of schmenkman

        Upton is a good player and in terms of defense, age, and potential is probably the best fit. And even though he K’s twice as much as Rollins, so what? K’s don’t matter much.

        But you’re right that the price is high, both in the likely $, and the draft pick.

      • Posts: 904 schmenkman

        Avatar of schmenkman

        “It’s a heavy price and Upton is similar to J-roll. Swing for the fences and strikes out a ton.”
        I’m not sure if “similar to J-roll” was meant to include striking out a ton, as it implies, or just swinging for the fences.

        In any case, over the past 3 years, there were 230 players with 1,000+ plate appearances. Of those 230, how many struck out less than Rollins’ 10.8%?

        (Jeopardy tune)

        What is 18, Alex?

        19th lowest. Out of 230.

        2012 was a little higher, at 13.7%, but that was still well below average, and less than 76% of all players with 400+ PAs. Will be interesting to see if it’s part of a trend or a one-year anomaly.

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Upton is NOT what this team needs. I am on board with a defensive CF. You need it with the Brown and Ruf on the corners. His OBP and SO’s are what I DON’T want. If you put Youklis at third, which is a great idea, then you get a lot of OBP in the middle of the lineup. Strikeouts and bad situational hitting is what this team already has in spades. Just go get Bonifacio and put him in CF and put Youklis at 3b. Done.



    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 904 schmenkman

      Avatar of schmenkman

      Bonifacio, with the career stats of .267/.329/.343, 20% K rate, and poor outfield defense?

      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        You gotta admit, that would be a fun outfield to watch. Maybe the Phils could even pipe in some circus-type music to play on flyballs.

  • Posts: 3073 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Bonifacio is now a Blue Jay. Who do we have that they would want? I don’t see it happening. And J-Roll hitting 2nd and Howard 5th??? That ain’t happening either, Dipsy.

  • Posts: 5346 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    When do we get Ruben’s “version”?

    Just kidding guys, it was a fun series of postings, helps make the offseason bearable.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    Five years though really?

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    Hunter already signed so Ruben quest to sign him to a 5 year and a mutual 6th year is out the window Lefty.

  • Posts: 0 Betasigmadeltashag

    First off Yuk is too old not a fit for this team Fransen has hit on every level and can will be fine if you can get your power from the outfield I would prefer Justin Upton Also there is no way thePhillies are going over the luxury tax even for a year. And with the contracts they have they don’t have 20+ million in three pen arms

  • Posts: 0 Nina Hartley

    They should go after Hairston as a 4th outfielder.

  • Posts: 3073 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Youk is not a fit for this team??? Why not?? If you could sign him to a one year deal I think you have to do it. We need the power. And Frandsen, while a nice player, isn’t everyday 3B material.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Frandsen career .686 OPS in the majors ………almost .200 lower than Youkilis

    I don’t think anyone thinks Youkilis is some MVP candidate.. but what he just might be is “the best available 3b” … if you can land him for a reasonable deal, without giving up prospects, why wouldn’t you? He’s better than the other options you have.. gives you someone that can play 1b at times if you sit Howard vs. a tough LHP ….

    I almost feel the same way about Upton … he’s not great.. but likely to cost less than Hamilton and Bourn ……and unlike Bourojs, Denard Span, Dexter Fowler.. would cost only money (and a draft pick), instead of MLB-ready(ish) prospects. …

    It all depends on cost for me.. i’d rather fill CF and 3b than just CF ……. or land two OFs (Swisher, Ross, etc.. than just get one player) .. Phillies need more depth in the lineup, and they need guys that are good all-around players.. which is why Upton’s name continues to come up

    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Except Upton still costs you your first round pick.

      If you really want to go cheap the best options are Pagan or Victorino, neither of whom was tendered a qualifying offer. That way you get good CF defense, probably get the player on a shorter contract than either Upton or Bourn will get, and almost certainly at a lower dollar figure.

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Bonifacio is more likely to come over from the Blue Jays than he is from the Marlins since BJays would not be trading within their division. J-Roll is a perfect fit in the two hole. Doesn’t strike out and can use the hole on the right side and can still use his speed. Howard should bat fifth since Youk can get on in front of him. Wouldn’t you like to see Utley and Youk both walk with Howard coming up? Unless you wanna move Utley to two, which I’m fine with too. Then…..Bonifacio, Utley, Youk, Howard, Ruiz, Ruf, Rollins, Brown. Love Bonifacio. He also plays 2B and 3B so that covers a potential Utley problem.

    The Dipsy

    • Posts: 904 schmenkman

      Avatar of schmenkman

      Ok, but Dipsy, he can’t hit, he strkes out at a rate of 140 per 700 plate appearances, and he’s not a good fielder.

  • Posts: 3073 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    If Ruben could get Upton for CF and Youk for 3B I would consider his offseason successful.

  • Posts: 0 Psu joe

    Upton, youk and Adams or like setup man. Frandsen and Galvis mayberr and scheirholtz the reserves with Kratz. By Nix. When resting utley and or Howard vs lefties I like the lineup.

  • Posts: 0 PhxPhilly

    Definitely all players that fit.
    I love Uehara (2yr $8M). Adams (2yr $10M) is also a fine choice but I think the $ to either are too high since both are coming off injuries. I also agree that we need only one of them, especially at that price. If Phillies were going after another bullpen piece I would spend that money on Burnett. He is still an 8th inning guy but killer on lefties as well. In case of injury Phillies still have solid 8th & 9th inning guys and hope for Bastardo and DeFratus to step up.

    I think Youkilis should be the top target. Position scarcity, middle order bat, takes pitches, should be good in the clubhouse. He has risk but it’s just for short term money. Big issue is that with Howard stuck at 1B, Youkilis has no fall back defensive position.

    Upton is the ‘best fit’ but I just do not like him. Do not want to give up the draft pick either (more for Draft$ flexibility than a specific player). I’d rather Victorino who still crushes lefties.

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