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Updates on Phils’ Interest in Hamilton, Ross, Hunter

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, November 12, 2012 06:22 PM | Comments: 26
Free Agency, Rumors

This bat flip is burned in many Phils' fans heads. Will we see it in a Phils' uniform in 2013? Photo: AP

Buster Olney had some mid-day updates today regarding the Phillies and their pursuit of outfield help. Olney first Tweeted that the Phillies have joined the Orioles and Red Sox in teams seeking to sign Cody Ross. Ross, turning 32 in December, hit 22 HR and nearly matched his career triple-slash when he hit .267/.326/.481 for the sinking Red Sox in 2012. For his career, Ross has been slightly below average defensively in Left and Center while just barely above average in Right. Ross is repeatedly seeking a three year, $25 million deal. Ross is seeking about $3-4 million less annually than Nick Swisher and, given their age and previous production, would be the better buy of the two if the Phillies could add a beneficial bullpen or outfield piece with the remaining change.

Olney’s second Phillies’ related update came in a second Tweet: the Phillies reportedly are fine with matching any annual dollar amount for Josh Hamilton but are concerned about the years. We noted on Saturday that the Phils’ interest in Hamilton had picked up to the point that other executives were noticing. Now, things appear to be getting more formal and serious. Follow this one closely – a lot of similarities to the Cliff Lee situation of two Decembers past.

Finally, it appears Torii Hunter will not become a Phillie. Hunter, who turns 37 for the 2013 season, has been reportedly courted by the Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies, Tigers, Rangers, and Braves but is reported to be seeking a 2-year deal from an American League team. Boston, Texas and Detroit appear to be the front-runners.

Thoughts: As an Italian-American budget conscious consumer who eats a lot of pasta because I am cheap, I’ll use a bit of a self-deprecating analogy: right now, the pasta bowl is boiling and the water is spilling over but the pasta is still hard as a rock. With Ruben Amaro‘s previous history of targeting players, I would not be surprised if that pasta is edible soon. The stove is hot and these rumors went from zero to sixty, much like those of off-seasons previous.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 812 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Jeff T

    I hope these rumors are untrue. Ross was a product of playing Fenway (look at his splits) and Hamilton is and age/health risk. I’d rather go the Pagan/Upton route personally.

     
  • Posts: 0 Troutman

    Couldn’t agree more with Jeff T. Hamilton is one bender away from being in serious trouble with the league. Plus, he’s too old and too injury prone to invest that kind of money. They need to get younger in general, and I don’t think Hamilton is the answer. Ross? Meh.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    “As an Italian-American budget conscious consumer who eats a lot of pasta because I am cheap, I’ll use a bit of a self-deprecating analogy: right now, the pasta bowl is boiling and the water is spilling over but the pasta is still hard as a rock.”

    god damn,that was a good sentence.

    Probably rate even higher if I was Italiano-Americano and could relate first hand to it, but it’s still good.

    Oh, they wabnt a comment on the rumor so the post belongs here. Okee-dokee. Do I look stupid enough to comment on every inhale and exhale that emminates from the baseball publicists (agents) mouths?

    Negatory.

    But I did just see on MLBTR (PhilliesNation West) that an NL GM spoke of Hamilton as a heartbreaker. As Brent Musburger would say, “You are looking live at what is gonna be one of the most interesting free agent negotiations since Marvin Miller turned the world upside down. Hell, by the time some cats get through bashing Hamilton around, the Melkman is gonna look like the male answer to Joan of Arc.

    Wanna know what bugs me about Josh as much as anything? You cain’t be ignoring the games played, or lack of, or addiction thing, but what really bugs me is after the lovin’ of the hot start, and pretty decent last 1/3 of the season, he was quite average for a good stretch. And that might be being kind. But he’s definitely enticing in a lot of ways. 20-25 dingers by May’s end does make an impression.

     
    • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

      “he was quite average for a good stretch”

      No he wasn’t.

      What I should have said was when he didn’t suck, he was mostly average. Sometimes good, but mostly average.

       
      • Posts: 1135 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        I don’t know how you’re breaking it down, but for most of the year Josh Hamilton was well above average. He had one awful month (July) and one average month (June). Outside of those two months he was well above average.

        OPS/OPS+ by month:
        March/April – 1.182/227
        May – 1.187/217
        June – .754/106
        July – .607/65
        August – .943/157
        Sept/Oct – .873/140

         
      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        That’s more or less how I remembered it, great the first part, relatively lousy in the middle when management finally spoke up sbout his first ball tendencies, and then he was good again,although I don’t know about 15-20 million good.. So I guess in reality, not a whole lot of average in there…most everything but. And it’s too easy to call players inconsistent, most everyone with good digits arrives there off highs and lows.

        Does the bad stretch still trouble me? Some. Should it? Maybe not.

        Signed,

        The Waffler

         
  • Posts: 0 George

    If these two are the pasta, I’m going out for a burger.

     
  • Posts: 5221 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    God I just hate Cody Ross with a passion! The same way I hated Pete Rose,

    - until 1979.

    What ever they end up doing, whoever wears the uni, Go Phils!

     
    • Posts: 1135 EricL

      Avatar of EricL

      Personally, I don’t hate Cody Ross, but I do hate the idea of signing him.

      His platoon splits are awful. Over his career he’s 201 OPS points better against LHP than he is against RHB, against whom he’s slightly below average (86 wRC+, 92 OPS+).

      Paying upwards of 8 million a year for that when you have a much younger, cheaper, better defensive version of that exact same player* in John Mayberry Jr would be ludicrous.

      *Mayberry is slightly worse than Ross against RHP (86 wRC+, 81 OPS+) but is better than Ross vs LHP.

       
    • Posts: 0 brooks

      Lefty, my friend – how could you mention Cody Ross and Peter the Great in the sam sentence.. I hated nails but in no way would I compare Betsy with either of them.

       
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    Betsy Ross –
    I will give up my tickets if they sign this hose-wearing, skipping like a 7 year-old girl, big toothed grin – don’t do it….

     
  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    OT: Disappointed hearing the Dodgers hiring 6 new international scouts. Can anyone tell me how the Phillies international scouting budget compared to the Dodgers last year?

     
    • Posts: 0 Devin

      I don’t know, PSUJoe, but if you cant get an answer here someone on phuturephillies.com would know.

       
  • Posts: 2069 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    I just read that Swisher turned down a $13.3 mil one year contract offer from the Yanks.
    32, plays right field, has decent power (has hit over 21 hrs for the last 8 seasons), gets on base a lot (career OBP .361, he walks a lot) and his average is going to be decent, not stellar.
    I like the idea. Swisher did not like NY. He never performed well in the Post Season up there but to me, getting there would be great and I think Nick Swisher could be a huge asset.
    What would the Phils pay for someone like Nick?

     
    • Posts: 5221 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      I like Swisher too. But I heard rumblings of him wanting a “Jayson Werth” type of deal.

       
      • Posts: 0 brooks

        I don’t like the sounds of that at all.. Werth definitely had better credentials I think.

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        There are lots of parallels.

        Both are RFs. Both were coming off their age 31 season.

        Both are patient, see a lot of pitches and walk a lot, strike out a fair amount, and have good power:

        Swisher, 2010-12: 12.1 BB%, 21.4 K%, .204 ISO (isolated power, or SLG minus BA)
        Werth, 2008-2010: 12.7 BB%, 23.3 K%, .234 ISO

        They were similar hitters in their 3 years leading up to free agency, although Werth was slightly better:

        Swisher, 2010-12: .274/.366/.478, 129 wRC+ (15th best-hitting OF)
        Werth, 2008-2010: .279/.376/.513, 134 wRC+ (7th best OF)

        However Werth had been a somewhat better fielder, and was a much better baserunner (in runs saved or generated vs. average), which meant Werth had produced higher WAR, and had been the 3rd best outfielder in baseball leading up to free agency:

        Swisher, 2010-12: 11.2 Fld, -8.8 BsR, 11.9 WAR (17th best OF)
        Werth, 2008-2010: 14.4 Fld, 11.2 BsR, 15.5 WAR (3rd best OF)

        So you’re absolutely right — Werth had better credentials, and while that’s a fine negotiating position to start with, Swisher is not likely to get a deal that most agreed was an overpay even for Werth.

         
  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Ah…the Hot Stove. Gotta love it. All the rumors and rumblings this time of year. And that’s pretty much just what they all are….rumors. And Lefty, I’m with you. I also “hate” some players with a passion (C. Ross is one). But once they put on the red pinstripes I’ll root for anyone.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Swisher can “want” a Werth type deal … doesn’t mean anyone is going to give him one…

    Are the Phillies just saying they’re interested in Hamilton to jack his price up for whoever eventually lands him? I can’t imagine they really think it’s wise to invest heavily in another Left-handed hitter that has trouble staying healthy ??

    If Galvis is our intended 3b, we better do something more than Cody Ross to improve the lineup next year… I’ve been interested in the Upton-Youkilis (for the price of Bourn) deal for a while.

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Hamilton is an awfully productive left handed hitter, and I think the Phils are moderately interested, and should be. From reports, they’re not looking to sign him long-term, so the investment might not be all that heavy, if he even considers a short term offer.

      I doubt seriously that the plans are for Galvis to man third. He’s played nothing but short in winter ball. I think he may be used in a utility role.

      Youkilis has an injury history, too, so he’s a risk.

      With the lack of decent men for 3rd, I do agree that Ross is a lousy choice, except maybe in a platoon. He’s asking to be paid like a full-timer, though.

       
  • Posts: 0 Mike in NJ

    I don’t know that they are seriously interested in another LH bat making $25M a year. Would Hamilton hit 3rd instead of 5th and would Utley move to 1 or 6 to break up the LH bats a bit? Figure a power RH bat (either Ruf or a FA) hitting 5th. Who hits 2nd? AFAIK Hamilton is only an adequate CF and is better suited to play a corner. If they are serious about Ruf in LF, they’re going to need a guy with range in CF.

    Not really high on Upton unless they get him for under $10M a year. He’s another .250 hitter that struck out 168 times last year. He’d be better in CF than Mayberry and would steal a bunch of bases, but not worth the money he supposedly wants.

    Swisher is a career .256 hitter with no speed that again wants too much money.

    Cabrera is a risk because of the PEDs, so should be cheap and/or available on a short term contract to show he can hit without the help of the drugs.

    No…just no… to Cody Ross.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Correct about Swisher’s speed, but despite his .256 average, he is a pretty good hitter.

      I posted above his wRC+ of 129 for the past 3 years, but an OPS comparison works just as well.

      OPS for the past 3 years, compared to present and recent Phillies:

      .844 – Swisher
      .842 – Ruiz
      .822 – Howard (.847 if you exclude 2012)
      .800 – Utley
      .800 – Pence

      I’m not advocating the Phillies go after him, because while he won’t get what he wants I’m afraid he’ll still get more than he’s worth, but he’s the kind of player where batting average is nearly meaningless.

       
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    One of the interesting things about Swisher is that he is remarkably closer to his “Averages” each season … per 162-games season he averages 28 HRs… .256 avg. ….361 OBP…….

    year-to-year his numbers are almost always very close to that, which means you are getting a consistent player … maybe some guys have more upside (BJ Upton)… but Swisher would be a consistent in the lineup ..

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Is everyone in agreement that Michael Bourn isn’t worth the contract he’ll get?

    Even if you can sign Hamilton for 1 or 2 years at $25 M each.. I don’t think that’s worth it, you can get multiple players (Upton, Youk?, RP) for that money that makes more of an overall impact. When healthy, Hamilton is amazing …. but they are plagued by injuries the past few years and can’t afford to gamble another contract.

     
    • Posts: 5221 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      I don’t know what Bourn will get, but in general I agree, he’s not who I’d like to see them target.

       
    • Posts: 0 Mike in NJ

      Agree Bourn will get more than he’s worth. He strikes out waaaaay too much for a guy with no power and is yet another lefty in the lineup, but I wouldn’t go beserk because it would mean the end of Rollins hitting leadoff, and that would be money well spent that event. My main issue is the yet another lefty on a team is already terrible against LHPs.

      Upton has the RH power bat you need to protect Howard and would almost certainly be cheaper in terms of years and average dollars. However, if Ruf is your everyday LF, you don’t really need the RH power from Upton.

      I guess if you make me choose, I’d go Upton. He’s younger, right handed, and may benefit from a change of scenery. With what Hamilton wants, you could sign them both lol.

       
 
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