Phils Have Enough Money, Space to Land Ross

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, December 15, 2012 04:45 PM | Comments: 31
Analysis, Posts, Transactions


The Phils have just enough room to squeeze Ross on to the team, financially and roster-wise. Photo: AP

In the last nine days, or 216 hours, the Phillies have added six players to their 40-man roster and only have subtracted two (Josh Lindblom and Vance Worley). Some snuck quietly under the radar, such as the Rule 5 selection of Ender Inciarte or yesterday’s waiver claim of lefty reliever Mauricio Robles from Seattle, while others, like Michael Young and Ben Revere‘s acquisitions, sparked debate here, here, and here.

The reality of adding a new player every 36 hours for nine days is that your roster gets pretty crowded pretty quickly. The Phillies 40-man roster now sits at 39 players, which does not include Carlos Ruiz and does not currently include a back-up catcher. Can the Phillies afford to add one or more players, such as Cody Ross, who Ken Rosenthal has linked them to, since Chooch will be player #40 once his suspension is up? The simple answer is: yes. Do they have enough money to do so? That gets more complicated.

Don’t Worry About the Back-Up Catcher

The Phillies announced they have invited nine players who are signed to Minor League contracts who are not on the 40-man roster to camp and two of those happen to be catchers: Steven Lerud and Humberto Quintero. Lerud, in an emergency call-up, went two for ten last year with two singles, but is 28 and a career .221/.311/.353 Minor League hitter with almost no experience in Triple-A  and Quintero is a career .234/.267/.323 Major League hitter. Erik Kratz is not expected to duplicate last year’s magic but he will likely shoulder a large majority of the catching load until Chooch is eligible to return. Lerud or Quintero will likely break camp with the Phillies and can be designated for assignment, off the 40-man, once Chooch returns. Either player will easily waivers.

There Are Ways to Shave the 40-Man Down

Last Friday, I addressed the complication created by acquiring both Revere and Inciarte: the Phillies now likely have six outfielders on their 25-man roster. Teams rarely carry greater than five outfielders unless one of the outfielders can fake it at an infield position. John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix, and Darin Ruf all fit that description but all only play first base. Ruf has options but impressed in the Venezuelan Winter League and could be a fit to fill the right-handed void in the line-up and Ruben Amaro said that Domonic Brown has the inside track on winning the right field job in late November. At that point, because Nix has no trade value, trading Mayberry for a warm Minor League body is a no-brainer if a roster spot is needed.

The Phillies could also do any number of two-for-one deals where they pair a pair of 40-man rostered players together for just one in return. Of course, the Phillies have very few tradeable pieces and not much else that teams would consider of interest. If in a pinch, their best bet might be to pair off two of the young relievers, like a Michael Stutes, Michael Schwimer, or B.J. Rosenberg, and trade them for decent, but off-the-radar arm or bat that does not yet need 40-man protection. They could also outright a reliever off of the roster and cross their fingers with waivers or cut Nix if they feel like eating the $1.3 million he is owed.

So the Phillies Kind-Of Have Roster Space. How Much Money Do They Have to Spend?

In short, this. Click to make much, much bigger:

That’s a great question. With approximately one roster space, and some wiggle room if needed for the right pieces, the Phillies have about $12.35-12.50 million to spend. This is based off of my colleague Corey Seidman’s estimate here of ~$27 million left to spend minus the following acquisitions since:

- Mike Adams – $6 million average annual value (AAV)

- John Lannan – $2.5 million AAV

- Young – ~$5.5 million AAV (net change from exchanging Lindblom)

If the Phillies were to add another player, like Ross, it would absolutely trigger a roster move of some sort. They could, however, just as easily stand pat if they do not want to risk losing any of their current players. The Phillies could absolutely fit Ross into their budget, however, as he likely will not command more than $8-10 AAV, which falls below the $12.5-12.75 estimated breakpoint.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 893 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 George

    The Phils actually subtracted more than one player from the 40 man roster. You’ve forgotten Vance Worley.

  • Posts: 0 Psujoe

    Gelb has the Phil’s at $171.8.


    Shouldn’t worry about the LT as long as they stay under next years $189. Consecutive years is more punative. I’d rather have Swisher 4/$66
    than Ross 3/$30.

  • Posts: 892 schmenkman

    Avatar of schmenkman

    Ian, not to nitpick, but using the term “to Land” in the title almost makes it sound like a good thing.

    • Posts: 0 wbramh

      Maybe he meant the team’s WS hopes would be grounded with the addition of Ross.

  • Posts: 0 Betasigmadeltashag

    Where does all this love for Ross come from he can not play defense strikes out and is very streaky hitter and he a punk. I would rather go with Ruff brown and Jr in the corners because I someone is going to over pay for Swisher. If they could sign Swish for 3 years 39 million I would ok with that but he is going to get 4-5 years at 15 plus per. Ross is in no way an upgrade and we do not need him

    • Posts: 39 landshark

      Avatar of landshark

      What gives you the idea that Ross is a punk? I met him years ago at Dave & Busters. He’s actually a cool guy, and down to earth…Besides that! How about them playoff numbers? Guess everyone forgot what he did with the Giants in the WS. Not to mention MVP

      • Posts: 0 brooks

        post here much?

      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        shhhh, you’re ruining the contrarian indicator this board is giveing it’s best effort towards.

  • Posts: 2005 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    Yes, a punk that nobody seems to want.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    You need to add in benefits and a few other calculations. See Gelb although I don’t get his number for JRoll. I have 11. I have the Phils at $5 million under the number which I don’ t think gets you Ross and I am not sure we should get him anyway.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    As a Phillies fan I don’t care about going over the LT this year as long as they’re under next year to avoid serious penalties. If they have $5 million this year they’ll have $21 million next year to replace Young, $56 million to replace/return Young, Haliday and Utley.

  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    Delmon Young. He da Man…..cheap, and younger than Ross.

    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Delmon has played six years, and in five of them he was a below average hitter. But at least he can’t run or field, either :-).

      In the two seasons since his one good year in 2010, JMJ, Brown, and Nix have all been better hitters.

  • Posts: 0 Betasigmadeltashag

    His playoff numbers means they have to make it and that also goes back to the streaks he has. And he can not play defense. Why not platoon jmj and Ruf and brown until you see who is going to step up and if they don’t fix it during the year. I really feel with a healthy Howard and Utley and with Young and JRoll in his favorite lead off spot all year the offense will be fine. Mostly I hope Doc will rebound and KK will have a year full if his second half starts

  • Posts: 2897 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Would Cody Ross be a “punk” if he helped the Phillies win a World Series??? ….

    • Posts: 5449 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Yes but he’d be our love-able punk.

  • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

    Does a Ross signing mean Brown is gone, Nix ???

  • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

    anthony gargano on 94.1 said . getting cody ross would be like getting socks for christmas! you wanted that flashy big screen TV but opened the big box and found a pile of SOCKS! that’s so funny!

    • Posts: 2897 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      I love getting socks for Christmas. There’s nothing like a good pair of socks to give your feet support or to keep them warm.

  • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

    What is it that we don’t know about Swisher, his reputation or his demands that cause the Phillies to completely ignore what is an obvious upgrade over Ross? I realize its not my money to spend but Swisher’s OPS and OBP are nearly 40 points higher in each category.

  • Posts: 2 Rick in RI

    Avatar of Rick in RI

    Anyway, JMJ almost certainly has to be the player that gets moved if they sign Ross. That doesn’t sit well with me.

    Does anyone else have the gut feeling that when the Phillies give up on JMJ, he’ll go somewhere else and finally breakout with 25-30 HRs and a .290 average? I think we saw glimpses of his capability of that level of production at the end of 2011.

    • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

      In answer to your question, fortunately, I can’t speak for everyone, but no on your Mayberry projections. There are too many righthanded pitchers in the world. If he played against lefties only, and got 500 at bats, an impossibility, yes.

      By the way, if you reread what you wrote, there’s a message in there.

      “I think we saw glimpses of his capability of that level of production at the end of 2011.”

      That is certainly a fair statement, but what does that tell you that it was 2011, and another year has passed? But for sure, he did very well in 2011′s latter part.

      • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

        One would assume that at this stage of his career, JMJ has been molded in his approach at the plate. However, (and I am contradicting myself, I know) maybe Henderson can work some magic with him. I do have a soft spot for this kid.

      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        that’s a fair point about Henderson, and Mayberry is a hard worker by reputation. But people toss around 25-30 homers with a lot of ease. I mean even Ruf gets mentioned in the same sentence as 30 homers, and he’s had about 50 big league at bats. To me, even 20 homers is a pretty respectable amount.

      • Posts: 2 Rick in RI

        Avatar of Rick in RI

        It probably is wishful thinking on my part that JMJ is capable of those numbers because I also like the guy. It’s hard for me to leave my perception of a player’s personality and work ethic out of the equation.

        I understand he hit one less HR in 2012 in almost 200 more ABs, and it seems he’s had his chance. However, some part of me also thinks that the constant changes to the 2012 lineup had a negative affect on him. Based on his 2011 numbers, it still seems feasible that he could hit at least 20 HRs. I agree that 25-30 is probably a stretch. I’d just be curious to see what he could do if he was guaranteed to start everyday at the same position and in the same lineup position.

    • Posts: 0 George

      Actually, there are others who could be moved besides Mayberry; much would depend on spring training performances. Inciarte could be shipped back to Arizona, Nix could be designated for assignment (although that would be a lttle more expensive), or Ruf could be sent to AAA. Mayberry might actually be safer than some of the others, because he’s right handed, has some power, plays multiple positions, and is cheap.

  • Avatar of "Big Ed" Delahanty

    After reading the plethora of posts on this site, which I love and thoroughly enjoy by the way, and a few tumblers of small batch bourbon (Angel’s Envy – good stuff), I became quite pensive and pragmatic about the deals that have occurred and the ones (Hamilton) that did not occur. Despite the fact that I would LOVE to see the team BECOME YOUNGER, I am ok with the Mike Adams signing. I think the signing is low risk, and if he gives us some semblance of what he did previously and is consistent, that would already trump Bastardo. (Waiting for some Sabermetric insane sat to prove me wrong, yet again. lol). I was vehemently opposed to the Young deal initially. However, the more I think about it, we already have a great number of young arms in the bullpen, so Bonilla would have had to make a huge leap over people in his path, and Lindbomb just plain stunk. The Rangers are eating the majority of Young’s salary and taking on Lindbomb’s. I am praying that Young, who has something to prove, gets fired up and has a fantastic season. Unfortunately, I do not think we can fix his glass glove at third, and that creates a significant detriment. So, I guess as the days go by, I am not as angry with the young deal as I initially was previously.

    Also, I am fine with an outfield of Revere, Ruf, and Brown. Give them a chance. They are young, and maybe Henderson and Sandberg can help them mature into great players. The talent is there, maybe they need a new perspective.

    I am an emphatic no to Ross. I do not see him as an upgrade at all. Yes, his playoff numbers are better than Swisher’s, but he is costly, as his Swisher. Let’s direct that money elsewhere.

    Still mulling over the Lannan deal.
    -Big Ed out.

  • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

    I know professionals shouldn’t be influenced by one playoff stretch two years ago, but one playoff run got Carlos Beltran a contract which was disproportionately large in comparison to his production for the Mets….just sayn’.

  • Posts: 0 Jerry

    The answer to the outfield problem is Cory Hart from Milwaukee: last year of contract, RH bat, 25 + homers last 3 yrs.Gamer type personality. Milwaukee wants to get younger how about Dom Brown?

    • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

      • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

        I am all for this being a transition year and have made that argument many times. Facts are that there is too much money committed to make a big move this year. (I am not into blame but into managment of where we are).

        Next year a lot opens up which means Halladay and Utley. If they perform to their money this year then we are in the playoffs. If not then I think we have to seriously consider saying goodbye to two great Phillies.

        That opens up $35 million plus Young’s 6 and even possibly Ruiz’s 5. There are bits and pieces here and there but with a solid bullpen and strong #1 and #2 pitchers, 2014 will probably call for another pitcher and a RH bat at 3rd or a corner outfield position or even 2nd base.

        I think after a disappointing 2012, Amaro has done a good job of avoiding any more major commitments and positioning the Phillies for a good shot at restructuring the team in 2014.
        Carlos Gonzalez? Curtis Granderson? Cano? Gavin Floyd?

        Phils have a nice team if Utley, Howard and Halladay perform ($60 million). If not, changes have to be made there to free up the money.

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