Posted by Corey Seidman, Thu, November 14, 2013 10:40 AM Comments: 18
It’s time to roll out the offseason plans, where a few members of the PN writing team build their ideal 2014 Phillies Roster, taking into account team needs as well as payroll and luxury tax ramifications.
The Marlon Byrd signing foiled my initial plan for the Phillies to trade Jesse Biddle, Cody Asche, Jonathan Pettibone and Cesar Hernandez to the Angels for Mark Trumbo and Chris Iannetta.
That would have been a hefty price, but you’d fill your catcher vacancy for a set cost — Iannetta is due just over $10 million in total the next two years — and also acquire a building block for the future in Trumbo who could have also helped the Phils win now. He’s 28, not overly expensive yet and would have 40-home run power at Citizens Bank Park.
Alas, the Phils chose to hang onto their prospects and sign the 36-year-old Byrd for $8 million a year. Oh well. That would have been a hefty package to part with anyway.
Here’s the rest of my plan:
1) Sign relievers Joaquin Benoit and Scott Downs
One elite righty in Benoit, one elite lefty in Downs. The Phils have been connected this offseason to the underrated Benoit, who from 2010-13 had a 2.53 ERA, 10.2 K/9 and just 2.5 BB/9 in 268 appearances. He has experience closing and setting up, and could be a Ryan Madson-like swingman in the Phillies’ pen.
He’s going to be in line for at least a two-year deal worth $12 million, with probably a third-year vesting or player option.
Downs quietly dominates every year. He has a 2.33 ERA in 447 appearances dating back to 2007, and over the last three years has limited lefties to a .209/.272/.261 batting line. He’s 37, so he’s probably going to find only a two-year deal. Maybe two years, $10 million for Downs.
Boom, boom, bullpen solved for $11 million this year. Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth, Benoit in the eighth, Downs as the lefty specialist, which allows Antonio Bastardo to ease back in after his suspension. If Mike Adams is healthy, that’s an old, but top-notch bullpen. That’s what this team had from 2008-11, and what it needs again.
2) Sign Matt Garza
I’d prefer Garza over Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez. Santana and Jimenez would force the Phillies to forfeit their second-round pick, but Garza would not. He wasn’t extended a qualifying offer because he was traded from the Cubs to the Rangers midseason, and under the new CBA players dealt midseason can’t be extended QOs.
Garza hasn’t been a picture of health the last few years, but he still has a mid-90s fastball and biting offspeed pitches. He’s a low-end No. 2 starter with upside. He may cost as much as four years, $64 million.
The Phillies have liked Garza for years. In Jayson Werth’s walk year they tried to trade him to Tampa for him, but the deal fell through.