Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Domonic Brown and the Trade Deadline

Domonic Brown played in his first game as a Phillie tonight and didn't disappoint. He went 2 for 3 with a double, 2 runs, and 2 RBI. He had a defensive lapse in right field in the 9th inning, but that's to be expected.

I have long argued that Brown could be a staple in the Phillies lineup for many years. But what should his arrival mean for the Phils' trade deadline plans?

I am a believer that Brown needs a spot in the 2011 outfield. The most logical way to create one is to move Jayson Werth or simply allow him to leave via free agency. I, however, would love to see the Phils consider something different.

Make an honest attempt to keep Werth (maybe 4 yr./52m. gets it done). Trade Raul Ibanez, who is owed $12m. in 2011. Now, I recognize that no team will likely eat this contract in it's entirety. But we shouldn't underestimate the value of a player like Ibanez (whose beginning to heat up) to a team that hopes to contend next year. Rather than take a chance on a player who will require a long-term deal, some teams may prefer Ibanez, who they can let walk after 2011. Let's say the Phillies can trade him for a low-level prospect and a pledge to eat $4 of his 2011 salary. The Phils will have shedded some salary for 2011, kept arguably the 3 best offensive outfield options available to them (Werth, Victorino, and Brown), and retained Werth for the next 4 years.

Having done the above, it is an open question as to whether or not Roy Oswalt's contract is simply too large for the Phillies' 2011 and 2012 budgets. Fair enough. However, we should remember that Jamie Moyer also comes off the books after 2010. While many players (Utley, Halladay, Blanton, etc.) will receive internal raises, there is no reason the team shouldn't be able to increase payroll from $140 to $150m. After all, every game is a sellout and arguably, the addition of Oswalt should make the playoffs (and more revenue) a strong likelihood in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

If money is an issue, then the solution could be to defer much of Werth's money (i.e. 8m, 8m, 16m, 20m). In this scenario, the Phils aren't paying huge money to Werth until 2013, when the current contracts of Oswalt, Blanton, and Victorino are no longer on the books.

Just a thought.

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