Diving into the depths: Philadelphia Phillies

Leave a comment

This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Philadelphia Phillies
Rotation
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cole Hamels
3. Joe Blanton
4. J.A. Happ
5. Jamie Moyer
6. Kyle Kendrick
7. Antonio Bastardo
8. Jose Contreras
9. Drew Carpenter
10. Ryan Vogelsong
11. Joe Savery
Barring the addition of Pedro Martinez or another veteran, Kendrick figures to hold down the fifth spot at the start of the year, since Moyer is going to be recovering from his surgeries. I feel a little bit better about that than I would have a year ago, mainly because he improved his groundball rate in Triple-A. Still, he doesn’t miss bats. Contreras would likely prove to be a superior option, but the Phillies signed him intending to use him in the pen.
Bullpen
1. Brad Lidge
2. Ryan Madson
3. Danys Baez
4. J.C. Romero
5. Chad Durbin
6. Jose Contreras
7. Antonio Bastardo
8. Sergio Escalona
9. Jamie Moyer
10. Kyle Kendrick
11. Mike Zagurski
12. Phillippe Aumont
13. Scott Mathieson
14. David Herndon
15. Ehren Wassermann
16. Ryan Vogelsong
17. Pat Overholt
18. Bill White
Six spots are spoken for, but only if Lidge (knee) and Romero (elbow) can return from their surgeries in time for Opening Day. The Phillies still figure to add another left-hander from a group that includes Joe Beimel and Alan Embree.


Catcher
1. Carlos Ruiz
2. Brian Schneider
3. Paul Hoover
4. Dane Sardinha
First base
1. Ryan Howard
2. Ross Gload
3. Andy Tracy
Second base
1. Chase Utley
2. Juan Castro
3. Placido Polanco
4. Cody Ransom
Third base
1. Placido Polanco
2. Greg Dobbs
3. Juan Castro
4. Cody Ransom
Shortstop
1. Jimmy Rollins
2. Juan Castro
3. Cody Ransom
4. Brian Bocock
The Phillies were aggressive in going after Castro, even though they really could have used someone better in a reserve role, particularly since they lost Jason Donald (in the Cliff Lee trade) as another potential fallback. Fortunately, Polanco is their only infielder with a spotty track record as far as health and even he’s played in 140 games in three straight seasons.
Left field
1. Raul Ibanez
2. Ben Francisco
3. John Mayberry Jr.
4. Ross Gload
5. Dewayne Wise
Center field
1. Shane Victorino
2. Ben Francisco
3. Dewayne Wise
4. Chris Duffy
Right field
1. Jayson Werth
2. Ben Francisco
3. John Mayberry Jr.
4. Ross Gload
5. Dewayne Wise
The outfield depth isn’t in question. Francisco would be a perfectly adequate regular at any of the three spots, and Mayberry would offer power off the bench if any starters go down. Assuming that everyone is healthy, Mayberry will return to Triple-A. The Phillies are set with a bench of Francisco, Gload, Dobbs, Castro and Schneider.

Eric Hosmer’s eight-year, $144 million contract isn’t that bad

Ed Zurga/Getty Images
10 Comments

Late Saturday night, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres and first baseman Eric Hosmer agreed to an eight-year, $144 million contract, the new largest contract in club history. According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, the contract includes an opt-out after the fifth year. Further, Hosmer will average $21 million per year for those first five years and $13 million for the final three years, so it’s severely front-loaded.

Hosmer, 28, had a career year last season, playing in all 162 games while batting .318/.385/.498 with 25 home runs, 94 RBI, and 98 runs scored in 671 plate appearances. Per Baseball Reference, Hosmer accrued 4.0 Wins Above Replacement, only one of six first basemen to do so. At No. 6, he was 0.4 WAR behind Anthony Rizzo and 0.4 WAR ahead of Logan Morrison.

Wil Myers had previously told the Padres he would accept a position change if the club were to sign Hosmer. He will be moving to the outfield as a result. The Padres now have a logjam in the outfield, so Jose Pirela could move moved to the infield. How the Padres plan to handle that situation remains to be seen.

The general consensus about the Hosmer signing once news broke was that it is laughably bad. Back in November, Dave Cameron — ironically now in the Padres’ front office — called Hosmer a “free agent landmine.” That thought hasn’t really changed among many writers. For example, using restraint, Dennis Lin of The Athletic calls the deal “a big gamble.” MLB Network’s Brian Kenny said Hosmer has at least three “red flags.”

FanGraphs projects the Padres to finish 71-91, so adding Hosmer isn’t likely to transform the club into a contender on his own. That being said, the Padres’ payroll was only at $70 million prior to the Hosmer signing, so the contract won’t hamstring them going forward. If the young nucleus of players — including Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe — perform as expected, the Padres could be a threat in the NL West relatively soon with plenty of cheap, cost-controlled players and having some experienced veterans like Hosmer and Myers could be useful for their intangibles — pennant race/playoff experience, clubhouse presence, leadership, etc.

Hosmer has had three seasons of 3.5 WAR or more, according to Baseball Reference. He’s had four between -0.5 and 1.0. Now entering his age-28 season, it’s hardly a guarantee he’ll be an All-Star-caliber player in 2018, let alone in 2022 when he is 32 years old. From a strict dollars-to-WAR standpoint in a complete vacuum, one could’ve done better than Hosmer at eight years, $144 million.

The Padres, however, aren’t a small market team; they just operate like one. Forbes valued the club at $1.125 billion last April. The Padres don’t have the financial muscle of the Dodgers or Yankees, but paying Eric Hosmer $18 million on average for the first five years of his contract won’t come close to hurting the organization in any way, shape, or form. More importantly, signing Hosmer shows the rest of the team and the fans a commitment to being legitimate, bumping the payroll up towards $90 million. That now dwarfs teams like the large-market Phillies, who opened up spring training with just over $60 million in player obligations.

In the grand scheme of things, the Hosmer signing is also a good sign given the standstill in the free agent market. Many veteran players — even reliever Fernando Abad, who posted a 3.30 ERA last season — had to settle for minor league contracts instead of guaranteed major league deals. Many others, including the likes of Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez, remain unsigned. The rumor that Hosmer wanted more than seven years and close to $150 million was laughed at last month. Agent Scott Boras was still able to get his client the deal he wanted, which could bode well for those still teamless. Martinez’s patience may yet be rewarded like Hosmer’s was; money may once again start flowing in the free agent economy.

In summation, the Eric Hosmer contract is good if: you are Eric Hosmer, related to or a friend of Eric Hosmer, a teammate of Hosmer’s, Scott Boras, a current or soon-to-be free agent, a Padres fan, and a baseball fan in general. The Hosmer contract is bad if: you are a penny-pinching owner of a Major League Baseball team, or someone who cares more about $/WAR than an actual good product being put on the field.