Ken Rosenthal has set the Phillies’ little corner of the Twitterverse a-tweeting by suggesting — based on word from “major league sources” — that the Phillies could shop Jayson Werth mid-season. This is one of those things, though, in which the caveat basically swallows up the rumor. The caveat: “if the Phillies somehow fall out of contention.”
While I’m sure one’s definition of “fall out of contention” varies, I don’t see how that could realistically apply to the Phillies before the trade deadline. They’re four games back as we speak. Only two games out of the Wild Card. They’re playing a Braves team that is banged up and is doing things like trotting out an outfield consisting of Melky Cabrera, Omar Infante and Gregor Blanco, and they’re doing it at home. At the end of the week the two teams they’re behind will play each other. It’s just as likely that they’ll gain ground before the break as lose ground.
After the break they have just over two full weeks before the deadline with over half of those games coming against losing teams. Yes, it’s possible that they’ll lose 14 of 17 or something while the Mets and Braves surge, but that’s not likely either. My guess is that, at worst, they’ll be around the same place they are now. Maybe four or five games back. At worst. That’s certainly not “out of contention” territory.
Someone better versed in waiver-trade-fu than me can correct me if I’m wrong, but given that Werth is (a) good; and (b) about to become a free agent, the odds of him making it through waivers seem pretty small (i.e. there’s not some big contract to scare teams away). That means the Phillies aren’t like to match up with any optimum trade partners if they want to make an August deal.
All of this leads to me thinking that the odds of the Phillies actually trading Jayson Werth are infinitesimal. It’s enough to get Rosenthal a little chatter, but ultimately nothing is going to happen.
Earlier this week Tigers GM Al Avila said that his club was going to get “lean” and “efficient” and that their days of spending big money are over. Later in the week Avila said that they would not likely offer a long term contract to outfielder J.D. Martinez, who will become a free agent after the 2017 season.
None of those comments necessarily suggested that the Tigers would be conducting a fire sale or anything, and it’s certainly possible to get leaner while still competing. One would assume that the Tigers could cut fat in the middle but still head into battle with their superstars. But that may not be the plan. Buster Olney:
. . . the message being received from the rest of the industry is a dramatic shift for one of baseball’s oldest franchises: They will listen to trade offers on everybody.
Miguel Cabrera. Justin Verlander. Ian Kinsler.
Trading those guys would be a pretty big deal. In both senses of the term.
It would take a blockbuster-sized deal to move such players. Verlander is owed $28 million a year for the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 at $22 million. Cabrera just finished the first year of an eight-year, $248 million deal that will be paying him more than $30 million a year between 2018 and 2023, with an $8 million buyout for 2024. And that’s before the fact that both Verlander and Cabrera are 10/5 guys with full no-trade protection if they choose to exercise it. Beyond that Kinsler is a relative bargain at $11 million in 2017 and a $10 million club option for 2018 with a $5 million buyout. Victor Martinez and Justin Upton are hanging around too.
But for as big a trade would have to be if any one of those guys were dealt, it’d be a bigger deal in terms of team philosophy and direction. Cabrera has confirmed his Hall of Fame credentials in his nine years in Detroit. He’s the best player to wear the English D since Al Kaline and has been the biggest star in the organization for most of a generation. Verlander is nearly as important and nearly as famous. I don’t think it’s likely the Tigers will move either of them because the logistics of such deals would be mind-boggling, but even entertaining deals for these guys would alter the course of the franchise for years and years to come. It happens to every franchise eventually, but I don’t think the Tigers fan base is prepared for it to happen to them yet.
Still: the free agent market is thinner that it has been at any time in years and years. Cabrera and Verlander, if they could be had, would be the biggest splashes any team looking to improve could possibly acquire. Kinselr would be a big get for anyone as well. Al Avila knows that. Even if he’s not ready to part with his superstars, he probably owes it to his organization to at least listen.
Major League Baseball just announced the broadcast schedule for both Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) of the NLCS and the entire World Series.
There are no surprises here. The World Series games are all on Fox. The pregame show starts at 7:30 and the games themselves start just after 8pm Eastern Daylight Time, regardless of whether it’s Chicago or Los Angeles representing the National League. For some reason Game five of the World Series, scheduled a week from Sunday if it comes to pass, starts seven minutes later than all of the other games. Maybe something super exciting will happen then.