|Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.|
I'm going to take a leap of faith and assume the Rollins trade won't hit any more snags here for a moment, but let's take an honest look back at what's happened since game five of the 2008 World Series. Jayson Werth is now in DC, entering five years, and Shane Victorino is in Boston, going on three years. Pat Burrell and Pedro Feliz don't play Major League Baseball anymore. Jimmy Rollins is heading to the team the Phillies knocked out of the 2008 and 2009 NLCS's. The Phillies are trying to trade Ryan Howard to anyone who will take his contract. They are rumored to be attempting to trade Chase Utley and Cole Hamels from that fateful game five line-up. Only Carlos Ruiz is "safely" on this team, and I think even that is relative. The three relievers who threw in that game are basically out of baseball (even though Madson hasn't said so). Six seasons have passed, and so has the time for nostalgia. The day of greatness has passed for basically anyone involved in that title besides Cole Hamels, and the Phillies should recognize that cold reality and move on.
Hence, I'm for a complete sell-down of what's left. If there is a good (no, not great, just good) offer for Chase Utley and his mid-30's knees, the Phillies should cash in their chips. If there is any offer at all, the Phillies should move Ryan Howard, and he certainly shouldn't be back either way. I'm all for trying to cash out high on Ben Revere (even though he's young, he had a good year, and still has flaws as a player), Marlon Byrd, or both. They should give Papelbon away. If they can get a deal that speeds up the rebuilding process substantially, then I'm fine with dealing Cole Hamels. This doesn't mean they need three blue chip players, but they at least need a couple who will play substantial roles on the next good team.
With that all said, I like the week the Phillies had. The inventory of what they got this week looks like:
- Reportedly Zach Eflin, rated by MLB.com as the Padres #10 prospect, a first round pick in 2012, 33rd overall is in. Eflin is a 20 year old right-handed pitcher who went 10-7 with a 3.80 ERA over a career high 128 innings last year in High-A ball, who has seen his BB/9 decline and his K/9 increase as he's pitched through the minors. He'll probably start in either Clearwater or Reading, and enter our top ten prospects immediately. This is of course just rumored to be a part of the deal, but it would make sense he's in.
- Reportedly Tom Windle, rated by MLB.com as the Dodgers #7 prospect, a second round pick in the 2013 draft is in. Windle will be 23 by Opening Day, and went 12-8 with a 4.26 ERA in 139.1 innings in High-A California League ball. Windle is known for having a nasty slider and has shown improving command this year in a tougher league. Like Elvin, I'd assume a Clearwater or Reading beginning for Windle, who probably cracks our top ten as well.
- The Phillies picked up Texas League (AA) batting champion Odubel Herrera in the first round of the Rule 5 draft. The 22 year old has hit well at most levels he's played in the minors, and can play either outfield or second base, giving him versatility. His glove is considered iffy, but he hit a combined .315 across two levels in 2014, and posted a .771 OPS. The one knock on his bat could be a lack of power so far, but the Phillies are in a position to let him grow into that. They are talking about him playing some center field this Spring.
- The Phillies also picked up Pirates AAA lefty-reliever Andrew Oliver. Oliver, who throws hard, had 13 saves for AAA Indianapolis in 16 opportunities. He also had a 2.53 ERA this year. He walks far too many batters, one of the reasons he had to convert to a reliever, but his 85 K's in 64 innings was impressive this year. Still just 27, Oliver has a shot to make the club too.