Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Case for Medium-Term Contracts

Hello folks. Hope everyone is enjoying the early fall and a World Series that will inevitably make history: the Indians have not won since the 40s and the Cubs haven't won it in over a century! Meanwhile, the Phillies are out of the playoffs, in the midst of a rebuild that began in Dec. of 2014. Over the last year, the Phillies starting rotation has jumped at least 10-15 ranking spots among all MLB teams in IP, WAR, & ERA (and lots of other categories, too). The bullpen, feeling less stress has been doing well, except for middle relief & lack of back-end depth (Neris literally pitched the equivalent of every other game!). The offense has taken a slight step back but the front office has indicated exploring free agency to help all aspects. There is a Catch-22 and I agree that one exists: a balance between veterans to alleviate stress on the young developing core and allowing players to move up to the big leagues.

So how do we balance those out? Writers at, my favorite blog to read, and Phillies Beat Reporter for MLB Todd Zolecki have essentially said one-year free-agency deals only. I vehemently disagree. There is one player we have now that deserves an extension - Jeremy Hellickson. The former Rookie of the Year rebounded nicely and helped contribute to a rotation that seemed to take steps back (poor performances and injuries) but in reality took a huge leap forward. I think Hellickson is worth extending at a high price ($18MM AAV over 2-3 years). He's a great candidate to take us to contention and the market is weak anyway. The Phillies have no commitments from the World Champions year (Oct. 29th, 2008 BTW!) and LOTS of money to spend.

Overall in free agency, if you limit your spending to 5-6 guys where all but 1-2 have one-yr deals and those one or two are only here for 2-3 years each... there will be PLENTY of space for guys to move up. We have a lot of young talent up here already (Galvis, Herrera, Franco, Nola, Eikhoff, Neris, Alfaro, Rupp, Joseph, Hernandez) and a good chunk of that (Cozens & Lively come to mind) will be added to the 40-Man within the next few weeks (we'll get rid of the pot. FAs & maybe Asche & Goedell and that opens up 5-10 spots to fill w/ the guys that need Rule 5 protection).

Lots of money to spend, most of your young future core already on the 40-man roster and a relatively weak free-agent market make a couple of 2- to 3-year deals worthwhile now.

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