Ruben Strikes Out Swinging

29 Nov

Ruben Amaro usually gets his man.

This time he didn’t… Possibly twice.

Amaro’s main target, free agent B.J. Upton, has come to an agreement with the Atlanta Braves for a reported five-year, $75 million deal.

There were some things to like about Upton.  His defense is above average, he’s fast, and he’s still pretty young at 28, however he’s also been known for his lack of hustle, large number of strikeouts (169 in 2012), and a low OBP (.298 in 2012).

At least we’ll get to see Hamels strike him out a lot.

During the afternoon is was reported by Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, that the Phillies were in serious talks to aquire Astros reliever  Wilton Lopez, but since then things have gone quiet.  Lopez was in Philadelphia for a physical, and since then… Nothing. Lopez has some injury history with his elbow, so there is obviously some concern.

Lopez is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and projects to earn $1.4MM in 2013. The 29-year-old posted phenomenal 2.17 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 1.1 BB/9 and a 55% ground ball rate in 66 1/3 innings with the Astros in 2012. In three-plus MLB seasons, he has a 3.14 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 and a 55.9% ground ball rate. He would be under team control through 2015.

Antonio Bastardo could vanish from the earth for all I care if we can get production like that in the 8th.

We’ll see how this plays out.  Rumor is that the Astros were looking at Sebastian Valle, but if that’s what it takes then it wouldn’t be so bad.  Look at the deals that similar relievers like Brandon League and Jonathan Broxton received.  A Free Agent like Lopez carries about a $30MM/3 Years price tag.

So what lies in the weeds for the Phillies?   They are desperate for some added pop in their lineup, and for some defensive assurances at third base, and centerfield. Let’s be honest here folks.  Power is great, but if you think back on last season, how many losing games can we put on the bullpen?  A lot.  And how many can we put on lousy defense?  A lot.

Michael Bourn has peaked in my eyes, and is set to rapidly decline.  He’s gonna cost a fortune as well, so in my book… No thanks.

Shane Victorino is slightly intriguing.  I think the Phillies were OK parting with him, but as a outfielder on a shorter team friendly contract I might say OK.

Angel Pagan (I’ve always referred to him as Oxymoron) is basically the same player as Victorino, he just had a better 2012.

I know everyone would love to see Josh Hamilton, but I’m not in love with another left-handed power hitter with injury history (don’t we already have two of those?) and he’s gonna be looking for at least $23MM a season.   However, I’d let him play out the last two seasons of a 5 year deal in a wheelchair if he could help nab us another championship or two.

I love Justin Upton, but word is the Diamondbacks asking price is extremely high, however they are motivated sellers.  Think two of our top ten prospects at least.

I still admire Mike Adams as a reliever, but his price tag would be steep, and I think the Phillies need to fill other holes before committing that kind of coin to another reliever.

Where should we go from here?

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