Last week, the Phillies surprised probably everyone when they signed Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a six year contract guaranteed to be worth $48 million. This is 40 times more than their previous record for signing an international free agent, so it’s obvious they feel that adding him really improves the organization. I question if he’s worth the contract, but if this represents a change in philosophy on how much they should spend on international talent, I’m in favor of it.
Aside from the first few innings in their first game back, the Phillies have looked awful since the All-Star break, and if this play continues, they will be irrelevant in the playoff chase. They’re not this bad, but they’re not as good as the homestand before the break would indicate either. It wouldn’t surprise me if they stand pat or even buy at the deadline because Ruben Amaro is so far in over his head that he’ll be the last to see the writing on the wall for this iteration of the Phillies, but if they do sell, this will start a series of prospects they could be acquiring. The Orioles will be up first.
This is not a ranking of top Orioles prospects, but a selection of players that could be on the move. There’s probably a 0% chance that Dylan Bundy is traded while injured.
RHP Kevin Gausman (23 in 2014): For the Phillies, the only chance to acquire Gausman would be if they were willing to move Cliff Lee. That seems really unlikely now, but I think the Orioles have the financial means and desire to take him on. Gausman would immediately become the team’s best prospect, and he’s near major league ready. He has the potential for three plus pitches, and an absolute best case scenario could see him become an ace. His first tour of duty in the majors wasn’t very good, but there’s a reason he was a number four overall pick.
Very Good Tier
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (21): Rodriguez has been a bit of a pop-up player the last couple seasons with improved fastball velocity to go along with his decent control. His slider and changeup both have above average potential, and after pitching well for a half season in the Carolina League, he reached Double-A as a 20 year old. If a bidding war develops and the Phillies are willing to eat some money, it’s possible he could be had for a rental of Chase Utley, and he would be one of the organization’s three best prospects along with Jesse Biddle and Maikel Franco.
IF Jonathan Schoop (22): The gap between Schoop’s on-field performance and potential hasn’t narrowed the last couple years, and the Orioles haven’t done him a favor by always having him playing at a level above the one he should’ve actually been at. If he can gain a little more patience, he could hit for a solid average with above average power. Now that he’s not stuck on a roster with Manny Machado, he’s been playing shortstop, but in the end, he should be playing second or third base depending on what the organization needs.
OF L.J. Hoes (24): Hoes was in the back half of Orioles’ top 10 lists to start the season, but he’s in the midst of a career year on the cusp of the majors. He’s probably not a player a team wants to run out there for 150 games, but he still has a lot of skills that could help a club. He can play all three outfield positions well, and at the plate, he can make regular contact and make pitchers work. It would be nice if he was a little faster to take advantage of those on-base skills though.
RHP Mike Wright (24): Wright would be the second or third player in a trade for a bigger player or maybe straight up for someone to give them at-bats as a DH like Delmon or Michael Young. His statline in Double-A is really only average, but he’s a ground ball pitcher which means it could be a reflection of the minor league defense behind him. His low-90’s fastball has nice sink, and his breaking ball and changeup have average potential. That’s just a back-end starter or decent reliever, but he’s close to the majors.
SS Adrian Marin (20): If the Phillies go the high-risk, decent-reward route for one of their lesser trade targets, Marin could be the guy. He can probably play a professional shortstop with a decent arm and can run, but he’s going to have to hit much better than he has.
RHP Zach Davies (21): Davies comes with some risk as a short righty without overwhelming stuff, but he can command his fastball anywhere in the strike zone and has the secondary pitches to stay in a rotation. He’s had a solid High-A season as a 20 year old.
C Michael Ohlman (23): The Phillies have been hoarding catchers the last two years, so what’s one more? He has a nice swing with plus power potential, but his defense is not good. He’ll have to move to another position, but it’s a big question where that could be.
Competitive Balance Round A Draft Pick: You can’t trade just about every pick in the MLB Draft, but teams can trade picks in either competitive balance round, one after the first round and one after the second. Usually, the teams that get these picks are the ones that shouldn’t be trading them, but a contending team like Baltimore could view it as a nice trade chip. It would approximately be #33 overall.
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