Monday, June 05, 2006

Ben's Proposal for Willis

from ben schuchardt:
The Yankees need a left-handed outfield bat. The Marlins need to bank money and stockpile for the future. The Phillies need pitching and personality. This trade is fair and helps all three teams. Why not?

Phillies give:
Bobby Abreu (to Yankees)
Scott Mathieson (P) OR Gio Gonzalez (P) OR Daniel Haigwood (P) (to Marlins)

Phillies get:
Dontrelle Willis

Yankees give:
Philip Hughes (P) (to Florida)
Eric Duncan (1B/3B) (to Florida)
Shelley Duncan (1B) OR Kevin Thompson (3B) (to Florida)

Yankees get:
Bobby Abreu

Marlins give:
Dontrelle Willis

Marlins get:
Scott Mathieson (P) OR Gio Gonzalez (P) OR Daniel Haigwood (P) (from Phillies)
Philip Hughes (P) (from Yankees)
Eric Duncan (1B/3B) (from Yankees)
Shelley Duncan (1B) OR Kevin Thompson (3B) (from Yankees)
i don't know enough about any of the minor leaguers to know whether the yankees or the marlins would go for it, but from the phils perspective it would clearly be a huge win for them.

baseball america lists hughes and eric duncan as the top two prospects in the yankees farm system (rated 17th best in organizational talent):
PHILIP HUGHES, rhp Born: June 24, 1986 B-T: R-R Ht: 6-5 Wt: 220
Drafted: HS—Santa Ana., Calif., 2004 (1st round) Signed by: Jeff Patterson

Background: Hughes is a California guy but grew up a Red Sox fan, as his father hails from New England and he had a grandmother who lived in Rhode Island. As a boy, Hughes took trips to visit her in the summer and went to games at Fenway Park regularly. Hughes was one of the nation’s top high school arms when the 2004 draft rolled around, but slipped to the Yankees with the 23rd overall pick as teams focused on college players. Signed for $1.4 million, Hughes worked just five innings in his pro debut before he stubbed his toe in his hotel room. Being ultra-cautious and fearing a fracture, New York shut him down. Hughes’ first full season also ended early because of a pair of stints on the disabled list, one with shoulder tendinitis and another with a tired arm.

Strengths: One Yankees official has called Hughes “Mark Prior light” since he joined the organization, and the similarities are striking. He has a sturdy, strong body and relatively effortless delivery, and the ball comes out of his hand easy. His fastball settled into the 92-94 mph range last season and he has more velocity when he needs it. As with Prior, the striking feature of Hughes’ fastball is his control and command of it. He throws it for strikes consistently and is honing his ability to put it in just the right spot. He has a hard, late-biting slider that the Yankees wouldn’t let him throw in last year, but he likes it better than his curveball and has the go-ahead to use it again in 2006. His curve progressed significantly and is now an above-average pitch. New York officials believe he has the poise and intangibles to go with his front-of-the-rotation stuff.

Weaknesses: Like Prior, Hughes has not been durable the last two years. He has pitched for three teams as a pro and has ended each stint on the disabled list. Besides the stubbed toe, he also had a mild case of elbow tendinitis in 2004. Hughes hasn’t needed surgery, and the Yankees insist the biggest hurdle he must overcome with regard to his health is getting to know his body better. All pitchers get sore, but Hughes has to learn what soreness is to be expected over the course of a season and what’s unusual. At times he throws his curve in the low 70s just to get it over, and he needs to throw it in the 78-80 mph range for it to be a plus pitch. He did that as the year progressed but will have to maintain that feel when he reintroduces his slider. His changeup is his fourth pitch, but he has the feel and arm speed for it to be at least average.

The Future: The wraps come off Hughes in 2006. The Yankees will start him at high Class A Tampa, and he shouldn’t be there long. As he reintroduces his slider, he should become a starter with well-above-average control and above-average command who throws three plus pitches for strikes. In a different organization, a healthy Hughes could reach the major leagues in 2006. Instead, he should be in the mix for a rotation spot in New York in 2007—as long as he stays off the disabled list.
ERIC DUNCAN, 3b/1b Born: December 7, 1984 B-T: L-R Ht: 6-3 Wt: 195
Drafted: West Orange, N.J., 2003 (1st round) Signed by: Cesar Presbott

Background: One of the youngest players in the Double-A Eastern League last year, Duncan survived a poor start and trade rumors. Then he got beaned in the head by a pitch by Akron’s Victor Kleine on Aug. 14 and wasn’t right the rest of the season. He bounced back to win the Arizona Fall League’s MVP award.

Duncan has above-average lefthanded power with enough bat speed to turn on quality fastballs, and he has easy opposite-field power as well. A solid athlete, he also has excellent makeup. He’s coachable and willing to make adjustments.

Once EL pitchers realized Duncan had trouble with quality breaking balls, they fed him a steady diet of them and rarely gave him fastballs in the strike zone. He needs to trust his hands more on offspeed pitches. He led the EL with 27 errors at third base, mostly due to a fringy arm.

The Future:
With Alex Rodriguez in front of him at third base, Duncan should move to first base sooner than later and began the process in the AFL. The position switch and his modest 2005 season likely will prompt his return to Trenton in 2006.
in passing, i heard someone on the radio this weekend saying that when all is said and done, bobby abreau will go down as the second greatest offensive force in phillies history (behind on only schmitty) and that he actually has a chance at the top spot. even if this is remotely true, doesn't it seem like more people should be a fan of this guy? are we too tough on him? there seems to be a similarity in the way phillies fans view abreau and yankees fans view a-rod. are either/both appropriate? sometimes i think abreau gets a bad rap (from me included).

that said, if gillick can pull this trade off, i'll volunteer to carry bobby's bags to new york for him.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


Count me as a fan of Abreu's game (except for his overt lack of hustle in the outfield, fear of the wall, and penchant for looking for walks when the situation begs for a hit).

I love the fact that he knows how to work the pitch count, rarely swings at the first pitch, uses all fields, and steals bases consistently even though he isn't that fast. You have to love his on base percentage and slugging percentage year after year. I also respect the fact that he never gets hurt and always plays. He's better than Carlos Beltran, despite all the hype lavished on Beltran a year ago.

Abreu's production is very consistent as well. His "bad" years all turn into above average years. It doesn't surprise me that some regard him as the second greatest offensive force in Phillies history. Clearly, he was the team's best overall hitter until the emergence of Chase Utley.

Abreu is a guy who has a lot of value. But if you watch him play every day (and I do), you begin to realize why Billie Beene is a blow hard and so off base about absolute deference to statistics. The numbers do lie. Fortunately for the Phillies, in this case, the numbers are so good, so deceptive, that you hope they whisper seductively into Cashen's ears. Bobby Abreau is a really good player who looks like a great one on paper. I'd hate to lose him (I'd also hate to lose any of the minor league pitchers I've proposed in the trade – interesting that the Inquirer today mentioned Gonzalez and Mathieson as possible Major League call ups this year), but you have to come up with significant value if you want a young stud like Dontrell. I want him badly. I want to see him teamed with Myers and Hamels (I hope). That trio is enough to win with in the post season in the near future.

I also want Jimmy Rollins (who I love) out of the leadoff role. Abreu could fill that role beautifully, but it won't happen because Charlie is a nitwit. By trading Abreu, I get to slot Victorino in the leadoff hole and move Rollins down to where he belongs (ideally 7th, but perhaps not with the current roster). Rollins should concentrate on his defense and not have to think at the plate. Trying to get him to take pitches, "play the right way," etc. doesn't work. It takes too much away from his natural ability when he tries (and he does try). He isn't an offensive liability unless you put him in a role for which he is obviously unsuited. In the right line up spot, he becomes a dangerous hitter for a guy who is the best defensive shortstop in the National League. Think Larry Bowa with a much better average, decent power, and great speed.

I think the most reluctant party to the trade I proposed should be the Yankees, and not because they don't want Bobby (they do). Rather, they don't want to give up on either Eric Duncan or Philip Hughes. Unfortunately, the Marlins will need a potential ace in return for Willis. The Yankees think Hughes can be an ace and so do I after watching him at Trenton. I'm not as sold on Eric Duncan as Baseball America or the Yankees, and I've seen him play tons of games. I considered using Steven White (another promising young pitcher), but figured I'd be better off suggesting a "name" minor leaguer. The Marlins won't want it to look like they didn't get value in return for the popular Willis. Toss in the prospects from the Phillies, especially considering the very young age of all the prospects they’d get (from the Yankees and the Phillies) and the Marlins would be foolish to pass up this deal.

I hope the Phillies try to do something bold. That's why we brought Gillick in, right? I'm starting to worry that if the Phillies don't strike first, the Mets will land Willis and the (future) balance of power will shift significantly. The Mets need to replace Glavin and Pedro within the next year or two, or the Phillies will have clear sailing. Unfortunately, the Mets have a guy in AA (Michelle Abreu) who looks (to me) like the kind of chip that the Mets could package with other talent to land Willis. We need to root for a Yankees losing streak. They’re getting a lot of production from the young kids who are filling in for Matsui and Sheffield. I don’t know enough about Phillips to comment on his potential, but his (advanced) age screams “journeyman.” Melky Cabrera is a mirage. He couldn’t hit at Trenton, so I don’t see his continued success in the show.

Let's get something done!


10:30 PM EDT  
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