|Does Alfonso Soriano make sense in Philadelphia? (US Presswire)|
R.J. White: On Tuesday, CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman reported that the Phillies have discussed trading outfielder Domonic Brown to the Cubs for outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Heyman also writes that the Phillies "may be slightly more inclined to sign a free agent, such as Cody Ross or perhaps even Josh Hamilton."
The Phillies could be looking for upgrades at each corner outfielder spot after filling center field with a trade for Ben Revere. With a veteran nucleus in place and a payroll that suggests the Phillies should be competitive in 2013, is a Soriano-for-Brown swap worthwhile? Is a free-agent signing (or two) in the cards? Should the Phillies just stick with Brown, Revere and John Mayberry as starters? What do you predict the opening-day outfield will be for the team?
Jack Moore: The Brown-for-Soriano swap would be utterly ridiculous if Brown were still the player he was entering the 2011 season -- the fourth-best prospect in baseball, coming off a .980 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A in 2010. But he isn't that player anymore. He has just a .763 OPS in over 600 Triple-A plate appearances since 2011 and just a .703 mark in the majors.
It all depends on what Philadelphia is trying to do. A team looking to win in 2013 should at least consider this deal -- Soriano posted an .821 OPS last year and an .803 mark over the last three years, a far sight better than anything I think we can reasonably expect out of Brown or Mayberry at this point.
Chris Cwik: It seems weird to say this given all the attention Philadelphia has received before last year, but aren't they somewhat of a sleeper right now? The team is built around three stud pitchers and should get production out of Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, even if both of them have declined. If they think their window is closing, I think it makes sense to make a play for Soriano. He's pretty spotty, but he's an upgrade for them, and you have to think the Cubs will be happy to eat a fair chunk of his contract.
Brown's stock is down, and he looks like a classic change of scenery guy. That's exactly the type of guy the Cubs should be targeting right now. If Brown gets back some of his potential, the Cubs get a useful corner outfielder through the 2017 season. That might be unlikely, considering Brown's recent struggles. But for a team like the Cubs, who are not going to contend, they might as well give Brown a chance to prove people wrong.
R.J. White: At this point, I can see the logic of trading Brown for Soriano for the Phillies as well. Brown is at that point where he needs MLB playing time to develop, and I'm not sure the Phillies can live with his inconsistency while they make a play for a championship, especially if injuries strike the veterans. Philadelphia is definitely a sleeper -- when healthy. I think trading for Soriano is the right thing to do, especially if they only have to pay a fraction of his salary.
I don't think adding Soriano will be enough, though. I think the Phillies will hit the free-agent market to sign Ross or Nick Swisher, with Hamilton being a long shot that can't be counted out. Mayberry can work fine as a backup to Ryan Howard at 1B, Soriano in left field and a free-agent signing in right field, but I'm not sure he's ready to be a regular.
Will the Phillies ultimately make one or both of these moves (Soriano trade, FA signing), or is their offseason more or less finished after the [Michael] Young and Revere trades?
Chris Cwik: The Brown-for-Soriano deal has been discussed, but nothing has happened yet. That makes me think it’s probably on the backburner at this time. Talks could always be revived. But if I had to guess, I would say it won’t happen. Though, I do think it could benefit both teams based on how much salary the Cubs eat.
I don’t really expect the Phillies to make anymore big moves. They already have a significant chunk of money committed to Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon. In the short term, they also have to pay Roy Halladay, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins as well. A smaller move, like a Cody Ross could work, but I would be slightly surprised to see them go after one of the big free agents still on the market.
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