Phillies prospects looking good…for other teams

Ruben Amaro’s tenure with the Phillies has brought some big, big, names to Philadelphia since he took the reigns from Pat Gillick over three years ago.  Amaro landed Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Hunter Pence in hopes of bringing another championship.  Well, that didn’t pan out and the Phillies are now in a position where they might be forced to trade away talent to salvage anything over the next few seasons.

Trading for marquis players has a cost far beyond the mega millions they put down.  That cost is the farm system.  The Phillies built this current “dynasty” based on minor league talent with players like Rollins, Utley, Howard, Ruiz, Hamels, Madson, all of whom the Phils drafted.

A few different bounces and we could be talking about a Phillies team in search of its fifth straight World Series and Ruben would be the toast of the town.  Unfortunately, the reality is that the Phillies have no championships since 2008 and no farm system in which to bolster their roster.

Hindsight being 20/20, one has to wonder if the Phillies would be better off without making some, most, or all of those moves.  With another trading deadline quickly approaching, let’s take a look at how exactly Ruben’s blockbuster moves have effected the organization.

First, a quick reminder of the moves since 2009:

2009 Trading Deadline – Cliff Lee Trade
Phillies trade right-hander Carlos Carrasco (AAA), righty Jason Knapp (A), catcher Lou Marson (AAA), and shortstop Jason Donald (AAA) to the Cleveland Indians in return for Cliff Lee.

December, 2009 – Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee Deals
Trading Cliff Lee – Phillies trade Cliff Lee to Seattle Mariners for right-hander Phillippe Aumont (AA), outfielder Tyson Gillies (A), and righty JC Ramirez (A).

Acquiring Roy Halladay – Phillies trade catcher Travis d’Arnaud (A), right-hander Kyle Drabek (AA), and outfielder Michael Taylor (AAA) to Toronto Blue Jays for Roy Halladay.

2010 Trading Deadline – Roy Oswalt Trade
Phillies trade left-hander JA Happ, outfielder Anthony Gose (A), and shortstop Jonathan Villar (A) to Houston Astros in exchange for Roy Oswalt.

2011 Trading Deadline – Hunter Pence Deal
Phillies trade 1B Jonathan Singleton (A), right-handers Jarred Cosart (A) and Josh Zeid (AA), and a player to be named later in outfielder Domingo Santana (A) to Houston Astros for Hunter Pence.

What was the damage?

All told, the Phillies traded away 14 prospects, eight of whom were ranked in the top 100 at the time of the trade. Of those fourteen players:

2 never made it through the minors and are now out of baseball altogether.
3 are struggling in the minors.
3 are struggling in the majors.

As of now, it would appear that eight of the prospects will not come back to bite the Phillies. But that still leaves six potential players with legitimate shots to join the Ryne Sandberg and Ferguson Jenkins “why did we let that guy go” club (the Phillies drafted both Hall of Famers in case you wondered).

3 players rank as Baseball America’s mid season top 50 prospects: Travis D’Arnaud (19), Jonathan Singleton (23), and Anthony Gose (38). In addition, Jarred Cosart was ranked #50 prior to the season, Michael Taylor is hitting .301 in AA, and Domingo Santana is hitting .297 in single-A this year.

Examining Phillies trades under Ruben Amaro

Cliff Lee trade #1

Cliff Lee was Ruben’s first major deal and by far his best. Two of the four players the Phillies traded are out of baseball and neither of the other two have succeeded thus far in the majors.

Carlos Carrasco RHP
At the time of the trade: Carrasco was in AAA and rated the #54 prospect by Baseball America.
Where is he now: Started 21 games last year for Indians with a 4.62 ERA and had Tommy John Surgery last September.

Jason Knapp RHP
At the time of the trade: Single-A prospect.
Where is he now: Never made it past single-A and is now out of baseball.

Lou Marson C
At the time of the trade: AAA prospect and rated #54.
Where is he now: Never made it past A and is now out of baseball.

Jason Donald SS
At the time of the trade: AAA prospect and rated the #69.
Where is he now: Donald has split time between AAA where he is hitting .250 and Cleveland where he is hitting .188.

Roy Halladay deal

The Blue Jays had a pretty steep asking price for Roy Halladay, and it is looking more and more like they got a good return, with two potential stars of the three in which the Phillies traded.

Travis d’Arnaud C 
At the time of the trade: Single-A prospect rated #81.
Where is he now: d’Arnaud is hitting .333 in AAA and ranked #19.

Kyle Drabek RHP
At the time of the trade: AA prospect and rated #25.
Where is he now: Drabek made 14 starts last season with a 6.06 ERA and 13 starts this season with a 4.67 ERA and is now on DL.

Michael Taylor AAA
At the time of the trade: AAA prospect and rated #29.
Where is he now: Taylor is hitting .301 in AAA.

Roy Oswalt deal

Ed Wade batted one-for-three with the Roy Oswalt trade. Two of the three prospects haven’t amounted to much yet, but one player is now rated #38.

JA Happ
At the time of the trade: Happ pitched well with a 3.11 ERA in 4 years with Phillies.
Where is he now: 4.84 ERA in three years with Astros.

Anthony Gose
At the time of the trade: Single-A prospect.
Where is he now: Gose is now rated the #38 prospect.

Jonathan Villar
At the time of the trade: Single-A prospect.
Where is he now: Villar is now hitting .262 in AA.

Hunter Pence deal

This was the deal that hurt the most. One of the players the Phillies traded is currently ranked #39, one was ranked #50 to start the season, and one is performing very well at single-A.

Jonathan Singleton 1B
At the time of the trade: Single-A prospect and ranked #39.
Where is he now: Singleton is hitting .268 with 12 HR in AA and rated #23.

Jarred Cosart RHP
At the time of the trade: Single-A prospect ranked #70.
Where is he now: Cosart is pitching in AA and was rated #50 prior to the 2012 season.

Josh Zeid RHP
At the time of the trade: AA prospect.
Where is he now: 5.30 ERA in AA in 2012.

Domingo Santana OF
At the time of the trade: The “player to be named later” from single-A.
Where is he now: Hitting .297 in single-A.

Cliff Lee Trade #2

We can’t forget that the Phillies traded away a superstar when they dealt Cliff Lee to Seattle. I’m sure Ruben regretted that decision almost immediately, but there is a chance he hit on at least one player.

Phillippe Aumont RHP
At the time of the trade: AA prospect rated #93.
Where is he now: 4.15 ERA in AAA.

Tyson Gillies OF
At the time of the trade: Single-A prospect.
Where is he now: Suffered early injury and now hitting .280 this year.

JC Ramirez RHP
At the time of the trade: Single-A prospect.
Where is he now: 3.62 ERA in 16 games with AA Reading and also pitched twice in AAA.

Here’s a break down of the players lost by position:

5 right-handed pitchers (Carrasco, Knapp, Drabek, Cosart, Zeid)
1 left-handed pitcher (Happ)
2 catchers (Marson, d’Arnaud)
2 shortstops (Donald, Villar)
3 outfielders (Taylor, Gose, Santana)
1 first-baseman (Singleton)

The Phillies also gained two righties and an outfielder when they traded Lee.

The names to keep your eyes on are Travis D’Arnaud, Jonathan Singleton, and Anthony Gose, Jarred Cosart, Michael Taylor, and Domingo Santana.


Overall, I would have to say the Phillies pretty much broke even on the deals. The Phillies ended up with three ace pitchers and one decent outfielder which made them instant contenders, but there is a good chance a few players will haunt the Phillies in the majors for a long time…

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