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Trade Rumors: Phillies Addressing the Outfield Market

Before I get to my post,  I would like to introduce myself. I am Ray Guilfoyle, and I currently manage and write for Fake Teams, a fantasy sports blog here at SB Nation that focuses on fantasy baseball, football, basketball and hockey, with an emphasis on fantasy baseball. I also write for John Sickels' site Minor League Ball where I write articles on some of the top fantasy prospects in baseball, as well as provide prospect rankings by position. I have been managing Fake Teams for about 3 years now. During my time at Fake Teams, I have found that baseball fans can't get enough trade rumor info and that is what I will offer the readers of MLB Daily Dish on a weekly basis going forward. Now onto the article.

Last offseason, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, and members of the Phillies front office, flatly denied that the Phillies would get involved in the free agent market for starting pitcher Cliff Lee. Then, a few weeks later, Lee was signing a 5 year, $120 million deal with the Phillies. 

Last week, Amaro was quoted saying the Phillies would not make any major moves before the July 31st trading deadline. Last week, and over the weekend, there is word that the Phillies are looking at the outfield market according to this June 16th tweet from ESPN's Buster Olney:

 Buster Olney 

A few players that come to mind are Astros left fielder Carlos Lee, Twins outfielder Michael CuddyerMets right fielder Carlos Beltran and Atheltics left fielder Josh Willingham. Lee and Beltran fit the bill for pricey and veteran, while Cuddyer and WIllingham would be cheaper salary wise, but more expensive in terms of prospects. 

More on the Phillies outfield options after the jump:

The Astros are in rebuild mode, so they would be very willing to deal Lee, but at what price? Lee is signed through 2012 making $18.5 million on 2011 and 2012. By the time he is dealt, the team trading for him may have to take on up to $27-28 million in salary over the next year and a half. But, I am sure any team looking to deal for Lee will look for the Astros to take on as much of his salary in return for a prospect. The more salary the Astros take on, the better, and the more prospects the Astros would receive in return. 

Should Lee make his way into the Phils lineup, his fantasy value will get a boost, but how much? Lee could see a boost in batting average, but I am not sure if we will see a boost in his power numbers, as his ISO over the last few seasons are trending down:

2008: .255 ISO

2009: .189 ISO

2010: .170 ISO

2011: .139 ISO

Anoither possibility is Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, but can you really see the Mets helping their division rivals? I guess if the price is right, they would. What would it take for the Mets to deal Beltran to their division rival? The price to the Phillies would be pretty high, so I am going to rule out Beltran to the Phils, even though he fits the bill "established (and pricey) veteran".

On Sunday night, ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted the following regarding the Phillies pursuit of a right handed hitting outfielder:


Buster_ESPN Buster Olney 

The Phillies looking for a RHed hitter, and have made inquiries, specifically, on Michael Cuddyer and Josh Willingham, sources say.

22 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Cuddyer is one of the few Twins having a good year at the plate, as he is hitting .280-.343-.451 with 10 HRs, 28 RBIs, 30 runs and 6 SBs, including a recent 3 stolen base game. Cuddyer is a good,  but not great, hitting outfielder and would fit nicely in the Phillies lineup. His value would increase moving from the spacious Target Field into Citizens Bank Park. But the question of whether the Twins will be buyers or sellers could prevent a deal from happening until late July or even July 31st.

Finally, the A's are probably in the best position to make a deal with the Phillies since they are willing sellers and outfielder Josh Willingham is signed for just this year at a salary of $6 million. By the time he is dealt, the Phillies would be responsible for about $3 million, or just under $3 million. The A's could land a solid B level prospect in return for Willingham, as they are more than likely looking for someone who they can control for 5-6 seasons.

As we approach the July 31st trade deadline, there will be plenty of rumors to report on, so you can find more trade rumor analysis here or at Fake Teams. Here are links to some recent fantasy baseball and fantasy football analysis.