The GM Game: Schilling Plus Sheffield or Guerrero?

<I>The GM Game</I> allows our readers to take over as the general manager of the Phillies. All you have to do is send your ideas about what trades you would make to <a href=mailto:phillies1964@att.net>Phillies1964@att.net</a> and if we use your idea in a story, you'll receive a complimentary one month subscription to the PhillyBaseballNews.com Insiders Club.

The trade idea: Bringing Curt Schilling back is the most important thing that the Phillies can do this off-season. A package of Ryan Madson, Pat Burrell and Placido Polanco should do it! Also, the Phillies should go after Gary Sheffield or Vladimir Guerrero!
Does it work? Well, a lot going on here, isn't there? Curt Schilling in the rotation would be a nice addition, no doubt about that. There are some concerns with Schilling. Do we really want to give Madson, Burrell and Polanco to Arizona?

It's interesting that editions of our GM Game have run to the extremes of "do nothing and hang on to our young players" to this kind of idea. If the Phillies made this deal, what happens in left field and what happens if David Bell isn't healthy? Signing either Guerrero or Sheffield might help, but both of them are right fielders. If they or Bobby Abreu would agree to move to left field, that solves one problem. We would still have a gaping hole if Bell isn't healthy. Plus, if we make this deal, we have to know that either Guerrero or Sheffield would sign with the Phillies. Otherwise, there is the potential for another hole in the lineup.

Ryan Madson could be dealt in the right trade. Curt Schilling would be the right trade, so there really isn't a problem in dealing him. Other than the potential hole at third base, Polanco certainly wouldn't be untouchable, so he could be dealt. Pat Burrell? I'm amazed how quickly people want to give up on Burrell. If he had been a weak player since he arrived in the majors and had a huge season in 2003, everybody would be saying "well, that could have been a fluke." With Burrell, you have the reverse and there are a lot of people who have labeled him a bum. Good thing we didn't do that with Mike Schmidt when he hit under .200 early in his career. Plus, think about it; If Burrell truly is a bad player who is going nowhere, don't you think the folks in Arizona know that too? It's not like people in Philly are the only ones who get to see him play or get to look at his stats, right?

Would Arizona want to take on the contracts of Burrell and Polanco? Well, Schilling will make $12 million in 2004, with $6 million of that deferred. Burrell is due $4 million and Polanco will likely get about $4 million in arbitration, meaning that the Diamondbacks, who are trying to shed salary, would actually be paying more salary in 2004.

Then, of course, is the small detail of who plays left? While it's possible that somebody could shift over, you never know how that's going to work. Bobby Abreu didn't like the idea of hitting leadoff and he may not like the idea of moving to left field. Likewise with Guerrero and Sheffield.

Financially for the Phillies, the cost may be too high. Schilling will want at least another $12 million per year to sign the extension that he will demand to waive his no-trade clause and he's likely not to accept deferred payments this time around. Plus, the Phillies don't do deferred contracts. Guerrero and Sheffield will get anywhere between $12 million and $15 million, depending who you talk to. That's a big hike in the Phillies payroll. Remember, that Burrell's contract doesn't get really pricey until around 2006 when it goes to close to $10 million per year.

This scenario doesn't happen. There are too many question marks on both sides and no guarantees that either Guerrero or Sheffield will want to come to Philadelphia. Even if they do, the price tag for Schilling and either one of the free agents would be prohibitive for the Phillies to swallow. Granted, adding Guerrero and Schilling would be awesome. Unfortunately, it's a dream at best for Phillies fans. With recent events, even adding just Schilling is a dream scenario now.

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