The GM Game: A Case Of Texas Hold 'em?

In this edition of The GM Game, John takes his turn at being our guest GM of the Phillies and looks to swing a deal with the Rangers. John actually had a few deals to change the face of our beloved Phillies, but we'll start with somewhat of a blockbuster.

I am from Allentown, Pennsylvania, but I am currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island.  I am a huge Phillies fan, and I often dream up trade scenarios in my head.  Here are a few practical ones....

RF Bobby Abreu
CF Chris Roberson             to Texas
RHP Ryan Madson


3b Hank Blalock
RHP Chris Young               to Philadelphia
Young Minor leauge long relief bullpen guy
Plus or Minus some cash.

Well, if you're going to come up with trade scenarios, they might as well involve a couple of big names like Bobby Abreu and Hank Blalock. The fact that the Rangers are considering dealing Blalock is interesting. He's one of the more valuable young players in the game and it was thought that the Rangers would look to hang onto him for years to come. The fact that Blalock is signed through 2008 at a pretty reasonable rate - $13.95 million - with a club option for 2009 makes it all the more interesting that they would even give thought to sending him elsewhere.

Chris Young is another young guy who had somewhat of a breakout season with the Rangers in '05 although he did stumble a little down the stretch. Young was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third round of the 2000 Draft and was then shipped to Montreal (remember them?) before winding up in Texas. He made 31 starts, but only averaged 5 1/3 innings per start in 2005, going 12-7 with a 4.26 ERA. He started the season like he was going to be mentioned in Cy Young Award balloting, but then slowed in the Texas heat of late July and August. At 26, he is thought to have a solid future as at least a middle of the rotation starter.

If I'm Rangers GM Jon Daniels, I say...

Where do I sign? Granted, I'm going to try to keep you pretty low on the prospect chain when you talk about the young bullpen guy and I'm not going to send any cash to Philly (in fact, if you'll send some my way, it would help to pay Abreu and might increase the value of the young pitcher that I'm going to send you). The bottom line is that if you had offered me Abreu for Blalock, Young and an average prospect and sent a few bucks along to help pay for it all, I would have accepted. In other words, you're being too nice John.

With the Rangers and Phillies working out a deal for Vicente Padilla, perhaps in our GM Game proposal, the Phillies could substitute Padilla for Ryan Madson. That might still interest the Rangers while making the deal a little more palatable for the Phillies.

While Roberson isn't a stud prospect, he's a pretty darn good one. Madson has shown value as a reliever and may even have a better and brighter future if he's switched to the starting rotation. If I'm the Rangers, that's exactly what I'm going to do and I'm going to figure that he can, at the very least, come close to giving me what Young gave me and possibly even a little more. While Blalock is a hot commodity, he's not at the level of Bobby Abreu. Blalock may not end his career with quite as high of an average as Abreu will and he definitely won't steal as many bases. He may surpass Abreu's power when all is said and done though. Plus, the Rangers would be taking on approximately $16 million to keep Abreu through 2007 and another $16 million to keep him for 2008. That's where the money that you might be willing to include would come in handy. Still, the Rangers were going to have to pay Alfonso Soriano about $10 million in 2006 and got off pretty easy just having to give Brad Wilkerson about $5 million for next season. If they were to deal Wilkerson elsewhere - Toronto would love to have him - they would only be about $3 million over what they would have paid Soriano. In other words, it could be made to work.

Plus, I've got Madson and Roberson to add to the mix. Roberson should at least be a decent major league outfielder in the not-too-distant future and we've already discussed Madson. Blalock's addition would be great, but it wouldn't be without "issues". Mike Costanzo is still at least a couple of years and perhaps more, away from reaching the majors. The bottom line though is that he should be ready while Blalock is still under contract and likely hitting his prime. Either Costanzo or Blalock could possibly be dealt at that point, depending on where the Phillies figure Costanzo will stack up when compared to Blalock. Also, Blalock would have the right to demand a trade after the '06 season since he would have been dealt in the middle of a long-term contract. Probably not a problem, especially since the Phillies have his brother, Jake Blalock in their system and the two may enjoy the possibility of playing together in the majors.

John, you're onto something, but you might be a little too generous. Blalock would be a nice addition, especially if you could then spin Bell somewhere for a prospect or some pitching help.

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