With Ahmed Out, What should the Back-up Shortstop Plan Be?
Did you know that the Philadelphia Phillies have four players they will be paying over $20MM to this season? Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler each get $26MM while J.T Realmuto will receive $23.9MM and newly signed Nick Castellanos will get an even $20M those four guys make up over 40% of their total team payroll. And they are in a tough division with both the free spending New York Mets and the defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves. In 2022 the newly negotiated CBA has the luxury tax at $230MM and the total team payroll according to Sportrac for the Phillies will exceed that number and come in at $232MM. I am sure they don't want to go over that tax, and I am sure that they would actually like to have a little financial flexibility to be able to add payroll at the trade deadline and also not go over the luxury tax. The Diamondbacks can help themselves and the Phillies with the following trade.
The Diamondbacks would agree to take Didi Gregorius and his $14.5MM (the Phillies can pay his $750,000 bonus) . His Philly years have not been the kindest with a slash line of .237/.295/413. But if you dive deeper into his batting numbers his strikeout rate is only 16.4% which is 5% better than the major league average, his walk rate is still a respectable 6.1%, and almost half his balls are hit to center field. The number that really stands out is his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) which means those almost 50% of his hits that predictably go up the middle, they shift on him and have defenders waiting. In my trade senero, I would take away some more money from the Phillies and try to make the common baseball term "change of scenery" work for the Dbacks. Do you remember Scott Kingery? Philly thought he was going to be the next big thing and on March 25th 2018 signed him to what they thought would be a team friendly $24MM contract with 3 club options. With his contract this season he is owed $6.25MM, next year $8.25MM and his 3 club options the following 3 years of $13MM $14MM and $15MM. Now, before you get scared and stop reading those are club options, so the club decides if they pick them up or not, so if the Diamondbacks decide to decline the 3 options they only have a $1MM buyout.
Kingery debuted for Philadelphia in 2018 in so doing hit 23 doubles, 8 home runs, stole 10 bases and collected 35 RBI's and 55 runs all while being asked to play shortstop, center field and third base. Then in 2019 all of his numbers increased to 34 doubles, 19 home runs, 15 stolen bases, 55 RBI's and 64 runs. Then he fell off the face of the earth and only played a combined 51 games between 2020 and 2021 batting .159 and .053. In June of 2021 it was so bad he was placed on waivers, which he cleared, he was then sent to AAA and then had to have shoulder surgery. One last note is that Scott was born and raised in Arizona, played his college ball for Arizona University where he won Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year in 2015.
Now, before some of you again start freaking out saying that is almost $30MM worth of contracts Arizona is agreeing to take on and they get one year of Didi and a change of scenery guy and question my logic, just wait. The Phillies have a couple of young players who can fill places where we have needs, and they are young, cheap, and controllable. Click next and see what else I would ask for in the trade.