We've addressed the Phillies' options on the free agent market at length, but Ruben Amaro Jr. sounds like a man who knows he might have to swing a deal to accomplish all of his goals for this offseason. So let's take a look at the chips the Phillies have in their possession.
First, let's identify a rough blueprint of what it usually costs to obtain a premiere player:
1) A blue-chip prospect who is major league ready, one solid prospect, one young prospect with upside
2) A young major league pitcher who projects as a middle-of-the-rotation guy, one very good prospect, one reliever/rotational position player/young prospect/former top prospect
Phillies' assets, and their value on the trade market
1) Vance Worley, RHP - We're starting with Worley because we wrote about him in the paper and on the blog as being a guy who could attract some serious interest as a part of a package for a front-line hitter. The most comparable pitcher traded over the past few years is Trevor Cahill, who was dealt along with set-up man Craig Breslow to the Diamondbacks last year for pitching prospect Jarrod Parker and a couple of throw-in players.
Cahill's numbers at the time of the deal: 24 years old, 583 IP, 3.91 ERA, 5.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9
Vance Worley's current numbers: 25 years old, 277 2/3 IP, 3.50 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 0.7 HR/9
The big difference is the innings pitch. Cahill had already shown he could pitch 200 innings and stay strong the next year. Worley has not reached 150 in either of his two full seasons. He also was shut down with an elbow injury that required non-serious surgery to remove bone chips. He is expected to be full strength by spring training. It's tough to make an argument that Worley would be as valued as Cahill, but they could certainly be in the same neighborhood. Parker was rated the No. 26 prospect by Baseball America prior to last season, so I think it is fair to say that the Phillies could approach teams with the idea that he should be valued in that neighborhood. Not a blue-chip prospect that would alone land a premiere player. But certainly an important piece of a package.
2) Jesse Biddle, LHP - He had a great year at high-A with a 3.22 ERA, 9.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 0.6 HR/9. And he just turned 21. He isn't a blue-chipper, but he is a Top 100 guy.
3) Tommy Joseph, C: Acquired from the Giants in the Hunter Pence trade, he isn't a blue-chipper. In fact, he wasn't even a Top 100 prospect in Baseball America's annual rankings last year. But he is a young catcher with power and good presence behind the plate. He was good enough to get the Giants a year-and-a-half of Hunter Pence. Not a guy who would be the centerpiece of a package for a frontline player, but a potential second piece.
4) Trevor May, RHP - He had an inconsistent year at Double-A Reading and his stock has slipped some. But most scouts still view him as the team's No. 1 or No. 2 pitching prospect.
5) Domonic Brown, OF - I can't imagine that the Phillies would be able to build a package with Brown as a centerpiece for a premiere player. You have to think that his value would be somewhere similar to what Cameron Maybin's was when the Marlins shipped him to San Diego in exchange for a pair of solid (although not set-up grade) relievers in Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica.
Maybin's numbers at the time of the deal: 24 years old, 610 PA, .246/.313/.380, 82 OPS+, 13 HR, 19 SB
Brown's numbers thus far: 25 years old, 492 PA, .236/.315/.388, 90 OPS+, 12 HR, 5 SB
For a true frontline player, I would think that Brown would be a third piece. He's a guy who, straight up, might be swapped for a set-up man. Of course, there could be teams that value him a lot higher.
6) Sebastian Valle, C: My sense is that Valle would have slightly less value than Joseph. He could be the second piece in a trade built around a blue-chip prospect, but might be a third piece if the centerpiece is not a blue-chipper.
7) Brody Colvin, RHP: He's had some rough patches thus far in his career, but he is young, and he has the kind of tools that scouts get addicted to.
8) Roman Quinn, SS: He is a potential blue-chipper, but too young and unproven to be a centerpiece guy. Another second piece type, though I'm not sure the Phillies would be willing to trade him.
9) Larry Greene, OF: He'd be a young prospect with upside type.
10) Phillippe Aumont, RHP: The fact that he is a reliever limits his value.
11) Adam Morgan, LHP: Near major league ready, back-to-middle projectability
12) Jonathan Pettibone, RHP: Same as Morgan.
So what does all of this mean?
I would have to think that any trade for a frontline player would have to include either Worley or Biddle. It would also have to include one of Joseph/May/Valle and one of Brown/Colvin/Quinn/Greene/Aumont/Morgan/Pettibone.
Again, that's for a premiere player (Justin Upton, etc.). I'm not sure how many true premiere players are available besides Upton.