Question: What do Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera have in common besides being stud third basemen? Answer: They’re both unobtainable for the Philadelphia Phillies.
According to a report in the Palm Beach Post, the Marlins are telling clubs that Cabrera, 24, is in play and could be traded by December. If true, this means the younger, cheaper, arbitration-eligible four-time All-Star is now the most attractive player on the market, trumping A-Rod and his reported $350 million price tag. Cabrera, who made $7.4 million last season, stands to make $10 million in arbitration, the Post predicts. That's just the beginning, really. Any suitor wouldn't hesitate to sweeten the pot to $15 million and sign him to a long-term extension.
Believe it or not, the Phillies probably have less of a shot at Cabrera than A-Rod. Florida wants marquee prospects, which the Phils don’t have. The Marlins will reportedly take a “Don’t call us. We’ll call you” approach to the situation. This means that if the Phillies actually get a telephone call from their division foes, only two words will come over the receiver: Cole Hamels. That’s what it will take to hold a serious phone conversation about acquiring a guy whose career line is .313/.388/.542 and would become the best hitter on any team besides a select few.
The last time the Marlins pulled the trigger on a deal of this magnitude, they dealt Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett for Hanley Ramirez, 23, who will become the best short stop in the NL next season, right-hander Anibal Sanchez, 23, who threw a no-hitter last September, plus two prospects.
Cabrera will go to a team rich with talent. Clubs that spring to mind include the Diamondbacks, Rockies, Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees, etc. Right now, there isn’t a player in the Phillies’ chain one could confidently include in a list of the top 50 prospects in baseball. Personally, I’d love to see Minnesota get him. They’re having a tough time keeping pace in the AL Central and are running out Nick Punto and other assorted scrubs at third. Plus, they're losing Torii Hunter, Carlos Silva and may no longer be able to afford Johan Santana.
AFL update: Meanwhile, let’s have a look at what two of our higher-tier position players are doing in the Arizona Fall League. Pay attention, Marlins. Third baseman Mike Costanzo is hitting .177 with 23 strikeouts and a .531 OPS – about the worst production of any regular in the league. Outfielder Greg Golson is doing a little better, hitting .233 with only 14 strikeouts and a .655 OPS.
This is a hitter’s league. These are not encouraging signs. On a positive note, first-round pick Joe Savery seems to be doing well. The left-hander pitches this afternoon. You can watch it live on MLB.TV. [Link]
Koskie update: According to this report, third baseman Cory Koskie says he’s making strides toward full recovery and believes he can play next season.
Final thought: Last winter, Beerleaguer spent oodles of hours documenting the Caribbean Leagues, minor league free agency and the Rule 5 draft. I won’t make the same mistake twice. As Beerleaguer’s senior correspondent points out, very little talent emerged from any of these sources last season, and absolutely none for the Phils, unless you count Antonio Alfonseca, who rehabbed in the D.R. As many of you recall, Fabio Castro, Alfredo Simon and Eude Brito dazzled scouts last winter. Karim Garcia earned a shot with the Phillies after a good winter in Mexico. Along with Simon, side-arm sensation Jim Ed Warden was given a shot at the bullpen. He wound up in Buffalo, and was bombed.
Lesson learned. Don't waste your time scrutinizing these scrap piles. Wake me when the Phils get on the horn with Japan.