COMMENTARY | Bad news, everyone! Josh Hamilton did not sign with the Phillies.
I know it may come as a shock to many (sarcasm), but on the second anniversary of the Cliff Lee coup d'état of 2010 the Los Angeles Angels similarly came out of left field to sign Hamilton to a 5-year $125 million contract.
Now that the prospect - however real it was - of adding Hamilton is in the past, the Phillies and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. are moving on to another one of their many Plan B options.
The good news for Amaro is his previous trades for Ben Revere and Michael Young managed to solve two offseason needs and leave about $27 million to work with. With that kind of flexibility, he could pick from a number of arbitrarily named packages to fill the team's remaining needs - OF, SP and RP.
Here are some of my ideas.
Swisher is the best remaining hitter on the market and is looking for a long-term deal. With several teams interested, his price will likely exceed the 3 years and $39 million Shane Victorino got from the Red Sox.
If the Phillies can pick up Howell and Jurrjens for less than $10 million, they would have the budget to be competitive in the market for Swisher and be able to offer a similar atmosphere to Yankee Stadium.
Jair Jurrjens was once considered an ace in the making, but after a dismal 2012 where he was sent to the minors, he was non-tendered by the Atlanta Braves.
His value is low enough and his reward is high enough for the Phillies to take a chance.They would hope he can return to his 2011 form where he posted a 13-6 record and a 2.96 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 152 innings.
J.P. Howell - a former first round pick - had a bounce back year in 2012 posting a 3.04 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 50.1 innings following a down year in 2011 when his ERA ballooned to 6.16. He could be signed for an inexpensive $2-$3 million and be a solid left handed arm out of the bullpen to pair with Antonio Bastardo.
Plan Q: Cody Ross, Mike Adams and Edwin Jackson
Cody Ross could be a good addition to a Phillies lineup in need to a solid right handed bat. He may not be the power hitter they want but he has some pop and a smaller market could keep his price reasonable. Combined with Michael Young, Carlos Ruiz and the possible arrival of Darin Ruf, the right side of the plate could be strong for the Phillies.
The Phillies have been linked to Mike Adams who made $4.4 million in 2012 for the Texas Rangers. He is a tall right-hander who was 5-3 last season with a 3.27 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 52.1 innings. Like Swisher, the Texas native will have multiple suitors.
Edwin Jackson's price has also probably increased now that Anibal Sanchez re-signed with the Detroit Tigers. The 29-year-old journeyman had an up-and-down season for the Washington Nationals posting a 10-11 record with a 4.02 ERA, but had 168 strikeouts in 189.2 innings.
Plan Z: Mark Trumbo, Matt Lindstrom and Kyle Lohse
With the signing of Josh Hamilton, the Angels now have 5 outfielders with starter potential - Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos, Mike Trout, Vernon Wells and Josh Hamilton. At this point, it is reasonable to believe they will try and trade one of them to make room, and their biggest trade pieces would be Trumbo and Bourjos.
Trumbo is the right-handed power bat the Phillies covet. In 2012 he hit .268 with 32 home runs and 95 RBI in 144 games. Like Ben Revere, Trumbo is entering his third season in the big leagues and has a lot of room to improve. Another trade would cost the Phillies more prospects but bring back yet another young outfielder with a controlled contract and a high ceiling.
Matt Lindstrom is a right-handed power pitcher who split 2012 between Baltimore and Arizona. He was very solid for both, posting a 2.68 ERA with 40 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 47 innings for the year. He would be among the more expensive free agent relievers, but would likely be a better investment than the Danys Baez debacle of 2010.
Kyle Lohse had a brief stretch with the Phillies in 2007. After a career year with a 16-3 record, 2.86 ERA, 143 strikeouts in over 200 innings, the Phils could try and find the money to bring him back. With Greinke and Anibal Sanchez signed, Lohse is a top pitcher on the market which will only drive his value up.
Ruben Amaro has shown tremendous prudence this offseason, avoiding the chance to overspend for players like B.J. Upton, Angel Pagan and Josh Hamilton. If Amaro is going to address all of the Phillies problems, he is going to have to continue this kind of prudence.
Scott Lentz is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker from the Philadelphia area. He is a current contributor to Yahoo! Sports and TheGamingAdvisory.com. For more baseball talk, questions or comment, follow Scott on Twitter: @scottlentz27.
All stats and figures courtesy of baseball-reference.com.