Former Phillies Prospects: Where Are They Now (Part Two-2009)

Posted: March 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

ImageAs we recapped in the last segment, the Phillies have made an abundance of trades and transactions over the past half-decade to put the team in a position to win multiple World Series. Last week, we recapped Pat Gillick’s moves and how they affected the future of the organization. What we discovered is that despite his many moves, Gillick only ever really gave up three players of any consequence: RHP Gavin Floyd, LHP Gio Gonzalez, and CF Michael Bourn. Seeing as how any half-conscious Phillies fan would still trade Bourn for Brad Lidge; the only really bad move that Gillick made was dealing the two arms, both of whom are still in their prime today, for the lame duck 2007 season of Freddy Garcia.

Without further ado, let’s get to the analysis:

2009 Trades

– November 20th, 2008: Phillies trade OF Greg Golson to Texas Rangers for OF John Mayberry Jr.

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By now, everybody knows who John Mayberry is. The son of a former slugger and 2005 first round draft choice out of Ruben Amaro’s alma mater, Stanford, Mayberry has played 303 games with the Phillies since 2009. At the time of the trade, Texas had grown sick of the lack of plate discipline Mayberry was showing in the minors, and was willing to give him up for Golson, another former first round pick that had not developed quite as well as the Phillies had hoped.

The now 27-year old outfielder was taken 21st overall by Philadelphia in the 2004 draft, during their run of really mediocre first round picks including Floyd, Golson, and Joe Savery. The Austin, TX native was a speedster who never developed any auxiliary skills. He played 6 games with the 2008 Phillies in September, acting mostly as a pinch runner and going 0-6 from the dish. Since the trade, Golson has bounced from Texas, to the Yankees, to the White Sox. As of now, his career line sits at .195-0-2. Golson was inked to a minor league deal by Colorado this offseason.

– December 10th, 2008: Phillies trade C Jason Jaramillo to Pittsburgh Pirates for C Ronny Paulino

ImageOnce upon a time, Jason Jaramillo was viewed as more of a sure thing prospect than Carlos Ruiz. The 2004 second round pick (clearly, the Phillies had a lot of success with that draft) was seen as the heir apparent behind Mike Lieberthal at the time he was selected. However, Jaramillo ultimately was usurped in the system by Ruiz. Then, once the team landed Travis D’Arnaud, the reasons for hanging on to Jaramillo became moot. Since this deal, the now 30-year old Jaramillo has hit .235-4-38 in 119 games with Pittsburgh. He was non-tendered following the 2011 season and has bounced around between four franchises the past 18 months. One would believe that Jaramillo’s career as a major leaguer is just about finished.

In return for their once prized backstop, the Phillies landed Paulino. A fellow catcher, Paulino was already a major league commodity at the time of his acquisition, having played parts of four seasons with Pittsburgh, hitting .278-19-128 in 304 games over that span. However, the then 27-year old did not win a spot with the team out of camp, as they decided to go with Chris Coste and Paul Bako as Ruiz’s primary backups during the 2009 season. The team traded Paulino to the Giants for Jack Taschner, who finished 2009 1-1, 4.91 with the Phillies. Paulino ended up landing with Florida that year, hitting .272-8-27 in 80 games. Last year, Paulino played 20 games with the Orioles, and enters 2013 in the Seattle Mariners organization.

– July 29th, 2009: Phillies trade RHP Jason Knapp, RHP Carlos Carrasco, INF Jason Donald, and C Lou Marson to the Cleveland Indians for LHP Cliff Lee and OF Ben Francisco

ImageWho could forget this momentous trade? Back in 2009, the Phillies were still strangers to the mega-deal, having focused on smaller, more cost-conscious moves in the past. Well, that was all thrown out the door with this trade. The defending AL Cy Young winner, Cliff Lee was suffering through a lack of run-support in Cleveland in 2009 as evidenced by his 7-9, 3.14 record. The team shipped four of their top prospects to land the southpaw, who would go on to finish the year 7-4, 3.39 before winning four playoff games including two in their World Series loss to New York. Francisco, meanwhile, provided depth and some pop as a fourth outfielder, hitting .259-17-75 in 225 games over three seasons in Philadelphia.

But, what about the prospects that the Phillies surrendered for this ace lefty? After all, we always hear about how the Phillies doomed themselves because of the prospects they surrendered in trades just like this one. Carrasco, considered the most ready of the bunch, started five games for Cleveland in 2009, going 0-4, 8.87 with 11 K and 11 BB. The following two years, Carrasco started to show some major league talent, going 10-11, 4.41 in 28 starts from 2010 to 2011. Unfortunately, for the Indians, years of pitching in the Phillies minor league system left Carrasco’s arm in trouble. In September, 2011, the right-hander had Tommy John Surgery, costing him the entire 2012 season. He returns in 2013 as a 25-year old, still young enough to have a shot at the Indians rotation under new manager Terry Francona.

Next up is Jason Donald, a 2008 US Olympian whilst still a member of the Phillies’ organization. The verdict on this infielder was cloudy. Some believed he had the talent to start. Others, meanwhile, believed he would forever be a utility player in the mold of a Nick Punto, whom the Phillies traded to Minnesota in 2003 for Eric Milton. Donald never appeared in the majors with Philadelphia, beginning his career in 2010, hitting .253-4-24 in 88 games with Cleveland. The following year, Donald had his finest showing to date in a small sample-size, hitting .318-1-8 in 39 games. That performance would prove fleeting, however, as Donald reverted back to his old ways, hitting just .202 in 124 at bats in 2012. The Indians shipped the now 28-year old to Cincinnati in this offseason’s Shin-Soo Choo megadeal. Donald should be the Reds’ primary backup infielder, so 2013 might be make-or-break year for the Fresno, CA native.

Most people figured at the time that Lou Marson would never be more than a quality backup catcher. The then 23-year old had spent a few minor stints in Phillies’ red-pinstripes, going 6-21 (.286) with the team. Since the deal, he has developed into Carlos Santana’s primary backup in Cleveland. In 250 games with the Indians, Marson is hitting .218-4-58. Clearly, his lack of power or plate vision makes him an easy bust candidate, and it is obvious that Marson would have never turned into more than a backup in Philadelphia.

Finally, we have Jason Knapp, the man considered by many to have the most upside at the time. Drafted in the second round just a year prior, the then 18-year old had shown tremendous power and had a dynamite makeup (6-5, 235). Unfortunately for Cleveland, Knapp also had elbow trouble. He pitched just 11.2 innings the rest of the season for Lake County (A) before being shut down. In 2010, the right-hander tossed just 28.1 innings between Rookie and A ball before missing the rest of the season and all of 2011 with elbow issues. Cleveland announced during the middle of last season that they had released Knapp at just 21-years old. The right-hander has yet to sign with another team, and it appears likely that his once promising career is over before it even began. Once rated the #64 prospect in baseball, injuries ended the career of a player that many were hesitant to give up for Lee at the time.

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