Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/4/13
In the front office,  the first thoughts for next year are forming in private conversations, and some involve Cody Asche, the third baseman of the Philadelphia Phillies. Will he be in Ryne Sandberg’s lineup next April? TAL’S HANDY CAPS Welcome, Newcomers: This article represents the thinking of a baseball man in my opinion. Most fans do not consider the budget, prospects on the radar, the organization’s weaknesses, the track record, the competition and the other intangibles. There will be a published storyline each week. Check out: Expanded Storyline: Forecast for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez’s 2014 with the Philadelphia Phillies   Stanton Scores on a Ninth-Inning Wild Pitch to Seal a No-Hitter at Home Against the Tigers and Justin Verlander on September 29. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)   NITECAP INSIGHT       Groundwork for December: With repeated patterns and targets, a decision-maker reveals his main strategic aim and a backup plan. Since inheriting the reins in 2009, Ruben Amaro Jr. has a track record of major acquisitions. He shipped out 12 players and retained the only prospect to make an All-Star appearance. In return for mostly untested treasures, he received a dominant October from an ace, a 20-game winner with a no-hitter and a perfect game, seven victories plus a sub-2.00 ERA during a stretch run and a .324 bat. Of course, he has disappointed many because he did not bring home the ultimate hardware even once: He has yet to prove in five years he is equal to 1980′s general manager Paul Owens or 2008′s head honcho Pat Gillick. Amaro Introduces New Manager Sandberg to the Media on September 22 at the Bank. If Carlos Ruiz re-signs, he would rejoin the other current regulars: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Asche, Domonic Brown, Ben Revere and Darin Ruf. Meanwhile, the bench could be Erik Kratz, Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez, Kevin Frandson and a left-handed pinch hitter. After Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, the rotation hopefuls include Miguel Gonzalez, Kyle Kendrick and Roy Halladay. Today, the seven seats in the pen would belong to Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Antonio Bastardo, Jake Diekman, BJ Rosenberg, Justin De Fratus and Ethan Martin. According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, Amaro supplied one-word answers to two questions: He answered in the affirmative about exploring his usual crazy options and replied negatively to a quiet offseason. That said, money is a lesser problem than it was in 2013. Also, talent ready for the show is not an issue either. The ingredients in this hot-stove stew might reach the boiling point between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Trumbo Smokes a First-Inning Double at Oakland on September 16. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America) Crowded Corners: The interesting thing about third base is the distance between two franchises. The Phils have Asche and Maikel Franco’s arrival could be next July. Meantime, Miami has struggled to fill the position with Placido Polanco and Greg Dobbs. Dealing Asche with Galvis as a stopgap is a real possibility, but their demand could be Franco. If the target is a powerful right fielder, the partnering organization would receive Ruf in the swap. However, if a left fielder is in the exchange, Brown would return to his previous position. Since the market for this specific talent is thin, moving the all-star to the other corner is a strong secondary consideration. Center of Attention: The opinion here is that Amaro will prefer Revere over Hernandez for next summer. Revere was a terror on the bases before his freak accident at the plate, while Hernandez has shown little in that department. Even though Hernandez has .300 potential, the jovial incumbent has produced averages of .294 (AL) and .305 (NL) to  the rookie’s .314 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Either could be part of a package to secure an offensive prize, but Hernandez is more controllable, which means a more attractive choice for a rebuilding GM. Biddle Dials Up a Four-Seam Fastball Last Year in Reading. Jesse Biddle would, no doubt, top the list of a divisional rival surrendering a slugger to a familiar foe. Preferably, Amaro would rather trade Jonathan Pettibone and Phillippe Aumont instead of the local southpaw. Biddle, however, was 5-14 with a 3.64 ERA at Double-A Reading, and his prior stats were a 2.61 ERA (Single-A Williamsport), a 2.98 ERA (Single-A Lakewood) and an advanced-level 3.22 ERA (Single-A Clearwater). On the plus side, Biddle is only 21, a lefty and number one in the club’s pipeline, which are three valuable considerations. However, due to some struggling, he’ll open his next tour in Double-A, but he could achieve a promotion to Triple-A in June after two solid months or so. That stated, it probably will take his inclusion to pry a major scoring threat from another organization. Vices and Prices: Miami owner Jeffrey Loria fired his general manager, but he will continue to make his meddlesome personnel decisions. He wants to build his team around Giancarlo Stanton, but does that still apply without a contract extension? The right fielder does not like that pitcher-friendly park with a homer-killing dome, and he probably isn’t willing to accept any unwritten promises. If the impulsive Loria has to face the threat of three arbitration-eligible years, he could sour on the hard-hitting stud. Aumont Twirls a Ninth-Inning Curveball During the Suspended Game the Next Day in Cincinnati on April 17. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America) Stanton is the next bull’s-eye for Amaro, and that’s not totally unrealistic either. Even with questions about overwhelming competition for the slugger and a lack of trade chips, the Phillies and the Marlins are a match after an unclouded evaluation. The Fish need a third baseman (Asche), a leadoff man (Hernandez) and a replacement outfielder (Ruf), while young pitching is never a deal-breaker. The prediction here is that some combination of Asche, Hernandez, Ruf, Franco, Biddle, Pettibone or Aumont is enough to interest Miami. One wrinkle could crimp this plan and his name is third baseman Colin Moran, who was the Marlins’ top draft pick in 2013 and sixth overall. After joining the franchise, he performed for Single-A Greensboro. Although he is not a gold-glove fielder, he could play the hot corner or switch to first base. The Fish, however, are expecting a four-level jump from him by 2015, which is faster than Pat Burrell, a number-one selection overall. 2013 Statistics: * For comparison only. PLAYER & AGELEVELGMSABAVGHR - RBIBB-IBBSB-CS Giancarlo Stanton, 24NL116425.24924 - 06269 - 51 - 0 Mark Trumbo, 27AL159620.23534 - 10048 - 65 - 2 Yoenis Cespedes, 28 * AL (LF)135529.24026 - 08032 - 57 - 7 Colin Moran, 21A (3B)042154.29904 - 02315 - -1 - - Pettibone Cranks Up a Two-Seam Fastball During the First Inning at the Bank Against the Tigers on July 28. (Gregory ShamusGetty/ Images North America) Mutual Risk: The head honcho observers his peer’s reactions to suggested names, measures his offer with fairness, and establishes his parameters. He has a history of having a plan B running simultaneously: Lee and Papelbon are prime examples. In this case, that could be Mark Trumbo for a similar package via a three-way trade. That said, Miami has the preferred star. The Angels are looking for starters and David Price is available. His team is always ready to add young, inexpensive prospects for pricey veterans, and they could have interest in Franco for first base, Biddle and some of the other green Phillies’ talent. On the other hand, because Albert Pujols wasn’t healthy, Trumbo mostly manned first base again.  He also appeared in right field, left field and third base. In his first year of arbitration eligibility, he should command approximately $4.7 million. A barter with a divisional foe is usually a no-no; however, the red pinstripes would not want to face Biddle, Franco or Asche for many summers either.   RELATED ARTICLES Expanded Storyline: Forecast for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez’s 2014 with the Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: New Dosage of Youth Mirrors 1980′s Philadelphia Phillies Expanded Storyline: Grab Bag of Tricks for the Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: Amaro’s Fingerprints on the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: Evolving into 2014′s Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: Maneuvering, Amaro Style with the Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: Seller’s Remorse and the Philadelphia Phillies Storyline: Front Office Decisions for the Philadelphia Phillies   Phillies e-mail notification for Tal’s Storyline Message me at talvenada@hotmail.com or you can now Follow @Tals_Storyline   Final 2013 ERA for the NL East and the Philadelphia Phillies Final 2013 ERA for the Most Eyed Staffs and the Philadelphia Phillies
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