The Phillies have pushed all their chips into the middle of the table in pursuit of a World Series championship.
In recent seasons they acquired some of the biggest talents in the game to try to make it happen. They got such All-Stars and Cy Young Award winners as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence and Jonathan Papelbon.
Trades cost them four prospects currently ranked on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list in catcher Travis d'Arnaud (No. 22), first baseman Jonathan Singleton (No. 38), outfielder Anthony Gose (No. 51) and right-hander Jarred Cosart (No. 55); six players who have reached the big leagues with varying degrees of success in Kyle Drabek, J.A. Happ, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson and Michael Taylor; and four other prospects still trying to get to the big leagues in Domingo Santana, Jonathan Villar, Jason Knapp and Josh Zeid.
Such free-agent signings as Lee and Papelbon also cost the Phillies precious first-round picks that would have helped them restock their farm system more quickly.
The Phillies are hoping to find a few future All-Stars in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, but it will be a challenge. They are without a first-round pick after signing Papelbon to a four-year, $50 million contract in November, but they have the 40th and 54th picks in the supplemental round.
Live coverage of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft begins with a one-hour preview show on Monday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB.com and MLB Network, followed by the first round and supplemental compensation round. MLB.com will provide exclusive coverage of Days 2 and 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter, and you can get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
New rules will make this Draft unlike any other for the Phillies, as Major League Baseball has slotted bonuses for every pick through the first 10 rounds. The Phillies have $1.291 million prescribed for the 40th pick and $940,000 for the 54th. They have $4.916 million budgeted for their 12 picks in the first 10 rounds. They can spread that money among their first 12 picks in different ways, but they can't go over budget. And if the Phillies do not sign a player, they lose that money.
It should make for some interesting discussions in the Draft room.
In about 50 words
This year's Draft class is not as deep as last year's, but the Phillies won't use that as an excuse as they try to add depth to a farm system that has seen much of its top talent dealt to other teams in order to acquire prime big league talent.
"There's a whole different dynamic in the Draft then there has been in the past. Honestly, how it's going to play out? I don't think anybody knows." --assistant general manager Scott Proefrock
The Phillies have no first-round selections.
phillies' bonus pool
Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the value of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.
Any team going up to 5 percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5 percent to 10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10 percent to 15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more results in a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.
The Phillies certainly could use some big bats in the pipeline (although it's easier said than done to find the next Chase Utley and Ryan Howard), but they have a philosophy of taking the best player available. Expect that trend to continue.
Look around baseball and you will find teams locking up their young everyday players -- Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones -- to multiyear deals. That is why the Phillies would like to find a few more big bats and develop them much the way they did with Utley, Howard and Jimmy Rollins. It's not easy to acquire MVP-caliber offensive players once they are established in the big leagues, so finding a couple in the Draft could solve potential problems in the future.
Recent Draft History
The Phillies selected third baseman Cody Asche in the fourth round of the 2011 Draft, and he has been tearing up the Florida State League. He is hitting .356 with 11 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 17 RBIs and an .866 OPS in 44 games with Class A Clearwater.
Phillies' recent top picks
|2011||Larry Greene Jr.||OF||Extended spring training|
|2010||Jesse Biddle||LHP||Class A Clearwater|
|2009||Kelly Dugan||OF||Class A Lakewood|
|2008||Anthony Hewitt||OF||Class A Clearwater|
Right-hander Tyler Cloyd was selected in the 18th round of the 2008 Draft but just recently became a prospect. He is 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in six starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and went 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts with Double-A Reading.
In the show
The Phillies selected Jake Diekman in the 30th round of the 2007 Draft. He joined the big leagues on May 11 and other than one bad outing against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, he has been very impressive. He has struck out 12 batters in 6 1/3 innings in his first seven appearances.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.