07/05/12 10:00 AM ET
Futures Game stars often past, future trade bait
By Paul Hagen / MLB.com
Participating at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City will be first baseman Jonathan Singleton, a hitting machine, and outfielder Anthony Gose, who has blazing speed. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who appears to be on the verge of coming to the big leagues for good, was also named to the U.S. Team roster before being sidelined by an injury. They were all drafted and signed on Wolever's watch so, naturally, he takes pride in that.
The catch, of course, is that none of these prospects plays in the Phillies organization anymore.
2012 Futures game representatives
Singleton went to Houston in the Hunter Pence deal just before the Trade Deadline last season. MLB.com rates him as the Astros' No. 1 prospect.
"I'm extremely pleased for all of them," Wolever said. "What goes through my mind? It's back and forth really. Very pleased for the kids themselves. Very disappointed that they're not going as Phillies. And yet, I understand that side of the business. They were traded for good reason. Those deals worked for both parties.
"I think all of our scouts take pride in player development and the fact that these guys have turned out to be exactly what we thought they were going to be. If not better. I think it gives us all a little bit of satisfaction that we're drafting the right players and developing the right players."
The Phillies aren't the only team that will be watching players traded away in win-now deals take a star turn on Sunday, either. The Giants gave up right-hander Zack Wheeler at the Deadline last July, sending him to the Mets for Carlos Beltran. Beltran moved on to the Cardinals as a free agent at the end of the season; Wheeler is now the Mets No. 1 prospect.
The Brewers traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to get Zack Greinke from the Royals before the 2011 season. He's now Kansas City's fourth-best prospect. The Reds dealt catcher Yasmani Grandal to San Diego to get Mat Latos. Grandal was supposed to be at the Futures Game but was called up by the Padres last weekend and homered from both sides of the plate in his Major League debut, and already had four through his first six games, including a go-ahead pinch-hit blast on Wednesday.
"Our job is to bring value into the Major League organization," said Giants special scouting assistant John Barr. "Some of those guys will go onto help at the Major League Level. Guys like Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt here of late. But you also know that some will be used to help at the Major League level through trades."
Teams that trade top prospects go into it with their eyes open. The Giants, for example, obviously knew how good Wheeler was. But they were the defending World Series champions with the need for another bat. Beltran might have been the best option available, and the Mets weren't going to give him away. Every team that deals a top prospect to fill an immediate need makes a similar evaluation.
That's just the way it goes sometimes. And that's not all. Players at the Futures Game can also end up as trade chips, either before the non-waiver Trade Deadline arrives some three weeks later or during the offseason.
Five players who participated in last year's game at Arizona's Chase Field have since been moved. Once again, the Phillies were involved. Electric right-hander Jarred Cosart was also part of the package that was sent to Houston to get Pence.
The others who have been traded since last year's game: Right-hander Brad Peacock (Nationals to A's in the Gio Gonzalez trade),left-hander Drew Pomeranz (Indians to Rockies for Ubaldo Jimenez), first baseman Yonder Alonso (Reds to Padres, with Grandal, in the Latos deal) and Chih-Hsien Chiang Red Sox to the Mariners, for Erik Bedard).
Wolever has developed a philosophical attitude toward that part of the game. "They're great kids and I hate to see them leave. But that's part of the business," he said last September. "I personally get attached to some of them because I really like them as people. It's really difficult to let go.
"At the same time, technically, that's what our job is here. To provide (general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.) with what he needs in order for this club to play well and get to the World Series. But, yeah, it's very tough."
Amaro, who has traded away 16 players originally drafted by the Phillies since becoming general manager after the 2008 season, recognizes Wolever's predicament. "I'm sure it gets old for him, having me call and say, 'Marti, I screwed you again,'" he said sympathetically.
Despite all that, the Phillies will be represented by two players: Double-A Reading right-handers Lisalberto Bonilla and Julio Rodriguez are on the World Team roster. And Wolever, of course, will be rooting for them, too.
The 14th annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game can be seen live on ESPN2 and simulcast live on MLB.com, and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday on Sunday, July 8, at 5 p.m. ET. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send and receive tweets to and from the U.S. and World team dugouts during the game by following @USDugout and @WorldDugout.
Major League Baseball, along with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 Major League baseball clubs, selected the 25-man rosters.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.