As I previously noted, I had mixed feelings about the possibility of the Phillies signing Curt Schilling. Fortunately, I won’t have to worry about it any longer. He’s going back to Boston.
And in other news, Indians pitcher Paul Byrd and his HGH rumors are returning to Cleveland for one year and $7.5.
So now, as a Phillies fan, I’m stuck wondering: where will the Phillies find more pitching?
There are, as I see it, three options.
1. They can promote a prospect. The Phils have a couple of promising pitchers in the minors. The first is Josh Outman, who should make the major league roster just because he’s got a great, great name. He also led the A-league last season with a 2.45 ERA, and earned a promotion to AA.
The second is Carlos Carrasco. Here’s how Phuture Phillies describes Carrasco:
Carrasco is a long ways from a finished product, but he does have a pair of major league pitches. He throws a plus fastball that sits at 91-92 mph and touches 95 with good life, as well as a quality changeup. His mechanics are nearly picture-perfect, as he looks like he’s throwing an easy side session while popping 92s and 93s.
It’s possible both Carrasco and Outman will see time in the bigs next season, but it’s doubtful either one will start the season in the majors.
2. They can sign a free agent. But who’s available? Andy Pettitte says he’ll only play for the Yankees, so he’s out. Kris Benson is a free agent. The Phils probably won’t sign him, because he’s coming off Tommy John surgery. On the other hand, I think Anna Benson would be a big hit in Philly. I’m secretly rooting for the Bensons to come to town. And by secretly, I mean openly.
If not Benson, there are the following guys to consider, according to MLB Trade Rumors:
Shawn Chacon (30), Matt Clement (32), Bartolo Colon (35), Josh Fogg (31), Jason Jennings (29), Kenshin Kawakami (33), Joe Kennedy (29), Hiroki Kuroda (33), Brian Lawrence (32), Kyle Lohse (29), Rodrigo Lopez (32), Mike Maroth (30), Odalis Perez (31), Kenny Rogers (43) – Type B, Kazumi Saito (30), Carlos Silva (29), Jeff Weaver (31), David Wells (45), Kip Wells (31), Randy Wolf (31), Jamey Wright (34), Jaret Wright (32).
Randy Wolf would seem to be a good fit, since he has pitched in Philadelphia his entire career, except for last season, when he briefly chased his dream of pitching in L.A.
I wouldn’t mind seeing the team roll the dice with Matt Clement, who clearly has some upside. Lohse would be welcome back, but he will probably be looking to make more money than the Phils will be willing to pay.
3. They can trade for a pitcher. But who’s available? The names floating around include John Garland, Noah Lowry, Dontrelle Willis and Johan Santana. Let’s assume Santana is a pipe dream. Willis, as Paul pointed out in a previous post, isn’t a good investment. Lowry won 14 games for the Giants in 2007, so he must be doing something right.
(But will somebody please explain to me how Lowry won 14 games, despite the fact that his WHIP was an unsightly 1.55 and he walked as many guys as he stuck out? Moreover, Matt Cain managed to lose 16 games pitching for the same team, and his WHIP was way lower — 1.26 — and he stuck out twice as many guys as he walked!)
Then there’s the rumor that the Giants are shopping rookie phenom Tim Lincecum. Word is San Fran is looking for a big bat. I’ve been killing myself trying to figure out somebody the Phillies could swap for Lincecum, but I just don’t see it happening. I think the Giants would want more in return for Lincecum than Pat Burrell and the one year he has left on his contract. Shane Victorino is a fun player, but hardly a “big bat”. Chase Utley is going nowhere. You hear me, Gillick? NOWHERE.
That leaves Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. Howard is a former NL MVP and Rollins is a candidate for MVP this season. Can the Phils trade an MVP for a pitcher who has yet to prove himself at the big league level?
Probably not. Well, they certainly can’t trade Howard. He is one of those once in a lifetime players.
But Rollins is just very good, not great. More than anything, he’s very well rounded. He’s a good fielder. Good base stealer. Good hitter. But not irreplaceable. Moreover, after his big-talkin’ big hittin’ 2007 season, Rollins will never be more valuable.
Plus, Lincecum is still making rookie money, so acquiring him for a high priced player like Rollins would free up money to sign a guy like Aaron Rowand. Or another pitcher, like Wolf, Clement or Lohse. OR — dare to dream — Mike Lowell.
And the idea of pairing Lincecum and Cole Hamels is tantilyzing. All of a sudden, next year’s starting rotation look like this:
Ok, so ending that list with Adam Eaton leaves a sour taste. But, like I said, there’s no reason the Phils couldn’t sign a guy like Wolf to replace Eaton, bumping the disappointing starter to the bullpen.
Of course, the Phils would be giving up on Rollins (who is my favorite player in the universe). And they’d have to find a new shortstop, either via trade or free agency. And it’s a thin free agent crop. Let’s say they go with David Eckstein, who is supremely overrated, but would be a hit in Philly. That would leave them with a lineup that looks like this:
1. Shane Victorino CF
2. Chase Utley 2B
3. Ryan Howard 1B
4. Pat Burrell LF
5. Jason Werth RF
6. Mike Lowell 3B
7. Carlos Ruiz C
8. David Eckstein SS
Not bad, right?
Now if the Phils can just figure out how to fix the bullpen.