Phillies Need Top-Shelf Starter

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, June 16, 2009 07:30 AM | Comments: 98
Posts, Raising Questions

BastardoDespite the fine comeback win Sunday, playing the Red Sox exposed the Phillies great weaknesses: Lack of bench help, injuries in the bullpen, an insufficient starting rotation.

The third aspect is the most pressing for the Phils’ goals in 2009. Watching the patient Red Sox work against, then tee off on Antonio Bastardo flashed the distress signal; then, watching the Sox do the same thing against JA Happ put us into panic mode. Bastardo and Happ may work against San Diego and even the free-swinging Dodgers, but in big October baseball, it won’t fly.

We do know, however, that Happ is more an asset in the rotation and should continue his run at the back of the rotation. But as we figured, it wouldn’t be a great idea to keep Bastardo, and Happ, and Jamie Moyer, and Joe Blanton back there together. That’s too much of one kind of pitcher (a guy who relies on hitters to make the outs for them — though Blanton has shown to be a bit more than that).

Yes, it’s second starter time. The Phillies will have to make a move, and it will probably be coming down within the next few weeks. I’ll dive into the second-starter business tomorrow; for now, come up with your own ideas as to who should next don pinstripes.

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About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Joey

    Will Ben Sheets not be ready to pitch this year?

    I dont think well see Lee, Halladay or Peavey. I think the more likely scenario is we go after some on in the high 4s low 5s era dept. with good stuff and hope the change of scenery does them well: Garland, Carmona, Cook.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I don’t think Detroit would deal Verlander with them being back on top in their division and a true playoff contender this year. While he’s definitely NOT the same pitcher as Halladay, the situation is similiar. Teams that are truly in the hunt aren’t trading their best or one of their best pitchers…unless it’s for major league ready bats..like Chase Utley
    (see above example ^^)

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    The buzz around the insiders seems to suggest Sheets has already signed with the Rangers.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Verlander’s just a gas pitcher, whenever his fastball velocities dropped he’s struggled and he doesn’t have the best of command on his pitches, maybe he’s turned the corner this year but there’s a handful of guys who deserve recognition before him.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Verlander isn’t going anywhere, I was just replying to people criticizing Adam for saying Verlander is a top 3 starter.

    MLBTR says “One scout has noticed the Brewers following Erik Bedard and believes they’ll make a “strong play” for him.”

    What other contenders will be trading for a big time starter besides the Phillies and the Brewers?

  • Posts: 0 Joey

    Cubbies, maybe the Twins. Never count out Mets Yankees Red Sox.

  • Posts: 0 The Dispy

    I heartily disagree that Oswalt will not be on the block. His production no longer matches his salary but that doesn’t make him a bad pitcher. I think the Astros are just saying what they have to say about Oswalt. As a matter of fact, I’ll go ya one better. I think that if Houston gets a deal they like that they would even take back some of Oswalt’s salary. BOOM! Webb healthy by the all star break? Give him to me. Justin Verlander? Nice pitcher but…..ummm…errrr…he’s a nice pitcher.

    Webb 22:1
    Oswalt 13:1
    Harang 13:1
    Garland 9:1
    Marquis 9:1
    Cook 7:1

    The Dipsy

    “Always striving to make the Phillies a better team”

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    The thing with Oswalt is sure the team and its owner may just be saying the right thing, but the guy has said he has no intention of pitching past his current deal and has full 10/5 protection so even if the team were to agree a deal it’s tough to see who’d be an acceptable suitor he wouldn’t veto a deal to.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Since Oswalt has 10/5 protection, he might say something like “extend my contract by two years and THEN I’ll accept the trade”.

    Oswalt is due:
    $14 mil this year
    $15 mil in ’10 and
    $16 mil in ’11
    with a $16 mil option for ’12 or a $2 mil buyout

    So Oswalt is due at least $33 million for 2010 and 2011. You’d better be sure that Oswalt can be an ace before taking on that contract.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I agree Griffin….those are awfully steep dollar figures there…

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    You can stop putting Oswalt in there because there is no indication hes available. Houston is wierd, they dont do what youre supposed to when yorue a bad team. theyre also not really that far out of the races yet. I also dont think adding all of Oswalts salary over the next TWo seasons is a great allocation of resources given his dropoff in production and tendency to be a flyball pitcher.

    As long as Colorado keeps winning games you can also remove Marquis and Cook from the list. Garland is a scary thought and I dont think theyll do it. Again, noone is going to trade their most experienced pitcher in the middle of a race – so cross off Harang too.

    im with you on webb. but is giving up the farm for a guy JUST coming off the 60 day DL a great idea for a team trying to expand a division lead? I want someone that is IN the flow of it. Id even cough up more for Danny Haren, even though hes not available.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I agree, taking on Oswalt is INSANE given the financial climate, even though the Phillies are in better financial shape than most of the teams in MLB. Still, theres no reason to hang another albatross contract around your necks a year after getting out from under Thome, Eaton, Jenkins, etc.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I would say the chances of getting Oswalt, Halladay & Harang are all the same: Zero

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    The stick in the mud Griffin is why would he want two years tacked on if he wants out, if monies the driving factor he could get those two years plus more with Houston, if he wanted and he’s had plenty of chances to get out so it seems unlikely now as he has his sights on retirement.

    I can see where someone might coming from thinking a guys just talk but that doesn’t seem like Oswalt.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Yeah, I’m not sure that Oswalt wants to be traded either. I could see ownership asking him (and eventually Berkman) to approve a trade because the team is in dire straights.

    I don’t think Oswalt is a good fit, given his contract and his no trade status.

  • Posts: 0 Dave M

    Adam, Johan’s velocity has gone down and hes been slumping significantly lately. I would not consider him to be the top pitcher right now.

  • Posts: 0 Temple

    Obviously the Phillies would like/need to add a starter. However, in today’s paper Ruben is quoted as saying he would like a reliever as well. I think after a starter our biggest need is another bat off the bench(specifically a right handed hitting outfielder) more so then a reliever. If not for the play of Matt Stairs, so far, the bench would be horrendous. I try to give Dobbs the benefit of the doubt because he was great last year and I understand Brunlett is an asset because he can play mulitple positions, but I feel we really do need a upgrade of our bench if we want to play deep in October.

  • Posts: 0 Steve-o

    We can all talk all we want about the top tier pitchers, but the bottom line is we aren’t getting one. It’s not that Amaro won’t try. He’ll ask every club for every pitcher, and dangle almost every prospect. But teams aren’t very willing to deal their studs, especially with so many teams still alive in the playoff chase.
    You really want to know who wears red pinstripes later this year? Brad Penny. Get used to the idea.

  • Posts: 0 Buffalophilsfan

    We need to focus our attention on pitching from clubs who are looking to sell. With Colorado and Cleveland making a push, I can’t imagine them trading Marquis or Lee. I love the idea of Webb, but it is scary with him coming off the DL.

    A guy I LOVE is Zach Duke from Pittsburgh. The Pirates have already shown they are dumping off players for prospects with the trade of McLuth to Atlanta. Duke is a tough lefty (I know, we have a bunch but I think it is a commodity not a deterrant to have a lot of lefties in the rotation). He totally shut down the Mets during a game a couple weeks ago and normally gets deep into games. He would be a solid #2-3 to go along with Hamels and Blanton to help shore up the rotation for the rest of the season and into the playoffs. My $$$ is on Zach Duke to join the club!!

  • Posts: 0 Chris

    Mark Steve-o’s words, folks. I also predict this.

  • Posts: 0 Mike D

    I don’t want Bedard. Why screw up a good clubhouse?

    Oswalt probably won’t happen. I’d hate to say it, but I agree with Steve-O. Unless a team completely tanks, a blockbuster trade probably won’t happen because everybody is in it, thanks to expansion diluting the talent in the league. At least Rube will try – Eddie would have said “we have enough pitching.”

    I just moved home from Pittsburgh. I remember Zach Duke had a very good rookie season. Then I think Jim Tracy changed his delivery when he got to Pittsburgh. That’s an intriguing name. He eats innings though – he’s piched fewer than 6 innings once and fewer than seven innings four out of his 13 starts. He won’t strike out a lot of people though. And I wonder how he’d do on a contender.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Yeah…I agree with Steve-O as well. While Bedard is an attractive option, Mike D makes a good point….”Why screw up a good clubhouse.” The guy’s a sort of a nutcase and we really don’t need that.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    Yea, Zach Duke would be o.k., or Paul Maholm. Both are having good years, and would be due to hit free agency at the end of 2011. You know the Pirates know they won’t get above .500 before 2012.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    If they traded either of those two in PGH the fans would revolt…I was just there. Theyre all talking about boycotting the team until they identify a core of players…sorta like we were saying before the Phillies decided to start spending the money to keep a team together. The Pirates starter most likely to go is Ian Snell.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    If Ed Wade was still here, we’d already have traded Drabek and Marson for Ian Snell.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    The Pirates had better realize they have to start keeping their team together and adding pieces to the puzzle who can contribute now. You cant always rebuild and rebuild. The Phillies learned that the hard way. After this season the Pirates cant afford to get rid of anyone else. I can see Sanchez, Wilson, Snell, Grabow, and Adam LaRoche being moved. Not really much else. Once they get the pieces back and identify who will be their major league 1B, 2B, & SS then they can actually add to the team. They probably need a veteran starter in there too.

    Its not out of the question to have this be a surprise team in 2010, but they pushed back their expected contention date to 2011 if you ask me when they traded McLouth.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Which is why the Pirates’ selection of Tony Sanchez was odd. They couldve picked Aaron Crow, who is probably only a year away from a Major League rotation spot. Guess thats why theyre the Pirates.

  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    Just reading all these comments makes one appreciate the difficulty of the situation that Amaro is dealing with. Just about every name thrown out there in this thread has had a “but” to it.

    I don’t think we are in a hurry to solve the situation right now. We have just gone through a nightmarish patch of the Dodgers, Mets, and Boston and we were able to break even and were Lidge problems and a home run call away from being dominant win/loss wise. I think we can make it to the trade deadline fine with the players we have. Maybe by then some of these teams that think they have a shot would have fallen back enough to make them think otherwise.

    I don’t see a deal being done until the trade deadline unless Amaro finds away to pull out a huge surprise so we will have to be patient.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    The Pirates and Padres stand as the worst run teams in baseball. The Pirates will get rid of the above guys at some point but just as before they’ll make the wrong deals and bring in guys who can play sure, but not much else. I don’t think anyones questioning them dealing McLouth even after re-signing him, but that deal was bad, they seem to be satisfied with guys who can tick over and you can’t see anyone on that roster who’s going to be around for the Alvarez years. Waste of a great stadium in a great sports town.

    Crow was a tough pick, what happened with the Nats seemed to really sour teams on him.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I think the Royals were wise to get Crow because – as i predicted, they have a piece about him on their site saying how he wants to sign quickly and get his career started and avoid what happened last year. I think the Phillies can afford to give up a LOT for a guy that would surprise us. someone not mentioned. But its pointless to speculate abotu who because they dont appear to be available now.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    By the way, check out the Marlins. They’re obviously going to be sellers, and they’ve got to cut some of their best players to meet salary requirements. And when I say a lot of players, I’m thinking they may be willing to part with either Ricky Nolasco or Josh Johnson. Their payroll spreadsheet is here: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p4ew-fwu2XT0r9n-YKxNjLQ

    13 players listed as eligible if they gain a year of service this year, probably at least 11 are still on the team and will get that year). Names like Uggla (big power numbers will probably send him to 7 or 8, a 2 mil raise), Jorge Cantu (probably get a 1 – 1.5 million raise), Nolasco (1 – 1.5 mil), Hermida (2 mil), Cody Ross (2 mil), Josh Johnson (will be big, maybe 4.5 mil total, raise of 3 mil), Amezaga (could stay about the same), Ronnie Paulino (1 mil raise), Leo Nunez (.5), Matt Lindstrom (.5) and Renyel Pinto (.5).

    For those of you keeping track, that’s an extra 13-14 Million from arbitration raises alone. Couple that with Hanley getting a 1.5 million raise and the loss of 1.5 Million they got for Ross Gload, the Marlin’s payroll would currently be expected to grow by 16-17 Million, (opening day salary was 37 million this year, the raises would push it to 53 – 55 million).

    They would probably wanna cut it to about 40 million tops. Uggla will definitely be gone for Chris Coghlan, so that leaves the amount they have to cut at about 8 million. Hanley is unlikely to go since he is the face of the franchise and the most marketable player on the team (as well as their MVP). Jorge Cantu will also go, but that still leaves the team with a minimum 3- 4 million dollar hole to dig out of, and thats if Jeffrey Loria lets them bring payroll up to 40 Million. My guess is that means one of Nolasco, Johnson, Hermida or Ross will have to go. Uggla will be moved for a MLB ready S.P. prospect (since if a team had a hitter they’d plug him in instead of Uggla the error machine), which means the Marlins will have room to move a pitcher, probably Josh Johnson since he will likely make the big bucks this offseason.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    If they traded Josh Johnson that should automatically get their GM fired. It would be like trading Cole Hamels in 2006.

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    Johnson is a beast. Would I like him here? Sure. But I wouldnt hold my breath.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Johnson would be awesome in red pinstripes but it ain’t hapenning anytime soon. Pretty interesting idea though

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    I’d go hard after Lee if the Indians fade. I’d take him over Bedard especially if the club option transfers. If we were to trade for Cliff Lee is the club option transferrable?

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    Ok, well who are they getting rid of. If not Johnson, than Nolasco. I just can’t see getting rid of Cody Ross or Hermida, combined with Uggla and Cantu that would be giving up over 80 2008 HRs, plus they lost Mike Jacobs from that team. Already those 4 guys have hit 38, with 151 RBIs. Losing Uggla and Cantu is bad enough, but if they lost Ross or Hermida they would have the weakest offense in Baseball for 1-2 years.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    Yea psujoe, the option would transfer.

  • Posts: 0 GWFightinsFan

    Funny thing about Brad Penny is that the Phillies could have signed him for cheap this offseason, but decided not to. Now if they want him it’ll cost them prospects…

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    And by the way, if Johnson keeps pitching the way he is, 4.5 million would be the very low end, he could get 6.5 easy.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Looking at Brad Penny’s stats, they’re not all that bad. High ERA (5.32) but I have to think that with the switch in leagues he can bring that down to the mid 4′s which is acceptable. And he’s been more effective as of late as the ERA has come down steadily for the past month or so.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    I’d rather sign Pedro than Penny. Pedro would cost less in $$$, and wouldn’t cost any prospects either. With Penny’s incentives, he would get double what Pedro is asking for. Not that I’m endorsing signing Pedro Martinez, but if I was convinced I needed a starter at any cost I’d sign Pedro over trading Donald for Penny.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    You realize Chuck that 5.32 isn’t significantly better than Kenny Rodgers and worse than Paul Byrd last year. And Penny was worse than both those guys last year.

  • Posts: 0 GWFightinsFan

    I really dont think Pedro has anything left in the tank…if he did someone else would have signed him by now…its not as if the Mets couldnt use a starter too

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    Actually Paul Byrd might not be a bad signing. Using Chuck’s logic he would have a mid 3s ERA in the NL (keep in mind only 50 starters have an ERA of below 4 in any league, and you’ll see why that assertion makes no sense).

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    GWFightins, I guarantee he’ll pitch this year for a “contender”.

  • Posts: 0 GWFightinsFan

    Well i’m sure eventually some team will get desperate and sign him, I just dont think he’s the solution for a team that’s truly in contention.

  • Posts: 0 pb

    How about Gil Meche? The Royals aren’t goning to win this year and probably not next year either. After this season he has 2yrs 24mil owed to him.

    Think they would take 2 of Marson, Donald, Mayberry plus 2 pitchers Carassaco, and somebody not named Drabek, Knapp, Bostardo, Savery

    For Meche, and mediocre player (bench bat or reliever)

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    I don’t know were I’d rank Verlander, but he’s been dominant.

    Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander leads the major leagues with 106 strikeouts and could become the first Tiger to lead the majors in that category since Mickey Lolich had 308 in 1971. He has not allowed a run in 60 of his past 66 innings and is 7-0 with a 1.10 ERA in his past nine starts. — Booth Newspapers

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