Buster Olney tweeted Monday afternoon that “the Phillies pre-trade deadline priority is a middle-of-the-rotation starter, probably someone higher in caliber than a [Jeremy] Guthrie.”
This is interesting news, because not too many “middle-of-the-rotation” starters on the market would be ideal fits, or suitable enough upgrades to warrant the trading of yet another batch of prospects.
Let’s explore some possibilities, while recognizing that “middle-of-the-rotation” obviously cancels out names such as Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt:
MLBTradeRumors mentions Myers as a potential name, but it is hard to imagine Ruben Amaro trading for a guy that he willingly let walk. Myers had a controversial few seasons leading up to his departure – both on the field and off – and it seemed like by the time his contract was up, the front office was more than happy to rid themselves of what they perceived to be a headache.
It would not make much sense to trade for Myers, because the Phillies obviously cared so little about having him on the team that they failed to offer more than the one-year/$5M offer Ed Wade dished out in Houston.
Purposely not re-signing one of your own, and then trading a prospect or two to re-acquire that player midway through the season? Don’t count on this happening.
Lilly is an intriguing name with a nice track record, but several key factors prevent him from being a fit in Philly. First off, he is making $12M this season, the last of a four-year deal he signed with Cubs.
- If the Phillies were to trade for him, they would either have to pay him upwards of six million dollars (a hefty price for a team “already over-budget”) or include better prospects in the deal in order to entice the Cubs to eat Lilly’s remaining salary.
- Second, and probably more importantly, Lilly and Citizens Bank Park would not get along. He is the definition of a “fly ball pitcher,” as more than 50% of his balls in play the last several seasons have been in the air. As his career has developed, his fly ball rates have increased, and we all know how Citizens Bank Park plays.
(It’s a small sample size, but in 16 1/3 innings at CBP, Lilly has allowed four homers and pitched to the tune of a 7.16 ERA. Some of that could be due to the fact that the Phillies themselves have hit Lilly well, but he has pitched considerably better against them away from Citizens Bank Park.)
The pricetag that would comes with Lilly’s name, as well as the uninspiring fit he would be in this stadium, should sway Ruben Amaro from making a deal.
Another name mentioned by MLBTR is Edwin Jackson – he of the eight-walk no-hitter. Jackson is a young pitcher who has shown flashes of brilliance, but he is neither cheap enough nor good enough RIGHT NOW for a contending team to give up a package of young talent.
Jackson makes $4.6M this year, $8.75M next year, and then enters free agency. When you factor in that trading for Jackson would likely cost the Phillies more (in terms of prospects) than any of the aforementioned pitchers, it is once again hard to imagine any deal making enough logical sense to Ruben Amaro.
Too much money and young talent for a wildly overrated pitcher who really only had one good year.
Carmona has some of the ugliest walk and strikeout rates imaginable. Even in 2007, the one year he was good, Carmona struck out fewer than six batters per nine innings.
Since that time, he has had a bad 2008, a bad 2009, and an average-to-slightly-above-average 2010. Carmona is inducing a lot of groundballs and avoiding the home run, but his K/9 is a mere 4.86 and his BB/9 is 3.08, making for an ugly, Kyle Kendrick-ian strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The groundballs would play well at Citizens Bank Park, but once again, how much of an upgrade would Carmona be?
He is owed $5M this season, $6.1M next season, followed by club options in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The money is not a major hurdle because the Phillies would only have to pay about $8.5 million from now until the end of 2011, and could pick up Carmona’s options or set him free based on performance.
Of theses names, Carmona is probably the best fit, but not if the Indians ask for a ton.
If the Indians are willing to deal Carmona for a middling package, Amaro should jump on the opportunity. But if they want a significant return, it makes no sense to give up prospects rather than letting it ride with Kyle Kendrick and, hopefully, J.A. Happ.
If injuries pop up, the need for a starting pitcher will become greater, but if things stay the same, there is no reason to make a trade for the sake of making a trade.