Phillies Looking for Starting Pitching

It is the time of year when baseball fans are constantly checking various websites in hopes of finding news that their team just landed CC Sabathia or Rich Harden.  Well, unfortunately for the Phillies, both of those guys have already been traded–and, to make matters worse, traded to NL contenders.  Regardless of the fact that the only two bonafied top-of-the-rotation guys that are available have already been moved, the Phillies still seem willing to make a move for starting pitching.  And, if you ask me, this is a good thing because this staff may eek out the division again, but almost certainly cannot win the pennant.

To preface this, I just want to say that I do not understand why there has not been more talk about Roy Halladay on the market.  It seems that Toronto is going nowhere and Halladay is not that young and certainly not cheap.  Plus, the price tag that he would command in this pitching-starved enviromment around ML baseball and its wide-open races has to be astronomical.  If I were the Phillies, I would back up the truck for a Halladay, but that is a conversation that seems moot right now because Toronto seems to be refusing to move him.

So, where does that lead us?  There are four names that most often come up as “available” for the Phillies, from what I can tell (in reverse order of who I would like to see in a Phillie uniform):

  • Randy Wolf — I love Randy Wolf, trust me, I do.  He was a warrior throughout his time here and I think he is a very good pitcher.  However, I think it is clear that Wolf is much more comfortable on the West Coast–not because he is soft or sensitive, but just because that is where his family is and that is where he wants to be.  For this reason, Wolf is probably a bit of a “rental,” and personally, I do not think he is good enough to “rent.”
  • A.J. Burnett — I am actually bigger on Burnett than many people, as far as what he could bring to the Phillies for this year.  Plus, I do not think that it would cost all that much, in terms of prospects, for us to get him.  If he was on a one-year deal OR a long-term contract, then I would probably say “Go get him.”  However, he is on neither (or both).  Burnett has a player option for the next two years on his contract at over $13 million per year.  That means that if Burnett comes here and pitches well, he opts out and the Phillies cannot afford him.  But, if he comes over and struggles or gets hurt, he stays on the books for two years.  That is bad for the Phillies.  Still, I would like to see what he can do here because I think his stuff speaks for itself.
  • Joe Blanton — Yes, his numbers kind of stink this year.  Yes, the A’s are incredible at taking prospects from teams that amount to stars.  So, yes, I am terrified to trade with Billy Beane for a bad pitcher.  However, I think Blanton has great stuff and may just need the ole “change of scenery.”  He only makes $3.8 million this year and is arbitration-eligible for the next two years, so this could be a move for ’09 and ’10 also.  I do not think it would take either of the Phillies two best prospects to get him, either.  So, I say, take a shot at Blanton.
  • Erik Bedard — Let me state the following first:  Erik Bedard has proven, on multiple occasions that he has no heart and no onions.  Living in Baltimore, I have heard countless stories from angry, impassioned fans talking about how Bedard would ask out of games and just simply refuse to put it up for his teammates.  That scares the crap out of me.  BUT…he is really, really good.  It is not often that you can acquire a guy of that caliber at all, let alone for about sixty cents on the dollar, which is all it would seem to take to pry him out of a bad situation in Seattle.  The Phillies NEED a pitcher, and Bedard is one of the most talented pitchers on the planet.  Go get him!
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