The winter meetings ended without much movement for the Phillies. Or was there? Remember not all trades have to happen at these meetings. Pat Gillick is well known for saying nothing, downplaying everything, then making a splash. If he does retire after this season, I would not be surprised to see him on a poker tour! The Phillies laid ground work for potential deals and free agent signings and walked away with a few kids from the rule 5 draft that could really help the team. Sure the Phillies did not get Cabrera or Willis or Andruw Jones, but before all is said and done, my guess is that the Phillies will have another outfielder and or third baseman and another starting pitcher. Spending money for the sake of spending money does not make any sense. Mike Arbuckle said it best, “We don’t want to pay Cadillac prices when we’re getting a Ford Focus.”
Several rumors that have not been discussed on this blog are Erik Bedard and
Hank Blalock. For the Phillies to get Bedard, they would have to send their entire minor league system to the Orioles. It is not going to happen. They will also not be trading Kyle Kendrick and Shane Victorino for Bedard either. The same can be true of trading for Dan Haren. As far a Blalock goes, he was compared to George Brett a few years ago before injuries took their toll. He is healthy now and would be a great addition to the team. He plays solid defense, can hit for power, and is only 27 years old with two years left on his contract (one a team option). The only tough thing about Blalock for the Phillies is that he bats left handed. That should not be a reason to stop them from trading for him. They will just have to balance the left handed infielders with right handed outfielders.
The winter meetings are over. Let’s look forward however to a productive offseason. There is only 68 days before pitchers and catchers report!
As expected, the Phillies looked for pitching in the rule 5 draft. The team selected left handed pitcher Travis Blackley as a potential option to be a 5th starter or mid inning reliever for the team. The 25 year old Australian, who was originally drafted by Pat Gillick’s Mariners in 2000, is recovering from left labrum surgery that made him miss the 2005 season. Mike Arbuckle thinks his velocity has returned and that he is ready to mature into the player the Mariners had once considered him to become.
The team also took a chance with right handed pitcher Lincoln Holdzcom. Another 25 year old, he went 5-1 with one save and a 2.97 ERA in 42 games in double and triple A in the Red Sox organization.
The Phillies also took two minor leaguers in the draft. Third baseman Patrick Sellers from Houston and second baseman Luke Appert from Oakland. The lost right handed pitchers Scott Mitchinson to Oakland and Kenny Fernandez to Florida.
Rule 5 draft works like this. The team drafting the player has to pay $50,000 to select players who have been left unprotected on
40-man rosters. They must then keep that player on the active big
league roster for the entire season or offer him back to the original
team for $25,000.
Overall the Phillies seem to have gained much more than they lost.
The Phillies will participate in the rule 5 draft this morning at the winter meetings in Nashville. The team has 38 players on their 40 man roster and may look to add a player or two. Chances are pitchers will be their top choice although an outfielder may pop up that looks intriguing to them. Shane Victorino was a rule 5 draft pick.
The Phillies released pitcher Julio Mateo yesterday. More coverage from the winter meetings is forthcoming.
The Phillies have joined the Reds, Padres, and Rangers in trying to acquire Mark Prior from the Cubs. Prior had surgery on his shoulder and may not pitch until at least May. Mark has one more year before he can file free agency in 2008. He made $3.575 million in 2007 and is eligible for arbitration which could raise his salary. This may not be a great option for the Phillies.
Nate McLouth is also on the Phillies radar. The 26 year old center fielder hit
.258 with 13 home runs in 329 at bats for the Pirates. Sounds like Aaron Rowand’s stats of a few years ago.
The Braves began talks with catcher Damion Miller. The team will probably seek a catcher via trade but is opening the door for discussion. The Mets expressed interest in versatile Alfredo Amezaga who played all four infield positions and the corner outfield positions last season.
The Mets, Twins, and Athletics are rumored to be discussing a three way deal that will send pitcher Johann Santana, shortstop Bobby Crosby, and first baseman Dan Johnson to the Mets, second baseman Hector Pellot and pitcher Dan Haren to the Twins, and pitcher Kevin Mulvey and shortstop Jose Reyes to the A’s.
The news broke on MLB Trade Rumors and was supplied by what they called a "trusted New York Sportswriter". I’ll believe it when I see it, but this is the fun of offseason baseball!
As was recently reported on Phightin’ Phils Phorum, Brandon Inge has become available as the Tigers are willing to trade him after they acquired Miguel Cabrera. Inge, 30 hit .236 with 14 home runs last season with Detroit. His best season came in 2006 when he hit .253 with 27 home runs and 83 RBI’s. One could say he would have a better season hitting at Citizen’s Bank Park but the same was said about Wes Helms last offseason. Inge is also owed $19.1 million over the next three years and may not be worth the risk or the talent traded for him.
Third base continues to be a hole for the Phillies as it has been since Scott Rolen was traded. With no prospects in the minor leagues, no good free agents, and little to be traded for, the Phillies will have to be creative in filling the hot corner.
5:00 pm came and went without much excitement at todays winter meetings. The only updates so far today was that the Brewers are also making a pitch to Tadahito Iguchi and the Phillies are looking at Brandon Inge as the Tigers are free to deal him after landing Miguel Cabrera.
In other NL East news the Mets were rejected by the Orioles as they tried to acquire Lefty starter Erik Bedard for Aaron Heilman and Philip Humber. Nice try Omar Minaya! Chad Cordero went on the record saying he wants to stay with the Nationals and looks forward to his best season yet. The Braves are trying to resign left handed reliever Ron Mahay but it looks as though he will sign elsewhere. The Yankees seem to be the leaders for Mahay.
Phightin’ Phils Phorum will keep you up to date with any other news that breaks from the winter meetings. Stay tuned!
Certainly you have heard that the Marlins traded both third baseman Miguel Cabrera and left handed pitcher Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers for outfielder Cameron Maybin, left handed starter Andrew Miller, catcher Mike Rabello, and pitchers Dallas Trahern, Eulogio De La Cruz and Burke Badenhop. While the argument could be made that the Phillies could have given up as much or more for these pieces that would all but make them absolute favorites in 2008, that discussion can be held in the readers comments.
The Phillies in addition to pursuing Tadahito Iguchi for third base have shown interest in starting pitchers Dan Haren and Joe Blanton from Oakland. Haren was 15-9 with a 3.09 in 222 innings ERA 14-10 3.95 ERA in 230 innings. Either would be a good fit for the Phillies although the asking price may be steep.
Third baseman Pedro Feliz and left hander outfielder Geoff Jenkins are also being looked at by the Phillies. Jenkins is reportedly being pursued by the Rangers, Padres, and Devil Rays and is seeking a three year deal.
Several comments have been posted to this blog about Feliz and both have merit. One blogger wrote that Feliz was an "above average fielder and in the Phillies lineup and ballpark his
offense would improve. He was the only bat other than Bonds in SF, he
would be much better batting 5th or 6th in a lineup like the Phils." Another blogger compared him to Abraham Nunez with power. Both arguments have merit but one thing is for sure, there is not much available in the free agent market.
Gillick is not interested in outfielder Trot Nixon or pitchers Jason Jennings, Bartolo Colon, Matt Clement. Colon or Clement may become more attractive if the Phillies are unable to make a trade, resign Kyle Lohse, or sign Hiroki Kuroda. Lohse is seeking a 5 year $55 million deal. Rumor has it the Mariners have increased their offer to Kuroda to four years and $45 million.
In other divisional news, the Atlanta Braves traded right handed reliever Jose Ascanio to the Cubs for for reliever Will Ohman and infielder Omar Infante.
After speculation that Tadahito Iguchi would only consider an offer that made him an everyday second baseman, it was reported that Pat Gillick met with his agent Rocky Hall today to discuss his return as the Phillies 2008 third baseman. Over ice cream at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center they discussed the possibility although an offer was not made. Iguchi had wanted to stay at second base and preferred to play on the west coast. An offer may be made by the Phillies before weeks end.
As expected, the Phillies will go into the winter meetings tomorrow in Nashville, Tennessee with pitching as their top priority. Bartolo Colon and Kris Benson have been listed as options but the team may also look for a viable option in a trade. The team is not expected to be in the running for Dontrelle Willis or Johann Santana as they do not have the pieces to make either move. It will also be interesting to see if the Phillies make a move for a third baseman or outfielder during the week. Stay tuned to Phightin’ Phils Phorum for complete coverage from the winter meetings.