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Ruben Amaro

Brett Myers' unexpected injury leaves an already inconsistent staff in peril. Who will replace him? There are some obvious answers, and some not so obvious ones. Philly2Philly.com breaks down who and why, and what could be the shot in the arm the Phillies need.

You knew their luck would have to end sometime. For almost two years the Philadelphia Phillies starting rotation, while not completely effective, has remained reasonably healthy. That all changed last Wednesday, when Brett Myers left in the sixth inning of an eventual 6-2 at the hands of the Florida Marlins with what was diagnosed as a torn labrum. Myers hip will require surgery, with a three to four month recovery period to follow. With his contract expiring at the end of this season, Myers may have possibly thrown his last pitch as a Phillie.

So where do the Phillies go from here? GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has gone on record that the team is in search of pitching help. It is obvious to all that the inconsistencies of the pitching staff will NOT take this team to a second straight World Series Title. Antonio Bastardo was recalled up from Triple A to take Myers spot in the rotation, but for how long?

Let's break down who the Phillies can possibly acquire, why or why not they should get them, and why Jake Peavy may not be the best scenario for the team. So as we began, we start with none other than:

Antonio Bastardo (Triple A-Lehigh Valley)

Why the Phils brought him up: Bastardo's numbers are impressive (1.89 ERA in Double A and Triple A combined). Clearly the best pitching statistics among Phillies prospects. What do the Phils have to lose? Some might say it's too early to make a trade. However, Milwaukee landed C.C. Sabathia in July of last year. We're not right at that time yet, but we could be closer than you think. Bastardo's performance with the big club could determine the Phillies making (or not making) their most anticipated move of the season.

Why he should stay in Triple A: It's a roll of the dice as to whether Bastardo needs more minor league seasoning. Some players adapt to the pressure differently. While Cole Hamels only pitched in three AAA games before getting called to the major leagues, there's only one Cole Hamels! Is it fair to recall this kid to take a spot in the World Champs rotation with just a pit stop in Triple A? That remains to be seen. Truth be told, once the Phillies tasted Dom Perignon in October, it's sure awful hard going back to gingerale...................

Pedro Martinez (Free Agent)

Why should the Phillies try and get him: They have nothing to lose, and Pedro has something to prove. You can get Martinez for the league minimum, and you don't have to surrender any prospects to get him. In the 2009 World Baseball Classic, he gave up only one hit in six innings. Possibly suggesting that he still has some gas in the tank. Two games however, do

not adequately project the performance of a five month schedule (which is hopefully how long he would be pitching for the Phillies).

Why not: Martinez, while once the most dominant pitcher in Major League Baseball, hasn't registered double digit wins since 2005. He will be 38 at the end of October, and his 5.61 ERA for the Mets in 2008 is not very encouraging. If you possibly could get Christie Brinkley, why settle for Kirstie Alley?

Erik Bedard (Seattle Mariners)

Why should the Phillies try and get him: Bedard's name has been linked to the Phillies on several occasions. Most noticeably last year around the same time. Make no mistake: this guy can pitch. Going 13-5 with a

3.16 ERA for a team like Baltimore in 2007 is no small feat. Injuries curtailed his 2008 season, which brings us to..............

Why the Phillies shouldn't get him: Bedard is injury prone, and at times has been known to take himself out of games after 100 pitches. He also has the reputation of sitting himself at the slightest malady as a hang nail. His lack of mental toughness would not mesh well with the championship caliber attitude of the Phillies clubhouse. If Phillies fans thought Cole Hamels was soft before he showed us all in October the warrior he truly is, wait until they get a load of Bedard. The Phillies fans would eat him alive, and the Phillies brass knows it.

Jarrod Washburn (Seattle Mariners)

See "Joe Blanton on a bad day"

Kyle Kendrick (Triple A-Lehigh Valley)

Why the Phillies should give him another chance: In my opinion, Kyle Kendrick doesn't get enough credit for the Phillies success from the middle of 2007 until around August of 2008. Talk about a fall from grace. Two years ago, Kendrick gets called up from AA to make an emergency start against the White Sox. All he does is go 10-4, and the Phillies win their first division title in 14 years. My how things have changed. In saying that, Kendrick is to be commended for the way he handled his demotion last summer. He deserves even more credit because that "dog of a pitcher" Adam Eaton decided to stay at home and not join Kendrick in the Instructional League prior to the postseason. Like Eaton, Kendrick probably knew he wasn't going to pitch in October. However, by agreeing to the Phillies wishes, he most likely earned the respect within the organization. All you need to do is look at who was a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation in March, and who was shown the door. The Phillies always have Kendrick as an option, but all you have to do is look at the last sentence of the Pedro Martinez column.

Why the Phillies should keep him in Triple A: Sadly, people sometimes only remember what happens in the end. And in the end of 2008, the wheels fell off for Kendrick. Badly. You couldn't help but feel for him as he sat on the bench during the postseason last year and watched the team he pitched for the last two seasons win it all. Charlie Manuel had to put the team first. The Phils were trying to win a pennant and Kendrick had become a detriment to the roatation. The problem with Kendrick is that (stay with me here) people don't seem to know what his problem is. His stuff was never dominant, he could never effectively get lefties out, and his meltdown at the end of spring training suggested that his maturity (or lack thereof) was a cause for concern. Kendrick isn't exactly tearing up Triple A either, as his 4.25 ERA shows.

Drew Carpenter (Triple A- Lehigh Valley)

Not really considered a serious candidate. Not horrendous, but not fabulous either. If the Phils wanna go back to back, they need someone more serviceable than Carpenter.

Carlos Carrasco (Triple A- Lehigh Valley)

I know things aren't great for the Phils rotation, but would YOU want to call up a starter with an 0-6 record and a 5.81 ERA to go with it? Once considered one of MLB's top pitching prospects, Carrasco is now projected by many to be a solid fourth starter, or a long man out of the bullpen. The good news is that he is only 22, but the Phillies need a horse right now, not another question mark.

Roy Halliday (Toronto Blue Jays)

Why the Phils should go for him: I've been talking about the Phillies and how they get this guy for YEARS! When Derek Jeter thinks you are the best starter in the majors, you're doing something right. A Cy Young Award in 2003 doesn't hurt either. What might make Halliday appealing to the Phillies is that his contract doesn't expire until 2010, which means the Phils would have him for a little over a year. If Toronto continues its tailspin, this could become more realistic. Expect the Jays to demand a pretty penny though.

Why the Phils shouldn't go for him: If Toronto asks for anyone in return named Hamels, Utley, Howard, Rollins, or Ibanez.

Jake Peavy (San Diego Padres)

Why the Phillies should get him: Jake Peavy's track record speaks for itself. A former Cy Young Award Winner on a Padres team that was a blown call away from making the NL Wild Card in 2007, Peavy is in his prime at age 28, and his 5-5 record isn't as mediocre as it would indicate. Put him on a team with the Phillies offense and he could be in the running for another Cy Young. A worse case number two starter behind Cole Hamels, the Phillies could be very tough to beat in a three game divisional series.

Why the Phillies probably won't get him: Peavy has quite a complicated contract: He stands to make $11 million in 2009 and $15 million in 2010. He'll earn $16 million in 2011 and $17 million in 2012. The Padres have a $22 million option for 2013, or a $4 million buyout. One would imagine that the Phillies would have to take on some nice portions of that contract including the possible buyout options. The Padres are rumored to want prospects Jason Donald, Lou Marson, and centerfielder Shane Victorino. I must admit, some of Victorino's decisions on the field are beyond my level of comprehension (see last week's game vs. the Marlins in the ninth inning). But remember the days of 2002-2005 when we wondered who in the hell our centerfielder was?..............

To complicate matters, Peavy is a small town guy form Mobile, Alabama. He likes the laid back atmosphere of San Diego, the spaciousness of PETCO Park, and not having the pressure to pitch for a big market team. He also has a no-trade clause in his contract which vetoes a possible trade to the Phillies. Citizens Bank Park could be a problem for him. Only problem is, Citi Field might not be. Rest easy Phillies fans. New York would be the least likely place to find Peavy if he prefers a small market team.

And the number one candidate who I think the Phillies should acquire:

Roy Oswalt (Houston Astros)

Why the Phillies should get him: With Oswalt, you get a hard nosed gamer, and one of the National League's most consistent and dependable starters. An immediate compliment to Hamels with a less expensive price tag than Peavy (Oswalt is slated to make $15 million in 2010 and $16 million in 2011), Oswalt is a no brainer if Ruben Amaro can pull it off. Oswalt wants to win, having gone on record that he will renegotiate his contract if it will help the Astros in their quest for a championship. Talk about a character guy. Hey, Ed Wade gave us Brad Lidge. Why not go to the well again?.........

Why this trade may not happen: It is a name hardly discussed in comparison to the above mentioned names. A source from "The Eye" states that Oswalt isn't even on the Phillies radar at this point. Again, the Phils would have to take on some of that salary (possibly more than half) and it seems the Phillies are maxed out at their payroll, which enters 2009 at the highest in their history at $132 million and you certainly can't knock them for that. Despite the Astros languishing in the cellar of the NL Central, Wade won't throw in the towel easily. He acquired former Phillie Randy Wolf last July when the Astros were 46-54, and the team rebounded to finish strong at 86-75.

At the end of the day, there are "some" names out there who can reasonably help the Phillies. Don't forget that the Mets rotation is just as inconsistent, and Mets GM Omar Minaya will be on the phone as well.

Amaro must decide whether he wants to cut corners, or pull off a blockbuster trade that somewhat dents the Phillies payroll, surrenders the future, but puts the team in a favorable position to repeat again. With the Phillies, the future is now. Josh Outman could be one of the all-time greats in this game, but the Phils took a gamble with Joe Blanton last summer and won, so it was definitely worth it. Winning is what defines a franchise. The Phils hadn't won for a long, long time. To be honest, I'm really starting to get the hang of this "expecting to win" thing. As we know in sports, the window of opportunity only stays open for so long. If Lidge gets his head back on, J.A. Haap is the real deal, Blanton can be a serviceable fourth starter like he showed he can be last season, and the Phils can get a Robin for Hamels' Batman, there just MIGHT be a parade here again come November. As we've seen before, it CAN be done. And believe it or not, the Phillies actually have me convinced that they can pull it off.

 

 

 

 

 


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Comments


12:24 PM
Fri Jun 5 2009
patience

Clearly, this was written before Bastardo's impressive debut the other night. I think he's our answer...for now. He's going to get his chance to stay on the team and if he performs well for the next couple of starts, I bet he's the guy. If he crashes and burns, Amaro has some tinkering to do.


12:26 PM
Fri Jun 5 2009
By the way...

...I love Oswalt for this team. If that's the move that ultimately happens, I couldn't be happier. Not only do you get a strong veteran starter, but you also get a much needed right-hander. The rotation, as it stands now, is left heavy and that concerns me a little.


7:28 PM
Fri Jun 5 2009
We shall see...

Rolla,

This was actually submitted the DAY Bastardo made his debut.  If he continues to pitch the way he did Tuesday night, I agree with you.  However, if he continues to throw well, he may be used as trade bait for a dominant right handed starter.  I can't see the team going with four lefties either.