After weeks in which it seemed like the Phillies' only strategy was to further fill out the Bingo card, today's press reports from the Winter Meetings give some grounds for hope. Randy Miller posits two trade scenarios that, in my opinion, would dramatically strengthen the team:
In the rumored deals, the Phils first would nab Garcia for center fielder Aaron Rowand and a pitcher, possibly reliever Ryan Madson or Triple-A starter Gavin Floyd.
If the Phils get Garcia, they'd immediately trade right-hander Jon Lieber, possibly to Milwaukee for Mench, a native of Delaware, and Turnbow, a one-time Phillies farmhand who lost his closer job after being named to the 2006 NL All-Star team.
I've been on the Rowand-for-Garcia train since the off-season began. Garcia's no ace, but he's a solid bet to give you 200 above-average innings and 14-17 wins, and Rowand back to the Sox makes a lot of sense. A Myers/Hamels/Garcia/Moyer/Eaton rotation probably would be good for 60-70 wins, and with Garcia a year from free agency on a $10 million contract, the Phils could either try to lock him up on a longer-term deal or, unless he melts down, probably recoup picks after 2007. The other great part of that scenario is that it seems increasingly clear the Phils will move either Rowand or Pat Burrell; there's little doubt in my mind which guy would be easier to replace, and Shane Victorino's bat plays vastly better in CF than it would in an outfield corner. While Madson or Floyd would be a good upside play for Kenny Williams, I'm not sure it would be happening for either of them in Philadelphia anyway.
The second half of the deal, moving Lieber to Milwaukee for Turnbow and Mench, almost strikes me as too good to be true. Both the guys coming back were terrible down the stretch in 2006; what a refreshing change to acquire guys at the nadir of their value rather than the peak. Turnbow's too wild at this point to serve as a regular closer, but I'm okay with him as a setup option, and Mench would be fine as a platoon outfielder in CBP.
I'm trying not to get too excited about these rumors, as memories of the great package we were getting for Bobby Abreu at different points still have a fresh sting. But speculating on these names is a lot more pleasant than the usual rash of Borowksis and Barajases.