Okay, it's not as bad as all that. I love the winter meetings and I know I'll be checking the web every five minutes all week if I'm not in meetings. But from a Phils perspective, I'm just not sure what to write here. The Phillies themselves are pretty much on record as saying they don't expect a lot of action in Nashville this week, and it seems like all of MLB is a bit baffled by a market that still is in the process of definition with big names like Santana and Cabrera still in play.
That said, let's take on a couple topics here:
- The search for pitching. If the Phils do anything, it likely will be to trade for a pitcher, whether starting or relief. Among the free agents, they've been linked with Hiroki Kuroda, Carlos Silva, Kris Benson and Bartolo Colon; the first two will be too expensive, and the last two don't offer much reassurance for a rotation already full of injury risks. Trade candidates mostly include the Ghosts of Bad Contracts Past, such as ex-Phil Vicente Padilla, Jason Marquis and Matt Morris. Given their dearth of prospects--a limitation that bars them from serious pursuit of the likes of Johan Santana, Dan Haren and Erik Bedard--the Phillies probably will need to accept someone else's salary dump if they trade for pitching. Relief options are slightly more palatable, featuring the likes of LaTroy Hawkins and Jeremy Affeldt.
- Free-agent watch. Two members of the 2007 Phillies, Aaron Rowand and Kyle Lohse, might be the most appealing players left on the market. Baseball Prospectus reports today that Rowand is "close," but with who, and for what (ha ha) are unknown. The Phils reportedly are willing to pay Rowand what he wants ($10-12 million per year), but not for as long as he wants (five years). Lohse, meanwhile, seeks a five-year deal--which is madness for any pitcher, but particularly for a guy with a sub-.500 record who's only once won 14 games or pitched 200 innings (both 2003).
- The Rule 5 (not V) draft. Pat Gillick loves this meetings-closing exercise, though his first two years haven't yielded anyone who's made the roster (Chris Booker in '05, Jim Ed Warden and Alfredo Simon last year). But he'll likely try again for a last-reliever or spare-bat option. For a great rundown on some possible good fits for the Phils, visit our pal FTN here.
Feel free to add your guesses, hopes and gripes here as the week unfolds. My personal hope is that Gillick goes back to the Ed Wade well in Houston and pries loose outfielder Luke Scott to pair up with Jayson Werth for a strong right-field platoon.