Phillies: Trading for pitching

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 09: Cameron Rupp /
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Will the Phillies Be Willing To Trade a Pitcher with Hernandez? Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images.
Will the Phillies Be Willing To Trade a Pitcher with Hernandez? Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images. /

During the mid-December ritual known as the Winter Meetings, the piping Hot Stove of the major leagues will be crackling with the wheeling and dealing of many franchises including the Philadelphia Phillies.

Dekeing for an Advantage:

In most industries, rivals seek even the slightest edge and protect their secrets with ardor and passion.

Keeping his options under wraps, president Andy MacPhail in a recent interview was both specific and vague regarding offseason strategy. Yes, he was direct with his answer of acquiring pitching through swaps. But “I guess” were the words preceding his statement, and they have a ring of uncertainty. In other words, everybody reading this knows the Phils need rotation help, and the exec didn’t achieve his prior successes without definite plans. Ergo, this contradiction reveals evasiveness.

In MacPhail’s statement regarding hurlers, he didn’t differentiate between starting or relieving. But while the five-man staff is an obvious need, the bullpen might be a different story. Hector Neris, Luis Garcia, Adam Morgan, Edubray Ramos and Hoby Milner have earned their spots; and they qualify as the homegrown preference stated by the higher-ups. But if they add two veterans, one experienced reliever with Leiter as the long man or no one, management could reveal their confidence in the pen.

When it comes to trades, receiving calls is usually about youngsters you prefer keeping like Rhys Hoskins. Yet ringing another general manager often leads to hearing inquiries regarding those players. However, a leadoff man, a top shortstop, a catcher and a first sacker with decent power are pieces of varied interest. But if the decision-makers don’t include a pitcher with one of these position players, combining two or three might be necessary.

Regarding free agents, the most expensive starters are over 30 and seeking five-year contracts for roughly $100 million. Don’t expect this. The next level down will cost around $15 million per 162 for the same length of commitment, and these moundsmen are in the same age group. However, Tyler Chatwood, 27, is one exception: He has mid-90’s smoke, an excellent groundout rate of 58.1 percent, limited hard contact and a 3.49 ERA away from Coors Field.

The red pinstripes currently have a handful of pitchers who could develop into starters with above-average control. Basically, one or two could exceed 70 percent accuracy or be at the bottom of the rotation. On the other hand, the organization has three hard-throwing starters at Triple-A or higher. Will one succeed?

"FOOD FOR THOUGHT: “If things don’t come easy, there is no premium on effort. There should be joy in the chase, zest in the pursuit.” – Branch Rickey"