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Never too early for trade rumors

Judging by the results of the latest poll, most of you have not given up on the Phils just yet.  With only a single victory and 3.5 game hole in the standings to show for the first week, things still couldn’t be much worse.  Thankfully the boys at Baseball Prospectus have some reassuring words, "The most important point I can make on April 10: everyone, calm the hell down. We’ve watched about 4% of the season…"  While it may be true, it’s never too early to mull over some appetizing trade rumors.

The first one comes via, the Beaver County Times and claims that the Fightins’ are interested in Pirates prospect Ronny Paulino, who is currently playing AAA ball in Indianapolis.  The soon to be 25-year old did well in his 5 plate appearances with the Pirates last season (2 hits, a walk and a run scored) but I am curious as to why the Phils would be pursuing a young catcher with so many already in the kitty.  A few months ago we profiled the potential replacements for Lieberthal, who’s contract expires after this season, and Carlos Ruiz or Jason Jaramillo seem likely candidates for the job.  Still though, if the Phils are in the market for a catcher it would make more sense to try and fill a short-term void, i.e. someone to play out the season since Lieberthal is offensively and defensively challenged.

Another player due to be granted free agency after this season is the Orioles All-Star third baseman, Melvin Mora.  He and the O’s have been unable to agree on a 3-year contract extension:  Mora wants $27 million and the team is offering $24 million.  The Washington Post claims, "One source close to Mora said he would welcome the opportunity to play for the Philadelphia Phillies if they came calling. Not only are the Phillies located close to Baltimore, Mora would be playing alongside Bobby Abreu, one of his best friends in baseball."  Again, like the catcher rumors this wouldn’t solve the short-term David Bell issue.  Besides, although Abraham Nunez might not be the best choice to be the Phillies third baseman of the future, he is signed through 2007 and thus decreases the urgency for finding a replacement for Bell.

Essentially though, any truth to these rumors would have little effect on the current state of the Phillies.  Unless a blockbuster deal is in the works – and Pat Gillick says it’s not – the team you’re watching on ESPN tonight is likely the one you’ll be seeing all season.

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