We’re a little more than one day from the non-waiver trade deadline, aka the most hyped in-season day in any sport. The Phillies, obviously in contention, are close to â€” if not, the top team in the midst of trade talks. To put everyone on the same page, I’m resetting everything we know, don’t know and kind of want to think we know.
July 17: Phillies trade Adrian Cardenas (IF), Josh Outman (P) and Matt Spencer (OF) to Oakland for Joe Blanton (SP)
A major deal, netting the Phillies a starting pitcher for a top-five prospect, a top-10 prospect and a low-level pseudo-prospect. As a Phillie, Blanton has been somewhat inconclusive (8 IP, 7 ER, 11 H, 4 BB, 2 K) but it currently doesn’t look promising. Cardenas, about two years from Major League impact, was seemingly blocked by the Phils middle infield stars. Outman, converted to a reliever after a rough patch as a Reading starter, was a fastball/changeup lefty close to becoming an MLB-level player. The jury, however, is still out on this trade.
Rumored: Phillies trade Shane Victorino (OF), Carlos Carrasco (P), Lou Marson (C), JA Happ (P) to Colorado for Matt Holliday (OF) and Brian Fuentes (P)
An absolute blockbuster that surfaced by the usually truthful Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports, the Phils would’ve gained a studly outfielder and solid back-end reliever for a big bounty. Supposedly the deal was nixed late. It would’ve cleaned out the Phillies farm system, with the No. 1 prospect, catcher-of-the-future and potential No. 3 starter heading west with the starting center fielder for at least another year. An absolute win-now move. Fuentes has since been taken off the trading block, and Holliday seems to be off, as well.
Rumored: Phillies trade Jason Donald (IF), Adrian Cardenas (IF) and JA Happ (P) to Cleveland for CC Sabathia (P)
According to Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro, the Phillies were the backup plan for Sabathia. Ultimately, he went to the Brewers, where he is currently 4-0 with an ERA under 2.00. This seemed to be the deal, but the Phils weren’t willing to part with Carrasco or Marson for Sabathia, who is under contract only until the end of the season.
Rumored: Phillies trade Jason Donald (IF) to Kansas City for Ron Mahay (P)
According to Jayson Stark, his sources (other general managers) said this deal was almost done. That was a little before noon Tuesday. In about an hour or so, Stark refuted his original claim and Rosenthal backed it up. Currently the Phillies are not the team in the lead for the left-hander.
Rumored: Phillies trade Lou Marson (C), Jason Donald (IF), JA Happ (P) and PTBNL to Toronto for Roy Halladay (P)
This came from Howard Eskin on 610 WIP Tuesday â€” not a great source, but it opened discussion. Supposedly the Phillies found out what it would take to get the all-world starter, and made an offer late today. Toronto rejected it, asking to put Fabio Castro in the deal. I’m not sure if Toronto wanted Castro or if Eskin misread Carlos Carrasco; either way, this deal would significantly reduce the farm system, though it would give the Phils maybe the best pitcher in baseball. I don’t expect anything to come out of this.
Players Inquired About
AJ Burnett, Toronto (P)
Before the Blanton trade, Burnett seemed to be the Phils major focus. The Phils scouted him and talks evidently occurred, but Toronto wanted one of either Carrasco or Marson (really, Marson). The Phils said no.
Erik Bedard, Seattle (P)
Along with Burnett, Bedard was a top prize for the Phillies. Bedard seemed to be high on the trading block with the Mariners sinking fast, and the lefty even went on 950 AM in Philly to discuss his situation with the Mariners. But no rumored deal ever came to fruition, nor was there any indication the sides were talking. Once Blanton came through, this talk went by the wayside.
Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati (P)
The Phillies “kicked the tires” at the righty who is having a poor year in Cincinnati.
Jarrod Washburn, Seattle (P)
Another tire-kicker, Washburn almost seemed set to go to the Yankees, but that has stalled.
Ben Sheets, Milwaukee (P)
The Phils scouted the All Star, but Milwaukee wasn’t looking to give up Sheets.
Greg Maddux, San Diego (P)
The Phils also scouted the Hall of Famer, but indications are he’d prefer either Los Angeles, Arizona, the Cubs or Atlanta.
Roy Oswalt, Houston (P)
The Phillies evidently scouted Oswalt, but the Astros don’t seem intent on giving up Oswalt, instead thinking they somehow have a shot this year.
Manny Ramirez, Boston (OF)
“Manny Wants Out of Boston Part XXIV” has somehow dropped the Phillies deep into the chapters. There should be truth to the rumor the Phils have asked about him. SI.com’s Jon Heyman is saying the Phils lead the charge to trade for the Hall of Fame hitter, but Heyman can’t be trusted as far as I can throw him (which isn’t far). Rumors have Ramirez coming here for Pat Burrell â€” a lateral move, and a dumb one from where I sit. Burrell is perfect for this team; Manny is the antithesis of Burrell.
Left-Handed Relief Pitchers
John Grabow, Pittsburgh (P)
The left-handed reliever seemed high on the Phillies’ list of left-handed relievers, but a recent injury has said to have scared the Phils off. Don’t be so sure, however.
Arthur Rhodes, Seattle (P)
Once a Phillie â€” and a bad one at that â€” Rhodes has found somewhat of a renaissance with the Mariners. Pat Gillick has a long work relationship with him, so it’s possible the Phils could strike an easy deal for the lefty.
George Sherrill, Baltimore (P)
The lefty is having a nice year with the Orioles, and the Phils have been said to be asking about him. Still, heavy thought is the O’s aren’t giving him up.
Probably none at the non-waiver. Blanton was the move, and unless a ridiculous blockbuster with Toronto for Halladay occurs, the Phillies seem finished for now. Don’t count out a waiver move, however, especially if Brett Myers falters again or Blanton doesn’t pan out.
Something tells me the Phils won’t make an outfielder move unless it’s a big bat, a la Holliday or Ramirez. Even then the Phils would have to give up an outfielder (Victorino, Werth or Burrell) to get one. They haven’t been attached to Jason Bay, Adam Dunn or Raul Ibanez, and didn’t seem like runners in the Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte race. Look for a waiver claim, but then again, I could be shocked.
Just to add, the Phillies did show interest in Cleveland infielder/outfielder Casey Blake, but the Phils supposedly finished second in that sweepstakes.
Left-Handed Relief Pitcher
Not much else out there, as the Phils inquired about everyone worthy of inquisition. One other name: Jeremy Affeldt, who the Phils have asked about in previous seasons. Lefties are hitting slightly worse against him, but he has an ERA over 4.00 this season. If I had to point blindly at a target, I’d say the Phils overpay for Mahay or Grabow.
A relief pitcher in general is a possibility, and Dan Wheeler of Tampa Bay has been mentioned. Can’t see the Rays giving him up, however. Look for a small pickup (maybe an infielder) after waivers. Gillick has a nice track record with the Phils in this arena (Jamie Moyer, Kyle Lohse).
From almost day one, the Phillies said they were making Carlos Carrasco and Lou Marson untouchable. They’ve stood by that assertion (except for Holliday, if that’s true), and it makes sense. While it would’ve been nice to see the Phils go all-in to win now, their farm system isn’t as rich (allegedly) as other contenders’ (Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs). Truth is, you can’t deplete your entire farm system, especially when you’ve taken a couple years to rebuild it.
It was hard enough giving up Cardenas and Outman, and at this moment it seems like too much for Blanton. But they were strategic moves, better or worse, and don’t really harm the Phils’ long view. They tried for Sabathia but just couldn’t give it all up for a guy who they weren’t even sure they could re-sign. That’s the way it goes â€” when you empty your system in the past, you pay for it in the future.
The Phillies will almost definitely grab a left-handed reliever before the deadline passes. It would either cost them a Jason Donald (Mahay, Grabow) or a little more than cash (Rhodes). I’m hoping more cash than Donald, but then again, I don’t want Rhodes, I want Mahay. Don’t bet on a big deal for a Halladay or â€” forbid â€” Ramirez. I’m sorry, but Manny is bad news for the Phillies. They should â€” and probably have â€” stay away. Anyway, add a waiver claim or two and a later deal for a hitter and the Phils will be all set. In their eyes. Is it enough to go the distance? It’s possible.