Starting Pitching

The Bobby Abreu rumors continue to fly and the possible scenarios seem endless.  However the consistent theme in all of them favor plugging the biggest hole on the team: a starting pitching or rather an true staff ace.  Jason Schmidt, Barry Zito, and even the unwilling Javier Vazquez all remain possibilities while Manny has been bandied about as a bargaining chip.  Personally, I would like to see him stay with the team, I just think he’s too valuable.  Baseball Musings helps to make the case but still recognizes the chance he will be gone by Opening Day.  All I have to say is that we better get a damn good pitcher if he is shopped.  In Gillick we trust.

But let’s just say Abreu is still around and the Phils are stuck with a staff of #2 and #3 starters (though that might be a bit generous).  The funny thing is that the current roster has 10 possible starters, including Randy Wolf who is expected back around July.  Here’s a list of them with their current contracts, as best as I could surmise based on piecemeal data:

  1. Brett Myers – 1 year, $445,00
  2. Jon Lieber – 2 years, $14.75 mil
  3. Cory Lidle – 1 year, $3.3 mil
  4. Vicente Padilla – 1 year, $3.2 mil
  5. Randy Wolf – 1 year, $9 mil
  6. Ryan Madson – 1 year, $335,000 
  7. Gavin Floyd – $316,000
  8. Cole Hamels – approx. $300,000 
  9. Eude Brito – approx. $300,000
  10. Robinson Tejeda – approx. $300,000

Unfortunately under no mathematical formula can 10 equal 1.  So save a 10 man rotation (which sounds intriguing) the Phillies brass have a few decisions to make, as in who to keep, who to trade, and who to move to the bullpen.  I have a hunch Gavin Floyd will be traded, in one of those change of scenery deals.  Cole Hamels probably won’t be called up just yet, maybe in September though.  Brito and Tejeda did well to fill the 5th starter spot last year, but they might be needed to fill the depleted bullpen.  That leaves Ryan Madson who’s certainly no ace but has some good stuff.  He was a starter while in the minors and did have that one horrible start in ’04 but would probably need to develop another pitch to complement his nasty curveball.  Another big con is his stamina which seems to taper off towards the end of the season.  I’m not sure if increasing his IP by 250% while resting him 4 out of 5 days would make it any easier.  I know Gillick said he doesn’t like closers by committee, but what about a 5th starter by committee?  In other words, can the Phils survive with their current roster?

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