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Cheap Starters on the Market

Phillies Nation has been abuzz with the recent news that Roy Halladay will be on the block this offseason.  The Toronto Blue Jays are basically throwing in the towel and will attempt to get as much as possible out of the 33-year old righty.  Good move.  J.P. Ricciardi should have done the right thing at the ’09 deadline – deal him to a contender and get multiple pieces in return.  He did not, then was promptly canned. Bad move.

If the Phillies are indeed in on the Halladay sweepstakes, the bounty will be large.  Toronto will not want as much as last season, but it will still cost highly touted prospects.  You’d better believe J.A. Happ would be involved, along with Michael Taylor or Dominic Brown.

Should the Phillies be willing to give up a pitcher, who at the very least, is capable of being a number three?  On top of that, Jayson Werth is getting more expensive and Raul Ibanez is getting older, so Brown and Taylor have spots possibly waiting for them in the near future.

Halladay would be expensive to sign long term, plus, the Phillies are already dealing with a similar scenario in Cliff Lee. They wouldn’t have the cash to keep both – they may not be able to keep even one of the two should it come down to that.

There are some other decent options available.

Rich Harden has been unable to stay healthy, but he has the tools to be a number two in the rotation.  He pitched for the Cubs in 2009, going 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA.  However, he struck out 171 batters in just 141 innings, proving he still has the stuff to help carry an entire staff.  He may cost between $6-8 million in one year deal, but perhaps the thought of pitching for an NL contender would bring him here on a more incentive laden deal. If Harden cannot stay healthy as part of the rotation, he is a great option out of the bullpen one inning at a time.

Erik Bedard is in a similar situation as Harden.  Oft-injured, but someone with quality pitches that will garner some looks on the open market.  Bedard flopped in Seattle, but also is a prime candidate for an incentive-drive contract for one year to try and up his value for future seasons.  Bedard is only 31, too, so he still should have plenty left in the tank.

Ben Sheets was not heard from in 2009, sitting the season out after rehabbing a torn flexor tendon.  He is the biggest injury risk on the market, but his game is quite enticing.  He also is 31 years old, plus has one of the best repertoires in the league.  Sheets could be somewhat cheaper than the other two listed.

Other cheap options that the Phils could examine are Jarrod Washburn, Noah Lowry, Rich Hill, and how about John Smoltz?

Is there anyone you want to see in red pinstripes?

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