Phillies Eye Starting Pitching; Lee Heads to Texas

While last night it was the bullpen that looked like it needed saving – mostly Brad Lidge after another blown save – some rumors surfaced about the Phillies scouting some starting pitching. Cliff Lee is the biggest name of the bunch, but it looks like he could be headed elsewhere as of this morning.

According to Matt Cerrone of, Ben Sheets is now on the Phils radar, along with the Mets and Rangers. Sheets has pitched fairly well in Oakland, although his numbers would indicated otherwise. He’s still just a few months removed from missing an entire calendar year of baseball, so he may still be working his way back.

The other name is Roy Oswalt. The Astros ace threw a one-hitter yesterday, proving he’s still got it.  His contract is a bit of an issue ($15 million this year, $16 million next, $16 million club option in 2012) as he’s rather expensive compared to some others. Is he worth it?

Dan Haren is another name floating about, and would probably represent the best of the bunch when you pair the salary to the player. He’s cheap, he’s very, very good, and he’s still just 29.

Cliff Lee could be a Yankee by the end of the day, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. This would end the Phillies chances at reacquiring the guy they wanted to keep away from the Yankees back in December.

Update, 10:10 am: ESPN’s Buster Olney says a Lee deal is not done, and another team could swoop in and make things interesting. He does not list the Phillies as a team involved.

He does, however, elude to a possible Javier Vazquez pairing with the Phillies, dropping Jayson Werth’s name within the same statement. A Vazquez for Werth deal would be a devastating turn of events for this franchise and would almost assure a revolt of some sort from the fan base. Let’s hope that’s conjecture.

Update, 10:35 am: Olney now says via Twitter that a deal is basically all but done. Lee will head to the New York Yankees, presumably for top catching prospect Jesus Montero and others.

Update, 3:50 pm: The news is changing so rapidly it’s hard to keep up. However, Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Buster Olney have both tweeted in the last few minutes that the Lee deal is off as of now. The breakdown is due to a discrepancy in one of the prospects, according to those tweets. Also, it appears the player in question, David Adams, has an ankle issue. More to come I’m sure.

Also, the Phillies have interest in a relief pitcher, finally. Scott Downs of the Blue Jays is on their radar, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports. He would be an excellent pickup for a depleted and otherwise underachieving bullpen.

Update, 5:25 pm: Cliff Lee is now a Texas Ranger, according to multiple sources. The Mariners backed off a deal with New York and instead send him, along with reliever Mark Lowe, to Texas for hot prospect Justin Smoak and others.

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