When talking about the available pitchers the Phillies may covet in a trade, A.J. Burnett should be the absolute cutoff before things hit Kip Wells territory. After that, there isn’t a single option that would get the Phils even an inch closer to the postseason.
The bottom line is – the options stink.
Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus has been keeping a running log of things he’s heard or read. As of 10:28 a.m., Burnett is off the market – for now. That means his top suitor, the Red Sox, are talking to the Twins about a deal for J.C. Romero, Kevin Youkilis and Joe Mays.
The teams that are absolutely serious about the playoffs – the BoSox and White Sox – are also the teams in best shape to make impact deals. There are a number of prospects I’d try to wiggle away from Boston GM Theo Epstein if I was manning the ship, including third baseman Youkilis. I’d want Youkilis for one reason only: he’s young and ready to play at this level. He’s batting about .315 in Triple-A Pawtucket.
However, you can’t make deals with two hands tied behind your back, and reports say the biggest chip, Billy Wagner, is off the market. I’m sure dozens of GMs are on the floor laughing at that one.
I’d make teams beg for Wagner. Top of the line catching, third base or pitching prospects. Pick two, then you can have Wagner. The old rumor had Wags to Boston for Bronson Arroyo, Youkilis and minor league catcher Kelly Shoppach.
Three words. In a heartbeat.
The more you read the sobering headlines about Gavin Floyd’s mechanics or Cole Hamels' health, the more you wish the Phils had more than two stinkin’ pitching prospects in their farm system. The way things are going, they could have zero by the end of the season.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have at least one more golden arm in the minors beside the two they have now? Who’s the Phillies catcher next season if Mike Lieberthal is really playing on one leg? And shouldn’t there be some plan for third beyond David Bell?
When talking trades, the Phils have many holes beyond starting pitching, with a chance to address several of them by moving the one guy that doesn't help them much.