The old "addition by subtraction" is about to become "addition by addition" for some lucky team.
I set the odds better than 50-50 that former Phillies pitcher Vicente Padilla winds up back in the NL East with either the Braves or Mets. A team like New York, with its strong Latino leadership, may not be quite so scared to death of a mulish Nicarauguan the way the Phillies were, when they traded him to the Texas Rangers for absolutely nothing.
Coming off a 15-10, 4.50 ERA season for Texas (three more wins than any Phillies pitcher) he's among the most undervalued free agents on the market. In the limited opportunities I got to see him pitch last season, he looked positively explosive. Buster Olney of ESPN Magazine agreed, claiming he has the best pure stuff of any FA pitcher besides Japan’s Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Though a return to Philadelphia wouldn’t happen in a million years, I'd take Padilla over someone like Ted Lilly, and if I wanted to win it all next season, I’d prefer Padilla over Randy Wolf for 2007.
Veteran free agents
There are a couple of free agent names that haven’t been discussed on this site. One of them is 40-year-old left-fielder Moises Alou. This isn’t necessarily an endorsement, but his .301/.352/.571 and 22 homers last season is still quite impressive. Granted, he’s an injury risk, but if GM Pat Gillick were to unload Pat Burrell, which seems to be the plan, Alou might be an attractive one-year option to platoon or protect Ryan Howard most nights.
There’s been a lot of discussion here about the marquee third basemen who might be available, but when do the Phillies ever go that direction? That might be why Penn product and New Jersey native Mark DeRosa (.296/.357/.456, 13 homers) could meet Gillick’s profile a little better than someone like Aramis Ramirez. The right-hand hitting DeRosa turns 32 in February. He’ll probably command about $3 million, and might be worth a shot at that price. He also plays right field and second base. Keep your eye on DeRosa; this one has Phillies written all over it.
For the complete list of 2007 free agents, check out the MLB Trade Rumors blog [link].