Jim Salisbury of the Inquirer says the second leg of the trade appears to be in place, involving a swap between the Milwaukee Brewers and Phillies. The deal hinges on the team’s ability to work out a trade for a White Sox starting pitcher in exchange for Aaron Rowand and a pitching prospect. Right-hander Freddy Garcia is reportedly their primary target.
A deal for Garcia would allow the Phillies to send right-hander Jon Lieber to the Brewers for outfielder Kevin Mench and reliever Derrick Turnbow. Lieber (9-11, 4.95 ERA) is a year away from free agency and will earn $7.5 million this season. Mench (.269/.313/.419, 13 HRs in 2006) is entering his second year of arbitration and earned $2.8 million in 2006. The 29-year-old right-handed hitter is a Delaware native and grew up a Philadelphia sports fan. Turnbow (6.87 ERA, 24 SVs in 2006, 3.87 ERA, 63 SVs career) is in the middle of a three-year, $6.5 million contract. The 29-year-old right-hander lost his job as closer after suffering control problems. He started his career in the Phillies farm system.
The White Sox are believed to be shopping starters Javier Vazquez, Mark Buerhle and Garcia in order to make room for Brandon McCarthy. The 30-year-old Garcia (17-9, 4.54 ERA in 2006, 116-71, 4.01 ERA career) is a year from free agency and will earn $10 million this season.
Beerleaguer: If everything goes to plan, the Phillies will have improved themselves - to some extent. It’s difficult to remember a series of connected deals that would impact so many areas. Shane Victorino, for example, would become the starting center fielder. That's no small point. Mench could wind up with the starting job in right. That’s a "careful what you wish for" situation, unless they add an outfielder, such as Trot Nixon. Victorino is a dynamic player, and Mench can mash left-handers, but is it enough substantive offense for an entire 162-game season? Is Victorino durable enough to play every day?
All told, the drawbacks don't erase the positives. Garcia would put this deal over the top, giving them the best starting five in the division. Nicknamed "Chief," he’s a 17-game winner and among the league’s best innings eaters. The concern: Can Garcia keep doing it? His career runs a parallel with Tim Hudson, used just as hard in the AL and is finally starting to fade with Atlanta. The benefit: Garcia would be gone after 2007 if you blow him out.
The latest report from ESPN says the White Sox are looking for something more than Rowand, and I don’t blame them. The report says Phillies GM Pat Gillick isn't prepared to give up Gavin Floyd. Floyd’s window of opportunity to pitch in Philadelphia is closing, and I wouldn’t hesitate to move him. Personally, I would be less included to deal away Ryan Madson, who could bounce back and still help the bullpen, rather than Floyd, who can’t possibly spend another season in AAA and risk losing the piddling value he still has.
The team in no position to deal away bullpen, even if they acquire bowling pin Turnbow, who looked out of control last season. It might be a good play to include Floyd, and another significant prospect, to acquire additional 'pen help while they have the chance.