A source told the Chicago Sun-Times that White Sox general manager Ken Williams has been in talks with Phillies GM Pat Gillick about a deal that would send former Sox outfielder Aaron Rowand back to Chicago for middle-relief help, including left-hander Boone Logan.
Rowand’s name surfaced before when the two sides met on Freddy Garcia earlier this winter. When the deal was finally announced - with Rowand omitted - it came as something of a shock.
The Sun-Times labels this latest batch of Rowand rumors Round III. Logan, a 22-year-old left-hander, darted through the Sox minor league system quickly last season after initially struggling to get out of A-ball. A low arm-slot pitcher, The former 20th-round pick had control problems in four minor league seasons, but posted strong numbers in Triple-A Charlotte in '06, going 3-1, 3.38 ERA with 11 saves and a 57/12 K/BB ratio in 42 innings.
Beerleaguer: The fact that Logan's name has surfaced should indicate the Phillies feel they’re in trouble with left-handed relief. The Phils are counting on second-year man Matt Smith and possibly 22-year-old Fabio Castro to pitch the left-handers. No matter how much you like their potential, lining up for a season of Smith and Castro is a stretch.
Not that Logan is any ringer. He has about as much major-league experience as both, having pitched 17 1-3 mostly spot innings for the Sox early and late in the season, getting tagged for an ERA over 8 with a 15/15 K/BB ratio.
Nevertheless, it would take a hell of a lot more than Boone Logan for this to make sense. Rowand is an important component of an already thin Phillies outfield.
Meanwhile, the rumored deal with Toronto won’t die, in which the Phils send Rowand along with sixth starter Jon Lieber to Toronto for Alex Rios. Randy Miller of the Bucks County Courier Times cited a source that indicated the Jays have little interest in Lieber. He also reported the earlier Rowand-for-Scott Linebrink deal no longer has legs.
The Phils are clearly trying to build interest in Lieber, and as we’ve discussed all winter, there is a true need for a long-term outfield answer, and Rios would be perfect.
However, they're not about to trade Lieber for peanuts, not that they'd flinch on a Rios deal. A guest on Howard Eskin’s show on WIP, front-office advisor Dallas Green indicated the team is reluctant to just give Lieber away, reasoning that starting pitching depth is at a premium, and there is no one in the minors ready to pitch in the rotation.
Right now, I think the Phils are satisfied to get Lieber's name circulating, build interest, see which doors open, and if nothing does, sit on him until a team like Texas gets desperate.
No matter what, one thing is certain: The Phillies want Alex Rios.
Today's game: Cole Hamels makes his second Grapefruit League start when the Phillies host the Red Sox in Clearwater. [Gameday Boxscore]