All is not lost, but with every passing day, it becomes less likely the club will be able to add experienced, healthy pitching by the start of spring training.
The Phillies set a goal this winter of adding pitching depth. They got off to a great start with the acquisition of Brad Lidge, whose addition paved the way for Brett Myers to return to the rotation. After Lidge came the rapid-fire signings of three castoffs: Shane Youman, Travis Blackley and Lincoln Holtzkom. Two of the three shook loose from last-place teams. If the season started today, all three would have tremendous shots at making the active roster for the defending NL East champs.
They’ve gone backwards. Hoping to get something done this week in Nashville, the only serious discussions were between Tadahito Iguchi’s representative over bowls of Haagen-Dazs ice cream. In some cases, no news is good news. No interest in Brandon Inge and his $19 contract is good news. A minor-league offer to Glendon Rusch, instead of the Major League variety, is good news.
The best news of the week is the Marlins have interest in Wes Helms. Not to say Helms will get them the sky, but in the right kind of package deal, the Phils may be able to pull some relief pitching from Florida’s revolving door.
Closer Kevin Gregg, who is arbitration eligible, will become Florida’s highest-paid player once they release catcher Miguel Olivo, as expected. That’s pretty sad; Gregg earned a mere $575,000 in 2007. Gregg had a career season, which included 32 saves. Florida doesn’t need him, and as sad as it sounds, may not be able to afford him. In front of Gregg, Florida featured a variety of arms with nice seasons, guys like Justin Miller, Lee Gardner, Taylor Tankersley, Renyel Pinto and Matt Lindstrom. The younger players, like Tankersley and Lindstrom, probably factor into their plans, but the older guys could be had easily. In addition, prospect reliever Scott Nestor has reportedly been dangled, possibly for Helms. [Link]
Beerleaguer: The Phillies need to act on this Wes Helms business before someone comes along and makes Florida a better offer. If they can land some bullpen help, considering how many other clubs came away with nothing, the Winter Meetings can be considered a success.