When you look at the Philadelphia Phillies this season, you notice a few things.
One, they are the defending World Champions. Two, their payroll went upwards of around $35 million. Three, they are too protective of their young prospects.
Let me explain what I mean.
It looks like the Phillies just lost their number two starting pitcher, Brett Myers, for the rest of the season, but they needed another quality starter two weeks ago.
Now it's become a dire necessity.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has already stated that he is indeed looking outside the organization for pitching help, which is a great sign of things to come. Names that are being thrown around include Jake Peavy of San Diego, Roy Oswalt from Houston, and Erik Bedard from the Mariners.
The most likely scenario at this point is Bedard. He is younger and much cheaper than Peavy and Oswalt, causing less problems down the line with cost.
But does that really matter?
The Phillies have some pretty desirable talent in their minor league system. Obviously, it's personnel that can bring in a name such as Peavy. So, if Peavy really wanted to waive his concrete no-trade clause, then why can't the Phillies give up the likes of a Jason Donald, or Carlos Carrasco?
Simple reason: They're too protected by this organization. It's not so much a bad thing, but when you're the defending champs and the rotation is needing another good arm, those prospects become worthy trade bait.
Carrasco will never make the Phillies. At this point, he is more likely to join AA than to be moved up to the show to start one game.
So why not dump him now? The league seems to have a lot of interest in him.
Donald is probably the one guy who fans would like to think of as the untouchable prospect in their system—though not so much anymore, as he has become very expendable. Donald is a shortstop, so it doesn't matter what the Phillies did with him in the spring.
So where does this leave him? Jimmy Rollins might be a lifer in Philadelphia along with Chase Utley. That leaves Donald with another three, four, or five years sitting in the minor leagues waiting. If Peavy wants to pitch in Citizens Bank Park in a Phillies uniform, then Donald might be the first one out of town.
The Phillies have become a team that can do what the Yankees have done many times before—win championships with a couple of homegrown talents followed by a few plug-in free agents. Especially when the case is pitching.
In my opinion, the only untouchable prospect in the Phillies' system is catcher Lou Marson. I'd be extremely hesitant in dealing Marson for any pitcher right now. Carlos Ruiz is 31 years old and could break down at any time, notwithstanding that the catcher position is so hard to come by these days.
Kyle Kendrick, Andrew Carpenter, and Antonio Bastardo have all become valid candidates for new homes in the coming weeks. This start for Bastardo Tuesday is not only an emergency one, but also a "stock" start. Meaning that if Bastardo comes in and throws six or seven quality innings, the Phillies can put that in their back pocket.
Ironic how Bastardo is going up against Jake Peavy in San Diego tomorrow night.
All of this is of course one man's opinion, but from being around the situation, I get the sense that the Phillies play guardian too much sometimes. This pitching situation is deeply wounded right now and a shakeup is inevitable.
I trust Amaro to make the right decision.
I would like to think he is going to do anything possible to get a top-line starter in here sometime this month. I hope that the Phillies don't protect any prospect, because of the fact I want someone who can come here with an immediate impact rather than someone who I can count on four years from now.
This team doesn't have four years.