Phils Should Pass On Halladay and Bolster The Bullpen

Jared ShermanContributor IJuly 22, 2009

PHOENIX - JUNE 27:  Relief pitcher Chad Qualls #50 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the major league baseball game at Chase Field on June 27, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Angels defeated the Diamondbacks 2-1  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phils fell to the Cubbies this afternoon and two worrisome roster spots reared their heads again in the 10-5 loss—Chad Durbin and Brad Lidge.

It's hard to panic after the Phillies just reeled off 10-straight wins, but neither Durbin or Lidge were particularly sharp during the stretch.

Sure, Lidge wracked up four saves over that 10-game stretch, but he still doesn't look like the Lidge of 2008. He's become hittable, and opposing hitters are laying off his slider more and more, licking their chops at a fastball Lidge seems hesitant to throw with any sort of authority.

Durbin continues to struggle as he did most of the second half last season. He walks too many batters and seems to wilt under pressure. He thrives in games where the outcome is in hand, like Tuesday's 10-1 pounding of the Cubs.

This all may seem nit-picky, especially when it comes to a guy like Dubrin who doesn't seem to have a solid role in the pen, but it was a deep bullpen that help the Phils win the Series last season, and this year's version has some weak links.

What I propose is that the Phils back off Roy Halladay and pursue the pieces that will sure up what could be an outstanding relief corps.

Pitchers like Arizona's Chad Qualls or Toronto's Jason Frasor would be excellent additions and wouldn't cost the team the slew of minor league studs a Halladay or Cliff Lee would. Both Qualls and Frasor have closing experience in case Lidge's stuff doesn't return, allowing Ryan Madson to maintain his more familiar role as the set-up man.

Again, if the Phillies acquired Halladay I would be ecstatic too, but I feel this team is real close to being the team-to-beat as is, and a couple of tweaks here and there in the bullpen would be a cheaper (in cash and prospects) means to get closer to back-to-back championships.