The trade deadline lies far off in the distance, with many days of baseball before that. With a couple of days left in May, the Phillies stand just 2.5 games back of the Florida Marlins. The Braves stand right with them. This division is anything but lost.
With so much season left, and such a little gap to over come, this is still the Phillies division. The Marlins always seam to climb in and win the division and the World Series every five years. But it is only May, and they may not be real. They certainly look solid and do have the young players to make a run. The Braves are unhealthy and old. But even they have been able to stay close with all these issues. Chipper Jones is being Chipper Jones and leading this team to a decent record.
What can the Phillies do? They have a team that can make a playoff run. But Pat Gillick is in his last year as GM of the Phillies, and Pat wants to go out a winner, just like he has been in his whole career. If the owners will give him the cash, he will add just about anything to put this team over the top. But he may not have to mortgage the farm to add talent. Pat is smart, and I am sure the wheels are already turning.
The catcher position is shaky, but Chris Coste can play if Carlos Ruiz is not producing. Coste handles the pitchers better anyway. Third base is OK, but Feliz was expected to come in and hit 30 home runs. Right now at seven HRs, he is just over par. The rest of the infield really should not be talked about. Howard will come around, he is already starting too. He has really been on the ball lately, and there is no reason why that will not be kept up all year.
SO, what are their needs? Right now, the Starting pitching is really scary. Right now Hamels can be locked in as the No. 1. Myers should fall down to the four, and hopefully Moyer would be the three. Kendrick or Eaton should be battle in their next couple starts as the fifth. That leaves the Phillies searching for a number two starter. They could use another left-handed arm in the bullpen.
Pat Gillick should look over to a couple former Phillies. First, Paul Byrd is looking very solid right now. His ERA is 3.61, which is well below the Phillies average of five runs scored per game. Shane Victorino should be enough to bring back a starter that would fill that No. 2 hole. He has a terrible attitude and reminds me a lot of Bobby Abreu. Abreu's attitude was shipped to New York, and the Phillies have improved every year since. He hustles, he works hard, he is fast, young, talented, and is always smiling. But his gamesmanship, attitude, and over confidence is not good for this team.
I would much rather see a slower Geoff Jenkins in right field. Jenkins reminds me of Brett Favre. Not only in his looks, but just his overall demeanor. Byrd, Randy Wolf, or Greg Maddux could all be had for the price of Shane. Victorino has almost lost his job. He is playing a lot of right field and some center with Jason Werth playing too.
With Geoff Jenkins and Iguchi, the Phillies have backups in the outfield to replace Victorino. At the trade deadline, they could then make one more move for a bat in the outfield.
The Phillies need to jump on the Padres and other teams who may start trading now before the asking price goes up. They have other options in Kris Benson and Carlos Carrasco, who may both be ready soon to pitch. Neither is going to be a solid No. 2 starter. The options are out there, and this team may soon be desperate enough to go out and make one of these trades.