The Phillies want a starter. Their fans want a starter. Everyone knows that the Phillies need a starter, and it's not going to be easy to get one. The Phils also feel that they are close to failing completely at getting one, even though they have been so close to acquiring a few.
That is because they have heard that A.J. Burnett will not waive his no-trade clause for them. Erik Bedard may be out of reach because Pat Gillick is ready to pull the trigger, but the rest of the organization is not.
Other front-office executives know that Gillick is going to Seattle at the end of the year, either to be a front-office member or he will be joining a group of guys who will buy the Mariners. So, they think Gillick could be giving up too much to help Seattle in the long run, when Gillick himself will be a Mariner in the future, reaping the benefits of this trade.
Not that Gillick is trying to sabotage the Phils, because he is trying to take care of a major need for his current team and go out a winner at the GM position. But he is pulling the trigger too quickly, possibly when the Phillies could have a front-line starter in the minors so close to being big-league ready.
Carlos Carrasco would be an option coming up as a replacement. He looked great on Sunday playing in the Futures game, and many scouts took notice. Kris Benson could be ready and healthy sometime this year.
Brett Myers will start on Tuesday at Shea vs. the Mets after striking out 10 in his last start in the minors. He will have one more minor-league game in AAA on Thursday, then the Phils hope he will be back to his '07 starting form and ready to help against the Mets.
A.J. Happ threw about five or six innings in both starts, and he could be ready to pitch in more games and maybe give a couple more productive innings.
Moyer has shown signs of brilliance at his old age, and he could anchor this rotation. But with his great performances, he also throws in starts he would like to forget now and then.
Now the Phillies are actually talking to the Rockies about Matt Holliday, and they could give up their young pitcher Carlos Carrasco and possibly top-rated young middle infielder Adrian Cardenas for him.
If you cannot get the pitching that will, without a doubt, improve your staff, then what else is there left to do? Manuel is looking for a bat that will stabilize this lineup. That bat could very well be Matt Holliday, who is signed through 2009.
Holliday could be the starting right fielder and would be that bat that would separate Ryan Howard and Chase Utley in the order. Left, right, left!
Phillies have been looking for that for three years in the middle of the order, but have not been able to get it. At the end of 2008, Holliday would stay and Jason Werth and Geoff Jenkins would again try to win a spot in the outfield, if Pat Burrell should choose to leave for more money, or if the Phillies would choose not to sign him.
If there is an arm out there, it is not coming easy. Ken Rosenthal says, “The Burnett rumor is not legit.” I know that it was legit, both teams were scouting each other for weeks. But maybe it is now not legit because of Burnett’s unwillingness to go to Philadelphia.
Erik Bedard sits on the DL right now, and Seattle may be willing to take less to get him out of their city. He has the talent, and he would be the solution. They are not demanding young or old prospects in particular. They just want talent in the minors. The same kind of talent that they lost by acquiring him.
Adrian Cardenas would have to be the starting chip. Somehow, keeping Carrasco out has to be the most important piece to the Phillies. Carrasco was showcased for the league in the futures game, and I would be surprised if almost every team has not picked up the phone and offered a pitcher today, for Carrasco’s future.
According to Bodog, the Phillies sit at 14-1 to win the World Series, and 11/2 to win the NL. Matt Holliday would no doubt bring both odds down and give the Phillie's a great shot at extending their lead over the Mets and Marlins in the NL East. But would it help them win a World Series? Only pitching will.