According to Gotham Baseball and other sources, Pat Gillick is ready to cash in on 2006 and free up some payroll. The Dodgers, Mets, and Yankees should be involved.
Here's a look at the team's contract obligations.
Bobby Abreu makes $15MM next year and then has a $16MM club option with a $2MM buyout. Maybe he'll demand that it's exercised upon a trade. He'll still be a 5-7 win player annually for a little while, but that salary is a beast. The 32 year-old Abreu is willing to waive his no-trade, and my gut tells me that he'd do it for any contender. Perhaps Gillick mirrors his Thome deal - acquire a solid outfielder and some decent prospects, eat some salary.
Pat Burrell is set to earn $27MM for 2007-08. The slugger turns 30 in October. That's a painful obligation for a player projected to be worth just $8.5MM during that span by Baseball Prospectus. The Phils might have to swallow half of this contract to move him. I feel like it would be Burrell or Abreu but not both - that's a lot of offense to replace next year.
Randy Wolf makes $9MM this season in his walk year. He's just finishing up rehab for Tommy John surgery. He's a week or two from rejoining the Phils, and a deadline deal seems a long shot. However, if he returns and stinks maybe Gillick can pass him through waivers and trade him in August. The southpaw turns 30 next month and will probaby get decent interest as a free agent.
Mike Lieberthal's lengthy Phillies career should come to an end as this is the last year of his deal. He makes $7.5 mil, so I'm sure the team would love to move him from a financial point of view. He should be activated from the DL tonight after a strained hip. The Rockies could use a backstop if Gillick wants to do yet another salary dump with the fan favorite.
Jon Lieber makes $7.5MM next season in the last year of his deal. He's a 36 year-old control artist who probably has a few decent years left. I think there's a good chance he's moved, and the bounty could be decent if he shows well in his next start or two. Makes sense at the back end of the rotation of various contenders.
Arthur Rhodes makes a whopping $4.8MM this season in his walk year. However, the A's and Pirates are paying more than a million of that. Rhodes turns 37 in October and has pitched poorly this year after dominating last year. Gillick probably won't get much for him, though we've seen that the reliever market appears inflated this summer.
David Bell, making $4.5MM in the last year of his deal, is one of the worst-hitting third basemen in the game. He's a good glove man but wouldn't make much of a spare part for a contender.
Tom Gordon is the best available reliever this summer. He gets $7MM in '07, $5.5MM in '08, and a $4.5MM option with a $1MM buyout for '09. He's still getting it done at age 38 and could give a nice stretch run/playoff boost to the White Sox or Yankees.
Cory Lidle makes $3.3MM this year and has a solid 2.4 K/BB ratio. The 34 year-old is far from impressive, but he still adds a couple of wins compared to replacement level crap. The Phils should definitely trade Lidle.
Brett Myers is a few years removed from free agency, but the team has that whole domestic abuse issue sitting there. It's a tough situation because the team needs Myers to front their rotation for the next few years. But if you're gonna rebuild, why hold back? Myers won't bring a Josh Beckett-sized bounty, but even with the baggage you'd think the Phils could get one good prospect in return.
Aaron Rowand, a fan favorite, really ought to stay put. Bit players like David Dellucci and a host of relievers certainly could be traded as well. I have a feeling this will be a very, very different club in 2007.
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