This is 100% speculation on Buster Olney's part, but it makes for a good discussion topic. Should the Phillies trade infield prospect Jason Donald for starter Brad Penny? (I repeat – this is not an actual trade rumor).
The first question is how much Penny would help the Phillies. He's rung up a 5.96 ERA in nine American League starts, and has a 5.47 xFIP to match. Olney discounts Pedro Martinez for the Phillies in part because he's a flyball pitcher, but Penny's groundball rate this year isn't impressive at 38.4%. Olney's other argument against Pedro is that he does not go deep into games, but Penny's averaged only 5.37 innings per start this year. So if the Phillies like Penny, shouldn't they like Pedro almost as much? (They actually have no interest in Pedro, by the way).
The other question is whether six years of Donald is too much to give up for four or fewer months of Penny. Does Donald profile as a super-utility player in the future, as Baseball America wondered in their '09 Handbook?