Here’s a new one for ya, courtesy of Baseball Prospectus’s Will Carroll yesterday:
"One rumor from the last few days is that Oliver Perez and Ryan Doumit are being dangled to the Phillies."
Would this deal make a good fit? It seems a foregone conclusion that Mike Lieberthal is spending his last year as a Phillie, so the team does need to begin thinking long-term about its backstop. Doumit would be a decent option. Ronny Paulino has impressed the Pirates so far, and just a few weeks ago Jim Tracy indicated that Humberto Cota would start more often than Doumit for defensive purposes.
While I don’t doubt Doumit’s availability, the Phils would be well served to give Carlos Ruiz a crack at the job in 2007. Granted he’s not a super prospect at age 27, but an impressive 2005 at Triple A coupled with his current .386/.448/.663 line warrants a look.
Obviously, the Phillies need pitching. Their 4.99 team ERA is better than only the Giants. Their starters have been pretty much toasted outside of Brett Myers (though he has allowed more than 1.5 baserunners per inning so far). The hit rates on these guys are out of this world. If you subscribe to the idea that hit rate is largely influenced by defense and luck, you may expect these guys to turn it around.
I do know that Jon Lieber is better than his 6.87 ERA by a long shot. But Ryan Madson has failed in every aspect of pitching so far: hit, home run, and walk prevention, strikeout rate, you name it. I did not see that coming at all, especially after his sparkling spring. With Madson and Gavin Floyd getting smacked around consistently, the Phillies desperately need a reliable veteran to step in if they are to close the five game gap with the Mets. They also need to support their pitchers with better defense – they’re second from the bottom in defensive efficiency this year.
I don’t think Oliver Perez is the answer. Dejan Kovacevic’s April 3rd piece shows how the Pirates are playing it cool, but internally they have to be concerned about his lack of velocity. As the article says, heat was a main ingredient of Perez’s 2004 breakout. The Bucs can afford to sit around for at least a few more months to see if it comes back, but a contender like Philadelphia cannot.
The Phils are stacked with young pitchers like Cole Hamels, Gio Gonzalez, and Scott Mathieson, so I can’t see where an Oliver Perez project fits in. A Hamels callup, possibly this month, may be the shot in the arm the team needs. On the other hand, Perez is a Scott Boras client, and it’s not like Littlefield hasn’t given away star players in the past…