Sure, Barry Bonds is chasing the all-time home run mark set by Hank Aaron, and yes, the Brewers of all teams have the best record in the National League. Those are all interesting stories, but today, the baseball-world’s attention will be focused on… Ron Villone?!?
It seems as if the 37-year old veteran left-hander has a clause in his contract that calls for the Yankees to grant him free agency if he is not on the big-league roster as of today. Given his handedness and the fact that he has a 1.90 ERA, 10.72 K/9 and a 0.00 HR/9 in 22 2/3 innings of work in AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he is sure to draw some interest. It is possible that the Yankees could simply release him or, they could wisely try to trade him rather than just letting him walk for nothing in return.
Any number of teams could use Villone’s services, and naturally, the Phillies are expected to be among them. Speaking on condition of anonymity in order to avoid tampering issues, one "Phillies baseball man" said, "Would he make us better? I sure think he would."
The Phillies relief situation has been desperate all season, but of particular importance right now is someone who can pitch with his left arm and actually get people out. Manager Charlie Manuel is committed to the idea that the only way to get a left-handed batter out is to use a left-handed pitcher, however, Matt Smith and Fabio Castro have both failed miserably.
If you listen closely here in Philly, you can just barely hear the chants in South Philly… "Free Ron Villone, Free Ron Villone!"
Perhaps the Yankees would take C.J. Henry and Matt Smith back [written with tongue inserted firmly into cheek].
Tom Goyne is the author of Balls, Sticks, & Stuff, a Phillies-centric site, and maintains the Phloggers’ Pheeds page, a source for the latest commentary from around the "phlogosphere". Recently, he teamed up with his brother to launch Roto Front Office.