As the non-waiver trade deadline appears on the horizon, it is natural to focus on players that are just a few months away from free-agency as likely trade candidates.
But that doesn’t mean players who still have a few years left on their contracts won’t be dealt. Pat Gillick, Phillies GM, recently stated that those are just the types of pitchers the Phillies are interested in acquiring over the next month or so. From Phillyburbs.com: “We’re looking at guys who would have contracts that run for 2008 and 2009,” he said. “Really, we have to find the right situation. We’re not necessarily looking for a rental player. We want someone who could be a piece for us.”
It makes sense to focus longer-term as Freddy Garcia and Jon Lieber, who are both injured and likely lost for the season, will depart via free agency in the fall. That leaves Cole Hamels, Adam Eaton, and possibly Jamie Moyer and Brett Myers for the rotation. But Moyer could retire and Myers may keep his role as closer so the back end of the rotation is by no means set beyond 2007 (heck, it’s not even set beyond the All-Star break). To make matters worse, there is little to no help on the horizon in the Phillies farm system. Kyle Kendrick has held his own in recent weeks, but until we see more of him, the jury is out.
The trick will be finding a pitcher who is under contract whose team is far enough out of contention — not only for 2007, but also 2008 — that they would be willing to part with him. Scanning the standings, it’s hard to envision a scenario, but when it comes to Pat Gillick, it’s helpful to look at his past history since he often brings in players and front office personnel from his previous stops. Once such stop is Baltimore, and Erik Bedard, who is blossoming into a frontline starter is under control there for two more seasons. Even though Gillick departed before Bedard was drafted, it’s possible that he was on his radar nonetheless.
If the Orioles don’t feel they can retain Bedard long-term, they might be wise to listen to offers and begin another rebuilding.
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.