The Phillies were very happy to have gotten Aaron Rowand from the Chicago White Sox. He's exactly the kind of hard-nosed player that fans in Philadelphia are likely to love and he'll bring excellent defense to center field. The Phillies aren't the only team that were hot on the trail of Rowand. In fact, the Yankees were very hot on Rowand's trail, but simply couldn't get a deal done with the White Sox in time to bring him to New York.
The Yankees have talked about being willing to give up a pitcher in the right trade. Pitching is a huge commodity and the Phillies are one of many teams looking to add to their starting rotation. The names Carl Pavano and Wang Chien-Ming have both been targets of the Phillies so far this off-season. The Yankees insist that Chien-Ming is as close to untouchable as they come, so Miles is going another direction in asking for Chacon.
The 27 year old Chacon had a bit of a Rocky time with Colorado early in his career when he was in the Rockies' starting rotation. In three seasons as a starter, Chacon went 22-29 with a 5.10 ERA. In 2004, he was converted to being the Rockies closer with interesting results; Chacon saved 35 games, but he had nine blown saves and a 7.11 ERA. When he came over to the Yankees, they reconverted him to being a starter and he put up impressive numbers, going 8-10, but posting a 3.44 ERA in Yankee pinstripes.
If I'm Yankees GM Brian Cashman, I say...
That I want to hold off on making this deal. I'm not turning it down, but give me a couple days to see where we are after the GM meetings. I then high tail it to the Marlins and see if I can get Juan Pierre at a fair price and call Scott Boras to see if he and Johnny Damon will come off their ridiculous free agent price to something that I can deal with. After all, when you want a contract that even the Yankees consider to be too high, you know you're overpriced.
The Yankees need a center fielder, but they also need a leadoff man. Pierre or Damon fill that spot better than Rowand would. If I can get either of those deals done, I get 'em done. If not, Rowand is an excellent option and by the end of the week, I'm back on the phone to Miles looking to make this deal happen.
Chacon is arbitration eligible after signing a one-year, $2.35 million contract with the Yankees prior to last season. He's in line for a decent pay raise and has one isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2007 season, giving the Phillies plenty of time to sign him to a long-term deal if they decide that's what they want to do. Chacon's salary matches up well with the $3.25 million that Rowand is guaranteed for each of the next two seasons before he also hits free agency following the 2007 season.
The question that the Phillies would have to feel comfortable answering is whether or not Chacon is going to continue to be the pitcher that he was in 2005 or will he revert back to his form of earlier in his career? It's very likely that pitching the majority of his games in Coors Field influenced the way that he pitched. While with the Rockies, Chacon did pitch better on the road than at home, which is a trend that a lot of pitchers would find to be true. He did a slight turn around in 2005, posting a 3.84 ERA at Yankee Stadium and a 3.05 ERA on the road.
The Phillies would likely cover the loss of Rowand by going back to the idea of having Shane Victorino as their starting center fielder. Or, they too could call the Marlins and ask about Pierre if they decided to go that route. Even if Damon were to come down on his price, it's likely that the Phillies wouldn't go in that direction.
Aaron Rowand for Shawn Chacon would be a definite possibility if only real life were more like The GM Game.