The Ramirez for Abreu deal that was floating around last week is nowhere to be found this week. The deal simply doesn't fit for either team. The Yankees also seem to have cooled on Abreu and are remaining eerily quiet so far this off-season. The Cubs gave some thought to sending Mark Prior to Philadelphia for Abreu, but backed off of that deal and are reportedly looking elsewhere to bolster their offense.
So, with all of the deals that are off, what's on for the Phillies?
As far as Abreu is concerned, the Orioles remain plenty interested. They are thought to be mulling whether they would want to include young pitcher Eric Bedard in a deal, while the Phillies continue to think about whether Bedard is a strong enough name to consider to be part of a package for Abreu. As it stands now, the discussion is Bedard and outfielder Jay Gibbons for Abreu. It's also not known whether Abreu would waive his no-trade clause to go to Baltimore.
On Tuesday, a new suitor arose in pursuit of Abreu. The Los Angeles Dodgers contacted the Phillies to discuss sending either Brad Penny or Derek Lowe to the Phillies for Abreu. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, who on Tuesday ended his search for a manager by hiring Grady Little, confirmed that his club is looking for help in the outfield, but wouldn't specifically address the potential interest in Abreu. Colletti also told reporters that he was interested in finding a third baseman, leading to speculation that the deal could be expanded to include Phillies third baseman David Bell. Moving Bell would leave the Phillies with Abraham Nunez as their starting third baseman.
Penny and Lowe both have pretty large contracts. Lowe has three years and $28.5 million left on his deal, while Penny has three years and $22 million with a club option for 2009 at $9.25 million left on his deal with Los Angeles. Abreu is still owed two years and $30 million with a club option for $16 million in 2008. Ideally, Phillies GM Pat Gillick would like to find a cheaper pitcher in exchange for Abreu to give more financial flexibility.
A potentially lesser deal has Jason Michaels headed to Pittsburgh for pitcher Mark Redman. Redman, a left-hander, is owed $4.5 million in 2006, but $2.0 million of his salary is being paid by Oakland, who dealt him to Pittsburgh in the Jason Kendall deal. Michaels made just $0.825 million in 2005 and is eligible for arbitration.
Gillick also came close to officially placing pitchers Gavin Floyd and Scott Mathieson on the untouchable list when he met with reporters on Tuesday. Gillick believes that it's important for the Phillies to hold onto young pitchers who can help them down the road and believes that Floyd and Mathieson show the most potential, especially with the question marks surrounding Cole Hamels continuing. Hamels has again been shut down because of back problems and received a cortisone injection on Monday. It will be at least another week until the Phillies get a better gauge of whether or not Hamels will be able to return to his off-season regimen or will need more time off.