The Phillies have been rumored to be watching for the name Ryan Franklin to hit the free agent market. Well, Franklin was on the list and the Phillies are likely to call.
The Mariners thought that by now, Franklin would be a mainstay in their starting rotation. Franklin had a great season out of the Mariners' bullpen in 2001, slowly transitioned to the rotation in 2002 and put up strong numbers as a starter in 2003. Since then though he has struggled, going 12-31 with a 4.99 ERA. The good news is that he's been a workhorse, giving Seattle a total of 391 innings over two seasons. Perhaps a change of scenery and some work with pitching coach Rich Dubee might be able to get Franklin back on track. Keep in mind that when Franklin was starting to develop with Seattle, Pat Gillick was the M's general manager.
Like Franklin, Wade Miller was well on his way to putting up huge career numbers as a member of the Astros. Injuries sidetracked him and he started just 16 games for the Boston Red Sox last season, going 4-4, 4.95. There are no guarantees that Miller will be 100% when the season begins, but he might be worth signing and seeing how he may be able to help later in the season. Miller is likely going to sign cheap and look for an incentive laden deal, which could fit what the Phillies are looking for. He's the kind of guy that somebody could wind up looking at as a steal when all is said and done.
Ramon Ortiz turns 30 next May and is coming off a tough season in Cincinnati. In 30 starts for the Reds, Ortiz was 9-11 with a 5.36 ERA in 30 starts. He averaged nearly six innings per start last season with Cincinnati, pitching 171 innings. Prior to coming to the Reds, Ortiz had moments of brilliance with Anaheim, but was mainly inconsistent. He's not a great option, although he'll likely get calls from a few teams.
The Pirates let starter Josh Fogg go after he went 6-11 with a 5.05 ERA in 2005. Fogg was 11-10 with a 4.64 ERA in 2004 and has had some control issues over the past two seasons. It's a shame that he was never able to follow up on his 2002 performance when he went 12-12 with a 4.35 ERA for the Pirates and pitched 194 1/3 innings in 34 starts.
Dewon Brazelton is another underachieving member of the non-tendered crew. He came to the majors with a lot of high hopes in 2002, but never did anything near what the folks in Tampa Bay thought he would achieve. Earlier in the off-season, he was dealt to San Diego and the Padres tried to sign him but didn't want to risk going to arbitration with him, so he was non-tendered. Again, maybe the approach of a different pitching coach would help Brazelton who has a career mark of 8-23, 5.98 in parts of four seasons with the D-Rays.
As for relievers, Trever Miller is another Tampa Bay pitcher on the list. The 32 year old left-hander went 2-2 with a 4.06 ERA in 61 games with Tampa Bay last season. Over the last three seasons, Miller has pitched 146 innings in 200 games with Toronto and Tampa Bay, posting a mark of 5-5 with an ERA of 3.95. This is a guy that somebody will pursue and likely be happy that they did.
There's another Devil Rays reliever on the list. Lance Carter was at one time their closer of the future and saved 26 games for the D-Rays in 2003. Danys Baez' arrival in Tampa Bay changed Carter's role and he pitched well as a setup man in 2004, but stumbled in 2005. Carter just turned 31 and perhaps, the Phillies should check to see if there appears to be any gas left in his tank that they can tap into. If Carter could return to form, he would be a perfect addition to the bullpen.
Then, there's Joe Borowski, yet another member of the Tampa Bay bullpen. Borowski saved 33 games for the Cubs in 2003, but hasn't come anywhere near that since. He was absolutely horrible for the Cubs in 2004 and 2005, going 2-4 and posting a 7.52 ERA. When he arrived in Tampa Bay, he seemed to have somewhat of a rebirth and had an ERA of 3.82 in 32 games with the Devil Rays. He turns 35 in May, so you do have to wonder how much more he can contribute based on his struggles in Chicago. The fact that he pitched better in the American League could have been the benefit of getting out of Chicago or the benefit of a different league. It could have also been one last gasp.
Analysis: For what the Phillies are looking for, Lance Carter or Trever Miller could be good fits; Especially Carter. Borowski is a risk and shouldn't be counted on for much if he is signed. Ryan Franklin is an interesting choice, especially if he can be signed cheaply and Wade Miller, although not 100% healthy, might be worth a look as well.