Overhaul Is Likely, But Timing Uncertain

Pat Gillick insists that even he doesn't know whether the Phillies are buyers or sellers. One thing is for sure though; this team will be overhauled one way or another between now and the start of the 2007 season.

It turns out that Pat Gillick is like most Phillies fans in that he just doesn't know what to make of this Phillies' team. One difference is that while many of the fans have given up on the season, Gillick is still holding out some hope for his beleaguered club. Asked if he considered the Phillies buyers or sellers at this point, Gillick replied, "We're both. If there is something to buy that we like, then we'll buy. If there is something to sell we like, we'll sell. Ideally we would want to pick up a piece that will help us short term and long term."

Great answer, Pat.

Cory Lidle and Jon Lieber are both gaining in interest from other clubs. David Bell's recent hot streak also has some clubs thinking that he might be an affordable, short-term fix in the right situation. There are few clubs asking about Aaron Rowand anymore, but Bobby Abreu could be the hottest commodity on the trade market - if he's on the trade market. As for Pat Burrell, there are some clubs sniffing around, but no definite bites or even solid nibbles for that matter. Rheal Cormier remains an interesting piece of a bullpen puzzle for a contender, but bullpen mate Arthur Rhodes isn't in much demand. Closer Tom Gordon is popular with other clubs, but the Phillies aren't sure they want to trade him.

If the Phillies don't rally over the next week, it would be surprising to see neither Lidle nor Lieber, as well as Cormier, switch uniforms. Lidle would interest low-payroll teams in need of rotation depth, while Lieber could be one of the top starters available to the high-payroll contenders.

Gillick is also quick to point out that Abreu, who there are a number of clubs chasing, has a no-trade clause. Catcher Mike Lieberthal also has right to refusal.

"In that situation (a player) is in control of his destiny," said Gillick. "So there are some teams (who can't get involved in talks)."

While it's likely that the Phillies will do something on the trade market over the next week, changes are definitely going to be coming because there are 10 players who have contracts expiring at the end of the season and are eligible for free agency. That list includes: David Bell, David Dellucci, Aaron Fultz, Ryan Franklin, Cory Lidle, Mike Lieberthal, Arthur Rhodes, Julio Santana, Rick White and Randy Wolf. The way things stand now, very few of them figure on being with the Phillies at this time next year. Subtracting those players would drop about $35 million off the payroll, which could be put elsewhere.

Should the Phillies continue to stumble, more payroll could be dumped in the next week, especially if Gillick can find the right deals for Abreu and Burrell. So, changes will be coming, but the timing of those changes is up in the air and not even Pat Gillick knows the timetable for sure.


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