The Phillies are downplaying the chance of any more blockbusters on Deadline Day. Of course, they also said about ten days ago that GM Pat Gillick was going on vacation; some vacation. There are plenty of hints that there could be one, two and possibly more "small deals" that could involve the Phillies.
Reading the tea leaves: Why did the Phillies recall Scott Mathieson and Michael Bourn from AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre? Sure, they need Mathieson to make a start on Tuesday, because the double-header, combined with no off-days necessitates adding another starter, at least for the short-term. But, they could have waited. Unless... they're thinking that they might need a starter for Monday, which is Jon Lieber's turn in the rotation. Consider the interest in Lieber:
- Texas Rangers - The Phillies and Rangers have hooked up a couple of times in deals since Pat Gillick landed in Philly. Could there be another deal in the works? The Rangers want a starter and have some interest in Lieber, especially if the Phillies would consider a little cash to help soothe the financial hit. Rest assured that the two teams will be in touch before Lieber takes to the mound in Monday afternoon's game against the Marlins.
- Boston Red Sox - Their initial interest in Lieber was pretty good, but then they looked at Cory Lidle instead. With Lidle in New York, the BoSox could return to look at Lieber, but it's not likely.
- New York Yankees - With the addition of Lidle, one of Lieber's main suitors are now out of the equation.
As for Bourn making his major league debut with the club when David Dellucci and Shane Victorino are still around, why could that be? After all, Chris Roberson has been shuttling back and forth between Philly and Scranton all season long, so why not another trip? Or, is there something in the works for Dellucci and/or Victorino that would create playing time for Bourn. A deal of Dellucci is the more likely scenario, considering the interest in him:
- St. Louis Cardinals - This is a team that could use some offense and they've been scouting Dellucci for a while now. Left field hasn't been a very productive spot in St. Louis this season and Dellucci could end that in a hurry. Veteran Scott Spiezio and rookie Chris Duncan are now getting a chance to see time in left and have improved the production somewhat, but the Cardinals may like to have someone who could come in and play everyday for them in left field. Dellucci would be a good fit in the Cardinals' lineup. The birds have stepped up their scouting efforts and could be preparing an offer to present to the Phillies for Dellucci.
- Los Angeles Angels - They're hot after Alfonso Soriano, but don't appear to be able to fit him in financially. Plan B could be going after Dellucci, a guy who hit 29 homeruns in the American League last season. He would be a nice fit for an Angels offense that needs a shot in the arm.
- Los Angeles Dodgers - The Dodgers could also use some offense and have sniffed around regarding Dellucci.
- Texas Rangers - The Rangers wouldn't mind getting Dellucci back into their lineup. The Phillies may well wind up dealing Dellucci, but they would like to get a decent prospect in exchange, since Dellucci has a track record as a power-hitting, everyday player in the majors. The Rangers aren't quite ready to bite, but they may need to if they're going to win the A.L. West.
Of course, maybe Dellucci isn't the target. Could there still be a deal in the works to move Pat Burrell? Not likely, but here is one scenario:
- Boston Red Sox - Burrell has told the Phillies that he would only waive his no-trade clause to go to the Red Sox or Yankees. The Yankees are out, so will Boston be an option. Remember the old physics law that states "for every action, there is an equal, but opposite reaction"? Well, rarely do the Yankees or Red Sox make a move without the other countering - the equal reaction part - so maybe the Sox look into getting Pat Burrell. It's possible, since the Phillies didn't have to pick up any of Abreu's contract, they might pick up some of Burrell's and/or accept Trot Nixon in return. Of course, Nixon was hurt in last night's game and if the injury is going to side line him for any length of time, the Sox may be more inclined to ask again about Burrell. It's a definite long shot, but not completely out of the question.
Rheal Cormier (Almost immediately after this story was posted, the Phillies dealt Cormier to Cincinnati for right-hander Justin Germano.)
- There was a deal in place to deal Cormier Saturday night, but it fell through at the last minute. The Phillies are still talking to a number of teams - Atlanta, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Houston and Texas - and something is likely to get done on Monday.
- Gordon isn't as much of a trade possibility as he was a week ago. If something happens here, it's likely to come right before the deadline as a team scrambles to make a final move. Watch the White Sox, who have been scouting Gordon for a while and would be interested in some bullpen help for the stretch run.
- There's not much interest, but like Gordon, some team may come up with a minor leaguer right before the deadline and take a shot on rejuvenating Rhodes for two months.
- When the Phillies designated Franklin for assignment, they did so figuring that they would be able to trade him. Again, it's not going to be a major trade, but there are clubs interested in Franklin who might take a chance with him.
- There isn't a whole lot of interest in Lieberthal and it's looking like he won't be in the transactions column today.
Keep in mind that some of these players could well pass through waivers and be traded after Monday's deadline, so don't count out a deal a little further down the road.