Answers To Trade Questions Likely To Wait

Deadlines don't have the word 'dead' in them by accident. Death is the final act and deadlines were never truly meant to be beaten by wide margins. No, they're meant to come right down to the wire and the Phillies trade efforts may do just that this season.

Yes, the Phillies need pitching help now. But the problem is that other teams aren't looking to deal pitching because they're not necessarily out of the race for the playoffs just yet. In a couple weeks, things could change, but for now, teams are still taking the optimistic route. That makes it tough to pry away a top notch starting pitcher from a team that still considers themselves a contender.

The Phillies are taking a look around to see who might be available and just who they may have to give up to get them. When you match the bait with the fish that the Phillies are attempting to catch, you come up with a mismatch. Philadelphia is a club fishing for shark with a minnow as bait and you don't catch much that way.

Still, there are a couple of scenarios that could work for the Phillies.

First, there's the old 'our bad contract for your bad contract' approach. The Phillies might be able to find someone to take Pat Burrell and his big contract for a struggling pitcher that has saddled some other team with a bad contract. In other words, the Phillies send Burrell to the Angels for Bartolo Colon. Colon makes a million more this season than Burrell does, but the problem is that the Angels are rid of Colon after this season while Burrell is set to collect another $14 million next year from the Phillies. How about Burrell for Colon and the Phillies send $7 million along with Burrell to make the deal even.

Then, there's the road most traveled by Phillies teams of the past. You don't have much to trade, so you settle for a middle-of-the-road, most likely aging, pitcher who comes in and does what he can to help the Phillies down the stretch. Maybe it works out and maybe it doesn't. Read that, the Phillies deal a couple mid-level prospects to the Nationals for Mike Bacsik.

Finally, there's another road, often less traveled. The Phillies dig deep and send a young up and coming prospect - or more likely, a couple of them - somewhere for a top-of-the-line pitcher who figures to make NL East competitors drool. That looks like Michael Bourn and Carlos Carrasco for Dontrelle Willis. It hurts, but the pain goes away if and when the Phillies are in the post-season and proceed to the Fall Classic.

No matter which option the Phillies follow, or are forced to follow as it may be, the timing right now just doesn't work. There are still too many teams with visions of wild-card chances dancing in their heads and until they have to decide whether they're buyers or sellers, they won't be making any rash or tough decisions. Meanwhile, with two starters on the DL and another shuffled off to the bullpen before he too went on the DL, time isn't a friend to the Phillies. In other words; In J.D. Durbin We Trust.

Audio Extra: Chuck Hixson and Delaware County Times columnist Jack Maccaffrey talked about what may happen between now and July 31st on the June 30th edition of Philly Baseball News Radio, heard Saturday mornings on AM 1230 and 1320 in Easton, PA.

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