Help Wanted: Trade Winds

With playoff eligibility just days away from being set, the Phillies are looking for a final name or two to throw into their hat for consideration. Some familiar faces and names are reappearing in Philadelphia.

As the Phillies continue to fight for their 2007 baseball lives, they could use a little help. It was just under a month ago that the Phillies looked high and low for help and found just a banished reliever from the Seattle Mariners to show for their efforts. Well, while non-waiver trades aren't an option, there is some potential help that may have slid through the waiver wire and the Phillies are redoubling their trade efforts with a couple of teams.

News on Cole Hamels is good. He threw a bullpen session and felt no pain and by all accounts, looked strong. He's hoping to be activated possibly as early as this weekend and could return to the rotation as early as Sunday. The news on Freddy Garcia isn't as good - depending on how you look at it - as he now seems headed for major surgery and it would appear that his days as a Phillie will officially be over in the very near future. If the Phillies decide that a little more help for their rotation is the way to go, they have a defined target; actually, two of them. The first is a familiar face from Minnesota by the name of Carlos Silva. Yes, that Carlos Silva, who the Phillies jettisoned to the Twins along with Nick Punto for Eric Milton. No, Silva hasn't been setting the world on fire. From the Silver Lining Department though comes the fact that Silva has dropped his ERA from a season high of 4.76 on July 25 to a respectable 4.33 even though he was tagged for six earned runs in 3.2 innings in his last start on Monday. Prior to that, he had strung together a stretch of five games with at least seven innings and an ERA of 1.75 in those games. The Phillies have been scouting Silva since before the trade deadline last month and are definitely interested.

Jose Contreras is another pitcher the Phillies attempted to get before the July 31 trade deadline and they have also renewed their efforts there, although the focus now is squarely on Silva as far as starters go. If Silva has been showing signs of life, Contreras is flat-lined. Actually, it's almost a straight line up if you're looking at his ERA. The 35 year old right-hander had a 4.89 ERA coming into July and has added nearly a point-and-a-half to that since then with little to report from the ever trusty Silver Lining Department.

The Phillies are so desperate for bullpen help that they tried in vain to talk to the Atlanta Braves about Bob Wickman. The Braves temperamental former closer was designated for assignment, but it's unlikely that the Phillies would be able to make a move that they would feel comfortable doing while they're battling with Atlanta in the NL East and Wild Card races. Plus, there are concerns about Wickman's attitude and how he would fit in to the current Phillies clubhouse.

The Phillies have a glut at third base and could offer up Wes Helms to an American League contender or possibly move Rod Barajas to an AL contender, too. Deals with teams in contention in the National League aren't likely, since the Phillies wouldn't be looking to help out teams that they're battling with even though it might bring some needed help back to Philadelphia. Minnesota might be a nice fit for the Phillies, since they could use a veteran to help in their efforts now and a young player who could help them down the road and give them something to show in exchange for Silva, who is a free agent at the end of the season and could be a candidate for the Phillies to re-sign if they were able to secure his services from the Twins.


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