With less than 24 hours to go now until the trade deadline, the Phillies are all over the trade map.
One that they may have missed on is Ivan Rodriguez. The Phillies would be interested in a veteran catcher, if they could find one that wouldn't break the prospect bank and Rodriguez could have been had. The Yankees gave up 32 year old right-hander Kyle Farnsworth (1-2, 3.65) to get Rodriguez and you have to figure that Detroit would have at least given great consideration to getting 28 year old right-hander Ryan Madson (2-1, 3.21) instead. After all, Madson is owed about $2 million less for this season and is eligible for his last year of arbitration following the season, while Farnsworth is a free agent after the season. Of course, Detroit may have just wanted to completely dump salary and will let Farnsworth jump ship after the season and see what compensation they can get for him, but Madson wouldn't have been so expensive that a team like Detroit couldn't have afforded him. Rodriguez is a free agent after the season and would have fit pretty nicely into the Phillies lineup. Oh, well.
The Phillies inquired about Greg Maddux and the Padres were nice enough to ask the future Hall of Famer if he would waive his no-trade clause and pack his bags for Philly and he politely declined. Maddux doesn't have anything against the Phillies, but he's earned the right to say where he wants to pitch and he's decided that it's the west coast or nothing for him and you can't really blame him for making that call at this point in his career. Oh, well.
There are new reports out that the Tampa Bay Rays are interested in Jayson Werth and one of their scouts said on a radio show that he was told the Phillies would give him up in the right deal. Don't get too concerned. The Phillies would give up just about anybody in the right deal, but that doesn't mean that other teams are going to offer what the Phillies would want. For the Rays to get Werth, they'd likely have to talk about someone like Carl Crawford, who the Phillies love, but it's not clear whether Tampa would go there. The Nationals might present an inter-division option. Keep an eye on their starter tonight. The Nats are throwing Tim Redding against the Phillies and he's definitely on the block. Redding (7-5, 3.98) has pitched well this season and if you wipe out his month of June where he sort of hit a wall, he's been phenomenal. Don't be surprised if the two teams talk about a potential deal to send Redding to the Phillies.
The move to recall J.A. Happ is a weird one. Why would the Phillies suddenly recall him and put him in the bullpen? They could have done that at any point during the season and they waited until now? It's possible that Happ's success with the Phillies earlier in the season convinced them that he's ready to pitch in the majors and they think he's an upgrade for their bullpen, but it still doesn't make sense. If you're going to convert him to being a reliever, now isn't the time to do it. The Phillies have done it in the past with Madson, but they didn't do it in this situation. Madson joined the team out of spring training when he failed to win a spot in the rotation and was put into the bullpen because he had pitched so well in camp. When they looked at converting Josh Outman to a relief role, they did it in the minors, where he could struggle without causing a major issue. No, Happ's future isn't in the bullpen and the Phillies know that. Conventional wisdom was that Myers would again struggle and he could then be sent to the bullpen and Happ would seamlessly take his place in the rotation, but Myers blew that theory with an impressive outing in Washington. Of course, the Nationals offense isn't exactly a killer lineup and while it was great to see Myers pitch so well, let's calm down. It's one outing against a weak offensive club, so let's not get too excited. Still, Happ pitching out of the bullpen seems a waste and it's going to be interesting to see how this one plays out. Since sometimes the biggest deals are the ones that you don't hear about until they happen - hence the Ivan Rodriguez deal - maybe there's something going on to send Myers somewhere. There is a small market out there for closers and if someone believes that Myers could fit in as their closer, something might get done. We'll see.
Speaking of relievers, word is that George Sherrill is off the market. The Phillies had interest in him, but weren't going to pay the price that the Baltimore Orioles were asking. The Blue Jays had to put Brian Tallet, another Phillies favorite, on the DL, so scratch him from the deadline deals. The Blue Jays also have A.J. Burnett and Roy Halladay to offer as starters, but word is that Burnett now isn't going anywhere and speculation is that the Blue Jays are going to work to send Halladay - who would appreciate going elsewhere and would bring a bigger bounty to the Jays - somewhere in the right package deal. The Jays are sellers at this point and the Phillies are still interested in lefty Jesse Carlson, who Toronto seems to want to hang onto. The Phillies thought they had Ron Mahay (5-0, 1.78) from Kansas City for Jason Donald, but then other teams jumped in. The Phillies haven't upped their offer, but they may have to if they're going to get Mahay from the Royals. He's been lights out, but how much do you want to give up for him? Brian Fuentes (1-4-17, 3.07) and Arthur Rhodes (2-0-1, 2.53) are high on the Phillies target list. The Mariners are being beseiged with offers for Rhodes and the Rockies are shifting back-and-forth between whether or not they want to deal Fuentes. Both relievers are free agents after this season, so the Phillies wouldn't have to invest a lot in them and might pick up a little added compensation if they weren't able or interested in re-signing them. While they've been talking to the Mariners, the name Raul Ibanez has also come up as the Phillies search for a bat to bring off the bench. John Grabow (5-3, 3.19), Will Ohman (3-0, 2.84) and Jack Tashner (2-1, 2.95) have also been scouted by the Phillies and they have an interest in all of them. Would the Braves deal Ohman to the Phillies? The Phillies hope so, for two reasons; first, he'd be a great fit in the bullpen and second, he's completely killed them and if he winds up elsewhere (the Mets) it would be a big blow. The Pirates have generally been asking for a lot in their trade talks, so Grabow may not be an option, leaving San Francisco's Tashner. The Giants are shopping the 30 year old Tashner and Philadelphia could be a soft place for him to land. The odds of the Phillies adding a reliever - especially a left-handed reliever - are very high (let's say 85%). The only hold up right now is that Mahay is Plan A and if something happens with him, then the domino effect comes into play and the Phillies just go down the list to find out what they can do on the others.
Then, there's the 800 pound gorilla sitting over there in the corner; the corner near the Green Monster. Could Manny be Manny in Philly? The scary thing is that most of the rumors at this point seem to center around Manny coming to the NL East. Right now, the hot rumor is Florida. The Marlins believe they've got a shot and they're all in to win the division and while Manny could be a pain, he could also be a good fit for a club desperate to win, fighting for a new stadium and needing an identity. The Mets haven't been too hotly rumored, but they are looking for outfield help. The problem there is that they don't have much in the prospect pipeling - thank you, Mr. Santana - and likely wouldn't have the pieces to send to the Red Sox, unless they just decide to dump Manny. There have been rumors of a Burrell for Manny even-up swap and that could happen, since Burrell would likely waive his no-trade clause to head to the Sox and play for Terry Francona again. Speaking of which, if Burrell hits the free agent market, make Boston the immediate front-runner. If the Phillies did get Manny, he would likely have to shift to right field and that could be ugly. Sure, Ramirez started his career as a right-fielder, but he hasn't played there for a long time. On the upside, Burrell would be happy because he wouldn't be the one getting yanked for defensive reasons late in a game. Could Geoff Jenkins and J.A. Happ get a deal done for Manny?