Phillies Remain Quietly Active

For those baseball scholars out there, we present this baseball riddle; when does free agency turn into being a trade? That answer and news of a potential real trade with the Red Sox are coming up from Philly Baseball News...

And the answer is; when two teams sign each other's free agents. The case in point is this. Forget free agency. Suppose the season ended and the Tampa Bay Rays approached the Phillies and said "we'll give you Rocco Baldelli for Pat Burrell." Would you do it?

That scenario could basically happen, since the Phillies are among the teams considering Rocco Baldelli and the Rays are among the teams considering Pat Burrell. While Burrell could step into a starting job and possibly serve as Tampa's designated hitter, Baldelli would be more of a role player with the Phillies.

Just the fact of what his role would be makes Baldelli signing with the Phillies a longshot. While they may offer him a good - and potentially, superior - deal to what he could get elsewhere, they won't necessarily have the playing time to offer him. Initially, that wasn't thought to be an issue, since Baldelli had been diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder that would forever limit his playing time. Now though, a new diagnosis shows that Baldelli was misdiagnosed and that he suffers from a far less severe set of conditions that shouldn't hamper his playing time as much as initially thought. Because of the new diagnosis, Baldelli is looking for a place to call home that would provide him with a substantial amount of playing time.

The Phillies are one of many suitors looking at Baldelli and will battle with the Reds, Red Sox and Yankees for his services. The Reds were thought to be rolling out the red carpet for Baldelli and appear to have the lead, but with big hitters like Philly, Boston and New York in the mix, who knows what's going to happen.

Meanwhile, interest in Pat Burrell is picking up. Tampa Bay is one of a few teams talking to him about signing a deal with their club. The Angels, Dodgers and Braves have also inquired on Burrell recently and the Rays appear to be the front-runner. The Angels are also looking in on former Phillie Bobby Abreu.

Is Mark DeRosa off the Phillies radar? Not completely. The Cubs aren't actively shopping DeRosa anymore now that the Jake Peavy talks are dead in the water, but the Twins are one team that are certainly not giving up on getting DeRosa out of Chicago. The Phillies would still be interested and could use DeRosa as a super-sub for a number of positions, but they don't want to give up J.A. Happ to get him and they certainly won't give up Jason Donald or Lou Marson in a deal for Mark DeRosa.

The Phillies still need a nice, big right-handed bat to come off the bench. While Baldelli and DeRosa would be options, the Phillies aren't the leaders to get either of them. While they would rather not go into spring training without acquiring a right-handed hitter, they may wind up doing just that.

One other rumor that's got to be mentioned, hinges on Mark Teixeira. If - and that's a big if - the Red Sox were to sign Teixeira, they would move Kevin Youkilis to third base, leaving Mike Lowell up in the air. The Phillies were heavily pursuing Lowell last winter as a free agent and would still have a lot of interest in bringing him on board. He's a year older and is coming off the same hip surgery that Chase Utley underwent, but he would be a nice bat to add to the lineup. It's something that's been put out there and would make a lot of sense for both teams.

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