The Phillies have pulled off the biggest deal of the trade season so far in acquiring Cliff Lee from Cleveland. The deal was such a strong move that GM Ruben Amaro was actually applauded when he walked through the Phillies clubhouse after the deal had been announced. Not only did Amaro get one of the best pitchers in the game, but he added a serviceable right-handed bat to the roster that Charlie Manuel can pull off the bench when needed. And, he did it all without disrupting the core prospects in the organization.
Since the deal was announced though, there has been nary a whisper of another move coming out of the Phillies organization. But if Ruben looks again at his shopping list - or at his team's potential pitfalls - he'll see that there is more shopping that could be done. Perhaps, a trip to Closers-R-Us is in order, seeing how Brad Lidge has had more than an occasional ninth inning stumble this season.
There are closers out there to be had and the asking price on them isn't necessarily outlandish, especially considering that the Phillies are paying Lee less than they would have had to pay Roy Halladay and that they didn't disrupt their list of top prospects in the organization as much as they would have to obtain Halladay.
The San Diego Padres are actively shopping Heath Bell. As things stand right now, the Florida Marlins are the leading contender to land Bell at the price of giving up Andrew Miller or Sean West, both young left-handed starters. The Yankees have also shown interest and the Texas Rangers have entered the mix, but are not likely to be major players in the battle for Bell. Some reports have a gaggle of other clubs sniffing the Padres to gauge what they would have to give to get Bell for themselves. If the asking price for Bell is true, the Phillies could likely trump the Marlins offer by putting J.A. Happ out there and could possibly even offer Joe Savery and another lesser prospect to get the deal done.
Bell, who has 25 saves in 26 opportunities this season for San Diego would be a great way to add depth and insurance to the back end of the Phillies bullpen. Bell would also be a nice addition because he's under team control through the 2011 season.
Baltimore also has George Sherrill on the market, but the price is higher. The Angels, Dodgers and White Sox are the front runners for Sherrill, with the odds-on-favorite being the Dodgers. Baltimore is asking for third base prospect Josh Bell or possibly Blake DeWitt in exchange for Sherrill. With the Orioles likely losing third baseman Melvin Mora to free agency following the season, Josh Bell would make sense, as would the White Sox Josh Fields. The Phillies don't have any third base prospects who are near major league ready, so they would have to be inventive about pulling off a deal with Baltimore.
Amaro could also call his old buddy J.P. Ricciardi about Toronto closer Scott Downs. Of course, with the Phillies walking away from the Blue Jays on the Roy Halladay, Ricciardi may be a little slow to take calls from Amaro. On the upside, the Phillies still have the players that the Blue Jays were interested in getting from the Phillies for Halladay, so perhaps something could be worked out. Either way, Downs is also going to command a fairly high price in terms of prospects, but he is signed through the 2010 season. And, the Phillies and Blue Jays are staying at the same hotel this weekend, so maybe they could put something together even at the last moment.
Sometimes, quiet time is the quiet before the trade. Hopefully, Ruben Amaro is continuing to work the phones and will take a quick trip to Closers-R-Us for a last minute purchase.