This is the time of year where general managers attempt to exploit the needs of their brethren, so expect to see plenty of names popping up in the rumor mill. Today's edition comes from San Francisco, where Brian Sabean is apparently attempting to part with either Ryan Theriot or Mike Fontenot so that he does not have to pay them a quarter of their non-guaranteed salaries by releasing them (Theriot will make $1.25 million, Theriot $1.05 million). This, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.
The Phillies could conceivably have interest in either player. You would probably label Theriot the better defender, although he is a stronger second baseman than shortstop. Fontenot is primarily a second baseman, although he can play short.
From this vantage point, Theriot is the better fit. He's a career .282/.344/.353 hitter who stole at least 20 bases in the four seasons leading up to 2011. Fontenot carries a career line of .263/.304/.377 although he hit just .227/.304/.377 in 252 plate appearances for the Giants last season.
All that being said, trading for either player would make the Phillies responsible for their current contracted salaries. If they wait, the Giants could end up releasing one of the players. At that point, the Phillies could try to sign either one for less.
We should know more about their urgency tomorrow, when Chase Utley is scheduled to speak with reporters about his ailing knees for the first time since early in spring training.