Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Trade Deadline Approaches

Pat Gillick said the Phillies are "cautiously optimistic" they can make a trade before Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline.

The Trade Deadline Approaches

Don´t bet on Manny Ramirez coming to the Phillies.
Don't bet on Manny Ramirez coming to the Phillies. STEPHEN DUNN / Getty Images

Pat Gillick thinks the Phillies have a chance to make another trade before Thursday's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.

He used the words "cautiously optimistic."

Can you really be cautiously optimistic? Isn't that an oxymoron? I mean, if you're cautious about your optimism, how optimistic are you? Yes, we're deep thinkers here, so chew on that one for a while. But Phillies fans shouldn't get their hopes up for Manny Ramirez, Matt Holliday or Brian Fuentes. Gillick indicated yesterday that none of those players will be wearing red pinstriples anytime soon.

But he still hoped they could add another lefthanded pitcher to their bullpen. If they don't find a lefthander from outside the organization, the Phillies could convert lefthander J.A. Happ into a reliever. In fact, he could be announced today as Adam Eaton's replacement in the bullpen. Happ was pulled from Sunday's start after just 2 2/3 innings. Mike Arbuckle explained why, "We pulled him as a precaution. We really don't know what's going to happen at the trade deadline, and we didn't know if we were going to need him in the big leagues or weren't or whatever. We just wanted to keep all our options open, and we thought the best way to do that was limit his outing just so that he might be ready in case we needed him or there was a trade. A lot of different things could happen over the next couple days."

In other words, they might need him tonight in DC against the Nationals and they might need him as a trade chip and didn't want to risk injury.

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Eaton is scheduled to start Thursday for single-A Lakewood. He isn't expected back to the big leagues until Sept. 1, when rosters expand. There's no question at this point that he has been one of the worst free agent signings in franchise history. Why not just cut him? Well, for the simple reason that he's under contract and making $8.5 million next season. I also think the Phillies will keep him around -- I can't imagine anybody trading for him unless the Phillies eat almost his entire contract -- because they might want to have an extra arm in spring training. Who's knows what the future holds for Jamie Moyer and Brett Myers? Moyer could retire. Myers might not be successful as a starter and could become a full-time reliever next season. They might want to create some competition in the rotation next spring, even though Eaton hardly has provided much of that.

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Myers goes tonight. The Phillies desperately need him to pitch well. If not, the Phillies have said they can't sit around and do nothing.

"He's going to have to perform well," Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We're trying to win our division, so we're going to try to put the best starters out there we can to win. We have to keep our minds open with what we're going to do. We're not locking ourselves in with anything. We believe he'll stay in the rotation, but we have to keep our options open, and we will."

Could we see Myers in the bullpen at some point? It's possible. But that wouldn't be good. The Phillies think an effective Myers is the second-best pitcher in the rotation and gives them a better chance in the postseason. If Myers moves to the bullpen and Happ takes his place, who's the No. 2 starter come the postseason?

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Chase Utley has "mild soreness" in his hip. It's not serious, and doesn't require surgery.

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Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
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