March 5, 2015

Where will Starter help come from? Probably one of these guys…

Jamie Moyer has a 7.42 ERA.

Joe Blanton has a 6.14 ERA.

Brett Myers may be out 2 months, or maybe the whole season.

Cole Hamels is coming off a season where he pitched 262.1 IP.

J.A. Happ just made 6th career start.

Anyone looking at that and thinking repeat? Or, like me, are you looking at that and thinking, ‘when exactly is the bottom going to fall out?’ The news of Brett Myers injury is really a big-time blow to this team. He hadn’t been spectacular, but he had been our only moderately consistent starter so far this season. It also drastically accelerates the teams search for starting pitching help. We know we are going to need at least one guy to replace Myers, but what if Moyer can’t turn it around, or if some one else goes down? We might be looking at a completely different rotation from Opening Day pretty soon. 

So, with that in mind, let’s look at pretty much every in-house, and out-of-house option the Phillies have…

In-House Options

Antonio Bastardo, Lehigh Valley (3-2, 1.89 ERA at AA-AAA)

Bastardo, a 5’11” lefty was recently promoted to Lehigh Valley, perhaps to see whether or not he is ready to take the step to the next level. So far, so good. In his 2 starts in AAA, he is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA and has allowed only 11 hits in 13 IP. Jayson Stark said that some scouts think he has passed Carlos Carrasco as our best pitching prospect. I think Carrasco still has more upside, but Bastardo has been almost unhittable this year, allowing only 32 hits in 47.2 IP (with 51 K). If Myers can’t make his next start, Bastardo might be the first to get the call.

Carlos Carrasco, Lehigh Valley (0-6, 5.81 ERA at AAA)

Many thought he would be the first called up if a starter went down, and after his first couple starts, that looked like it would be the case. However, he’s hit a rough patch, and I don’t think it would be wise to force him to the majors at this point. He’s still young for AAA, and we don’t need another Gavin Floyd situation where we bring someone up too early and mess them up mentally. 

Kyle Kendrick, Lehigh Valley (4-3, 4.25 ERA at AAA)

Kendrick was sent down to the minors to work on his change-up. He’s is working on it, but has shown little improvement, and like Carrasco, I think he is best served in AAA. 

Andrew Carpenter, Lehigh Valley (2-0, 3.61 ERA at AAA)

Carpenter had one start with the Phils, giving up 5 runs in 4.1 IP. I’m not about to judge him completely based on one start, but I believe he is a Joe Blanton-type pitcher, who gives up a lot of hits and is prone to big innings. He will also occasionally pitch a gem. He’s an innings eater, who, if brought up, would probably have an ERA around 5.00. 

Rodrigo Lopez, Lehigh Valley (2-2, 4.84 ERA at AAA)

The veteran down in Lehigh Valley, he’s giving up entirely too many hits (48 in 35.1 IP) to be considered a viable option.

Vance Worley, Reading (4-2, 2.83 ERA at AA)

Worley is a wild card here. He was drafted last year with the team thinking he could make a quick trip to the majors. He’s been great in Reading, but is a pitcher that relies a lot on control, not pure stuff. He could be brought up, skipping AAA, a la Kyle Kendrick 2 years ago but it would be a risky move. If he doesn’t have his good control, he might get lit up, but if he does (and I guess there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t) he is a far better prospect than Kendrick ever was and could surprise. 

Chan-Ho Park, Philadelphia (1-1, 6.57 ERA in NL)

He had his chance, and he’s useful as a long man out of the bullpen. I say keep him there. 

Out-of-House Options

Would Cost the Farm

Roy Halladay, Toronto (8-1, 2.63 ERA in AL)

A top-5 pitcher in all of baseball, Halladay will be the most sought after option if put on the market, and the way the Blue Jays are playing he might be. He is the one pitcher I’d trade pretty much anyone for. Would Carlos Carrasco, Dominic Brown and Lou Marson get it done? Steep price, but we are deep in prospects at those positions and it might be worth it to have Halladay for ’09 and 2010. 

Brandon Webb, Arizona (injured)

Webb made one start this year before going on the DL. He should be back in a couple weeks, and if the Diamondbacks can’t get going, he might be moved. Webb has been a perennial Cy Young candidate who would require a similar package to Halladay to acquire. He is also signed through 2010 and would be a great fit for the Bank as he has arguably the best sinker in baseball. 

Eric Bedard, Seattle (3-2, 2.48 ERA in AL)

Seattle traded way too much to Bedard in 2008, and would likely want too much back to cut their losses. However, Bedard is a rental who will be a free agent after the season and he is known around the league as one of the hardest guys to get along with and somewhat of a head case. Despite the gaudy numbers, I’d pass. 

Jake Peavy, San Diego (5-5, 3.67 ERA)

Peavy has already rejected a trade to Chicago, and that showed that you are going to have to give up your 2 best pitching prospects (at least) to get him. He probably wouldn’t even accept a trade to the east coast, but his agent didn’t completely reject the idea. He is signed through 2012 at about $18 million a year, which would probably be too much coin for the Phillies anyway. 

Roy Oswalt, Houston (1-2, 4.62 ERA in NL)

Oswalt started slow last year as well, so his ERA isn’t shocking. Scouts have been predicting his arm would give out for years now due to his motion, but it just never has and he has been one of the most reliable pitchers in baseball. He is signed through 2012, for a lot of money, so you would not only have to give up some serious prospects, but also make a risky investment in an aging pitcher. I’d probably stay away here. 

Cliff Lee, Cleveland (2-5, 3.04 ERA)

Lee was one of the most unlikely Cy Young winners ever last year, going from being sent to minors the year before, to going 22-3 the next. I’m wary of Lee, because he’s only really had one full, great season. Other than that, he’s been average his whole career. But, of course, the Indians will want a prospect bounty as if he’s going to win the Cy Young every year. If we can get him for a fair price (one A and two B prospects?) I’d probably do it, as you get Lee for 2010 as well. If not, no thanks.

Only half the farm

Aaron Harang, Cincinnati (5-4, 3.36 ERA in NL)

Harang, like Halladay, is a workhorse and is having a great season after struggling last year. He would be a pretty safe acquisition and would be a good replacement for Myers’ production. The Phillies would still have to give up a good prospect, but not the package it would take to get Halladay.

Jonathan Sanchez, San Francisco (2-4, 4.60 ERA in NL)

Sanchez isn’t technically on the market, but the Giants need offense bad and already have their pitching cornerstones in Lincecum and Cain. Sanchez is a strikeout machine, but walks way too many hitters. He’s could be dominant with some good coaching, or disastrous if the Giants coaches are what’s keeping him from tanking. 

Chris Young, San Diego (4-2, 4.76 ERA in NL)

You’ll probably find a lot of people more excited about Chris Young than me. He doesn’t throw particular hard, and seems to throw it pretty straight, but his delivery is messes up hitters and he can get them out. I would trade a B+ prospect for him, but not much more, which is what I imagine the Padres will be asking for. He is signed through 2010. 

Jarrod Washburn, Seattle (3-3, 3.45 ERA in AL)

Washburn is enjoying a comeback year, and the Mariners might as well try to sell high. I’m not sure he can keep up this production, but at worst, he drops down to last year’s production (4.69 ERA). Wouldn’t give away too much for this rental. 

On the Cheap

Jason Marquis, Colorado (6-3, 4.45 ERA in NL)

Marquis has been right around a 4.50 ERA for the last 3 seasons. In our rotation, and with our offense, you can’t really complain about that. I think he’s a good option in a Kyle Lohse / Jamie Moyer type deal where you are only giving up a B prospect. 

Doug Davis, Arizona (2-6, 3.77 ERA in NL)

Davis is the same type of pitcher as Jamie Moyer, only he obviously throws a little harder. Though I’m not crazy about another lefty, especially is Bastardo is in the rotation, he would be a great replacement for Moyer and will be a free agent after the season. 

Jon Garland, Arizona (4-3, 4.70 ERA in NL)

Seeing a pattern here with D-Backs? They signed Garland to a 1-year deal (with a 2010 option) thinking that they were going to be contenders. Now, it looks like they might just sell, sell, sell. However, there are lots of options I like better than Garland, who has more walks (21) than strikeouts (20) so far this year. 

Brad Penny, Boston (5-1, 5.96 ERA in AL)

That ERA is ugly, but 2 poor starts are inflating it somewhat. Either way, you aren’t going to get much better than a 4.50-4.75 ERA out of Penny. Can’t say I’m terribly interested. 

Free Agents

Pedro Martinez

Apparently he still thinks he is worth several million in guaranteed money. He’s not. That’s why he’s not signed. 

Ben Sheets

Probably coming back from surgery around July, and all signs have pointed towards him signing with the Rangers. Might be worth making a call to though. 

Odalis Perez

Had a 4.34 ERA for the Nats in 160 IP. We tried him out before the 2008 season but didn’t see what the Nats saw. Can’t say I’m interested though. 

What I Would Do…

I think Bastardo should take Myers spot in the rotation and see what he’s got. If Moyer can’t get it together, I’d either go for it all with Halladay or Webb, or try for a cheaper option of Doug Davis or Marquis. If Harang can be had for a fair price, I’d be interested in him as well. 

One thing is for certain, we are going to be seeing some new starters before long. What would you guys do if you were Ruben Amaro?





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  1. matthew nellis says:

    im not a big believer in sitting back and waiting…when u have a NY team in your division, ya gotta have a “win now” mentallity. say myers has surgery and is out for the year, i  would immediately trade prospects for either halladay, webb, peavy or oswalt…you cant go wrong with either of them. if moyer cant get it together in  month, make a trade for someone like marquis, chris young or a decent left hander. i say leave bastardo to develop in the minors. If the phils sit back,,the mets will run away with the division

  2. ryano says:

    I don’t think anyone would be against trading for Halladay, though it seems like somewhat of a fantasy daydream to me.   But if the Jay’s are dealing, let’s be the team that picks him up so that we can keep our place on top.  We are the defending champs after all (still a little surreal to say).  I think it shows your core that the organization is still committed to putting the best team possible on the team to win now.  I’d like the Bastardo move to wait for a few weeks to see if he can maintain his production at the next level.  Two starts are nice, but we need 20 starts out of this guy…I want a little more proof he’s ready to keep it up against the best hitters in the world.  But with LA, NY, and Boston making up our next three series after Washington, we may want to risk it on Bastardo now.

  3. Bill says:

    No Clay Condrey?

  4. Pete says:

    MN -

    I think you give Bastardo a shot. He’s 23 and dominating the minors for the 2nd straight year. Jayson Stark said scouts have gone so far as to compare him to Santana (which I disagree with, but they’re saying it). He might turn out to be just as good or better than someone we have to give up prospects for. If he’s not, then you go the trade route (or do it when Moyer is done)

  5. Pete says:

    I don’t think you can make 2 trades. Got to keep the system strong for when this 3-year window is up.

  6. Pete says:


    getting a pitcher like Halladay used to be a daydream for the Phils, but we actually have the prospects now to get it done. The question is whether or not they have the money and exactly how much of our system we’d want to dip into.

  7. Steve says:

    I think you are way over estimating the Phils farm system.  It really isn’t that good.  If these guys were with other teams, they would not be highly sought after, but since the Phils don’t have much, they are at the tops of the system. 

  8. Pete says:

    Steve - 

    disagree…. Carrasco, Donald, Marson, Bastardo, Drabek, Taylor and Brown have all been ranked in the top-100 by a reputable scouting agency (baseball america, baseball prospectus,, etc…).

    we don’t have any David Price / Matt Wieters type prospects, but we have a lot of quantity in the 30-100 range. If you saw what Jayson Stark wrote yesterday, execs from other teams agree we have a good system…

    “the Phillies are, as one exec put it, “looking everywhere for starters.” And for once, he said, “they’ve got pieces to give” to get one.”

  9. Jason J. Saracco says:

    Hey Pete – great article. Personally, I think we needed a starter even before the Myers injury. Moyer isn’t looking too good. We’re hanging on to him for sentiment, not performance. So, now I think we need 2 starters. While I’d love a trade for Webb, I would rather bring up Bastardo AND Drabek and give these kids a chance. Sometimes the adrenaline from the bigs brings out their best. They might be a bit inconcsistent, but so has Brett Myers been. If we get Brett back for the playoffs to add some stability …. ??  Could be good without selling the farm. Romero back in the bullpen should help too.

    Scary footnote:  I *think* Brett’s 4.66 ERA … is the best of the Phils starters (except for Happ who just started starting) …. LOL

  10. Pete says:

    Thanks Jason. 

    I definitely say give Bastardo a chance, but it’s too soon for Drabek. I’ve never heard of a player going from A-Adv straight to the majors. Bringing up Kendrick from AA was considered a stretch by many at the time. Drabek needs to at least spend a half a season in Reading before I’d consider doing anything with him. Some consider him our best pitching prospect, you’ve really got to be careful with him. 

    Given your footnote, it’s amazing we are 1/2 game out of first

  11. Chris McC says:

    You have to like looking within before without.  The Phils are widely thought to have some of the best pitching pitching prospects in baseball, why trade young guys for aging arms?  Bastardo and Corrasco have been getting alot of ink over the past couple seasons, lets see what they’ve got.

  12. bball says:

    Give Bastardo a shot see what he can do.  Then you can make a trade in a few weeks.  By that time Webb should be back and he’s the guy I’d target along with Halladay. They get enough ground balls to maintain their performance in this park.  Peavy would be a guy I’d like to but that seems to be a mute point since he doesn’t like the east coast.

  13. jurnee16 says:

    In the past the Phillies have been reluctant to rush big time prospects or part with them for proven big league veterans (aside from the Blanton deal last year) because they value them so much.  At the end of your article you said what you would do and I would love it if the Phillies went in that direction.  But what do you actually think the Phillies will do?  Do you actually think they will make a move as bold as putting Bastardo in the majors after only a few AAA starts or go after a big time pitcher like Halladay (which I would do in a heartbeat for Brown, Marson, and Carrasco if we could sign him long-term)?

  14. luke says:

    Very insightful, this is a much better blog than any for the blogs. Good Job!!

  15. ryano says:

    All this talk of bringing our young guns up early is scaring me.  I just remember how excited we were to see Gavin Floyd get the call, but he wasn’t ready mentally for the big leagues.  I don’t want another young stud brought up, beat up, and traded away for Freddy Garcia…all before he’s old enough to rent a car.

  16. Pete says:


    I think that what the Phillies will do is try in-house options first, and that 1 of them will work. I then would predict they go after someone like Marquis, who they don’t have to sacrifice the future for.

    HOWEVER, more-so than recent years, I think a big-time trade is possible for 2 reasons…
            1. Amaro might want to make a splash in his first season
            2. We have prospect DEPTH for the first time in awhile. We have 2 elite OF prospects in Brown and Taylor, but nowhere to play them until 2011. We have tons of pitching depth and could trade a Carrasco, especially if Bastardo proves himself. We also have catching depth with Marson, D’Arnaud and Valle, so we could trade one of them and still have prospects left over.

    I wouldn’t predict it, because we’ve never done it before. But it’s possible.

  17. Pete says:


    very true. which is why I said keep Carrasco and Drabek in the minors. But, I don’t think it’s too early for Bastardo.

    He’s 23 and has been great at every level. Maybe throw Carpenter out there for a start or two while he gets a little more confidence in AAA, but he’s not too far off.

  18. Pete says:

    not really relevant, but thought I’d share…. Ed Wade is a weird dude….

    Some people believe the real problem is not Cooper but general manager Ed Wade, who is said to be a frequent and negative presence in Houston’s clubhouse, frequently talking tough while impressing few. Wade is viewed as a meddler who puts everyone in a defensive mode, including Cooper, who has no choice but to play along. “Being a new manager, Cooper tried to go along with it,” one person close to Cooper said. “It’s not Coop’s fault.”

    Shawn Chacon was banished from the team, and ostensibly from the majors, for pushing down Wade last year, but privately his inappropriate actions were cheered by some other players. Poor Chacon is trying to resurrect his career with the Newark Bears, but he’s probably happy to be out of the unhealthy atmosphere in Houston.”

  19. Andrew says:


    Great article.  From someone who had surgery on a torn labrum in the past 5 months I find it very hard for Myers to stick the rest of this year out.  The pain only gets worse with more action.  It is almost crazy to think that a Phils GM would make a big trade, but at the same time it really does seem like it finally could be the time.  Amaro may feel that he needs to make an impact deal and seperate himself from the same style as Gillick. Gillick certainly made some great low-level deals that worked out in the long run, but he did not have the World Series trophy sitting in the stadium at the same time!  The pressure has certainly heated up.

    We live in Philly and know how we all are as fans.  Now that we have a trophy, the Philly phaithful will be wanting more and more..

    I think you encourage Myers to get the surgery (hope for a late run come playoffs for pen help), although he is an inning eating veteran, bring up a youngster and start the talks for a big trade.  Who wouldn’t want  great 1& 2 starters come the playoffs.

  20. Drew says:

    I think Harang is the best option. He is probably the best value for price pitcher on the market. He’s always been underrated and is an inning eater. I’d be absolutely psyched if we got him. I also want Bastardo to come up so I can get a jersey.  We can’t trade someone with that last name!

  21. Jason J. Saracco says:

    Harang sounds great – but what would he cost? Again, I think we’ll need 2 SP – I really do not have confidence in Moyer.

    Hamels-Harang-Blanton-Happ-Bastardo ?

    I’d be thrilled. Especially if we could add Myers back to the mix for the post-season. Wow. 

    But I just wouldn’t give up the whole farm for Harang.

  22. Adam says:


    I seriously doubt that Halladay is on the market right now with the start that the Jay’s offense has gotten off to this year, but they are in the middle of a big losing streak as of right now, and if that continues they may be looking to deal him.  I would absolutely give up our prospects to get Halladay, who dominates AL hitting and would probably do the same in the NLEast.

    Also, you mentioned this in your article, but no one has followed up on it.  Ben Sheets is available and if the rangers start to fall off, which doesn’t  look likely this year, we could definitely woo him with the prospect of him pitching in a big 1-2 punch with King Cole in the playoffs.  Sheets could have a lot left in the tank for a stretch run coming off of surgery, and we all know he has huge upside for maybe a 5mil half year rental.

    I doubt that the Phillies would be willing to make a deal for someone like Oswalt and Peavy. Both of them pitched in the WBC, which no doubt tacked onto their innings pitched.

    I know this is wishful thinking, but if we could sign Sheets AND trade for Halladay, you would basically lock down the NLEast, and probably the WS trophy.

  23. Pete says:

    Buster Olney wrote on his blog that currently the 2 most likely options are Penny and Bedard. 

    He said a Penny for Jason Donald deal might work. Frankly, I wouldn’t do that. 
  24. Drew says:

    I think Harang would cost one pitching prospect and one hitter.

  25. Pete says:

    Which of these woudl you guys do…

    1. Harang for Carrasco and Marson
    2. Halladay/Oswalt/Peavy/Webb for Drabek, Carrasco and Brown 
    3. Penny for Donald
    4. Marquis for Marson and Carpenter
  26. jurnee16 says:

    I think I would do the Harang deal assuming we can sign him long-term deal.  Based on what I know about him and  looking at his game log  I would say he is a better version of Blanton and who brings his A-Game more often.  If Bastardo is as good as advertised I would not mind giving up Carrasco in a deal for Harang.  Hamels-Harang-Blanton-Happ-Bastardo/Moyer/Myers if he gets healthy looks good to me….

  27. Adam says:

    The only two out of that list that I would consider would have to be the Harang for Carrasco and Marson, as long as we keep Harang until at least 2011, and I would only give up Drabek, Carrasco and Brown for Halladay or Webb, not Peavy or Oswalt, Oswalt because he is a fastball thrower and Citizens Bank is a home run heavy park.  Webb could possibly be a perfect fit if he’s healthy, his sinker is quite possibly the best in the game.  We could use a consistant right hander in our starting rotation to go along with the dominance of King Cole.

    Brad Penny is pretty much washed up, and from your previous comments I assume that you agree.  I would also pass on Marquis.

  28. Dan says:

    The price is too high for Penny or Marquis. I also wouldn’t pay that much for Harang. I don’t think he’s good enough to warrant giving two top prospects for.

    I would do option 2, at least for Halladay or Webb.  (I’d try to swap Marson for one of the pitches though, if they’d allow it. We have Ruiz for cheap for now, and he’s actually hitting. Plus like you mentioned we have D’Arnaud and Valle in the system. But I’d still take it)

  29. Dannie says:

    Clay Buchholz for Jason Donald and maybe one other lower level prospect.  Heard Sox need a shortstop of the future.  We need a pitcher.  I don’t know anything else about Buchholz except he is doing well in the minors now has like 15 major league starts and was 5-10.  But he has talent and is young right?

    Would something out of the box like that make sense?  Remember I am far from a baseball person.

  30. Pete says:

    good idea Dannie, but I’d say Buchholz is pretty much untouchable. you hardly ever see prospect for prospect trades involving good prospects anyway. 

    In terms of value, I think it would take Drabek, Marson and Donald to get Buchholz, that’s how high they are on him. Once they trade Penny, he’ll be up in their rotation. 
  31. jeff says:

    I know this is fantasy, but I would love to see a rotation in 1-2 years of Cole, Myers, Bastardo, Carrasco and Happ. If Myers goes FA on us (less likely now with his injury) then you have Drubeck, Kendrick, Carpenter in the waiting. A totally home grown rotaiton. WHo woud have believed the Phillies would ever have that? As for this year, get a rental for as small price as possible. Our offense allows us to win with pitchers having eras of @5.00

  32. jurnee16 says:

    They just on the Game 3 broadcast that Bastardo is getting called up and starting against Peavy on Tuesday…should be interesting….