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