The Phillies went from having a pitching dearth to pitching surplus. Just as June was coming to an end, the front office was scrambling for a 5th starter and bullpen help. Since then Brad Lidge, Scott Eyre, and Clay Condrey have gotten healthy and are back to producing in their roles. Rodrigo Lopez has taken the reigns as the 5th starter and performed beautifully. Pedro Martinez has been added to the fold, and is set to begin competitive pitching again. Brett Myers may be back by the end of August (more on that below). In the minors, Triple-A starters Carlos Carrasco and Andrew Carpenter lend some depth, and Sergio Escalona remains just a phone call away for relief. Then of course there's the possibility of adding all-world pitcher Roy Halladay to the mix. It's about to be like a cornucopia of pitching up in here. Damn it feels good to be a Phillies fan!
Lopez vs. Martinez:
I was not a fan of signing Pedro Martinez, but I understand the reasoning behind it. My problem with it now is that Rodrigo Lopez has been outstanding in his 3 starts, and it would be nearly impossible for Pedro to outperform him if he were to take his spot in the rotation. Lopez #'s- 2 wins, 17.1 ip, 13 k, 2.60 ERA, 1.21 WHIP. Now, I do not expect this level of success to continue, but I also do not expect Pedro to post an ERA below 4.50 either. Pedro is set to throw a simulated game today and then pitch a Single-A game on Sunday. He could be ready to go in about 2 weeks, giving Rodrigo a few more starts and plenty of time for a debate to go from simmering to boiling.
Do I want Roy Halladay to be a Phillie? Hells yes, I'd be purchasing that jersey right quick. The real question is, what am I willing to surrender. JA Happ has quietly been one of the best pitchers in the NL this season, is under team control for years to come, and therefore should not be traded. If the Phils are so concerned about starting pitching, it would make no sense to trade who is currently their best option in that role. Toronto is reportedly seeking some combination of Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, Dominic Brown, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, and/or Lou Marson. Drabek, Taylor, and Brown are rated as Top 25 talent by Baseball America, so I would be alright with parting with one of them, but not two. Donald still is questionable as a full-time MLB player, so although I like him, I would not be sad to see him go for Halladay. Marson could probably be the starting catcher now, but that is Chooch's job, and will be for the next couple seasons. A package of Taylor, Carrasco, and Donald for Halladay would be ideal.
*From Yahoo Sports- Brett Myers (hip) is "way ahead of schedule" in his rehab and will throw a bullpen session Saturday in Philadelphia. Myers said he was told by a hip specialist that he could return in mid to late August if his rehab continues to go well. He wouldn't be used as a starter, but could contribute as a late-innings reliever.
*From MLBTR/Jayson Stark- Pedro Martinez's contract is a prorated $2MM base salary, which will ultimately be worth less than $1MM for the rest of the season. He has incentives to pitch as both a starter and a reliever. Bonuses are awarded for every start Pedro pitches after his fifth. He's also getting paid a $15K bonus for every fifteenth day he's on the active roster. Incentives are included for postseason awards and the Comeback Player of the Year award. In all, Pedro could receive an additional $1.275MM next to his salary.
*Jayson Werth has struck out 9 times in 4 games since the All-Star break.
*Eric Bruntlett's OPS has dipped below .400 (.399) which is by far the most pathetic in baseball. Not opinion, but fact. Seriously, that's the lowest OPS in MLB this season from any player with 70+ at bats.
*Joe Blanton went from being on his way to ruining the Phils win streak on Saturday night to being able to help bump it to double digits tonight (thanks again Mother Nature). Rich Harden gets the ball for the Cubs. 10 straight would be awesome, go Phils!