Saturday, December 03, 2005

Laying the Groundwork?

In what is surely inconsequential news to many, the Phillies released both P Pedro Liriano and P Franklin Perez. Liriano was brought in from Milwaukee last season and was thought to have the talent to succeed in the big leagues. He'll only be 25 next season and, in the perfect situation, he could wind up in a big league bullpen in '06 (though a AAA club somewhere else is a far, far more likely destination). Perez is a former prospect that has never fully recovered from Tommy John surgery way back in October 2002. His velocity dipped after the operation and he has not yet been able to regain it. He'll latch on to a AAA bullpen somewhere. If he ever picks up the couple of MPH he lost on his fastball three years ago, he could someday reach the majors. That is a huge if.

Losing these two pitchers is fairly insignificant. Neither was expected to stick with the big club this year and both are seen as AAA emergency call-up players more than anything else. Dropping them both was a good decision...and a potentially huge one.

I'm not trying to be over anxious over a move like this, but it is difficult. The Phillies dropped these two pitchers today - who cares? Well, both guys were protected on the 40 man roster. With their release, two spots have opened up. The two spots could be for other guys (Tim Moss and Jake Blalock are in house candidates) or the spots could have just been freed up just for the flexibility of it all with no specific moves forthcoming. Heck the two guys may have just been cut because they both stink. These are all very real possibilities.

It is also possible that Pat Gillick has something up his sleeve. Dropping the two guys would mean a 3 for 1 swap is possible (Abreu for xxx, xxx, and xxx perhaps - three guys named xxx in one deal? What are the odds?). Maybe another free agent signing (a starting pitcher?) is in the works. There is absolutely no guarantee that the release of Liriano and Perez will lead to something greater, but it does open the door for all kinds of fun things to think about.


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