Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Good Rumor, Bad Rumor

The original title for this post was "Good News, Bad News," but it felt funny to even call any of the offseason speculation at this point "news." The rumors today come courtesy of Randy Miller at phillyBurbs.com and Marcus Hayes at the Daily News.

Before I go on, let me first address the hottest bit of gossip going around Philly - numerous sources have indicated that Pat Gillick is head over heels in lust after Nationals free agent OF Alfonso Soriano. Randy Miller confirms this yet again in his article linked above. Since I believe that there is a smaller than small chance that Alfonso Soriano is a Phillie in 2007 (anybody else hear that his potential asking price is 5 years/$80 million?), I'm choosing to completely ignore that part of the rumor for the time being. Sorry to anybody dreaming about Soriano in red pinstripes, but it ain't going to happen. On to the "Good," the "Bad," and the "Completely Unrelated but Interesting All the Same."

Good Rumor

The Phillies have identified Gary Sheffield as a free agent of interest. Sheffield is exactly what the Phillies need - righthanded bat, relatively short-term contract (max 2 years guaranteed, maybe an 3rd year option), and more than enough power to "protect" Ryan Howard in the lineup. I wrote up an offseason wishlist when putting together my own plan for the Phils and Sheffield's name was at the very top; Dwight Gooden's nephew is an ideal fit on the Phillies roster. Imagine an outfield of Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, and Gary Sheffield...that's a scary group.

Bad Rumor

Imagine an outfield of Gary Sheffield, Shane Victorino, and...Aaron Rowand? Jeff Conine? Some other replacement level outfielder? Well, that could very well be the case if the Phillies decide to "Abreu" (yeah, it's a verb now) Pat Burrell.

General manager Pat Gillick indicated that the Phillies would look to move Burrell, perhaps eating some of his remaining $27 million over the next 2 years, as long as he would waive his no-trade clause.

"We're going to have to continue to look for a little more offense. We know we're probably... Pat has had a really difficult time protecting Howard," Gillick said.

A straight salary dump of Pat Burrell would be an unnecessary and downright stupid move for the Phillies to make - signing Sheffield is a marvelous idea, but if you are just going to give away Burrell at the same time, then it's a classic case of one step forward, one step back. Probably not a good way to get those extra five wins, eh Mr. GM?

Two Items of Note Worth Mentioning But Unrelated to Anything Else Previously Mentioned

Marc Bombard, a name mentioned a bunch of times in yesterday's post on the Phils coaching staff, is a top candidate for one of the most controversial jobs in the minor leagues - manager of the Durham Bulls. The situation in Durham is a mess - the Bulls are the AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a team loaded with talent on the farm. Unfortunately for everybody involved in Durham, that talent comes with a price - mainly having to deal with the immaturity of Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes, two of the top prospects in all of baseball. Young will probably never see Durham again now that he has gotten a taste of the big leagues, so there should be no more concerns about bat throwing for the Bulls. Elijah Dukes is a whole other story - it has been rumored that the staff in Durham (not just the on-field baseball staff, but the entire staff) will refuse to report to work if Elijah Dukes is on the roster. It's just a rumor at this point, but it's a biggie. So, good luck Marc Bombard...although I'm not sure if "good luck" means getting the job or not getting it.

From the Daily Herald in Chicago:

Lou Piniella spent the day at Wrigley Field on Monday, probably talking about the many holes the Cubs need to fill, especially in the rotation.

And one guy who’s available is left-handed starter Jamie Moyer, who began his career with the Cubs and had many of his best years under Piniella in Seattle (1996-02).

Moyer has a mutual option with the Phillies worth $4.75 million, but you have to think he’d rather be with an old friend in Chicago, which also is much closer to his Seattle home and his family.

The 43-year-old Moyer still is good for 210 innings and 33 starts, and with a decent team he’d still be a 15-game winner, not to mention a good influence on the young pitchers.

If that sounds like a left-handed Greg Maddux, it’s exactly what the Cubs need to fill one of the empty spots on their 2007 staff.

Bringing back Moyer at $4.75 million I could somewhat justify, although I think there are better ways to spend that money and better options as fifth starters. If Moyer winds up getting any more than $4.75 (the Phils and Moyer share a mutual option), I think it would be a mistake for whatever team signs him. In a perfect world, Moyer gets to pitch somewhere he pleases that isn't Philadelphia (Seattle or Chicago) and gets paid as much as possible.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any idea yet as to who is persuing Sheffield besides the Phillies? And where do you think he will go?

He would be great addition to the Phillies for a short-term fix. I'd imagine his salary would be pretty reasonable too. Maybe the Phillies are looking to contend in 2007 after all.


11:23 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

Some NY paper also says the Braves. Although I think they are thrown in by default. The Braves need a LF and Sheff had a comeback year when he played in Atlanta. In reality, I don't think Atlanta would pursue him unless he specifically wants to play there.

9:45 AM  
Blogger XXX said...

Good catch Braveswin...I hadn't even thought about the Braves as even a possibility. Off the top of my head I'd say the following teams could have at least a little bit of interest in Sheffield: Toronto, Boston, the Angels, the Mets, and San Francisco...maybe Texas as well. It's still very early in the offseason, but the market for Sheffield has been eerily quiet thus far. I honestly think that Philly could be the best fit for him.

I'd go as high as $12 million/year for Sheffield, by the way.

3:49 PM  

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