Oct 122010
Former Phillie Cliff Lee

Former Phillie Cliff Lee

By Justin Adkins:

Here are some bits of rumors, chatter, and speculation we’re hearing regarding the Phillies and MLB…

– The Phillies will be giving serious consideration to bringing back pitcher Cliff Lee this offseason.  The chances they get him are slim, more due to his projected expection for length of contract than anything.  The Phillies will pay, but they do not like giving long term contracts to pitchers. 

The team should have enough payroll flexibility to at least make an offer.   Not only do they anticipate losing right fielder Jayson Werth, but the contracts of Jamie Moyer, JC Romero, Chad Durbin, and Jose Contreras all come off the books, with all of them unlikely to be re-signed.

The Phillies will reportedly also explore trading Joe Blanton to free up some payroll, even if it’s just a small amount.  Blanton’s performance has made him eminently replaceable, though trading him would be difficult with his salary and average performance.  If the Phillies are willing to eat a good portion of the contract, something could get done. 

Also, a low cost option like Kyle Kendrick would be just fine as a 5th starter in a rotation made up of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and possibly Cliff Lee. 

While the loss of all those bullpen arms means they would need to find replacements, having a top four rotation like that means bullpen strength (and dollars) can take a back seat. 

The Phillies plan then would be to fill out their bullpen with minor league prospects anchored by Madson and Lidge at the back end.  One of the biggest reasons the team hired Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter as a minor league pitching instructor was to work with all of the young pitchers to get them ready to step into the pen next year.

– Speaking of relievers, it is believed that Chan Ho Park wants to either stay in Pittsburgh or come back to Philly.  Adding a presumably low cost veteran option like Park to a bullpen filled with youngsters would make sense.

–  The Phillies have inquiried as to the Dodgers plan for Matt Kemp, who is only signed through next year, and who could be seen by the Phillies as a possible option if Raul Ibanez is traded in the offseason.  The Dodgers underachieving and volatile ownership situation means change is likely coming, so trading someone like Kemp isn’t out of the question. 

– Speaking of outfielders, the team has not yet asked about Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus, who has fallen out of favor with manager Tony La Russa.

– John Russell is under consideration to fill the vacant manager’s position with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  Russell previously managed the team when it was based in Scranton.   Another person being looked at is Marc Bombard, who recently managed a terrible Houston AAA team before being fired after two unsuccessful seasons.  Bombard previously coached the Phillies big league team in 2005-2006, and also served as the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Red Barons manager from 1997 to 2004.

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