There are a few new names to add to the ever churning Phillies trade rumor mill. The first one comes from the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, who tweets that the Phillies are interested in Tampa Bay Rays outfielder BJ Upton.
Upton is a talented player but has regressed a bit since putting up career numbers in 2007 (.300 average, 24 homers, .894 OPS). It would be a bit of a surprise to see him land with the Phillies.
First off, other teams are linked more strongly to the Tampa centerfielder, like the Nationals, Braves, Pirates, Reds, and Cardinals, per MLB Trade Rumors. Second, it wouldn’t seem to make much sense to give up what the Rays will likely want prospect-wise considering Upton (.229 average, 15 homers, 53 RBIs, .709 OPS) is producing at Raul Ibanez levels this season.
What the Phillies need is a quality veteran bat who can step in right now and solidify the lineup. That’s not the case with Upton at the moment, so why bother?
Another intriguing rumor is that the Phillies are said to be interested in Colorado Rockies first baseman/pinch hitter Jason Giambi, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The 40 year-old former juicer would be an interesting addition to the Phillies bench. This season with the Rockies he’s only hitting .263 with a .632 OPB but he’s hit 10 homers in 111 at bats. In addition to being a better option off the bench than Ross Gload, Giambi could also serve as an intimidating designated hitter if the Phillies make the World Series.
Giambi injured his quad last night and could be headed for the disabled list, which would obviously impact his trade market.
Another possible bat of interest is San Diego Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick. It’s not really a rumor though at this point, just speculation based on observation.
Ludwick, 33, isn’t a long term solution or even really that exciting an option compared to a Pence or even Beltran, but he’s a veteran and a right handed bat that can play anywhere in the outfield. Before being traded to the Padres, Ludwick was successful for a time batting fifth in a St Louis lineup featuring some guy named Pujols in the four spot, so hitting behind a premier player isn’t a new concept for him. Ludwick’s production is also Ibanez-esque this season (.242 average, 11 homers, 62 RBIs, .685 OPS), though at least he can say he plays in San Diego’s cavernous Petco Park.
The plus for a Ludwick deal is that San Diego won’t be asking for anywhere near what someone like Astros general manager Ed Wade would ask for Hunter Pence. Ludwick could also be included as a throw-in if the Phillies make a deal for Padres setup man Mike Adams or closer Heath Bell.
And he has to be a better option than Ben Francisco.
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