Analyzing the Phillies’ Lesser SP Targets

With July 31 on the horizon, the Phillies have been mentioned in a flurry of trade rumors. They were obvious candidates to acquire the services of Cliff Lee and Dan Haren, but they have since changed addresses in cities not named Philadelphia. Among big names, only Roy Oswalt remains. Oswalt presents a bit of a problem to the Phillies because he is expensive both in terms of prospects and in terms of money. So they have turned their attention to some lesser pitchers. Let’s go through the rumors and see if they’re worth acquiring.

Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse tweets:

Hearing possible Ted Lilly for JA Happ deal. NOT confirmed.

Lilly is owed $12 million in the final year of his four-year, $40 million contract. There is about $5 million left, all of which the Phillies would most likely have to pick up.

His K/9 has declined from 8.1 to 7.7 to 6.9 this year. He has decent control, but he allows a metric ton of fly balls (above 50% in each of the past two seasons). Because of the extreme fly ball rate, he has a lower-than-normal BABIP (.285 career), but he has even been lucky on that this year (.261). His SIERA is at 4.14 which is above-average but the Phillies can get that production from J.A. Happ, whose SIERA last year was 4.37.

The one good aspect of a Lilly trade would be that he will likely qualify as a Type-A free agent. Should the Phillies offer arbitration to him and Lilly declines to sign elsewhere, they will get a first-round draft pick and a sandwich pick as compensation. However, given GM Ruben Amaro’s prior apprehension to offering arbitration (see: Pat Burrell, Jamie Moyer), it’s hard to imagine him extending such an offer to Lilly.

The verdict on Lilly: pass.

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweets:

#indians, #phillies talking trade. westbrook, carmona possibilities

Let’s start with Fausto Carmona, who starts tonight against the New York Yankees. He is signed through next year for $6.1 million, with club options for 2012-14.

Carmona is well-known for his ability to induce ground balls, his rate reaching as high as 64% in 2007 when he finished fourth in the American League Cy Young race. Aside from that, he has a Kyle Kendrick-esque K/9 of 5.0 and doesn’t possess great control with a BB/9 closer to 4.0 than 3.0. His SIERA, 2007-10: 3.52, 4.78, 4.82, 4.44.

Why give up prospects for a clone of Kendrick?

The verdict on Carmona: pass.

Carmona’s teammate Jake Westbrook has been mentioned in trade rumors for a while. He will earn $11 million this year, about $5 million of which remains.

Westbrook, like Carmona, has a penchant for inducing the ground ball with a career 59% rate. And, like Carmona, he has Kendrick-esque strikeout and walk numbers with a career 4.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. In fact, Carmona and Westbrook may as well be brothers as their respective SIERAs are within one one-hundredth of a point of each other, 4.44 and 4.43 respectively.

The verdict on Westbrook: pass.

AstrosCounty tweeted:

What would you do if Brett Myers and Roy Oswalt were packaged together for the Phillies?

The Phillies haven’t been officially linked to Myers, but the storyline is set: he’s cheap, will be a free agent after the season, and has significant history with the Phillies. It just makes too much sense not to happen, right?

Of the pitchers mentioned in this article (Lilly, Carmona, Westbrook), Myers is easily the most attractive option. He has pitched legitimately well this season as his 3.83 SIERA indicates and he has a long track record of success as a starter. Myers has been chronically underrated as his career ERA is 40 points higher than his career xFIP (4.26 to 3.88). Additionally, he has good strikeout and walk rates, 7.0 and 2.6 respectively. And he induces a lot of ground balls (career 48%).

The Astros aren’t likely to package Myers with Oswalt. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports write, “two sources said the Astros will need to be overwhelmed in order to move him, citing the team’s hope that he could be a foundation for future rotations.” That, however, doesn’t make much sense since Myers is a free agent after the season and the Astros would need to use a large sum of money to convince him to stay with a team that, right now, is on pace to win 66 games.

The verdict on Myers: take.

Make it happen, Ruben!

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6 comments

  1. lou

    July 28, 2010 06:50 PM

    what a genius manuel is hitting near .400 obp ruiz 7th and terrible greg dobbs 2nd.

    seriously, how do people have these jobs?

  2. lou

    July 28, 2010 07:35 PM

    he’s still an idiot.

    while it might not have a huge deal, it’s still doesn’t justify him being clueless.

  3. Bill Baer

    July 28, 2010 08:01 PM

    My biggest problem with him is how he sticks too long with starting pitchers. The obvious example was last week when he refused to pinch-hit for Joe Blanton with the bases loaded.

  4. SJHaack

    July 28, 2010 08:03 PM

    I believe that Myers actually has a mutual option for 2011 with a buyout. So not quite a free agent. I’m still a buyer for him, his deal is so much better than an arbitration deal the phils would have gotten.

  5. Duane

    July 29, 2010 08:48 AM

    I don’t usually say this, but I kinda agree with you Bill. It would’ve been awesome to see Bret again. I liked him when he was a Phil, seemed to be a fun guy in the clubhouse. But I wonder if it was the snub by the Phils in regards to resigning him that has fueled his efforts on the mound, or even the lack of pressure to perform for the Astros. Becoming a Phillie again might change his current level of intensity. That said, it seems unlikely he would return, at this point, with this Oswalt deal hanging in the balance

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