Dennys Reyes agreed Dec. 8 to a $1.1 million contract with the Phillies. Not my first choice but a passable deal to balance a bullpen devoid of portsiders. Strangely, the Phillies never formally announced the deal. It is not unusual for a few days to pass between an agreement and an official announcement, since players typically have to fly to Philadelphia for a team physical. That is why the Phillies waited until Wednesday to announce they had signed Cliff Lee, who had agreed to terms Monday. Now it is apparent (a mere 9 days after the fact) that there will be no Reyes announcement – and adding insult to injury, there will be very little in the way of an explanation!
“We hit a snag,” said Oscar Suarez, Reyes’ agent. “So we just decided to push back.” Asked if it was health related, Suarez said, “It just didn’t work out. We’re back on the [free agent] market. I don’t want to get into details why.”
Now that Reyes is out of the picture with regard to the Phillies, that might open the door for Chad Durbin to return. The Phillies still would like a left-hander (or two), but there aren’t many free agents available. J.C. Romero returns maybe (ugh)? Brian Fuentes now more than ever is the best choice the Phillies can make. The market is dangerously thin as Pedro Feliciano (NYY) and Scott Downs (LAA) have signed elsewhere. If the Phillies don’t sign Fuentes then they really must have no intention of solving a sorely-needed lack of lefties in the bullpen. Even a pitching staff with four aces needs some bullpen help from time to time. Signing a lefty closer to compliment Lidge, Madsen and Contreras is EXACTLY what the Phillies ought to do. Vance Worley is a candidate for the other bullpen spot, meaning that there would be a max of ONE left-hander – unless the team goes with 12 pitchers. Even then there are few choices available within the organization and a dwindling number of possibities on the open market.
Trading Joe Blanton (owed 17 M dollars) would open up a few more possibilities but the team has not mentioned this as an option to solve the bullpen problem. Any Blanton trade would likely be pointed toward bringing back an outfielder to platoon with Ben Francisco, Raul Ibanez, Domonic Brown, John Mayberry, Ross Gload and a cast of thousands. However, it would be nice if Ruben Amaro could find a trading partner willing to offer both. Oakland? Toronto? Batimore seems to be a refuge for excommunicated veteran pitchers. Texas would be my choice but no one has asked my opinion. Blanton originally played with Oakland and Texas is much closer to home (Nashville, TN) but more importantly, this sort of deal could garner the likes of lefty Derek Holland and outfielder Nelson Cruz. Obviously such a deal would need to involve more than just Blanton but packaging “Joe Bulgy” along with Mayberry and a third player could prove an interesting talent swap.
Ineffective lefties in the Phillies farm system such as Mike Zagurski, Joe Savery and Antonio Bastardo are simply no longer options. In fact, Bastardo and Zagurski are literally out of options. If they don’t make the major league roster they will be released to the free agent market and would have to clear waivers with all 29 teams before they could be reassigned to the minor leagues. Sergio Escalona is the only other left-handed pitcher listed on the 40-man roster not named Lee or Hamels. It is fairly certain they have secured spots in the rotation.
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org