Last week ended on a pretty crazy note for Phillies fans. First, Vance Worley and Trevor May were shipped to Minnesota for young center fielder Ben Revere. It gave people plenty to talk about, whether they debated the "steep price" the team paid for a center fielder or argued over Revere taking J-Roll™'s spot as the leadoff hitter. To fill their void at third base, the Phillies then went and traded Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla to the Texas Rangers for Michael Young. Between Young's days of consideration and Revere's instant impact (sort of), fans were spoiled with rumors to interpret.
Now, on a Monday night in the middle of December, nothing is happening. There are no tangible rumors or intriguing propositions for onlookers to discuss. Instead, we're being forced to watch as the Royals make a shocker of a trade and the Dodgers over pay Zack Greinke. Now we must go back to "What if...?" and "Maybe we should..." as Ruben Amaro leans back and laughs. But what could happen next? What are the real options left for the Phillies?
The truth is, there are many things left the team can do. The first is the hunt for a fifth starter. With the departure of Vance Worley, several names could be tossed in as free agent options to fill the role. John Lannan, Shaun Marcum, Edwin Jackson, Carlos Zambrano, Roy Oswalt, Brett Myers, and Ryan Dempster all remain unsigned. Assuming Dempster continues to demand a 3 year contract, he won't be in Philly next year. The same can be said about Zambrano, Oswalt, and Myers. Marcum and Jackson seem to be the two guys most likely to sign here. Both are coming off of lest-than-stellar years, but would fit nicely into an already well-established rotation. Personally, I would rater see Marcum on a 2 year deal, but a 1 year for Jackson wouldn't hurt either.
With the Ben Revere trade, the Phillies have a starting center fielder. That's the only sure position in the outfield. The corner spots would, as of today, be a three-way platoon with Darin Ruf, Dominic Brown, and John Mayberry Jr. That isn't to pleasing, which is why I fully expect Amaro to bring in one more corner outfielder. The top three candidates seem to be Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, and Cody Ross. The most power? Josh Hamilton. The best value? Nick Swisher. The other guy? Cody Ross. It just depends on how Ruben chooses to attack it. My opinion has changed since the start of the offseason. Originally, I had no desire to see Hamilton in Philly pinstripes next season. But with the moves both the Nationals and Braves have made, it would be a welcomed signing. Swisher would be my next favorite, with an intriguing combination of power and average. Ross? I'd take him, but for a lot cheer than he's asking for. Either way, I could see any of these guys in red next year.
The final possible move would probably be a veteran reliever. There are a dozen guys that could be brought in, but none of them have been closely linked to the team yet. Expect a new face in the bullpen before spring training.
Ruben Amaro is working on something. Trust me. Whether he's forcing Michael Young to coax Josh Hamilton here or concocting some enormous trade for some unheard of player, he's pulling something off. It's taking a bit longer than we all would've hoped for, but we must be patient. We are, as you know, the infamous "mystery team".
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