Matt Gelb, writing in the Inquirer, which, today, in 2013, almost 2014, had to be printed on giant broadsheet reels in Conshohocken, placed into trucks, driven in the snow to a central location or store, or a meeting place for delivery men, who then drive them, again, in the snow, to your home, where you have to walk outside, again, in the snow, to grab the soggy mound of 12-hour-old news and information:
Ruben Amaro Jr. is searching for pitching at these winter meetings, and that is no secret. The Phillies general manager is alarmed at the market prices for a mid-rotation starter. He could acquire one via a trade, but his chips are limited. The path to improving a starting staff that ranked 14th among National League teams in ERA is muddled.
It is increasingly becoming apparent that the Phillies must decide what they value more: a young power-hitting outfielder or a No. 3 starting pitcher. Domonic Brown is their best commodity. For years, they have listened to offers for him. That, of course, does not assure a trade. Brown, four years from free agency, is the type of player every team would covet. The Phillies would want a pitcher with similar upside in return.
Removing Brown from an offense that scored 3.77 runs per game in 2013 – the franchise’s lowest output since 1988 – is problematic. Brown bashed 27 home runs last season and became an all-star. The Phillies harbor concerns about his defense and durability.
Count me among those who think that hitting is more of a need than pitching. Hamels and Lee will be fine. And then you have Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who projects to be a number three caliber starter. Then there’s Kyle Kendrick, who is serviceable and at least slightly better than a replacement level starter. And then there’s the fifth spot, which is a toss-up on any team.
Meanwhile, the offense is horrific. Counting on Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, at this point, is incredibly risky. Any near-All-Star production they give you should be seen as a bonus.
If you believe reports, Amaro clearly hasn’t chosen which area – pitching or hitting – he will focus on. But I think the answer is pretty clear. I’d take my chances with Lee, Hamels, MAG, Kendrick and [fifth starter]. You could do much worse.
Go get someone that can hit baseballs being thrown at high rates of speed.