All of this was certainly interesting given the no-so-secret fact that the Phillies need a power hitter in their lineup if they plan to be contenders. One area that was not an area of concern entering the offseason but became one following the trade for centerfielder Ben Revere is the starting rotation. Headlined by Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels, the Phillies have a formidable Big 3 that would rival almost any team’s rotation. The remaining two spots are question marks.
The Phillies had Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick to fill out the last spots in the rotation but Worley is now a member of the Twins which leaves the Phillies needing a fifth starter. Most people are not sold that Tyler Cloyd can hold down the roll which might force the team to go get a starter in free agency. Philadelphia Inquirer Phillies beat writer Matt Gelb writes that the Phillies have options.
“That depth should be augmented by the sort of veteran, "low-risk" pitcher Amaro described. There is no shortage of such available. A sampling: Joe Saunders, Chris Young, Carl Pavano, Derek Lowe, John Lannan, Jair Jurrjens, Kevin Millwood, and Chien-Ming Wang.
None of those names is particularly overwhelming, and identifying one that stands above the rest is trivial. But remember, the Phillies are looking to replace the production of Blanton, while banking on Kendrick's continuing his rise. Blanton made 20 starts for the Phillies last season with a 4.59 ERA.”
Saunders, 31, has less of an upside but is a workhorse pitcher. He has pitched 174+ innings every year since 2008. He posted a record of 17-7 in 2008 and followed that up in 2009 by going 16-7 before being traded to the Diamondbacks in 2010 for Dan Haren. Last year between the Diamondbacks and Orioles, the left hander was 9-13 with a 4.07 ERA. He might be a cheaper option but you have a better idea of what you are getting.
But, as with almost every other move, no one knows what Ruben Amaro Jr. is thinking.
Follow Steve on Twitter @SDolan3
Follow Whiz Wit on Twitter @WhizWitSports