Looking for Starting Pitching Depth
Rumors are flying at the Winter Meetings. I’ve had several people ask me in the past 24 hours if the Phillies are the mystery team in pursuit of Cliff Lee.
No, they are not.
Asked yesterday if the Phillies could get creative and add a frontline starting pitcher, like he had suggested in his postseason news conference at Citizens Bank Park, Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “We haven’t closed any doors. If I were a betting man, I would say it’s probably not going to happen because that’s not necessarily our priority. But we can’t close any doors.”
A more likely scenario is the Phillies signing a player to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Bartolo Colon is an interesting name. He is 3-0 with a 0.91 ERA in five starts with Aguilas Cibaenas in Dominican Winter Ball. In 29 2/3 innings he has allowed, 23 hits, four runs (three earned runs), one home run and two walks. He has struck out 26.
Phillies scout Charley Kerfeld has seen Colon pitch for Aguilas, and he gave the Phillies a positive report. But there are a couple big reasons not to sign Colon, too. Remember how Pat Gillick said last week that a player’s makeup is 65 percent of player evaluation? Well, Colon quit on the Red Sox in 2008 and White Sox in 2009. (That’s a pattern.) I’ve got to think that’d be two big strikes against him. But the Phillies also take low-risk, high-reward opportunities, too.
“He would be considered that type of guy,” Amaro said. “But we’re not really on him.”
So don’t go spreading word the Phillies are going to sign Colon. (This isn’t one of those stirring-the-pot-at-the-Winter-Meetings stories.) But the Phillies like to take chances and be creative, so I don’t think I’m too crazy (right? right?! right?!?!?!) for at least asking Amaro about it.