Today I took part in a writers round table over at one of my other internet homes, PhilliesNation.com. One particular question to the panel of writers, pertaining to what the Phillies' most pressing need is right now, was left out of the piece. I'd like to take this opportunity to share my answer to that question.
What is the most pressing need right now? A back-end bullpen arm or a right-handed bat?
My answer would surely have been a right-handed bat, in previous weeks. However, with recent news that Jose Contreras won't even throw a baseball for two weeks and Ryan Madson's finger numbness both added to the ever-extending absence of Brad Lidge, it seems as though the Phillies will need to add a solid arm to their relief corps.
The Phils have been lucky that in-house addition Mike Stutes has pitched above and beyond expectations (3-0 record, 2.92 ERA, .179 BAA). And while a couple more home grown Mikes, Zagurski and Schwimer, are confident and ready to join the fold, the organization might be more comfortable adding a proven MLB arm instead of more Triple A hurlers.
A veteran reliever that could be an option for the Phillies is JJ Putz (1-1 record, 2.45 ERA, .193 BAA, 21 saves, 3 blown saves). Sure, Arizona has been near the top of the NL West lately, but they likely won't stay there very long, and as the trade deadline approaches, GM Kevin Towers' phone will begin ringing and it would be difficult to decline what the Phillies have to offer. Philadelphia is well stocked with young pitching prospects that could prove to be a fair swap for the minimally budgeted D-Backs. The 34-year-old right-hander, Putz, is nicely priced, making $4 million this season.
To read the rest of the round table discussion on subjects like recent perceived laziness by the team, which Phils hitter has been most disappointing this season and thoughts on the team's pitching rotation for this week, click THIS LINK.
PhilliesNation.com is a collaborative effort of several solid baseball writers. Be sure to make it a regular stop on your web browsing list.
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