Yes, we botched the Gagne trade, so let us never make another in season move.
Preventive maintenance is doing something that does not really need to be done right now (one could put off an oil change for another day or week with no harm), but is done to prevent a greater problem later. Just because we have the best record in the AL does not mean we can't get better at some positions. To say you want to improve on a specific position, does not mean you are saying the guy(s) you have at that position are bad or even below average. It just means that if a chance arises where you can significantly improve at a position without hurting the future too much, then it may be worth taking the chance.
Yes, all trades are a gamble, and our past is littered with trades that did not work out well, but not making a trade is gambling on the players we have now continuing as is. If you take the 3B position, as is, are we really prepared to continue on without trying to improve? The bullpen without a productive Bailey will soon feel the crunch of a lack of quality set-up men as Uehara and Tazawa each moved up a notch. Buch is hurt, Lester is struggling, and the other 3 are doing very well, but to gamble on status quo in that area is foolish. Every season, something happens to a starter. To gamble that this season will be different is being negligent.
So, if we aquire another starter, who do you send to the pen or AAA?
First of all, I am not for making any old trade just for the sake of it.
Second, I do not want to trade top prospects for a 2 month rental, so that limits the options severley.
Third, I'd prefer to make a deal that brings us a player that is under team control or agrees to be extended as part of the deal beyond 2014.
Now, back to your question. There is 4 weeks before the deadline and a lot can change in that time. We should know more about Buchholz and Lester by then, but if one is questionable, standing pat is basically close giving up on this season. Let's assume the best, a mistake in MLB, but for argument's sake, here it goes:
If we traded prospects for a starting pitcher, we'd be...
1) Getting insurance against Buch or Lester having further issues or Lackey, Dempster or Doubront getting hurt or falling off a cliff.
2) Doubront may hit a wall at some point this year, especially if we go deep into the playoffs. He's on pace for 170+ IP for just the regular season. He could be moved to the pen as a long relief specialist/spot starter, but as of right now, he deserves to stay in the roitation (assuming he is not part of the trade that upgrades our rotation).
3) Our top pitchers, if healthy, right now are:
SP: Buch, Lackey, Demp, Doub, Lester, Aceves (LR) (AAA: Webster/Wright/DLR)
RP: Uehara, Tazawa, Breslow, Miller, Bailey (?), Morales (inj), (AAA: Wilson/Beato/Bard/de la Torre)
If we go with 12 pitchers, and everyone is healthy at the deadline (unlikely), I'd try and trade Bailey or Morales or send Bailey to AAA (assuming he hasn't redeemed himself by the 31st). My guess is, we don't trade for a starter, unless Buch or Lester are still having serious issues. We may trade for a pen arm, especially if Bailey has not come around, and Uehara is getting too many innings.
I think the most likely trade will involve a 3Bman who hist lefties very well, but does OK ve RHPs as well (A Ramirez or maybe M Young).
I'm not advocating any trades right now. I have mentioned a few possible moves, but have said that I am not necessarily for the trades at this point. By July 31st, we should have a better idea of what we need, or what options are out tehre to improve at some slots without hurting others more (including our farm).
Does this worry you?
last 28 days: 4.31
last 14 days: 4.91
If we continue at somewhere between 4.31 and 4.91 through July, would you want to explore possible upgrades?
I don't want them to trade a top prospect for a 2 month rental either, but some rentals can probably be acquired by trading a lesser prospect and just picking up the tab for the remainder of the season. Heck, for someone like Michael Young, it might mostly be a matter of picking up the tab. What's Philly going to do with a player in his final contract year, perhaps finishing up his career, in a lame duck season? The only way they can get more for Young is if there is competition for him. I can't imagine the competition would be that fierce. I see this kind of acquisition as low risk.
Do you know of any starters, relievers or any other players they can use that might be in a similar position?