Jun 6, 2013, 1:22 PM EDT
Maybe the best news when the Biogenesis scandal, and possible suspensions, broke was no news locally. But one team’s likely loss could potentially be a gain for the Phillies, who otherwise might not have a lot to dangle at the trade deadline outside of Cliff Lee.
Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta is one of the 20 players implicated and mentioned on Hardball Talk’s list of players most likely to get the kicked-around 100-game bans. That would rob the Tigers, last year’s AL Champs who expect to be back this year, of the top shortstop OPS in the league and a pretty sure glove.
Quietly, Jimmy Rollins is killing it of late, hitting .289 with a .478 on-base percentage since May 15, and his defense is at last year’s Gold Glove level. Last July, the A’s and Dodgers kicked the tires on Rollins, but didn’t bite. Clearly there’s interest. It just seems a matter of who would woo the Phillies most with a deal.
Detroit could do that. They don’t have tremendous depth in their system, but they have a few pro-ready guys that could help the Phillies. No, Rollins-for-top prospects Nick Castellanos or Avisail Garcia doesn’t seem like great value for the Tigers. Not with Rollins due $11 million per for two more years.
But it’s possible — possible — that desperation could make such matters afterthoughts.
It’s possible that Detroit would be a team Jimmy would waive his no-trade rights to go to.
For the Phillies, that could compensate for how Chase Utley’s injury and Carlos Ruiz’s injury/lack of production have crimped possible reconstruction plans. Utley was figured to be all but on the cover of the July issue of baseball’s unofficial One Last Piece catalog, but was felled by a tricky oblique strain that won’t do wonders in consumer confidence. Ruiz just hasn’t worked out. Hasn’t been good enough to re-up after the year. Hasn’t been good enough to ship out mid-year. Then he got hurt, something he’s done a bit of.
Both are expected back in mid-June. Maybe that’s enough time for Utley to get right/conjure interest. For Ruiz, that’s an overwhelming unlikelihood — at least under normal circumstances. But, peep HBT’s list, and you’ll find that the Yankees could be sans catcher Francisco Cervelli soon. New York also has decent farm system depth, maybe enough to consider parting ways with a mid-level prospect to plug a hole.
It’s important to remember the timeline. Three weeks are a reasonable projection for any suspensions to come down. (Assuming, of course, they do come down.) That puts us at July 1, almost to the day. The players union, inarguably the strongest in sports, would definitely fight back, but a month would be enough time to get a feel for how appeals are going, and whether teams need to replace players for a playoff push.
For the Phillies, it’s been fun to watch Dom Brown and (gasp!) a four-game win streak… against the two worst teams in the league. But there’s a likelihood the hard hats and jack hammers will need to come out in fewer than 60 days, and it would be nice to have options. Oddly, the Biogenesis PED scandal, and possible suspensions, could give them just that.
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