If the Phillies look to move veteran infielder and No. 2 hitter Placido Polanco, the Rockies would have interest. However, making a $7.25 million guarantee for 2012 into a payroll that might not be any higher than last year’s would prove difficult.
The Rockies need a professional hitter such as Polanco, 36, a seasoned postseason performer who could add a measure of toughness to a Rockies team that lacked it last season while going 73-89. On the field, the Rockies would have to determine whether Polanco can play second base as well as third, or if he is strictly a third baseman. And the team would have to get a handle on where he stands health-wise. He is recovering from offseason sports hernia surgery. The Phillies haven’t decided whether to move Polanco. Much depends on whether the Phillies sign Jimmy Rollins. If the Phillies don’t sign him, they may look for a third baseman such as Aramis Ramirez and deal Polanco.
However, the Rockies would have to move some salary, and that’s not easy.
— Thomas Harding
That’s what FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal and ESPN.com’s Buster Olney are entertaining. Rosenthal heard through Major League sources that the Phillies want a top-of-the-rotation starter and that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has no qualms about trading for a pitcher he jettisoned in the offseason. Enter Cliff Lee, the best starting pitcher who will likely be available prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and one who’s a free agent after this season. Meanwhile, Olney believes the Yankees and Mariners will at least talk about Lee before the Deadline.
Still, FoxSports.com calls a reunion between Lee and the Phills “a longshot” and “perhaps unrealistic.” Philadelphia already gave up a bevy of prospects to acquire Roy Halladay this past offseason, and their focus right now is on acquiring infield help, since second baseman Chase Utley and third baseman Placido Polanco are on the disabled list. As for the Yankees, Olney states that the club has a recent history of reluctance to lose top prospects in gaining starting pitching, and he noted that the Yanks and M’s don’t have a very good trade history.
The Rangers have been looked on as a team that has a strong chance at landing Lee. The Mets and Dodgers are also in need of starting-pitching help and could look in Lee’s direction.
Here’s more from around the league …
* Lee and the Yankees may be in the back burner, but the Yankees’ priority right now is improving their bench, general manager Brian Cashman told The Newark Star Ledger. Ty Wigginton, according to the Star Ledger, is someone in particular the Yankees have shown interest in.
* Given a choice, Mets manager Jerry Manuel would prefer the club acquired a starting pitcher
, though another option in the back end of the bullpen would be a nice consolation prize.
* The Nationals signed Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez
to a Minor League contract on Friday. Orlando, half-brother of Nats starter Livan Hernandez
, is 44 years old and hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2007. He’ll start a throwing program in Viera, Fla., then work his way up to the Minors and hopefully join the Nats as a reliever.
* Jermaine Dye, who hasn’t played this season but hasn’t retired, has been getting interest from the Rockies, Rangers and Padres, according to FoxSports.com.
— Alden Gonzalez