Phillies Could Be in Play For Third Big-Name Pitcher

Written By Bob Cunningham On Wednesday, December 08, 2010

First Lee, then Halladay, then Oswalt, now Greinke?

According to Jim Salisbury of, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has contacted the Kansas City Royals about the availability of starting pitcher Zack Greinke.

Salisbury says the talks are in the early stages, but that there is a chance, however small, that the Phillies could ratchet things up and make a real push for Greinke. The biggest thing standing in the way of a potential trade for the Phillies are the payroll and a thinning minor league system.

The Phillies' farm system has taken substantial hits in moves to land Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cliff Lee before that. And with high-priced guys all across their roster, they're pushing about $150 million payroll.

But, as Salisbury points out, the Phils have already said the payroll could be stretched if the "right opportunity" presents itself.

Before Jayson Werth left town for the Nationals, there were talks that the Phils could push the payroll to as much as $200 million if they felt it was necessary.

A chance to land another former Cy Young winner could be the "right opportunity."

But still, the Phils still face a huge obstacle in creating a package the Royals would feel inclined to accept. Right now, outside of a couple minor league guys, the Phils would probably be willing to part with Raul Ibanez, Joe Blanton, Kyle Kendrick, and maybe even Shane Victorino.

The problem with moving Ibanez or Victorino is that right field is already a question mark. If they move one -- or both -- of their other starters things could start looking very shaky.

Outside of someone in the Royals' front office falling in love with Blanton, Kendrick, or a minor league guy the Phils are willing to part with, this isn't something I am expecting to see.

However, while Greinke might not be a realistic option, the Phillies are reportedly very close to signing left-handed reliever Denny Reyes and bringing back Chad Durbin, whom the Phillies did not offer arbitration in hopes of bringing him back at a lesser price.

Outside of Pedro Feliciano, who likely has a rather high price tag, Reyes is the best option for a second left-handed reliever to pair with Antonio Bastardo. Expect Reyes to sign in the coming days, and Durbin likely to follow.

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