The Phillies just cannot be confined to the usual edition of Bunts and Balks today.
Shane Victorino wins the Final Vote, and will be going to the All-Star Game.
Bran-Torino was a success, and Victorino and Detroit's Brandon Inge will both be in St. Louis. Phillies' fans everywhere really stepped up in the voting, and Victorino was a Hawaiian Highlight Machine this week. Now we just need Jayson Werth to replace an injured Carlos Beltran, and we can have an all-Phillies outfield...
Pedro Martinez is, reportedly, on his way to Philadelphia for a physical, the final step before a contract agreement is announced. Martinez would, likely, be paid a pro-rated $4-5 million ($2-$2.5 million for the second half). Martinez was throwing low 90's heat, and had good command of all his pitches, in a simulated game earlier this week. The signing will cost the Phillies some salary, but no prospects, and is a reasonable gamble for a back-of-the-rotation starter. At worst, Martinez will buy some development time for Andrew Carpenter and Carlos Carrasco. At best, he could be the #2 starter the Phillies need.
Martinez would, probably, make two or three starts for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA), before his return to MLB.
The Phillies appear to be one of the frontrunners in the race to acquire Roy Halladay. Signing Pedro Martinez might give the Phils the flexibility to trade J.A. Happ, as part of the Halladay package. Happ is young, MLB-ready, and cost-controlled, which would be a good fit for the Jays. Happ, and some high profile prospects (Carrasco and Marson?), plus the salary relief a Halladay trade would provide the Jays, may be enough to get this deal done. A Halladay-Hamels-Blanton-Martinez-Moyer rotation could enable the Phils to run away from the rest of the division. Halladay is signed through the 2010 season, and has a no-trade clause which he would, hopefully, waive to join the WFCs.
Rodrigo Lopez has "right shoulder inflammation", but isn't expecting to miss a start. When the Phillies moved J.A. Happ up a day in the rotation two weeks ago, they ensured that Lopez' spot in the rotation would come up only twice before the All-Star break. Lopez' next turn won't come until July 20th. If Martinez is signed, Lopez might not have two many more starts after that one, at least for the Phillies...
Raul Ibanez is rehabbing for Lehigh Valley on Thursday, and could be activated this weekend. With the Pittsburgh Pirates scheduled to start northpaws on Saturday and Sunday, it seems activating Ibanez in time for Saturday's game could be the plan. Who's spot would he take? Expect to see John Mayberry optioned back to Lehigh Valley, to play every day. (But the removal of a catcher from the roster is an unlikely possibility.) Of course, an injury could cloud this decision before Saturday.