Wednesday, December 15, 2004
I read that and felt a lump grow in my throat. So far in the last thirty-six hours the Mets have added Pedro Martinez (probably a bad long-term deal, but he could be dynamite in 2005), and now the Braves are threatening to add a pitcher who might be a future multiple Cy Young Award winner. If the Braves add Hudson, I fear that they might extend their dominance over the NL East yet another year. Or two. Or three. So here's an idea...
Why not deal Ryan Howard, a surplus pitcher (Myers, Wolf, whomever) and Marlon Byrd to the A's for Hudson?
According to the Daily News' Paul Hagen, Howard wants the Phillies to deal him so he can play (seeing how they got that Thome guy ahead of him) for some team now as opposed to later. If Howard wants out, and the Phillies have no room for him on the roster for 2005, why not deal him for the one thing this team needs: a stud pitcher? It makes sense. Howard is a crown jewel of a prospect, a slugger-in-the-making, just the kind of guy the A's need to add some pop to the middle of their lineup. Byrd might benefit from the change in scenery.
Hudson would be an incredible pickup for this team: a 2.58 groundball-to-flyball pitcher, Hudson could thrive at Citizen's Bank Ballpark. Better still, he's just 29. He could be the Phillies ace for the next six or seven years.
I'd dearly love to see the Phillies jump into the Hudson sweepsteaks, but the team has shown little interest until now. I don't believe that the Phillies anagement can stand put with their moves for Lidle, Lieber and Lofton when a division foe threatens to upgrade itself as the Braves have, or as the Mets already have. I like the Phillies rotation, but can Ed Wade & Co. really tell the fans that the Phillies have a better staff than one featuring Tim Hudson and Mike Hampton? Than the Marlins Leiter, Burnett & Beckett? Than Glavine & Pedro in Queens? I think not. We've seen the Yankees and Red Sox go to extraordinary lengths to outmaneuver one another. It is time for the Phillies management to realize that they cannot stand pat when the enemy is in action.
The Phillies won't win the NL East with the fourth-best rotation in the division. I know the Braves are losing a lot of talent, but the Phillies haven't upgraded that much, and getting Hudson would even out the Braves pitching losses (and then some). If the Braves get Hudson, I think all bets are off. The Braves streak of division titles (NL West: 1991-1993; NL East: 1995-2004) will run to fourteen, and the Phillies abortive attempt at building a contender will come to an end.
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