Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Pitching Pitchers

The Daily News's Paul Hagen caught up with Bobby Abreu and Ed Wade at Game 3 of the World Series. The only news value in Hagen's chat with Abreu is that he believes that fellow Venezuelan Ugueth Urbina, Florida's closer and a possible Phils free-agent target this off-season, "could be good" for the team. Wade, meanwhile, says the Phillies are "prepared to be aggressive" in its pursuit of pitching help. Hagen writes:

Since all the players the Phillies are interested in technically are still under contract to other teams, Wade can't be specific about names. He did, however, offer a couple of caveats:

First, rebuilding the bullpen likely will be a lengthy process that could stretch into spring training.

"Right now, we're in the trade phase of the offseason, and that will soon give way to the free-agent phase, which will be followed by what we think will be a significant non-tender phase," he said.

Second, the starting pitcher the Phillies end up with might not be one of the big names that's been thrown around. That's assuming that righthander Kevin Millwood leaves as a free agent. Wade said he's had no contact with agent Scott Boras since the regular season ended.

So, don't start dreaming just yet that Expos righthander Javier Vazquez or prodigal ace Curt Schilling will start for the Phillies on Opening Day.

"It's possible that it won't be a prototypical No. 1 starter, but someone we think would fit in well," Wade said.

Besides Urbina, other closer possibilities for the Phils to pursue via trade or free agency are the Angels' Troy Percival, the Astros' Billy Wagner, the White Sox's Tom Gordon, and the A's Keith Foulke, according to Hagen.

Elsewhere in the DN, Stan Hochman checks in with a useless piece proposing slogans for the Phillies to consider in 2004. Hochman can't bring the funny, and his too-long effort is a complete waste of 20 column inches.


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