Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Wait and See

The Inquirer relegates Todd Zolecki's no-real-news follow-up to the Billy Wagner trade to page 3 of today's sports section. According to Zolecki's brief story, Ed Wade will "see how the free-agent market plays out in the coming months" as he pursues another starter and some bullpen arms. Additionally, the Phillies' GM doesn't expect to make any moves related to the team's starting position players.

Nationally,'s Jayson Stark (formerly the Inky's national baseball writer) acknowledges the difficulty in landing a legitimate No. 1 starter, but says the Phillies deserve lots of praise for solving their biggest problem. He quotes one scout who feels that had the Phils had Wagner in 2003, they, not the Marlins, would have captured the National League wild card. ". . . No matter what happens on those other fronts, the Phillies' offseason is already a success," Stark writes. "A week ago, they needed a closer more than David Wells needed a salad bar. Now, one stunning trade later, they've guaranteed themselves of at least one full season of not having to watch their manager spend every ninth inning turning redder than his cap."

Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci calls the Wagner deal "a good trade for Philadelphia," but warns that the closer's hefty contract may prevent the acquisition of "the experienced starting pitcher and two set-up men they need." Verducci also worries that the Astros may have overused Wagner last season, as the A's burned out Billy Koch in 2002.


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