Adding an ace

The Phillies got their ace starter Wednesday night when they acquired 17-game winner Freddie Garcia from the Chicago Whites Sox.  For details and Garcia’s career record, check Ken Mandel’s story on this site.

It was the first major trade of the winter meetings that wind down with the Rule 5 draft at 9 o’clock Thursday.

As any fan knows, making trades is easy.  Team A needs this and we have X.  Make the deal! Very rarely is that easy.

Pat Gillick assigns different teams to Ruben Amaro, Mike Arbuckle, Gordon Lakey, Charley Kerfeld, Dallas Green and himself.  They then roam the Rotunda Lobby looking for contacts from those teams.  Cell phone calls also enter the picture.  At different times of the day, Gillick has a meeting in the Phillies suite to be briefed.

Arbuckle had the White Sox and picked up a tip that they would consider moving Garcia. 

Names are exchanged and eventually, the deal rests in the laps of the two GMs, Gillick and Ken Williams.  Once they agree, the process shifts to notifying the players involved.  Sometimes that takes time trying to track down the players. 

Once that has been done, PR personnel from the two teams decide when to make the announcement.  The clearance last night came around 9:50.  We agreed on a 10:30 announcement in the interview room which also serves as a work room for the writers.  Over 400 members of the media are registered this week at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel.

With Gillick battling laryngitis, Arbuckle got to comment on the trade from the podium and answer questions.  Williams was there from the White Sox.

Amaro did a live XM radio interview after the press conference and Charlie Manuel did the same with MLB.com.  Arbuckle added a couple of telephone taped interviews with radio and TV.

Back in the suite, a new team calls at 11:29 p.m. looking for Gillick.  The process starts all over.  It may lead to another deal or it may lead to a dead end road.

Focus for the Phillies now shifts to adding some depth to the back end of the bullpen and a catcher.  Spring training doesn’t begin until February 15, so there is no immediate deadline. 

Jerry Crasnick, one of the ESPN.com baseball writers, said in his winter meetings preview last week: “Don’t under estimate the Phillies.”

2 Comments

Well done.
Single best pitching trade since the Phillies hornswoggled those ‘Stro’s by trading Grimsley for Schilling.

Larry can you offer some insight on why the organization had no interest whatsoever in retaining Gonzalez or Haigwood from the Thome deal?

Hey Larry, I feel the Phils made a move with Garcia that puts them in the playoffs! With the strength of their rotation I do not think they need to move Burrell. The Phils had some of the best offensive production last year. If Burrell bats 6th and produces the same numbers: 29 HR’s 95 RBI’s, that is good for a #6 guy. They want a 30+ HR and 100+ RBI guy to protect Howard, they have that if Utley bats 5th. That would open the 3 hole for Rollins. Rollins would do very well there, he would get pitched to, which would result in similar production he had at the top of the order. There is a pole on the Phillies site, where should Rollins bat next year? He should be hitting in front of Howard and Utley. Vic can lead off, then you let Helms & Rowand battle it out for the 2 spot. If Burrell does return to form this season then we do not have a big problem with protecting Howard. Any thoughts and comments with the batting order and the Phils possible changes?

Additionally, the Phils have a number of players that will becoming up for larger contracts. Is Garcia going to be gone after this year, or do you think the Phils will extend his contract? Where do they stand with extending Rowand, Meyers, Hamels, Utley, Howard, Rollins? Thanks for your time!

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