The Phillies entourage is heading back to Philly this evening. In the last day of the Winter Meetings the Phillies grabbed a pair of pitchers in the Rule 5 draft, left-handed starter Travis Blackley and right-handed reliever Lincoln Holdzcom.
Both will be in camp that starts on February 14 for pitchers and catchers. Arms are such a premium it is worth checking them out. The price was $50,000 each.
How do the Phillies go about finding players for the Rule 5 draft?
(1) All the minor league development personnel (managers, coaches, instructors) file reports on players they see and like from other minor league organizations.
(2) The Phillies have a staff of four scouts who concentrate on following pro teams.
(3) Scouting coordinators, regional supervisors and amateur scouts add pro coverage to their schedules once the June draft is over.
In the case of Blackley, Charley Kerfeld and Joey Davis turned in reports. For Holdszom, it was Del Unser, Ron Hansen and Kerfeld.
Years ago, scouting reports filled several large three-ring binders. The books weighed a ton. Quite a few suitcases have gone to suitcase heaven after lugging these reports.
Today, it is all computerized. Numerous staffers under Pat Gillick review all the reports and create a potential list. Follow up conversations with the scouts who filed reports often take place to narrow the list. The idea is to get as much information on the player as possible.
Time will tell if Blackley and Holdzcom can help the 2008 staff. The Phillies’ needs remain a starter, reliever, a fifth outfielder and an upgrade at third base.
Some groundwork was laid this week future deals or signings. Just because the meetings ended, doesn’t mean the Phillies are done trying to improve the club. As has been said before, there’s a long way between now and opening day.
We’ll spend if it is the right situation. As Mike Arbuckle said, “We don’t want to pay Cadillac prices when we’re getting a Ford Focus.”
Since the season ended, the Phillies have made improvements: Brad Lidge became the closer, Brett Myers moved into the rotation and J. C. Romero was added to the bullpen. That’s not putting the gear shift in reverse.