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MLB Trade Rumors: Are The Philadelphia Phillies Next?

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Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times sends this quote from Erik Bedard to an ESPN radio affiliate in Philly in response to wanting to pitch for a contender:

"Oh, yeah, definitely. Any time you're with a contending team, it's more exciting. [You're] more prepared. ... It's just more fun."

Just as A.J. Burnett told a Chicago daily he'd love to play on a team whose fans eat and drink their team, this comment from Bedard looks like the kind that helps usher him off his current team.

The question for both starting pitchers is what their trade value is now that C.C. Sabathia and Rich Harden have been dealt and provided some market price data. Todd Zolecki on the Philadelphia Inquirer/News website reports Phillies' Assistant GM Mike Arbuckle has said the team is not only focused on startin pitching. The injury to Tom Gordon has made relief an area of concern, too.

What Arbuckle did say is the team won't deal top prospects i.e Double-A players (like RHP Carlos Carrasco and CF greg Golson?) for "a run-of-the-mill fifth starter." Neither Bedard or Burnett qualify, but each may have damaged their value with the public posturing to an extent that either will fetch less than Harden or Sabathia.

In a vacuum, Bedard or Burnett would be perfect fits for Philadelphia. Each has the pedigree to be the team's #2 starter and allows the Phillies to match-up against the new crowd of #1/#2 pitching tandems of the Mets (Santana/Maine), Cubs (Zambrano/Harden), Milwaukee (Sheets/Sabathia) and Arizona (Webb/Harden). With the Phillies offense, one would have to believe they would be the favorites to win those match-ups.

Outside the vacuum, the tough Philly crowd and the shallower Phillies' farm system complicates matters. Will either pitcher crumble when the crowd goes J.D. Drew on them? Can a propsect package consisting of players who won't be major leaguers until late 2009/2010 be enough to satisfy the Mariners or Blue Jays?

Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus reports the Phillies are interested in Erik Bedard despite the shoulder issues, but not so much Randy Wolf or A.J. Burnett, thanks to Pat Gillick's comfort level with the Mariners' acting GM and medical staff. But he wants him for less than the five-player package the M's padi in the off-season.