ESPN is currently running an interesting piece listing its top 50 free agents and the teams with which they are predicted to sign. Only one player, David Wells, is seen as signing with the Phillies. Of course this is all pure speculation based on a subjective list, but it does tell us a few things.
One, not too many players appear to want to come to Philadelphia, especially pitchers. This should not come as a shock. Second, the only ones who seem interested are those seeking short-term contracts. Three, within the East Division the Mets and Expos/Senators will improve themselves if they sign their predictions while the Braves might not if, as predicted, they lose two starters and regain Kevin Millwood. Armando Benitez is also rumored to be heading to the Braves which lends further credence to the notion John Smoltz will return to a starting role, which would be necessary whether Benitez signs or not if both Russ Ortiz and Paul Byrd depart as predicted.
If these forecasts hold up and no position players sign with the Phillies they have few options: trade for Kenny Lofton or someone like Scott Podsednik or make do with what they have. Suggestions that Lofton and Jason Michaels platoon in center would marginally improve the team over last year’s tandem of Michaels and Doug Glanville. If the Phils prefer to trade, the question is who would they offer New York or Milwaukee? Ryan Howard? Not a good move.
None of the choices seem particularly palatable, but standing pat would be even less so.