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November 26 2006

While the market for pitchers slogs along, the available hitters the Phillies have been rumored to be interested in continue to fall like dominos.  Gary Sheffield.  Aramis Ramirez.  Alfonso Soriano.  Carlos Lee.  And now you can add catcher Johnny Estrada to the list. 

The Diamondbacks traded the catcher and former Phil to the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday.  In the deal the Brewers got Estrada and right-handed pitchers Greg Aquino and Claudio Vargas.  Arizona gets lefty Doug Davis, outfielder Dave Krynzel and left-handed pitcher Dana Eveland.

The trade of Estrada means another backstop off the market.  I still expect that the Phils are going to add another catcher, it's going to be someone you've heard of, and he's going to get significant time with the club in '07.  The fallout of the Estrada trade would seem to be less playing time for 37-year-old Damian Miller in Milwaukee.  Miller will make $2.25 million in '07 after exercising his player option in October.  He hit 251/322/390 with six home runs in 331 at-bats with the Brewers last season.

Remember that Gillick may be of the mindset that the Phillies will be trying to add another catcher via trade, although I would still keep an eye on free agent Mike Piazza until he signs elsewhere.

An article on MLB.com goes through each of the teams and reviews what each team has done this off-season.  Whether the Phillies ever really had any sincere interest in the guys listed above or not, the team has not been particularly active since the end of the year.

Pat Burrell to the White Sox?  I'd be surprised.  If there's a way the Phillies could trade Burrell now and make up his offense from the remaining pool of free agents I don't see what it is.  On the other hand, you have to think that Burrell's value in a trade increases as the comparable bats leave the market at rates that far exceed what Burrell will be paid over the next two years.

Another guy whose value may be rising as the free agents are picked clean is David Dellucci.  Along with JD Drew and Cliff Floyd, Dellucci's name may be getting close to the top of the list of best hitting outfielders still available via free agency.

An article on SI.com suggests JD Drew may be close to a deal with the Red Sox.

An article here suggests that Carlos Lee turned down more money from the Giants to play for the Astros.

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