The Phillies are looking for a starting pitcher, among other things, and waiting for an answer from Michael Young.
After he said Thursday that he might be willing to fill the rotation spot vacated by Vance Worley's trade to the Minnesota Twins from within the organization, Ruben Amaro Jr. conceded that he is more inclined to sign a free agent.
"We're looking for a low-risk, high-reward type of guy," the general manager said Friday night. "We've been exploring the market, and there are a lot of pitchers still out there."
It is unclear which ones the Phillies consider low-risk - meaning inexpensive - and which ones are high-reward.
Lefthander John Lannan, 28, has had some good seasons with the Washington Nationals and should be inexpensive after spending most of last season at triple-A Syracuse. Lefty Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game in Oakland in 2010 but has made only three starts in the last two seasons because of shoulder surgery. A once-successful veteran like Carlos Zambrano can also likely be had on the cheap, and maybe it's worth preying on Roy Oswalt's pride to see whether he wants some redemption for the way he pitched with Texas last season.
There is, in fact, a long list of veterans coming off bad seasons or injuries who could complete the rotation while prospects like Jonathan Pettibone, Ethan Martin, Adam Morgan, and Jesse Biddle continue to get more seasoning in the minor leagues.
With too many needs at other positions, the Phillies will not jump into the bidding for guys like Kyle Lohse, Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, or even Edwin Jackson.
Even after acquiring centerfielder Ben Revere from the Twins, the Phillies still departed the winter meetings in need of a third baseman, a righthanded-hitting corner outfielder with some power, and a veteran late-inning reliever.
They are hoping that Young will become the team's primary third baseman next season, but a deal with the Texas Rangers for the seven-time all-star appeared to be in a holding pattern. Baseball sources indicated the Phillies were waiting to see whether he would accept a trade to Philadelphia.
As a player with more than 10 years in the majors and five with the same team, Young can reject any trade. Messages left with his agent, Dan Lozano, were not returned. Amaro refused to comment on the Young situation.
Cody Ross, a righthanded hitter who has at least 22 home runs in three of the last five seasons, appears to be the best fit for the Phillies among the free agents. Colorado's Michael Cuddyer, also a righthanded hitter with power, is a trade possibility.
Veteran righthander Mike Adams of Texas is the most accomplished setup man on the free-agent market, but he is coming off the worst season of his career, which may have been caused by a condition that weakened his arm and shoulder.