Fishing for a Carp?

Hiroshima CarpCome on… did anyone really think the Phillies were going to sign Curt Schilling? For that matter, did anyone really believe that Schilling wanted to sign with the Phillies?

Or the Brewers?

Or the Diamondbacks?

Or the Tigers?

Or the Astros?

Or the Mets?

Or any other team he listed on his site?

Nope, me either.

For the Phillies, Schilling was that girl that was way out of everyone’s league, but taunted everyone by thinking she was cool and down to earth. Ha! No one ever had a chance.

So what do the Phillies do now that their top choice to fill out the rotation has decided to remain in Boston? Who else is out there on the free-agent market? What about Tom Glavine? He really helped the Phillies’ playoff chances with his pitching down the stretch – could he do it in 2008, too?

Doubtful. Besides, the Phillies already have an over-40, soft-tossing lefty. Kyle Lohse and Carlos Silva are two pitchers on the free-agent market that could fill the starting-pitching void, though the Phillies would likely have to commit a lot of money and years to either man. Meanwhile, the White Sox Jon Garland and the Marlins’ Dontrelle Willis could be available in a trade, but then that opens up more issues if the Phillies want to keep those guys beyond 2008.

Where does that leave the Phillies? If they can’t make a trade or add a dependable pitcher via the free-agent market, where do they look?


Yeah, why not.

When it comes to spotting trends and entering the modern age, the Phillies have always been slow. They were the last National League team to integrate its roster; they were slow to enter the market to sign Latino ballplayers (though the Venezuelan baseball academy got good reviews); and until Tadahito Iguchi joined the team last August, the Phillies had never had a Japanese player. Maybe that’s where they should look now.

Needless to say, I haven’t been keeping with the action in the Pacific or Central League in Japan, but every season there are plenty of players from those leagues ready to make the jump to the Majors. This season the top starting pitcher appears to be a fellow named Hiroki Kuroda, who is a right-handed veteran with 11 seasons under his belt with the Hiroshima Carp[1]. Though Kuroda will be 33 in February, he is coming off his best three seasons for the Carp and, better yet, won’t require a posting fee in order for a Major League team to negotiate with him.

According to reports, the Phillies, Royals, Dodgers and the Mariners are a few of the teams interested in Kuroda. However, Seattle might have the upper hand since the pitcher’s agent lives there.

Perhaps the Phillies will take a shot. If not, there’s always David Wells.

[1] See, even the names for the Japanese teams are better than ours.

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