Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies had "superscout" Charlie Kerfield take in a Ben Sheets start on Monday night.
Sheets has been a disappointment so far after signing a one-year, $10 million pact with the Athletics. Through 19 starts, Sheets has a 4.89 ERA and his xFIP at 4.45 isn't much better. On the bright side, Sheets is now due roughly $5 million for the remainder of the year and cobbled together a strong start against the Yankees by going 7 1/3 and giving up three runs with no walks and four whiffs.
Even though the Phillies are without Chase Utley and Placido Polanco on offense, GM Ruben Amaro wants to stay focused on pitching.
"I’m always more concerned about pitching," he said. "At the end of the daym our team should be able to handle some losses in the lineup. With the offensive talent we have, we should be able to absorb some losses. But you can never have enough pitching if you want to contend.
"For me, pitching [remains a priority] because we know our infielders will be back."
The Phillies need some rotation depth with J.A. Happ being optioned to the minors after having a poor rehab stint, Kyle Kendrick a fungible No. 5 starter and Joe Blanton struggling to turn his season around. Sheets wouldn't be a silver bullet, but would go a long way in stablizing the rotation in advance of a bullpen that is also struggling to cobble together any measure of consistency.
Then again, it's possible Philadelphia may be sellers at the trade deadline. It all depends how the team performs leading up to the trade deadline. The team is in danger of being swept by the Braves then has to deal with a four-game set against the Reds -- so whether they become buyers or sellers should be pretty clear soon.
-- Evan Brunell
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