Phils make upgrades before deadline
Iguchi, Lohse fill needs; club adds arms to farm system
CHICAGO -- The Phillies replaced a player with a broken hand and added an experienced starter to an inconsistent rotation at a cost of two Minor Leaguers.Then, as the minutes wound down for Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline, the Phillies increased the inventory of arms at Double-A Reading, trading for a righty pitcher and buying another from an independent league team. Both of those arms have Major League experience. Tadahito Iguchi, Kyle Lohse, Julio Mateo and Gary Knotts joined the Phillies' organization in deals for Michael Dubee, Matt Maloney and Jesus Merchan. General manager Pat Gillick did what he could to help a team that entered Tuesday three games behind the Mets in the National League East and one game behind in the NL Wild Card race. Mateo and Knotts aside, the Phillies didn't swing another deal for a reliever -- as Atlanta and Boston did for Octavio Dotel and Eric Gagne, respectively -- though Gillick called the returns of Brett Myers and Tom Gordon a "big shot in the arm." "We didn't make a deal [for a Major League reliever], but it looks like Brett and Tom are healthy," Gillick said. "Even though we lost Madson, our bullpen is better than it was 10 days ago." So is the starting rotation, with Lohse replacing J.D. Durbin. The right-hander will make his Phillies debut Thursday against the Cubs, the team that drafted him in the 29th round in 1996. Though no one can replace the impressive offense and leadership of Chase Utley, Iguchi has done well in his first four games since arriving from the White Sox, and provides an experienced second baseman. "I played with Mr. Utley in the Japan series after the season, and I'm very aware of how great a player he is," Iguchi said last week. "I have tremendous respect for Mr. Utley and I just hope that I can fill in [and contribute to the team] anywhere near Mr. Utley. I am here to contribute as best I can." The Phils have enjoyed Iguchi's early production. Entering Tuesday's game, Iguchi was 4-for-10 since joining the Phillies, with a homer and two RBIs. In Lohse, the added an experienced arm to provide consistency to a rotation that lost Jon Lieber and Freddy Garcia, and currently has rookie Kyle Kendrick. Prospect Matt Maloney went to Cincinnati for Lohse, who should receive help from the league's most potent offense. "Don't tell me that," Lohse said, fearing he'd jinx himself. "Let's keep that between us. No more about the runs scored." Lohse reiterated his excitement in joining a team in the pennant race, much like he did last year, when the Reds traded for him.
"It's never fun when you feel like you're out of it, like we were in Cincinnati," Lohse said. "It's a new life to come over here and be back to a pennant race, which is something I'm used to in Minnesota. It means a lot coming over and pitching in big games."Gillick used the time to address as many pressing needs as possible, all brought on by an alarmingly high spate of injuries. Four more occurred in the past five days, and all the players -- Utley, Madson, Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn -- ended up on the disabled list. In Mateo and Knotts, whom they purchased from the Newark Bears, the Phillies added to their organizational depth. Mateo might help the Phillies in September. The right-hander was sent to Double-A Reading. He posted a 0.79 ERA in 24 appearances with Triple-A Tacoma. Mateo also played nine games with the Mariners. Gillick said the Phillies discussed a few other possibilities on Tuesday, but couldn't find a match. Philadelphia could also be players in August, assuming some players clear waivers. The late Cory Lidle arrived this way in 2004, and Jamie Moyer and Jeff Conine were August additions last season. "There will be some possibilities out there, there always are," Gillick said. "We'll have to see what makes sense for us. The landscape right now is a lot of teams are still in it. The landscape 15 days from now might change."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.