Phils' Carrasco hurls into trade spotlight
Prospect may find new home after steller Futures Game outing
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco, a prize prospect in the Phillies' system, found himself in the spotlight for the opening of Sunday's XM All-Star Futures Game.
Carrasco didn't disappoint, fanning two in the first for a World team that went on to a 3-0 victory over the U.S. team at Yankee Stadium. The question now is whether the Futures Game will be a springboard for Carrasco toward a future in another organization. With the trade deadline approaching, Carrasco's name is coming up daily as a player who is highly coveted by clubs moving toward a seller's mode with a eye on shedding veterans for prospects.
With the Phillies positioned for another run at the National League playoffs, pitching is an issue. Whether it involves the starting rotation or the bullpen, Philadelphia could use one or more proven arm to augment what is in place. But whether the Phils would part with a Carrasco for a Brian Fuentes, A.J. Burnett or some other veteran pitcher remains to be seen.
A recent report in the Philadelphia Inquirer suggested the Rockies have asked for Carrasco or catcher Lou Marson in a potential deal for Fuentes. Carrasco, 21, is pitching for Double-A Reading and been ranked as the top prospect in the Phillies' system with his showcase fastball and changeup.
Marson, a fourth-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, is Carrasco's battery mate at Reading and has shown the offensive skills and catch-and-throw ability to also rate as a top prospect -- who could be Major League-ready in 2009.
Colorado can afford to shoot high in a potential Fuentes deal. The lefty is said to be drawing considerable interest, and the price could escalate if clubs that covet Fuentes begin bidding against each other in the days and weeks ahead. Fuentes racked up 14 saves for the Rockies prior to the All-Star break.
The Phillies, who have sent Brett Myers to Triple-A to work primarily on his fastball command, are also being linked to Blue Jays' A.J. Burnett. Shortstop Jason Donald and center fielder Greg Colson appear to have emerged as Toronto's secondary targets, along with Carrasco or Marson.
While the Phillies ponder how much is too much when it comes to surrendering prospects, rumors about other veterans who could be moved continue to swirl during the All-Star break.
San Diego general manager Kevin Towers has acknowledged receiving significant interest in some established veterans who are headed toward free agency at the end of the season. The short list for the Padres includes pitchers Randy Wolf and Greg Maddux and first baseman Tony Clark.
Maddux has a no-trade clause, and Towers has updated the right-hander regarding which clubs have asked about his services. Maddux is said to be using the All-Star break as a time to get away and reflect on his options.
In another development, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has confirmed having some interest in Richie Sexson, who was recently released by the Seattle Mariners.
Bob Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.