Allentown Morning Call - June 8, 1980

Phils want a trade – but it’s easier said than done


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – Imagine, if you can. that it is late September and the Phillies are cruising toward the Eastern Division title with the following pitching staff to back up Steve Carlton.


●  Randy Lerch. he of the eternal promise but the uneven stuff and the uneven disposition. Just under a .500 lifetime pitcher. 


●  Dick Ruthven, somewhat the righthanded counterpart of Lerch and about whom the doubts remain after postseason surgery. He has had only one full plus-.500 season in the major leagues.


●  Bob Walk and Dan Larsen who have, at this writing. 22⅑  innings of major league experience between them. They are good Triple-A pitchers but have a lot to learn.


If you are able to imagine the Phils are in or anywhere close to first place with that staff then you also believe that Ramsey Clark has a chance at being named the American Legion's man-of-the year. With Larry Christen-son possibly out for the season and with manager Dallas Green all but given up on Nino Espinosa recovering from continued shoulder problems, the Phillies simply do not appear to have the staff to win, or even challenge for, a division title. 


And that adds up to T-R-A-D-E by the June 15 deadline. General manager Paul Owens knows it. Green knows it, the hot dog vendor in the 600 level of Veterans Stadium knows it. But, as with improving the economy, it's easier said than done. 


For one thing, many National League teams would be reluctant to give an offensive team like the Phillies a solid starter. It's been shown in the past that the bats of Schmidt, Luzinski and Rose can carry the Phils for long stretches (though not all the way to a pennant).


Secondly, there are a number of other teams on a mad pitching hunt, too. The Cardinals, for example, have shown that while their offense is the best in the Milky Way Galaxy, their pitching staff isn't worth a Snickers bar: consequently, they are in last place four games behind the Mets, no mean feat. 


Third, many baseball people feel that there is a dearth of quality pitchers around and no team can afford to unload anybody.


"I don't think there's a staff in baseball that has 10 major league pitchers on it," said Tom Ferrick. a scout for Kansas City who was hanging around Veterans Stadium on Friday night. "Pitching's a problem for everybody. Even throughout the minor leagues." 


Finally, the big question for the Phillies is: Who will they be willing to  give up to get a pitcher? Though there have been no shortage of suggestions about whom the Phils should go after (Joaquin Andujar, Ed Halicki, John Montefusco, etc.), the offering from the other end is a little more complicated.


Rookies Lonnie Smith and Keith Moreland have been named as trade bait so often they feel like giant bloodworms. But Dallas Green keeps insisting he does not want to trade them. 


"All winter I've talked against trading Lonnie Smith and Keith Moreland." Green reiterated after Friday night's win over the Cubs. Asked if it wasn't possible that both Moreland and Smith were in the lineup only to be showcased, Green's answer was twofold:


"First, I don't think they need to be showcased. Everybody has seen what they can do. And, secondly, I didn't, have them in there for that purpose, anyway. That's not my idea of how to use them." 


From this viewpoint, the trading of Moreland would be questionable, anyway. At age 32, Bob Boone is not getting any younger and is having an off year so far both offensively and defensively. Presumably, Don Mc-Cormack (Oklahoma City and Ozzie Virgil Reading will be major leaguers some day, but at this point McCormack couldn't hit .200 in the majors and Virgil might not field that if either had to be accelerated to back up Boone. 


Smith, on the other hand, seems like a good bloodworm.


But if not Smith or Moreland. then who? CBS would sooner trade Walter Cronkite than the Phillies would unload Schmidt, Rose, Slim Luzinski or, seemingly, Boone. Garry Maddox was just given a big contract and Bake Mc-Bride, though given to spells of sleepwalking while in uniform, is showing his worth this season, particularly with backup Greg Gross hitting .128.


Larry Bowa? Interesting but not likely. As anemic as he sometimes appears at the plate, it was only two years ago that he finished third in the National League MVP voting to Dave Parker and Steve Garvey. He can still play a lot of shortstop. And with a 10-and-5 contract (10 years in the majors and five with one team) Bowa has to okay any trade. 


Manny Trillo? Also interesting, particularly since one of the Phillies' best minor league prospects is speedy second baseman Jay Loviglio. But just last year Trillo signed a big contract through 1983 and he is arguably the best second baseman in baseball. 


No, the trade focus keeps coming back to Smith and Moreland, Moreland and Smith. And it will be interesting to see if Dallas Green really wants to keep them off the block.

Rose’s average climbs as Phillies win


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – The last time you looked Pete Rose was hitting .240 something with 10 healthy toes. Now he has nine healthy toes, one broken one and he's hitting .288. 


The broken toe does not matter. Probably the next time you look Pete Rose wiil have two broken toes and he'll be hitting .330 something and life will go on as it always has. 


With two hits in last night's 5-2 victory over the Cubs at Veterans Stadium. Rose has now hit in 11 of the last 12 games to get his average near the .300 mark he loves only as candidates love delegates. And in the record of nearest approachability (we only have room for one here) he now needs just live more hits to tie Honus Wagner for fifth place on the all-time list. 


But the real reason Peter Edward Hose was the consummate ballplayer of the 1970 that decade is over but Rose is still doing the same things) was epitomized by what he did in the sixth inning. 


He already had a single and double in the game and he came up with none out and runners on first and second. Winning pitcher Randy Lerch had just been, allowed to hit away in the same situation and his single gave the Phils a 4-1 lead. But manager Dallas Green wanted Rose to move the runners with a bunt. So Rose moved the runners with a bunt. 


"That's the play in that situation with the heart of the order coming up." said Green. "And I guess it might've had something to do with Pete having a broken toe. I knew I was going to be taking him out anyway.”


And Rose, all $800,000 ot him, agreed. 


"I don't think any player should be above sacrificing," said Rose who left the game in the sixth though not because he wanted to. "Over the years I've been in a lot of games we lost because Johnny I Bench, or Bull Greg Luzinski or Tony Perez didn't get a guy over. Nobody's too good to bunt. Most guys who never sacrifice are real good double play men.


With Bake McBride who has now hit safely in 26 of his last 29 games following Rose, a bunt makes even more sense. Dick Tidrow walked McBride and Schmidt, the leading run-producer in the majors, followed with a single (his' third hit of the game) that broke the game open… if it needed any more breaking open. 


Rose also doubled to lead off a two-run fifth inning for the Phils, scoring the first run on a close play at the plate after McBride's single. 


"Seegie trainer Don Seger I had cut a little piece in my shoe and built an extra space in there because of my toe." said Rose. "I kidded him that I just got in there because of that built-up part. Seegie said maybe they'd outlaw the shoe." 


Rose and his shoe, he says, will not miss any playing time, even though the toe (which vas broken by a pitched ball in Friday night's win) is a deep, deep blue. 


"It don't hurt when I'm playing." says Rose. "Only when I'm in street shoes." 


Pete Rose always hurts when he's in street shoes. 


Lerch was also good news for the Phils. Before tiring in the seventh-evidenced by the long home run he surrendered to Mike Vail to lead off that inning – he had allowed only five hits and one run on a humid night to pick up his second win of the season.