Camden Courier-Post - February 10, 1980

Padres’ swap of Perry could dash Phils’ trade hopes

 

By Author of the Courier-Post

 

Within the next five days, the San Diego Padres will no doubt verify that they've traded veteran pitcher Gaylord Perry to the Texas Rangers in exchange for former Philly first baseman Willie Montanez. It's not what the Phillies had hoped to hear.

 

For despite the recent acquisition of righthanded relief pitcher Lerrin LaGrow, Phils' Genera! Manager Paul Owens has far from given up hope that when the new trading period between the National and American Leagues opens Friday, he'll be able to pull off one of several trades.

 

Trouble is, not too many clubs have needs as well as excess players that coincide with those of the Phils. When the Padres' deal becomes official, that will take one of those teams off the Phillies' list of places to shop.

 

The worst of it is that the Perry-Montanez swap could turn out to be the first half of a move that would also see the San Diego club swap yet another pitcher, Bob Owchinko, to the Cleveland Indians for Jerry Mumphrey, who the Padres believe would solve their outfield problems.

 

Unfortunately, by dealing away Perry and Owchinko the Padres would be removing any chance the Phillies might have of getting lefthander Bob Shirley away from San Diego.

 

There is a limited number of potentially-available pitchers who could give the Phillies' pitching staff the kind of muscle GM Owens would like to have complementing a team he believes will rebound back into the playoff picture.

 

Despite some ruffled feelings between the Padres and Phils during baseball's winter meetings in Toronto, it was hoped the needs of the two teams would override emotions and that San Diego would eventually rekindle its interest in outfielders Bake McBride and/or Lonnie Smith.

 

Apparently, the Padres aren't as anxious to use the Phillies to solve their dilemma as the Phils are to see Shirley working as a starter or relief pitcher (he can do both) at Veterans Stadium.

 

Where does that leave the Phillies?

 

Well, sources in Texas insist that Ranger owner Brad Corbet remains determined to get himself a center-fielder. And, despite the fiasco involving reliever Sparky Lyle at the winter meetings, Corbet is telling people he is going to take another shot at the Phillies.

 

This could be tricky, since the Phils aren't thrilled with the notion that they would swap McBride even-up for Lyle, and have indicated as much. It could be that Owens is counting on Corbet getting anxious enough to settle his $500,000 contract bonus (10 years of post-career TV broadcasting at $50,000 per season) as part of a trade with the Phillies.

 

There is also the possibility that the Rangers' owner might consider a trade that would send Lyle and a solid portion of the half-million to the Phillies, who would in turn settle the TV package with Lyle before sending Lonnie Smith to Texas.

 

Smith's speed and bat has got some of the Texas people nibbling at the bait. But, whether they'll buy Lonnie's ability as a defensive player is another matter.

 

It's a waiting and hoping game for the Phils at this point. If San Diego can't put together its deal with Texas and Cleveland, they may come looking for the Phils.

 

If the Rangers get itchy to deal for a center fielder, they may be willing to pay the freight for Lyle's ticket to Philly. Which is no small matter because LeGrow, the newest Phillies reliever, represents an insurance policy rather than a bullpen workhorse capable of taking the load off Ron Reed and Tug McGraw.

 

What would really make Owens' day would be the acquisition of Shirley or Lyle. Which would, in turn, open the door to possible deal with either the Milwaukee Brewers or the Baltimore Orioles.

 

The Brewers would like to have Reed (who would become expendable) and perhaps another player that would justify them giving the Phils Jim Gantner, a dandy infielder the Phillies would love to add to their bench. He has got the kind of glove and bat that Manager Dallas Green dreams about having in reserve.

 

There's only one hitch. Milwaukee can't really make a decision on Gantner until it establishes whether Sal Bando or Don Money is healthy enough to go the distance at third base for the Brewers.

 

If Gantner becomes untouchable, look for the Phils to turn to the Orioles, a team that likes the looks of Lonnie Smith very much and might be persuaded to part with either Billy Smith or Kiko Garcia, both of them infielders capable of adding sock to the Phillies' bench this season.

 

But for now, it's strictly hurry up and wait.