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Gillick candid about Phillies' needs

Gillick candid about Phillies' needs for 2006

General manager Pat Gillick said during a Web chat Friday that he's confident a trade will happen before Opening Day, but he believes the Phillies do have a solid foundation on which to build a winning team. He also discussed Philadelphia's pitching needs, top prospects and shot down rumors with fans.

Pat Gillick: Hi, everybody. I'm happy to be part of this chat today. So let's get right to it.

Base_Ball_2: Is there still time for the Phillies to make a big trade?

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Gillick: There's still over 60 days to go before Opening Day and we believe we can still make a trade. I can't predict how big the trade would be, but I feel confident that there will be one prior to the opening of the season.

Base_Ball: Have you talked to Jeff Weaver about becoming a Phillie?

Gillick: We have no interest in Jeff Weaver.

greatphan: Do you still envision bringing in a top starter and upgrading the bullpen?

Gillick: Our goal is to acquire a top of the rotation starter, and we'll continue with this challenge throughout the season.

Matt_Suki: Hi, Pat. What does Ryan Franklin bring to the table that a pitcher like Cole Hamels or another young arm can't give you?

Gillick: Six hundred innings over the past three seasons. So basically, experience and a healthy arm. We have to make certain that Hamels is completely healthy before we introduce him to the Major Leagues.

Base_Ball_2: Do you think that Jimmy Rollins will break Joe DiMaggio's hitting steak?

Gillick: I have my fingers and toes crossed that he will! It would be amazing since he has had the winter to think about the streak, and if it continued and he broke the record, it would be like calling four timeouts prior to kicking a game-winning field goal or free throw.

Base_Ball_3: With the season coming up, what is a reasonable goal for the Phillies this year?

Gillick: Ninety wins, plus.

Matt_Suki: Do you feel you have the foundation in place to build a winner with the Phillies?

Gillick: Yes, we have a strong nucleus on the field with Chase Utley, Rollins, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, Bobby Abreu, etc.

briguy423: How does Philadelphia, thus far, compare to your other GM jobs?

Gillick: It's an interesting challenge.

Base_Ball_4: Pat, will the Phillies carry both Tomas Perez and Abraham Nunez on the 25-man roster?

Gillick: Because of double-switches and injuries, it's always necessary to carry at least two spare infielders.

Base_Ball: Are reports that you have talked to Mike Piazza true, and if so, what would his role for the team be?

Gillick: Mike Lieberthal is our everyday catcher and Piazza could fill a number of backup roles for us.

Base_Ball_3: Pat, if the season started today, who are our five starters?

Gillick: Jon Lieber, Cory Lidle, Brett Myers, Ryan Madson and Ryan Franklin.

Base_Ball_2: I feel that Kenny Lofton was a great center fielder and we should have kept him. But instead, we trade Jim Thome for Aaron Rowand, who is probably going to be as good as Lofton was. Why didn't we keep Lofton and trade Thome for a position that we really need?

Gillick: In all due respect, we have a difference of opinion on the ability of Lofton.

phitinfillsin2006: Is there any way we can trade David Bell and Mike Lieberthal and get anything in return?

Gillick: At this point, Lieberthal will probably catch 120-130 games and we are hopeful that Bell will return to his production of 2004.

Andrew_Chong: What are the chances of the Phillies signing Mike Piazza?

Gillick: We have no comment on rumors.

Matt_Suki: Do you feel that you have the Minor League prospects it takes to land an ace or effective No. 2 pitcher?

Gillick: Yes, but we'd be reluctant to give up our better prospects prior to our evalution in Spring Training this year.

Base_Ball_3: Pat, are the Phillies a World Series team yet?

Gillick: We are a work in progress.

643: Who will close for the Phils now that Billy Wagner is gone?

Gillick: Tom Gordon is our closer.

Base_Ball_3: Who is our biggest competition to win the National League East?

Gillick: The Mets and the Braves.

Matt_Suki: Does Cole Hamels have a chance to make the club out of Spring Training?

Gillick: No. He will probably begin the season at either Reading or Scranton.

Matt_Suki: When you first took of this job you mentioned that you need to find a way to gain five more wins. Do you feel the subtraction of Wagner and the addition of Franklin, Gordon and Rowand is enough?

Gillick: We probably have not added five more wins yet.

Matt_Suki: Are you comfortable with the future of third base and catcher in this organization?

Gillick: I can't comment until I've seen our Minor Leaguers in Spring Training.

Andrew_Chong: Do the Phillies have any interest in Jeff Weaver, Josh Fogg or Kevin Brown?

Gillick: We have no interest in any of them.

Base_Ball_3: Pat, who do you think will have a breakout year?

Gillick: Brett Myers.

Base_Ball_3: Pat, what do you expect from Ryan Franklin?

Gillick: Ten-12 wins.

Ty_Christian: Are there any middle-relief pitchers you are still looking at possibly signing in the next few weeks?

Gillick: We're looking for starters or back-end relievers, rather than middle relievers.

Base_Ball_3: What can we expect from Tom Gordon?

Gillick: Forty saves.

unclemilty: Mr. Gillick, thanks for the time. Given the inconsistent performance of relief pitchers from season to season, would it be more wise to stockpile numerous options instead of high priced veterans?

Gillick: That is exactly what we've tried to do in the last three months. Keep players on short contracts with the exception of Tom Gordon.

Base_Ball_3: Who is our ace?

Gillick: Jon Lieber.

Base_Ball_3: Pat, who is our starting third baseman?

Gillick: David Bell.

Chris_Springer: Pat, appreciate your efforts and candidness so far. Why not offer to restructure Randy Wolf's deal -- less money this year but add on one or two years?

Gillick: Until Randy proves that he is healthy, I believe it is a poor decision to commit dollars.

Base_Ball_3: Do you think Barry Zito is a possibility?

Gillick: No.

Ty_Christian: What are your feelings on the World Baseball Classic and having several Phillies players involved?

Gillick: We're excited and very supportive of the WBC and, in fact, on the provisional rosters, we have a total of 20 players.

unclemilty: Mr. Gillick, thanks for the time. Russ Branyan may have been an ideal platoon partner for David Bell. Was Branyan on your radar at any point?

Gillick: Yes, but our manager, Charlie Manuel, had Branyan in Cleveland and felt with the number of strikeouts we have at the moment, that adding another 100 would not be the way to go.

Base_Ball_3: What player is the best available player the Phillies are interested in?

Gillick: We can't comment and it wouldn't be prudent for us to do that anyway.

Ty_Christian: Why did the Phillies not try to get Wade Miller to help with the pitching staff? He came at a relatively inexpensive asking price.

Gillick: We were advised by our medical team not to sign Wade Miller.

Christopher_Huling: What will Carlos Ruiz's role with the team be this year?

Gillick: Ruiz will be competing for the backup catcher's position in Spring Training, and if he is not successful, he will be playing the season at Scranton.

Gillick: Ruiz will be competing for the backup catcher's position in Spring Training and if he is not successful will be playing the season at Scranton.

phillsphan4life: Do you have any tricks up your sleeve when it comes to trades?

Gillick: Many.

barryemt101943: What is Wolf's status?

Gillick: Randy should be back between the 15th of June and first of July.

jkkingjd: Do you have any interest in talking to the A's about Barry Zito?

Gillick: We can't comment on rumors.

carneson: Is Jose Contreras somebody you are considering?

Gillick: Again, we can't comment on rumors.

mb198119v2: What is the story on Daniel Haigwood? You mentioned a few weeks ago he may have a shot at the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Is he really MLB-ready?

Gillick: We like Haigwood's potential, but at this moment, he is projected to begin the season with Scranton.

Rick_Bailey: How does Philadelphia compare with other cities you have worked in?

Gillick: Top of the list!

lucas8381: Any chance of re-signing Ugueth Urbina, or will he likely be out for the season with his personal problems?

Gillick: Right now, Urbina is indisposed.

mb198119v2: What positions will there be competition for in Spring Training?

Gillick: Mostly on the pitching staff.

bslivka: Hi, Pat. What role do you see Shane Victorino in -- fourth or fifth outfielder?

Gillick: Victorino will probably be a fourth outfielder with us.

jkkingjd: Can you seriously contend without a left-handed starter?

Gillick: Yes. Charlie Manuel did it in Cleveland and took them to the playoffs.

lucas8381: Do you see Victorino as your main substitute outfielder this year at all three positions?

Gillick: Yes.

Christopher_Huling: If a veteran setup man cannot be acquired, will the team rely on a young pitcher like Robinson Tejada in the bullpen or will Madson revert back to the bullpen?

Gillick: Madson would be back in the bullpen.

briguy423: Do you think Gordon can handle a full season of closing, and if for some reason he can't, who might be in line to replace him?

Gillick: Tom, but we're working on a backup.

Glan_Adams: I thought that Gio Gonzalez was a steal in the Thome trade. What is your timeline for Gonzalez?

Gillick: Probably two years.

krickeys: Who is a dark horse to make the club? Josh Kroeger? Yoel Hernandez?

Gillick: Probably Matt Kata.

lucas8381: Where does Gavin Floyd figure in to your plans for the team? Will he be in the mix for a starting spot?

Gillick: He will be competing for a spot in the rotation.

Gillick: Thanks everybody. I had a good time answering your questions!

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