With Halladay in Philly, is Derek Lowe the Angels' Plan B?

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Derek Lowe.jpgThough never considered a front runner, the Angels had been rumored at various times in the past few weeks to be in on re-signing John Lackey or trading for Roy Halladay. The point was that they want and need a starting pitcher. Now that those guys are off the table, they are turning to plan B. Wait — I watched him pitch a lot last year; let’s call him plan C, D or E. Rosenthal and Morosi:

The agreement comes at a difficult time for the Angels, who are
looking for a top-of-the-rotation starter such as Halladay or Lee . . . As the
blockbuster nears completion, the Braves are an interested bystander.
The Angels now appear to be among the favorites to acquire Derek Lowe.
They could offer outfielder Juan Rivera, who is the type of
right-handed run producer that Atlanta is seeking.

On the one hand “they could offer . . .” is really weak as far as reports go. The Royals could offer them Zack Greinke. Heck, I could offer them my services as a starter too. It’s about as hypothetical as it comes.

But then you remember that Rosenthal was the one floating the allegedly hypothetical Phillies-trade-Lee-and-get-Halladay story over the weekend. The one that no one believed and which seemingly had nothing to it until the exact moment it did.  Maybe I’m reaching — I do want to see my Braves unload Derek Lowe, and Juan Rivera could be useful to them — but, like the Lee thing, there could be more to this than meets the eye.

Report: Phillies want a top-five prospect for Jeremy Hellickson

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 20: Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the second inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on July 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.

ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.

Video: Matt Cain launches a three-run home run

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 26: Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants hits a three run home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning at AT&T Park on July 26, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.

Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.

It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.

On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.