Phillie General Manager Lee Thomas wants to make a deal. But he can’t make the phone ring.
“All I can say is that I’m trying to swing a deal for pitching,” Thomas said Wednesday. “I’ve gone to all the clubs and they know we’re looking for a pitcher who could be a No. 1 or a No. 2 guy for us.
“They know we’re willing to trade value for value. But, unfortunately, they’re still trying to sell us on the idea that their No. 3 and 4 guys are really No. 1s or 2s. That’s not going to get it done.
“I’m looking for a pitcher who can go into the rotation either in front of Kenny Howell or right behind him.”
Among those the Phillies are thought to be dangling for trades are outfielders Von Hayes and Lenny Dykstra.
The Phillies reportedly have sought California right-hander Kirk McCaskill, who was 15-10 last season with a 2.93 ERA.
“I’m getting tired of waiting,” Thomas said. “I’m tired of doing all the calling. The Angels said they’d get back to me. They said they had a couple of things to do. Well, the ball is in their court.”
An unidentified National League executive told the Delaware County Daily Times of suburban Primos that the Phillies have tried to interest the New York Mets in a deal involving Hayes.
Last year, the Phillies dealt second baseman Juan Samuel to the NL East rival Mets for Dykstra and reliever Roger McDowell.
Asked about another possible deal with the Mets, Thomas said, “It’s sad because they’re the one team I think we might be the most compatible with. But they won’t budge. I don’t know if they’re upset about the Samuel deal or what. I just can’t seem to get much out of them.”
Samuel never made it big in New York, asked to be traded after the season and was dealt to Los Angeles.
The Phillies now find themselves loaded with left-handed hitting outfielders, but Thomas said he doesn’t feel compelled to trade one of them. Besides Dykstra and Hayes, the team has John Kruk and Ron Jones, who Thomas hopes has recovered from knee surgery.
The Phillies also have left-handed batting Curt Ford and right-handed hitting Carmelo Martinez in reserve.
“Kruk and Hayes are going to be everyday guys, and if Lenny is still here he’s going to lead off and play center field,” Thomas said. “And if Jonesy is 100 percent, I know he’s going to be a darned good hitter. He’s going to do something for somebody, if he’s healthy.
“But overall, I think it’s a good situation for us. If it’s handled in the right way, a competitive situation like this can only help our club.”
The Phillies on Thursday announced the signing of pitchers Bruce Ruffin and Chuck Malone, catcher Tom Nieto and infielder Kim Batiste, leaving the club with 26 unsigned players, including nine eligible for arbitration.
Ruffin, who received a $350,-000 deal, and Nieto, who got $127,000, both were eligible for arbitration.
Pitchers Don Carman, McDowell, Jeff Parrett and Floyd Youmans; catcher Darren Daulton; infielders Steve Jeltz, Randy Ready and Dickie Thon; and outfielder Ford have until noon Jan. 16 to file for arbitration. Hearings will be scheduled between Feb. 1-20.