The buzz before the Phillies game this evening at Citizens Bank Park is the looming trade that will land the San Francisco Giants switch-hitter Carlos Beltran, one of the prized bats of the 2011 deadline season.
"I guess I don't have to talk about Beltran no more, do I?" Charlie Manuel said with a chuckle in the Phils dugout.
"He's been playing good. He can still play in the outfield. He's definitely going to help them. Not only with the bat, but he's going to help them because he knows how to play."
But can one player change the complexion of a race?
"Yeah, but like I said before, it depends on who that guy is. Sometimes you can make one adjustment to your lineup and it definitely makes it better -- without a doubt."
Whether the Phillies and Ruben Amaro Jr. are willing to pay a big price in prospects for a serious piece, perhaps a guy like Hunter Pence, remains to be seen.
But one thing is clear, Charlie Manuel wants to win now.
"From our organization, I think we look at it as 'forever.' I look at it as 'now.' I think every manager in baseball would feel that way," Manuel said. "I see more of a window with our pitching situation that we have here in Philadelphia, and our core players that we have aboard, I see a solid 2-3 year time to win -- a real good chance of always getting to the playoffs and a chance to win the World Series. It's kinda hard for me to look any further than that down the road."
I think Chuck's feelings are well known. Only time will tell what the trade market dictates and what Ruben believes.
As for tonight's game, scheduled starter Matt Cain (8-6, 3.06) will stay in his slot, with Tim Lincecum's ability to start on Thursday uncertain after being scratched last night. Cain will take on Cole Hamels (12-5, 2.62) who looks to become the first NL pitcher to reach 13 wins.
Tonight's Lineup: Rollins, Martinez, Utley, Howard, Victorino, Ibanez, Brown, Ruiz, and Hamels.
First pitch scheduled for 7:05. Keep an eye on those rumor mills.