Phillies close to acquiring Jays' Stairs

Phillies close to acquiring Jays' Stairs

CHICAGO -- Though there is no official word from either side, the Phillies have appeared to have acquired Matt Stairs from Toronto to serve as a left-handed bat off the bench and a backup outfielder.

The only thing missing is the official press release. Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said Friday that he couldn't comment, though sources have confirmed the acquisition of Stairs for an unidentified Minor Leaguer.

ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the Phillies would send left-hander Fabio Castro to Toronto. Castro, who is 8-4 with a 4.71 ERA this season at two Minor League levels, was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after Friday's game.

Philadelphia didn't make a corresponding roster move, with a team spokesman saying one would be made before Saturday's game.

"If you're guessing that it could be in the state of Pennsylvania," Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said, "I'm not going to tell you you're wrong, but, I'm not going to tell you anything else."

Ricciardi, speaking to reporters at Yankee Stadium before Friday's Jays-Yankees game, adding that his club hoped to complete the trade by Saturday at the latest.

The Jays designated the 40-year-old Stairs for assignment Thursday to make room for top outfield prospect Travis Snider. The Phillies had been searching for a left-handed hitter off the bench, and intensified that search after potentially losing Geoff Jenkins for the season with a strained right hip flexor.

Stairs is hitting .250 this season with 11 homers and 44 RBIs, and is a career .279 pinch-hitter with 12 home runs. He could join the Phillies on Saturday.

One potential holdup could be money. Stairs signed a two-year deal for $3.25 million in November. He would earn what remains of his $2.25 million salary for this season and $1 million in 2009.

For Stairs to be eligible for Philadelphia's postseason roster, he would have to be in the organization by midnight Aug. 31.

He would be the second player the Phillies plucked from another club's waiver wire. Earlier this month, they landed lefty Scott Eyre from the Cubs for Minor Leaguer Brian Schlitter. In seven appearances for the Phils, Eyre has thrown eight scoreless innings.

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.