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Phils' starter search continues on eve of camp

Club eyeing a veteran option to mix in with Nola, Eickhoff and Co.
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphians remain happily stuck in a post-Super Bowl euphoria.

Has it only been eight days since the Eagles won the Super Bowl? Has it been only four since Jason Kelce dropped the speech of a lifetime (Chase Utley's 2008 speech seems G-rated by comparison)? But as Philadelphians slowly resume their lives, the Phillies officially open Spring Training on Wednesday -- when pitchers and catchers hold their first workout at Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla.

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphians remain happily stuck in a post-Super Bowl euphoria.

Has it only been eight days since the Eagles won the Super Bowl? Has it been only four since Jason Kelce dropped the speech of a lifetime (Chase Utley's 2008 speech seems G-rated by comparison)? But as Philadelphians slowly resume their lives, the Phillies officially open Spring Training on Wednesday -- when pitchers and catchers hold their first workout at Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla.

Is every hurler going to be there who is supposed to be there?

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The pitchers currently on the 40-man roster, plus non-roster invitees, are expected to be in uniform on Wednesday. But the Phillies have made no secret that they want -- and plan -- to add a veteran starter to a rotation led by Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff. So far, that has not happened. But if it does not happen before Wednesday, it certainly can happen at any point before Opening Day.

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Nobody should expect Jake Arrieta, unless his asking price drops significantly or the Phillies suddenly scuttle their plans to find a starter when the team is closer to going on a postseason run. Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn might be asking for too much, as well. The Phillies seem unlikely to pursue them unless their asking prices drop.

It is mostly likely the Phillies will acquire a pitcher on a one-year deal, just like they have the two previous offseasons with Jeremy Hellickson, Charlie Morton and Clay Buchholz. Hellickson pitched effectively in 2016, before being traded to the Orioles before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline in '17. Morton made only four starts for the Phils before getting injured in '16. Buchholz made only two starts before getting injured in '17.

The Phillies would benefit greatly from a pitching performance like Hellickson's in 2016, when he went 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts.

So who is out there?

Andrew Cashner, Jaime Garcia, Hellickson, Jason Vargas and John Lackey are a few names who could be signed to more short-term contracts. But that remains to be seen.

Either way, the Phillies know they want another starter for their rotation. They have indicated they expect to get one. It just might not be by Wednesday.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .

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