The Phillies may be on the verge of trading for a late-game relief pitcher. Baseball sources say the team is in serious talks with the Houston Astros about acquiring righthander Wilton Lopez.
Lopez, 29, was 6-3 with a 2.17 ERA in 64 games for the Astros last season. A sinkerballer, he registered excellent control numbers, striking out 54 and walking just eight in 66 1/3 innings. He had 10 saves after taking over as closer when the Astros traded Brett Myers to the White Sox.
If the Phillies land Lopez, he could set up for closer Jonathan Papelbon. The Phillies have been looking for an eighth-inning setup man and pursued free agent Ryan Madson before he came to an agreement with the Angels.
Lopez is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter.
Center field is still the Phillies' No. 1 offseason priority. They remain in serious discussions with free agent B.J. Upton.