PHILADELPHIA -- If the Philadelphia Phillies intend for Sid Fernandez to add some bulk to their thin pitching staff, it appears they'll have to battle the Cincinnati Reds for him.
The agent for Fernandez, released Sunday by the Orioles, said yesterday that while several clubs had inquired about his client, the Reds and Phillies clearly were the front-runners.
"Sid wants to pitch in the National League again, and he likes the fact that the Phillies and Reds are both in contention," said Fernandez's agent, Tom Selakovich. "On the one hand, he likes Davey Johnson [the Reds' manager, who managed Fernandez with the Mets], but he's also close with Lenny Dykstra."
According to Selakovich, who said he spoke with Phillies GM Lee Thomas and Reds GM Jim Bowden earlier in the day, both clubs assured him that Fernandez would move immediately into the rotation.
"Sure, we have some interest," Thomas said yesterday. "At this point, we're interested in anyone who can throw."
Because Fernandez, 32, must wait until a 72-hour waiver period has expired, he is prevented from signing with any club until Thursday at 2 p.m.
"At that point, we'll look at our options, and Sid will make a decision," Selakovich said. "There are a lot of other clubs interested, but at this point Sid likes Philly and Cincinnati best."
If the Phils sign Fernandez, he would move into the fifth spot in their rotation in place of injured left-hander David West.
"If he throws like he can, it's going to be a good signing," Phillies second baseman Mickey Morandini said yesterday at the All-Star workout in Arlington, Texas. "When he's on, he's got a very explosive fastball, and can be a very dominating pitcher. If he can stay healthy, he can help us."
Selakovich said that the Orioles and Phillies were close to a trade involving Fernandez on Friday.
When that fell through, Orioles officials decided to release him.