Phillies could be on the verge of trading Werth, acquiring Oswalt

July 18, 2010 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America - 18 July 2010: Houston Astros starting pitcher Roy Oswalt (44) delivers a pitch to the plate during the National League game between the Houston Astros and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates Paul Maholm.

Several heavy-hitters in the media are proclaiming that the Phillies are on the verge of making a couple of trades.

The first involves Jayson Werth, who is currently hitting .283 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI. ESPN’s Buster Olney and Jayson Stark report that the Rays are involved in discussions for the outfielder, who is a free agent at the end of the season and is unlikely to be re-signed in Philadelphia.

The second trade rumor involving the Phillies has Astros’ ace Roy Oswalt as the key piece. Stark reports that the Phillies have spent a lot of time exploring a deal for Oswalt, who won’t come cheap seeing as how he’s still owed $16 million next season and has a $16 million club option for 2012 (or a $2 million buyout).

While a trade for Oswalt would certainly bolster the Phillies’ starting rotation, is a move like that wise for GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to make? It’s not like his club is one starting pitcher away from fixing all of their current problems, even if that one starting pitcher is Oswalt. Plus, this is a team that needs to start preparing for the future and giving up more prospects in a knee-jerk trade in attempts to win now might not be the most advantageous move.

We’ll see how this plays out.

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Report: Phillies interested in Dan Haren

According to MLB Trade Rumors (via ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick), the Phillies have Diamondbacks’ starter Dan Haren on their radar and might be interested in dealing for the ace.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reported (via Twitter) earlier in the week that the Phils would like to add an arm “higher in caliber” than Jeremy Guthrie, and Haren certainly qualifies. However, Philadelphia is far from the only team looking into acquiring the 29-year-old. We heard yesterday that the Nationals expressed interest in Haren, and that the Cardinals also covet the right-hander. Those two clubs, along with the Yankees, Tigers, and Twins, have scouted the Diamondbacks’ ace recently.

The Phillies’ fourth and fifth starters behind Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Jamie Moyer have had their struggles this year. Kyle Kendrick has posted a 4.88 ERA in 15 starts, and even after three straight quality starts, Joe Blanton’s ERA still sits at 6.19. Given the question marks in rotation, the Phillies have made starting pitching depth a priority as the trade deadline approaches.

Whether it’s Haren or Cliff Lee, the Phillies keep coming up in trade rumors involving starting pitchers. It’s not known who the D-Backs would want in return for Haren, although at least one of Philly’s top prospects (Domonic Brown, Jarred Cosart or Jonathan Singleton) would likely be involved in any deal.


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Report: Halladay, agent check into Philly hotel

According to a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Roy Halladay and his agent have checked into a Philadelphia hotel.

Could a trade between the Phillies and Jays be imminent?

It is not known if a trade sending Halladay to the Phillies is imminent, but if Halladay and the Phils are negotiating–as is indicated by the pitcher’s presence in Philadelphia–that would suggest that the Phils and Blue Jays are far enough along in talks for Halladay to discuss a potential contract extension with the Phils. Halladay has one year remaining on his contract before becoming a free agent.

The Phils have long been linked to Halladay, and were actively involved in trade talks last July, before the team acquired lefthander Cliff Lee from Cleveland.

Allow me to get ahead of myself for a moment: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels…NL hitters everywhere just crapped themselves.


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Phillies on the verge of acquiring Cliff Lee?

According to a report by ESPN.com, a deal between the Phillies and Indians involving ace Cliff Lee is “heating up.”

According to sources who have spoken with officials of both clubs, they’ve discussed a variety of packages for Lee. One potential package is believed to include Carrasco, a top position-player prospect yet to be determined and two hard-throwing Class A pitchers, Jason Knapp and Trevor May.

Asked if he believed the Phillies could make a trade for Lee without including Kyle Drabek, whom Toronto has insisted upon in any deal for Halladay, one source replied: “If they were going to [trade] Drabek, they might as well do the deal for Halladay.”

Phillies officials have continued to tell other clubs they believe they can make a deal for Lee without giving up either their top pitching prospect, Drabek, or their top position-player prospect, outfielder Dominic Brown.

I couldn’t see the Tribe giving up Lee (whose contract is manageable through 2010) without getting back Drabek in return. But if Philadelphia could swing a deal for Lee that didn’t include Drabek (or Brown for that matter), that would be an impressive feat.

Lee isn’t Halladay, but there’s no doubt that he would dramatically improve the Phillies’ starting rotation and give them the arms needed to make another run at a World Series. A rotation of Lee, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and either Joe Blanton or Jamie Moyer would be tough to contend with in the NL come playoff time.

What’s interesting to me is that Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro seemed dead set against trading Lee only a couple weeks ago and now it almost seems certain that the ace will be dealt by Friday. Granted, Shapiro (along with every other MLB GM) was probably just throwing out smokescreens, but the reports seemed genuine that Lee wasn’t going to be moved this year.

Update: The Phillies have made an official offer for Lee according to FOXSports.com. Apparently the deal on the table is for single-A right-hander Jason Knapp, Triple-A right-hander Carlos Carrasco, shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson. Your move, Tribe…

If the Phillies sign Pedro, does it take them out of the Halladay sweepstakes?

There’s an interesting situation developing in Philadelphia, where the Phillies are in serious talks with free agent Pedro Martinez, but have also been linked to Blue Jays’ ace Roy Halladay.

According to a report by SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Phillies and Martinez may have already agreed to a $4 million contract, which would be a hefty price for a club that has also been linked to Halladay. If they take on a $4 million contract with Pedro, would the Phils still be willing to pursue Halladay, who’s owed $14.25 million this year and $15.75 million next year?

My guess would be no, unless Philadelphia has another trade scenario in their back pocket involving another pitcher. A likely candidate would be J.A. Happ, a 26-year old who has pitched incredibly well this season, posting a 5-0 record with a 3.04 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.

Maybe the Jays would be interested in a package that involved Happ and a couple of minor league prospects. If so, a rotation that included Halladay, Martinez and Cole Hamels would be awfully tough to beat in the second half of the season, although Hamels has struggled a bit this year.

We’ll see if the Phillies go through with the signing of Martinez and then if they drop out of the Halladay-running soon thereafter.

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