Haren Out, Focus Turns to Oswalt
The Houston Astros have scouted J.A. Happ‘s latest starts, which indicates he would be packaged in a deal for Oswalt. There have been numerous reports the Phillies would have to trade Jayson Werth to clear salary and gain prospects for Oswalt. But I have heard recently that is not the case. While the Phillies are exploring trade partners for Werth, they could acquire Oswalt and keep Werth. And if I’m the Phillies, that’s exactly what I do, unless I get an incredible offer for Werth. I know fans would love to see Domonic Brown up here, but I think it would be unfair to expect him to do what Werth has done the past couple seasons. Plus, as I have written many, many times before, Werth is an incredibly streaky hitter. He is hitting .387 (12-for-31) with five doubles and three RBIs in his last nine games. His performance with runners in scoring position has been dreadful to this point, especially for a No. 5 hitter, but I’ve got to think it will improve. I’ve also got to think a bunch of homers are in his future.
Up until a few days ago I know many people said the Phillies should be trying to improve their offense. I saw their point because until a few days ago the offense had been struggling. But here is why I think getting Oswalt makes sense, regardless of how the offense is doing: the offense is what it is. The Phillies could add an infielder to help while Chase Utley is out, they could trade Werth and promote Brown to see if he could provide a spark, but I’m not convinced one player makes things better. I think the Phillies have to hope their lineup’s track record comes through – if Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino don’t hit, is Brown or an infielder really going to help that much? – and if it does they need to have a strong rotation. (That seems especially true with Jamie Moyer out because they have no depth.) Now, if the Phillies can’t get Oswalt, then they should turn their attention to the bullpen — and adding that bat to help while Utley is out.