Haren Out, Focus Turns to Oswalt


haren.jpgDan Haren
is headed to Anaheim, which means only Roy Oswalt remains.

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.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

31 Comments

I knew it from the very beginning of the season when the whole Cliff Lee trade went down that they will have to look for pitching later on and here we go looking for a pitcher when we had the best in town yet we let him go. Now here we are decding who take trade adn who to keep. Quite frankly, I think Ruben is doing a terrible job and one more wrong move I think I might just burst into flames. Yes Jayson is not performing like the way we hoped he would but guess what he is teh best right fielder out there. You can’t just assume that Dominc Brown or Ben Francisco will replace him because they can’t. Jayson may be streaky but his power numbers are irreplaceable. And Happ is the future, he is young, and doesn’t get paid much so why not keep him until Blanton’s contract is up because honestly Happ is way better than Blanton. If you can’t get Oswalt then upgrade the bullpen because your Baez ain’t doing his jobs. So here is a message to Ruben and I hope everyone is with me on this “KEEP JAYSON AND HAPP AND UPGRADE THE BULLPEN.” Ruben don’t disappoint us again my trading another key player to our road to the playoffs, I mean come on are you really trying to kill the chemistry of the team and let us drown over and over again because of your mistakes. Jayson is the key to the playoffs don’t close the door on the playoffs on us please please please.

It’s now time to really think about the future of this team. THe last few games the offense has woken up and the starting pitching has been great. Rube et al have to decide if this is the real Philies, or if the bumbling stuttering team from the first 5 games after the break is the real team.

If what we are seeing now (Howard hitting for power, Werth batting over .300, Ibanez getting hot, 3 shut outs in a row etc) is the team then don’t make any moves except to tweak the pen a bit. Figure on a rotation of Halladay, Hamels, Happ, Kendrick and Blanton. With a bit of luck we get red hot in playoff time and ……

Oswalt will cost $16M in 2012. If we didn’t like Lee at $9M, what makes us think Amaro will go for a pitcher with that big of a contract?

I don’t mind seeing Jayson go, but he’s not the problem in outfield, and Brown wouldn’t be the solution if he was. Brown is a lefty, Werth’s big Right-handed bat behind Howard has been a huge part of Howard’s success the past few years. Another lefty on this team just isn’t helpful. The only logical place for Brown is in Ibanez’ spot. Ibanez, despite that first half a season he played for us, has been an albatross around the neck of Amaro.

As for Happ… yeah he’s young, and his stats are pretty good… but have you actually seen him pitch?! Its nerve-racking. He is far from dominant on the mound and rarely gets through the sixth which stresses the bullpen pretty badly.

I want Oswalt to come here… well I want some ace to come here. Still livid about the Lee deal. It was really a monstrous travesty on the part of the front office.

Oswalt is a really good pitcher. I wish we could give up Ibanez for him.

Anybody have thoughts on someone cheap, throwing well and young, like Shaun Marcum? (Albeit not cheap in what we would have to give up for him, but maybe we could trade Werth for a bunch of prospects?)

Superphan: Try to understand this once: Lee was not kept not because of the 9 million this year, but because management wasn’t willing to pay him 25 million next year, the year after that, the year after that and the year after that (4 years 100 million is what he’s said to be looking for). The mistake was not getting enough for him!!! Rube thought that our rotation would be strong enough this year to get us into the Playoffs. He didn’t expect Happ to go down, Moyer to get hurt, and Blanton to get hurt and then stink to high heaven. However, he should have gotten better prospects closer to being ready for the big leagues then he got for Lee.

The question we need to be asking is what’s available between now and next season to fill our need for a number 3 pitcher. Assuming Doc and Hamels are 1-2, and Happ/Kendrick/Blanton are 4-5, what do we do for 3? Oswalt is an option, but 16 million may be better spent on Werth at this point.

Pheris and Mule: Throw out some good cheap options for # 3’s who are available cheap or will be FA’s

fan_in_jerusalem, thank you! You are totally correct. Lee or his agent made it very clear he wanted “C.C. money”, and when they didn’t seem receptive to negations Amaro moved him along. He replaced him instead with the best pitcher in baseball, willing to deal to be on a winning team. We had Halladay, Happ and Hamels, we didn’t need another $25 mil a year starter. Especially one who has a whispered temper and who seems to like to throw beans at player’s heads.

Ibanez was an albatross? Bah! He was a great pickup, and last year people though Amaro had black magic to predict his last season. He pretty much sailed us through our early season struggles and got us to the WS last year. Even not hitting he is a solid defensive player. I really fail to see how he was an ‘albatross’.

Wow, Phillysuperphan, with all due respect, you should have blocked off a little time in your schedule last season to watch some baseball. Happ’s average innings per start last year (6.26) was better than Cole Hamels (6.03), about the same as Josh Johnson’s (6.3) and not much worse than Cliff Lee’s (6.58). He was also tied for second in the NL with three complete games. Are you really basing your entire assessment of him on the two starts he made at the beginning of this year when he was injured and the one start he made since he came back?

Todd, I agree with you 100% Barb
http://barbward.mlblogs.com

Hey Luna like many Philadelphians you overvalue new talent and jump to conclusions after one year. In 2009 Happ beat the likes of the Pirates (3x), and Nats too often (1 win against the Yanks is about the top). He’s a #3 or #4 in a decent staff. The Yanks won the series with who pitching? CC., and Andy Pettite beat the Phils twice? Enough on Lee he went ‘hunting’ while his agent made the big play and lost. Then he’s sorry to leave Philly. The NL East and Central have improved in 2010. 83-86 wins is going to be enough. Atlanta is fourth in pitching and fourth in hitting. For now that’s good enough to hold onto first place. Whose going to carry the Braves in August?

Everyone nneeds to stop acting like Philly has to make a move or their done cause thats not true. Ever year a team goes out and gets a big piece like C.C or Manny or even Lee, but dont win. The year we won are big move was acquiring a 3 spot pitcher in Joe Blanton. Our roation has a solid 1-2(Roy and Cole), Happ looked good for his first Major league start in 2 months. For the 4-5 we got Kendrick who has a great coach to mentor him in Halladay and Blanton who we all hopes will find it. So we have a decent rotation but with a horrible bullpen how we will win. In 08 are bullpen was great and we won. Last year showed tht we need a closer. why not look at Soria from KC or look at a guy like Lindstrom for Houston. Or maybe we should give J.C a chance. GO PHILLIES

please keep werth. defensively teams do not run on him that much because of his hussle and his arm. keeping some doubles to singles, some triples to doubles and having third base coaches hold some runners from going home. not to mention his offense and i think he is still pretty young. our pitching era could be higher for some of the pitchers without him.

Did somebody here compare Happ to Hamels, Lee and Josh Johnson? Please, I can understand the enthusiasm for a solid rookie season, but I suggest that you look a little deeper into the numbers, like WHIP and BABIP. He danced a bit between the raindrops last season and succeeded in not getting wet. That was an anomaly and he will have a hard time repeating it. I like Happ but I have no problem giving him up if it means Roy Oswalt, but I don’t expect it. Oswalt doesn’t want to come to Philly; too much media attention. If he can’t stand the heat then he should stay out of the kitchen.
Ibanez is starting to heat up. I hope Charlie doesn’t decide to start platooning him, as it appears. They need to ride his hot streaks out.

phan: Ibanez has gotten base hits off left-handers the past couple of days. Maybe that will change Charlie’s opinion of sitting him vs lefties?
I seem to remember a similar exchange about trading Happ for Halladay last season. How would that have worked out? Young pitchers with potential are a dime a dozen.

Mule: Trading Happ for Halladay last year would have worked out as follows: We’d have had Drabek as our 5th starter this year. How’s he doing in AA ball?

f.i.j.: Drabek? No. Halladay, Hamels, Moyer, Blanton, Kendrick. If at all, Drabek wouldn’t have figured in until Moyer was injured, forcing a trade.
On July 4, 2010, Kyle threw the second no-hitter in New Hampshire Fisher Cats history, 5-0 over the New Britain Rock Cats. He walked two and struck out three.
Drabek has a 3.27 ERA for New Hampshire with 95 Ks and 50 walks, and a WHIP of 1.23 in 20 starts. I’d say, he’s doing OK.

Mule: I wasn’t trying to say he wasn’t doing good, though I haven’t been following him this year. Last year, if you recall, we all were screaming not to make the deal. I still feel that the trading of Lee was a sound business decision. The problem is that we didn’t get enough of a return in the trade due to Rube panicing and mistakingly feeling he had to trde Lee the same day he got DOc. no one foresaw the injuries this year. OUr rotation was supposed to be-Doc, Hamels, Happ, Blanton and Moyer/Kendrick. Based on all parameters this should have been fine. THe only thing they might have done different is to have held Lee until the deadline this year and packaged him with Werth in a megadeal for someone like Oswalt/Haren/etc and a few prospects…if some team would have wanted two soon to be FA’s

LOL!! f-i-j, you and your trading deadline deals are hilarious. Why in the world would the Phillies want to trade Lee (if he were still here) AND Werth at the trading deadline? And why would Houston or Arizona trade a top-of-the-rotation pitcher for expiring contracts?
Sure, there was talk about Werth, but that was if the Phillies had fallen on their face over the last 3-4 weeks and fallen hopelessly out of the race. That possibility seriously existed, but they are playing better now and I think, if they can weather missing Utley for now, they will make the playoffs. But forget Roy Oswalt. The scuttlebutt is that he really doesn’t want the media scrutiny that exists in Philly and that the only way he will waive his no-trade is if the Phillies pick up his 16 million option for 2012. They should focus on a bullpen piece. There are some really good ones out there and available.

The rumor mill is running rampant! Tom Verducci (Sports ILL) was on WIP this a.m. and said the Phils have a very good chance of getting Oswalt. I know Ken Rosenthal has said the opposite. Both good baseball resources. What they really also need but theres not much out there is a backend of the bullpen pitcher. Despite Lidge getting the saves over the last couple of days, it took him 60+ pitches to do so. Nerve racking to say the least!!

If Kendrick has to rely strictly on the sinker, he is dead before he starts. Herndon has the same problem, but this is his first real stint in The Show. They have to learn to adapt and Kendrick has had the opportunity for almost four years now to ‘adapt’.
The St. Louis game was a case of him just quitting and giving in. It may have been the most gutless performance I have ever seen by a ML pitcher. I would have preferred that he just tell Dubee that he didn’t have it and he wanted out.

I think the hiring of Greg Gross has awakened the small-ball ability of this offense. Guys are going the other way (especially with two strikes), and the running game has emergrd from its unexplained hibernation. I notice the little things like (1) The Howitzer standing closer to the plate, like he was doing at the start of the season. As a result, he’s seeing the strike zone much better, taking his walks and keeping the train moving. That walk he worked yesterday was beautiful (although I did think he got the benefit of a call on ball 4. Dobbs is standing further from the plate, so that his arms are not actually IN the strike zone while waiting for the pitch. J-Roll and Valdez finally shortening up like guys of their stature should, in order to gain more bat control…I think trading Happ would be a mistake. Guys who are “sneaky fast” stay that way their whole careers because their is something in their delivery that creates deception…I don’t understand why everyone is down on Kendrick. First of all, he’s the #5 starter, not the ace. Secondly, this is the first full year he has been throwing his secondary pitches. It takes time to command new pitches, as well as to know to whom and when to throw those pitches. The same can be said for Chooch and Schneider in their calling of Kendrick’s games. That said, KK has been throwing good games more frequently, so it seems as though he is learning to pitch before our eyes. The ineffective start in St. Louis was more the result of an elevated strike zone than anything else. no sinker baller is effective when forced to elevate his pitches to get a strike call.

The Phillies need to stand pat. What ever happens this year happens. Oswalt’s salary is too onerous. While it may or may not pay dividends this year, what does it do for decisions in 2011 and 2012? The Phillies could have gained had they traded Werth this last off-season when his value was high. To do so now would be sheer folly. Does anyone believe that the Phillies would receive more for him now as opposed to the additional draft picks? Junior needs to be bold this next off-season. He could start with offering Hamels and Victorino and attempt to receive a replacement for one or the other and a boatload of prospects. The only advantage I see that Hamels has over Happ is the fact that Hamels is a left hander. I know that it generally takes left handers longer to mature. But the question remains, mature into what? Hamels has been only 31-28 over the last three years. Will he ever fulfill his potential, whatever that may be?

Ok, the reason Lee wasnt kept is they felt he wasnt controllable past 2010, I stilldont know why he wasnt kept thru this year but I see thge long term picture. Lee wanted a LONG,LONG Contract, the Phillies have a philosophy of no contracts over 3 years for pitchers, Hence Hallday 3 years w a Club option 4th. Lee will command a 6 yr/140 mill deal, Oswalt is a pitcher that we can control thru next 2.5 seasons, thats why I know the phillies can get him if they want,especially Moyer (8 mill) and Werth(7 mill) coming off the books..

THe issue with trading Werth now or not is simple. What do you think the difference in production will be if Werth plays RF or if Brown plays RF? How many more/less hits, RBIs, HR etc will Werth give you over Brown for the rest of the season. Take this and compare it to whatever you can get for Werth now as apposed to 2 draft picks if he goes FA. does it make sense to trade Werth, I don’t know, but I don’t think we’d loose anything by playing Brown instead, and whatever we get has to be better then 2 draft picks…we still need a RP and a super utility guy who can hit

bailguy84 : Do the Phillies want to tie up every thing coming “off the books” in one player?

fij: How do you know that what the Phillies can get for Werth is better than 2 draft picks? You have a crystal ball or what? Enough already with the blowing smoke.

Since Haren was traded to the Angels, I’ve been wondering if the D-Backs would be willing to part with Joe Saunders. I think he’s at least as good as Haren, if not better. Moreover, he will be much cheaper over the long run than Oswalt, assuming the Phils can wrestle him away from the D-Backs. Included along with Saunders was one of the Angels’ top pitching prospects, who could arguably replace Haren in the future. And Brandon Webb will eventually return to the rotation someday, so maybe they will be tempted with the right bait….whatever that would be.

erich, Saunders is an just an OK pitcher and not even close to Dan Haren. Haren is a top of the totation type guy and Saunders is, at best, a nice #3. Frankly, I think the D’backs would have been better off getting Happ instead of Saunders. The pitching prospect the D’backs got is in A ball right now so there is no telling if he will ever pitch in the majors. Probably no better a prospect than Cosart or May. I thnk the D’backs got fleeced.

fij: You just love hyperbole, don’t you?

Pherris: Any living player in the MLB will be more help this year then two draft picks who may, with luck, reach the majors in 3 years. THis is baseball, where draft picks, unless the # 1 overall (and even then, not always) aren’t worth very much, unlike Basketball or football. Get a RP, or a super utility guy. Hell, get two AAA players with potential to make the club next year…

pherris, you mention that the only advantage Hamels has over Happ is that he is lefthanded? Hint: The are BOTH lefthanded. And Hamels has a body of work that includes a WS MVP. I don’t know if you get to watch the games, but Hamels is pitching generally like an ‘ace’ this year. He is getting abysmal run support and could easily have 12-13 wins by now. He struggled a bit yesterday but showed that he can still keep the team in the game when he doesn’t have his best stuff, and they had the lead when he left the game. I am impressed with his maturity this season under those circumstances because, granted, last year he didn’t handle adversity well. Hamels has proved this year that he is a keeper, and if it takes either him or Happ to get another solid starter, it’s gotta be Happ. It’s not even close. Halladay/Hamels is as good a 1-2 as there is in the NL right now, maybe all of MLB.

pherrisphain, I’ve seen Saunders pitch a few games on TV out here in LA and he does what he has to to keep his team in the game. His win-loss record should mean something to you. It’s noticeably better than Haren’s.

erich. wins and losses are a poor indication of a pitcher’s performance. Jamie Moyer has two more wins than Cole Hamels. Who do you think has been a better pitcher this season?

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