Results tagged ‘ Dan Haren ’

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!

Oswalt Oswalt Oswalt Oswalt Oswalt


oswalt.jpgRuben Amaro Jr.
said this morning he does know who will be pitching Saturday against the Rockies.

Don’t bet on Roy Oswalt.

A deal for Oswalt is not close, and there are reports the Cardinals are involved. One report said Oswalt prefers not to pitch for a team with a “large and aggressive” media contingent. Oh. My. Lord. Really?! If that is true, that pretty much makes him the opposite of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, who I’m pretty sure eat nails for breakfast.

But Oswalt has the power because he has a complete no-trade clause. Say both teams make comprable deals and agree to pick up Oswalt’s $16 million option in 2012. Say the Astros come up to Oswalt and say, “Honestly, we have two great offers. You can go to St. Louis or you can go to Philadelphia. Your choice.”

Would he pick the Phillies?

The Phillies are seven behind the Braves in the NL East and four behind the Reds in sixth place in the NL wild card. They have lost six of seven since the break. The offense has been flat. They have looked lifeless on the field. Everybody in the clubhouse has said there is something missing from this year’s team. The Phillies simply are not making a strong case for themselves if other teams are in the hunt. And remember Oswalt has the power. He can steer the Astros toward St. Louis (or anybody) by simply telling them, “You might be close with Philly, but I want to play for the Cardinals. Make it happen.” Now Houston can come back and say, “Philly has made us a much better offer. It’s Philly or nowhere.” But Oswalt can always stay in Houston if he wants. He has that choice. But if the Cardinals are serious that makes things much more difficult for Philadelphia.

Another question to ask: how much would Oswalt or Dan Haren or Ben Sheets help the Phillies? If the offense doesn’t get on track, it won’t matter much. Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino need to get on track ASAP.

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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!

The Werth Market

Thumbnail image for werth 0624 2010.jpgIt sounds like Cliff Lee is headed to the Yankees.

Update: Nope, nope. He’s headed to the Heat. Wait … nope, uh, yes, he’s headed to the Rangers. Yes, it’s official. He’s definitely headed to the Rangers.

It sounds like Jayson Werth is not.

There have been reports today the Yankees, who might move a starter upon finalizing the Lee trade, would send Javier Vazquez to the Phillies for Werth. Sources said this afternoon that Werth-for-Vazquez is not happening.

Update: Lee going to the Rangers does not change the fact the Phillies would not trade Werth to the Yankees for Vazquez.

Make sense.

It would take a much better deal to move Werth. Werth and Vazquez are free agents after the season. If the Phillies trade Werth — and the Phillies are exploring the trade market for Werth — they will want Major League-ready talent they can control beyond 2010. Vazquez is not that.

If the Phillies trade Werth — Ruben Amaro Jr. said this week he is willing to trade somebody from his 25-man roster to strengthen another area on his roster– it certainly would be to a team in the postseason hunt that needs a bat. That would be teams like the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, etc. That means Werth for Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren makes little sense. I mean, it might make sense to the Phillies. But why would the Astros or Diamondbacks (or any other team out of contention with a stud starting pitcher) want Werth, knowing he likely will be gone in a couple months? If the Astros or Diamondbacks trade Oswalt or Haren, they also will be looking for young talent they can control beyond this season.

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It's Gotta Be Happ

happ 0805.jpgI’d say J.A. Happ has made a case for himself.

He threw his second shoutout of the season tonight in a 7-0 victory against the Rockies. He struck out a career-high 10 batters. He is 8-2 with a 2.74 ERA, an ERA which ranks sixth in the National League.

Who’s got a better ERA in the NL than Happ?

Chris Carpenter (2.10 ERA)
Tim Lincecum (2.18 ERA)
Matt Cain (2.25 ERA)
Dan Haren (2.38 ERA)
Wandy Rodriguez (2.63 ERA)

That’s solid company, which makes Happ’s future in the Phillies rotation even more interesting than it already is.

We know Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton take three spots in the rotation.

We know Jamie Moyer leads the team with 10 wins.

We know Pedro Martinez has been signed to be a starter, and the Phillies have made no bones that is their plan for him.

But we also know Moyer’s 5.55 ERA is the second highest in the National League, Martinez has not piched in the big leagues since last season and Happ has been one of the team’s most consistent starters this year.

“Tremendous pitching. Outstanding,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “If he didn’t allow any hits that might have been the only way he could have done better. I think he showed me he wants to stay in the rotation.”

Has he?

“Let me answer that for you later on, OK?” Manuel said. “I don’t feel like getting into that no more. I’ve answered that now for what? A week?”

But that was before Happ threw his latest shutout.

If the Phillies think Martinez is ready for the big leagues after his latest rehab start tonight with Double-A Reading — he allowed three earned runs and struck out 11 in six innings — the decision might come before Happ’s next scheduled start Tuesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Should Happ stay in the rotation? Absolutely. I can’t see how the Phillies will be able to say they are a better team — a team trying to win another World Series — with Happ in the bullpen. In a seven-game series, who would you want following Lee, Hamels and Blanton right now? I’d want Happ.

But the decision is tougher than it seems. Manuel mentioned Tuesday that Moyer leads the team in wins and has won 256 games in his career. He also is in the first year of a two-year, $13 million contract. Those things will be considered. Martinez, while he has not pitched in the Majors since last season, is worth a look. And while he has said he would go to the bullpen, he might not take that well. That will be considered, too.

It might come down to Happ vs. Moyer. It should be interesting, but Happ has earned the right to keep starting.

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Happ Making His Case

happ 0720.jpgThe numbers are impressive.

J.A. Happ is 7-0 with a 2.68 ERA after he threw seven scoreless innings yesterday against the Marlins at Landshark Stadium. He is 5-0 with a 2.74 ERA in 11 starts since he replaced Chan Ho Park in the rotation.

Happ leads National League rookies in wins, ERA and opponents average (.222). He is second in innings (94). He is third in strikeouts (65). He is the only rookie to throw a shutout this season.

He is a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate.

Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson (4-0, 2.85 ERA), Milwaukee’s Casey McGehee (.321, six homers, 27 RBIs), St. Louis’ Colby Rasmus (.270, 11, 34), Colorado’s Seth Smith (.305, 8, 25) and Los Angeles’ Ramon Troncoso (4-0, 1.70 ERA, nine holds) are a few rookies who can make claims for Rookie of the Year.

But Happ … he filled a huge void in the rotation for the defending World Series champions. His ERA is fourth best amongst all pitchers in the National League. Only Dan Haren (1.96 ERA), Tim Lincecum (2.27 ERA) and Matt Cain (2.32 ERA) are better. His opponents average is fifth best amongst all pitchers in the National League. Only Haren (.187), Clayton Kershaw (.193), Yovani Gallardo (.208) and Lincecum (.214) are better.

Of course, what makes Happ’s Rookie of the Year candidacy more interesting is that he could be included in a trade for Roy Halladay. If the Blue Jays insist on a young, Major League-ready starter — a starter they can control for the next several years — Happ is the guy.

The Phillies could use a guy like Happ in their rotation for the next several years.

The problem is they could use Halladay this year.

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