The bright spot for the Phillies tonight was that Jamie Moyer pitched well. He baffled hitters inducing ground balls and keeping them off balance. He allowed only two hits in his 19th outing of the season. Wait for it. The bad part? He left after the first inning with a strained left elbow. That alone can sum up what is happening to the Phillies right now.
St Louis starter Chris Carpenter (11-3, 3.05) kept Phillies hitters guessing the whole night going eight innings while scattering five hits and only allowing one run. The Phils have now lost five of six since the All Star break. Over those six games the offense has averaged only four runs per game. The Phils watched the Cardinals pound out 15 hits in route to a 7-1 victory. With the Braves beating the Padres, the Phightins are now seven games back of the division leader and in third place.
If losing Moyer wasn’t bad enough, the Phillies sent starter Kyle Kendrick to Triple-A Lehigh Valley earlier in the day. The move was said to allow for another arm out of the bullpen in Andrew Carpenter. This Carpenter came in for Moyer in the 2nd inning and took the loss giving up three earned runs in three innings.
With Kendrick gone and Moyer possibly missing time, it looks like the Phillies are without starters for this weekend’s games against the Colorado Rockies. Enter Ruben Amaro. He made it a point to not say anything in particular about what the team would do about Saturday’s starter. When asked about possible starters for this weekend he did say, “We do have some other balls in the air.”
What those ‘other balls’ are no one is really sure. The Phillies have been in talks with a handful of teams for a starting pitcher. Early talks had Amaro looking at middle of the rotation kind of guys. Think Joe Blanton circa 2008. Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook, Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie and Oakland’s Ben Sheets are a couple of names the Phillies would consider ‘bargain’ pitchers. The Yankees’ Javier Vasquez, Arizona’s Dan Haren and Chicago’s Ted Lilly have also come up in possible trade scenarios.
The Yankees were heavy into the Cliff Lee trade talks and ESPN’s own Buster Olney was even quoting a team executive saying the deal ‘is just about done.’ While the world waited for the announcement of Lee in pinstripes (and not red ones) the idea of a Jayson Werth for Vasquez deal popped up and was quickly killed. As we all know now, Lee ended up in Texas and many Philly fans were calling for Werth’s uniform.
Werth’s impending free agency has put him under a gigantic microscope not only in Philadelphia but the entire baseball community. Should the Phillies move him now for a starting pitcher and make room for ‘superstar’ in waiting Domonic Brown? Brown is tearing it up in Triple-A patiently waiting for the call.
So before I write myself out of too many updates, I will sum all this trade talk up with the latest. ESPN’s Jayson Stark and Olney are getting crash courses in Twitter this evening frantically posting every drawn out and redundant tweet. What we do know is that Amaro and the front office are said to be in serious talks with teams about landing a frontline pitcher. Early indications are pointing to Roy Oswalt in a deal which would include Werth in a companion deal with a third mystery team. The Tampa Bay Rays seem to be tops on a list of teams that would like his services.
On the surface, Oswalt seems a great fit in Philadelphia. He is a proven starter and another genuine ace. On paper, and I mean tax forms, he may look pricey (due $7mil rest of season and $16mil for next) but if Houston is willing to throw in some cash on top of dumping Werth’s wishlist contract for next year and the Phillies could afford him. The only problem I see is that the longer this deal doesn’t happen is bad for Philly. It is no secret Werth, despite going 2 for 4 tonight, has been slumping lately and could possibly be damaging his trade value. However, at season’s end he will still be one of the most sought after free agent outfielders. It would make more sense for the Phillies to take advantage of his value now. Especially with a guy like Brown ready to go.
As of right now, it doesn’t seem a trade scenario has been presented to Oswalt who holds a full no-trade clause in his current contract and can veto any trade presented to him. In the past he said, if traded, he would like to end up in the South or Midwest. He would have to approve a move to Philly first before anything else could happen.
Amaro is staying hush hush on a possible deal telling Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the team is ‘not close to a trade.’ Classic Ruben. It is bound to be an exciting night and next couple of days for the Phillies.
And we’re back.
As for the now, the Phillies have Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay finishing off the week. The goal has to be scraping out a split with the Cards and getting the Rockies series off to a good start. The Phillies will be facing Jaime Garcia (8-4, 2.27) and Adam Wainwright (14-5, 2.02) to finish off this series. No one said baseball was easy. Especially in Philadelphia.