Trade Radar Update

We're at the one week mark until the trade deadline hits and there is a little news to report, but not the expected news that Phillies fans had figured to hear by now. At one point, it was hoped that Roy Oswalt would be a Phillie by today.

The truth is that there really isn't much new coming out on the trade front, which in baseball terms, may be a good thing if you're a Phillies fan.

As the Phillies play at home against the Colorado Rockies, with their new and improved offense which has everybody thinking that Greg Gross is a stinkin' genius, the Tampa Bay Rays are in attendance and watching Jayson Werth closely. Yes, the Rays are still interested and the Phillies didn't necessarily have to connect trades to ditch Werth and add Roy Oswalt and either trade could potentially be done with or without the other taking place. But stop and think about this. Unless the Phillies get another right-handed outfield bat to replace Werth, they are not going to make a move with Werth this season. The only real option to take over for Werth would be Domonic Brown, who is a left-handed hitter. That would place all of the Phillies power hitters squarely on the first base side of home plate when they head up to bat. When Chase Utley returns, you would have a middle-of-the-lineup that would be Utley, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Brown, four left-handed hitters. The upside is that right-handed starters would have a problem to worry about, as would teams with no quality left-handers - or two - in their bullpen.

For right-handed starters, the Phillies could easily roll out a lineup that would have seven left-handed position players in the lineup with the switch-hitting Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino and Brian Schneider catching to give Carlos Ruiz a day off. If you put Greg Dobbs at third for the day and have Cole Hamels starting, the Phillies would field an all left-handed hitting lineup.

Of course, the lefty-laden lineup will take shape next season if Werth is allowed to walk and the Phillies don't find a suitable right-handed hitting replacement. And if they do find a right-handed power bat, where does that leave Domonic Brown. In a perfect world, the Phillies would deal Raul Ibanez, even if it means eating a huge chunk of his contract, get a prospect in exchange and re-sign Werth, opening left field for Brown. Here's the part where we mention that Brown played a couple of games in left field on the last road trip for Lehigh Valley. "We like to do that [shift them around to all three spots in the outfield] with all of our outfielders," said 'Pigs manager Dave Huppert to explain away Brown's sudden shift to left.

Enter Josh Willingham? The Phillies talked with Washington near last year's trade deadline and word is that he could be at least a tiny blip on their radar this summer as well. Willingham is eligible for his final arbitration hearing following this season and will be a free agent following the 2011 season. He would provide a right-handed bat to help replace Werth, but if Ibanez and Victorino are still here, there is no spot for Brown in the outfield. It's certainly a tough outfield situation for the Phillies to deal with and all roads point to not letting Werth leave town either through a trade or free agency, but right now, the odds of Werth staying aren't very good.

As for Oswalt, he made some remarks the other day and the big headline from his comments has been that he wouldn't ask the Cardinals to pick up his 2012 option if he were to be dealt to St. Louis. For Phillies fans, a lesser comment that hasn't received nearly as much press is bigger. Oswalt told reporters that having a club pick up his option wouldn't be a "deal breaker" to getting him to approve a trade and the only place that he has said he would reject has been New York, which came up when the Mets were preparing an offer to get Oswalt from the Astros. It should be noted too, that the Yankees are officially not pursuing Oswalt because of the fact that he doesn't want to pitch in New York. Could Philly, with a tough fan base and sometimes difficult media group be in the same boat?

The bad news on Oswalt is that the Astros are starting to believe that they can get more than they initially thought for Oswalt and their asking price will continue to escalate during the last week of the trading period.

The Phillies - and just about everybody else - are scouting Dan Haren closely and word is that the Diamonbacks have grown very serious about dealing him before the deadline. Haren has had somewhat of an injury filled career, so that could be a concern for any team that would put together a package to pursue getting Haren from Arizona.



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