If trade deadline time weren't full of twists and turns; if it was instead, just a straight path to getting the player that you want, without any drama or gamesmanship, it wouldn't be so fun. If the Phillies just said to Houston, we'll give you players x, y and z for Roy Oswalt and the Astros said fine and Oswalt said fine, what fun would that be? So, with that as the premise, this year's trade deadline time is great fun.
Right now, the Phillies and Astros are in a staring match. Somewhat by default, Philadelphia seems to be the only real option for Houston GM Ed Wade to turn to if he wants to deal Oswalt and Oswalt is the only real frontline pitcher available anymore, so the Phillies don't have much of an option, either. Instead of just taking those facts and getting a deal done, the jockeying is going on this week. For their part - and to cover their butts - the Phillies have dispatched scouts to Kansas City to watch Zach Greinke and Cleveland to watch Fausto Carmona. Greinke probably isn't available and if he is, the cost in terms of prospects would make it the longest of possible shots for the Phillies to bring him to Philadelphia. Carmona has intrigued the Phillies, but he's certainly not the top-of-the-rotation starter that they feel they need to acquire. On the Astros side, they were supposed to send a scout to Triple-A Lehigh Valley Tuesday night to watch the debut of right-hander Vance Worley, who they are interested in obtaining as part of a potential Oswalt deal, but the scout found better things to do and never quite made it to Coca-Cola Park.
As for Oswalt, his flip-flops on where he would accept a deal to, continue. Will he or won't he okay a deal to the Phillies, and if he will, would it only be on the condition that the Phillies guarantee his 2012 option? Oswalt has gone back-and-forth and as late as Tuesday, revised his comments from Monday to now make it seem like he's open to pitching in Philadelphia, but that he would be a little more open if his option were picked up by the Phillies.
Manager Charlie Manuel has said - and reiterated on Tuesday - that if the Phillies can do anything before the deadline, he hopes it's able for them to get a quality starting pitcher. Manuel doesn't want a middle or bottom rotation type; he wants Oswalt. "I don't want us to get some guy we've already got. What would be the purpose of that," Manuel told the Philadelphia Daily News on Tuesday.
Having said that, the Phillies reportedly have at least a passing interest in Diamondbacks starter Edwin Jackson. Jackson is one of those guys who seems to have all the potential in the world, but just can't gather it all in one place long enough to gain any consistency. Earlier this season, Jackson threw a no-hitter, but his ERA sits just over the 5.00 mark this season with Arizona.
While scouting Kansas City, Kyle Farnsworth was likely of interest to the Phillies, as someone who could help near the back end of the Phillies bullpen. The Royals have Farnsworth on the block and adding depth to their bullpen is something that interests the Phillies. The 34 year-old right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.34 ERA in 35 relief appearances for the Royals this season. Toronto is the favorite place for teams to turn to for relief help this summer and the Phillies are no different. A name like Scott Downs, a left-hander, holds a lot of interest for the Phillies. To add credence to the rumored interest between the Phillies and Blue Jays, Toronto had a scout at Monday's Phillies game and it just so happened that the scout packed up and left after Joe Blanton finished pitching and he hasn't been back since.
The latest twists also include the necessity of keeping Jayson Werth, thanks to an injury to center fielder Shane Victorino. Even if Victorino misses minimal time, his injury on Tuesday emphasizes how fragile the outfield situation may be if the Phillies were to deal Werth to another club. The Phillies will have to continue to deal with Werth's sometimes balky attitude for the rest of the season before allowing him a gentle exit via free agency, because the Phillies just can't risk sending him elsewhere at this point in the season. Besides, one potential destination spot for Werth was Tampa Bay in a deal that would include B.J. Upton coming to the Phillies, but Upton went down with an injury Tuesday night, too, so there's likely no deal to make between the two teams.
And now, for a turn, which is more than a twist. The Phillies and Orioles are talking again about Miguel Tejada. Adding an infield type would still be of interest to the Phillies, who feel Tejada would be a better option to help their infield than is Cody Ransom. Tejada has a slash line of .279/.309/.364 this season with Baltimore and has made a decent, but not spectacular move from shortstop to third base this season. Of course, the addition of Tejada would push Placido Polanco to second, which is something the Phillies have said they're not very interested in doing. Tejada would also be out of a job when Chase Utley returns from the DL in about a month or possibly, even a little less. But since the Phillies and Orioles are talking again, Ty Wigginton's name is likely to come up and the Phillies are likely to be very interested in the versatility that Wigginton could add to their club.