Phils Trade Talks Hit Twists and Turns

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
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.

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