As much as it hurts to say, it's looking like the Phillies' season is going to be a wash. They keep falling further and further behind the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets in the NL East race, and are just as far behind for a Wild Card spot.
In fact, short of charging back and winning the division, there's likely no chance the Phils will be able to make it back to the postseason, much less to a third straight World Series.
So it's time now to start looking toward 2011 and beyond. And the best way to do that is to move Jayson Werth, who is the Phillies' best piece to play with right now. In doing so, they can restock the farm system that Ruben Amaro, Jr. has left relatively bare from trades for Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.
Within the next few years, the Phillies are going to need help in left field, right field (which obviously becomes more of a priority by trading Werth), third base, catcher, and pitching—not only in the bullpen, but starters as well.
Raul Ibanez only has one more season left on his deal, and Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz aren't getting any younger. The bullpen has been a mess for years, and the three, four, and five starters are always question marks.
Joe Blanton is inconsistent (to say the least), Jamie Moyer is just a guy at this point, and the fifth spot is always up in the air. Kyle Kendrick's recent demotion most likely means the Phillies have given up on him as a starter, and J.A. Happ might have blown his chance to become a full-time starter by getting injured early in the season.
Happ has the tools to be a guy the Phils can count on, but they're going to need to see a lot more out of him before they can be comfortable penciling him in as a starter year in and year out.
Right now, trading for a top-of-the-line starter is not necessary, nor is it wise. Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren are two names being kicked around, but both guys are very pricey and would likely be the only thing the Phils can get if they trade Werth.
It would be great having another starter, but at this point, I would rather have three or four very good prospects, as opposed to one very good pitcher. Blanton, Moyer, and Happ can carry the load for another season or two. Hopefully, one of the guys they pick up in a Werth trade can develop into an Oswalt/Haren type of player.
The best thing about all of this is that the Phillies could probably trade Werth, call up Dominic Brown, have him platoon with Ben Francisco for a while, and still be good enough to make a late push and win the division—that is, if everyone can figure out what's causing their funks.
But, with or without Werth, it seems as though that would take a miracle.
So instead of treading water for the rest of the season with a guy like Werth in right field, simply collecting a check until he can jump ship in free agency, why not move him while they can and get some quality guys for the future?
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