In Tuesday night's 7-2 victory over the Giants, Phillies pitcher Vance Worley earned his seventh win of the year and lowered his ERA to 2.02. It was also the rookie's first career complete game.
In 11 starts for the Phillies this season, Worley has just one loss and a WHIP of 1.09. He has also shown steady improvement between starts and gotten much better at keeping his pitch count down.
Filling in for the injured Joe Blanton, Worley has been outstanding. As for Blanton, a recent report from Matt Snyder at CBS Sports indicates that Blanton has nerve damage in his elbow and he may be done for the year.
Once Roy Oswalt returns to the rotation, the Phillies will be using Worley as the fifth starter. Kyle Kendrick is also available, but he has been more useful in a long relief role. In nine starts, Kendrick has a 3-2 record and 3.97 ERA. In relief, his ERA drops to 2.49.
Arguments to trade Worley include his rookie status, which some think gives him an edge as most teams have not faced him. If that is the case, it is thought he may not be as good next year so the Phillies should trade him now. J.A. Happ encountered the rookie curse after being traded to Houston, where he has performed very poorly since a sparkling rookie campaign.
If Worley is traded now, while he is performing well, certainly he will be worth more. However, if Worley continues to excel from now until the end of the season, he will be worth just as much in a trade during the offseason, before he has a chance to suffer from the sophomore slump.
With this in mind, it makes sense to keep him for the year, especially with the news on Blanton.
The Phillies could use an upgrade in the form of a right-handed bat, but losing Worley seems to steep a price right now. If the Phillies could get Hunter Pence, Domonic Brown would be a better trade piece, along with some prospects. Pence would be under team control, like Brown is now, and both the defense and offense would improve.
There are a number of other possibilities as well. But if Worley goes in exchange for a right-handed bat, where would that person play? Brown needs playing time if the Phillies plan on keeping him and developing him. The rest of the positions seem pretty well set for the year, barring further injuries.
There is another option as well. The Phillies do not have to make a trade if the right situation does not present itself.
The offense has improved since the All-Star break and bench players like John Mayberry Jr. and Michael Martinez have shown promise. Mayberry is a power right-hander and Martinez is a switch hitter. Also, Ben Francisco is batting .353 as a pinch-hitter.
Whether the Phillies decide to make a move or not, hopefully Worley will be staying in Philadelphia...at least for now.