Phillies in the trade market

Talks between Houston and Philly regarding Roy Oswalt are heating, as well as talks between Tampa and Philly regarding Jayson Werth. So let’s talk about it.

Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia for prospects

I would imagine this potential trade has the most basis in reality. Oswalt has been the subject of trade talk all summer and Phils GM Ruben Amaro has made it clear he wants a high-end starting pitcher. But we also know Oswalt is due around $5mil the rest of the season, as well as $16mil next season. That’s a hefty price to pay, especially for a Phillies team that currently has a payroll too high for their own liking. If Oswalt restricts their financial flexibility for 2011, is he worth trading for?

Well, so far he has a 2.9 WAR. Using the ZiPS projection on FG, he should have a 3.48 FIP over 82 more innings. So lets say that roughly comes out to about a 2.0 WAR. With the current market rate of a win around $4mil, lets simply do $4mil x 2.0 WAR = $8mil. That also means his total WAR in 2010 would be 4.9. Looking at 2011, let’s dock him the traditional 0.5 wins from his WAR. So if he has a 4.4 WAR in 2011 with a market rate of $4.4, his value would be $19.36. Adding up his rest of 2010 value and 2011 value, results in a total value of $27.36mil. He would be paid about $21mil during that time. So he brings the Phillies a net value of $6.36mil. However, if he is still a Phillie after 2011, he has a $16mil club option with a $2mil buyout. I’d say there is a good chance he is bought out, at which point he’d be a type A free agent. So dock $2mil from his current total value to the Phillies, and then add in $10mil for the two picks the Phillies would get for him. Now the Phillies have a total net value of $14.36mil in a trade.

So while he gives Philly a surplus in value (before giving up prospects), is he worth it? He just might be. In the Wild Card they are three games behind the leader in the loss column. Their staff is in shambles- Jamie Moyer is hurt and Joe Blanton has not been good. Right now their only constant is Doc Halladay and Cole Hamels has just been alright. Oswalt is a significant improvement over their fifth starter. As for 2011, Oswalt is showing no signs of aging other than his actual age. He, along with Doc and Cole should make for a strong rotation. Philadelphia may be restricted financially in 2011, but they have no holes to fill. Their everyday starting lineup is under contract (if Brown is the starting right fielder), as well as their top three pitchers.

For Houston to do this deal, what would they want in return? Well if Oswalt is giving the Phillies about $14mil in value, the Astros should expect a top 51-75 hitting prospect or a top 50 pitching prospect. A combo of B or C level prospects would work as well, but I’m sure Houston would rather have the A level prospect. Unfortunately, outside Brown the Phillies have no good prospects. In fact, I’m not so sure who they got in return for Cliff Lee would be enough to land Oswalt. Phillipe Aumount and Tyson Gillies have both struggled mightily this season and neither were top prospects to begin with. It looks like the Cliff Lee trade might come back to bite them in the ass again.

Jayson Werth to Tampa Bay

The other trade being discussed is Jayson Werth to Tampa Bay. Why would Philadelphia do this? To be honest, my only guess is they believe they are getting a starting pitcher, and do not want to pay the pitcher AND Werth. I know Domonic Brown is waiting in the wings which makes Werth a little more expendable than under normal circumstances, but Werth is still a pretty good player. Plus, he will net the Phillies two draft picks when he leaves. So Philly must be thinking what they get in return for Werth will be worth more to them than two draft picks.

The rest of the season Werth is projected to hit .274/.368/.497/.380 over 228 PA. So let’s say he has a 1.5 WAR to finish the season. That would bring his value to $6mil. Werth is being payed $7mil this year, so Tampa would probably end up paying around $3mil. Werth would also net Tampa two draft picks, so tack on an additional $10mil in value and Tampa would be getting a total net value of $14mil. So by trading Werth rather than keeping him, they would only be getting an additional $4mil in value. Is that worth trading him rather than keeping him to make a run at another World Series? Personally, I would say no. Unless Tampa is willing to part with a top prospect or two that you feel is better than anyone you can get with your draft picks, I would not deal Jayson.

As for Tampa, hell yeah I would take Werth. In a tight race, they need any upgrade they can get. Especially since 2010 may be their best chance to win it all, with Crawford and Pena about to leave. While Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac are decent players, Werth allows you to play Zobrist at second while putting Werth in right. Also, it could open the door for a potential BJ Upton trade where Tampa can bolster other areas of the team. Werth would give Tampa five outfielders without even looking at Desmond Jennings, so it really makes Upton expendable. Werth would also give them two draft picks, along with Crawford and Pena. WOW. Can you imagine Tampa with six draft picks in the early rounds next season?

Another possible scenario

I don’t believe this has been discussed, but I think a three way deal should go down. Prospects to Houston, Werth to Tampa, and Oswalt to Philly. Philly and Tampa could team up prospects to head to Houston. A win-win-win for all participants. Houston gets fair value for Oswalt, while Tampa and Philly would be both pay fair value, or less even, for Werth and Oswalt.

Whatever happens, baseball is about to be shaken up in what would would be a major trade(s).

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