I just filed a column on this topic. You will be able to read it in the Philadelphia Daily News and on Philly.com on Wednesday.
Until then, meditate on this:
Now might be the perfect time to trade Vance Worley. Over at CSNPhilly.com, Jim Salisbury is reporting that the Phillies are willing to trade Worley and prospect Trevor May in the right deal. And that report makes a hell of a lot of sense. In early November I asked Ruben Amaro Jr. if it might make sense for the Phillies to deal a young, valuable pitcher like Worley in order to improve the lineup, and then worry about filling the void in the rotation via free agency. Amaro acknowledged the possibility (although, to be clear, he was not saying specifically that he would consider trading Worley. The question I posed was phrased as a hypothetical). And now might be the time to pursue it.
The market for position players is ridiculously overvalued right now. Shane Victorino at three years at $39 million (no offense, Shane), Angel Pagan at four years and $40 million, B.J. Upton at five years and $75 million. When Jonny Gomes is getting two years and $10 million, it is hard to imagine that there is value to be found anywhere.
Who would you rather see traded: Cliff Lee or Vance Worley?
The same might not be true on the pitching side of things. There are a lot more options, for one thing. The top of the market features Zack Greinke, Ryan Dempster, Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson and Anibal Sanchez. But there are plenty of guys who could fill in for Worley at a reasonable price: Shaun Marcum, Brandon McCarthy, Carl Pavano, Joe Saunders, and Kevin Correia. And, keep in mind, the Phillies have a pair of starters in Jonathan Pettibone and Adam Morgan who could be ready to get a shot at the major league level in 2013. Morgan, especially, is a guy to keep your eye on. One baseball person who saw him pitch mentioned Chris Capuano as a comparison. Maybe the Phillies even end up going after a guy like Carlos Villanueva, who could end up bolstering the bullpen if one of the young starters earns a spot in the rotation.
Point is, the Phillies clearly need to be taking the trade market seriously given the way the free agent market has unfolded. You read here earlier a rumor that the Phillies were talking about a Cliff Lee for Justin Upton swap. Amaro decimated that rumor, and I actually believe him. But I also do not believe that the Upton part of the rumor came from nowhere. And Worley might make sense as the major league tested pitching piece that would likely have to be involved in any Upton deal.
Everything that follows is PURE SPECULATION, but a package of Worley, May and one of Tommy Joseph/Sebastian Valle/Domonic Brown would make a lot of sense from the Phillies perspectice. I'm not sure about it from the Diamondbacks end of things. Maybe one of the catchers AND Brown?
Upton, by the way, is exactly NINE DAYS older than Brown.
Maybe Upton isn't the guy. Maybe Dexter Fowler is. Both have some red flags with regard to their home/road splits. Upton's OPS away from Chase Field has dropped from .862 to .790 to .767 to .670 since 2009. That being said, he has a .300/.344/.433 line in eight games at Citizens Bank Park. And Fowler's numbers are good at CBP too. The sample size is too small to affect any decisions. But the point is, a drastic home/road split doesn't mean a player won't end up hitting well in his new home.
Actually, the point is that the Phillies must pursue every potential angle to upgrade this team. And that might mean cashing in some chips that are easier to replace than center field and third base.