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Phillies are playing like they are sellers, but the rumor mill has them buying

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Just when you thought nothing else could possibly go wrong for the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies, think again.Is this the end for Jamie Moyer?

Starter Jamie Moyer left Tuesday night's game with a left elbow strain. Moreover, the Phillies were again demolished by the Cardinals, 7-1.

With the way the Phillies have played since returning from the All-Star break, you would imagine that Ruben Amaro would be more on the sellers side of the trade deadline, which comes later next week. Even if they were to be sellers, the Phillies would never publicly go on record stating this. Not when you're selling out EVERY seat in Citizens Bank Park- EVERY night. 

However, despite the Phillies' woes (and by woes, it's safe to say by now, we mean WOES), several baseball insiders have gone on record stating that the Phillies have been heavily involved in trying to acquire a another starting pitcher. This would make sense considering that Kyle Kendrick was demoted to triple-A Tuesday, and now Moyer is headed to the disabled list  with an injury similar to the one J.A. Happ suffered earlier in the year. Happ has pitched in just two games for the Fightins this year, and you can guarantee that his recovery time is quicker than Moyer's is going to be.

Speaking of Happ, does anybody REALLY know what is going on with him? He threw Tuesday in his rehab assignment, but was lifted after three innings. That's most likely for cautionary reasons. It makes you wonder though if the Phillies are possibly shopping Happ for a starting pitcher. Rumor has it that he is a pitch away from either A. Coming back to the big club, or B. Having possible Tommy John surgery. So who knows? In the meantime, Houston's Roy Oswalt  is the latest name getting thrown around in the Phillies camp in a possible three-team deal. The team is reportedly in talks to land Oswalt and trade Jayson Werth. Here is where things get interesting, complicated, and probably a little unrealistic.

Oswalt is owed close to a combined $31 million over the next two years. The Phils would obviously Will Roy Oswalt be wearing Phillies pinstripes come next week?  Photo:http://www.chrisoleary.com/projects/baseball/pitching/Images/Examples/Example_ScapularLoading_Good_RoyOswalt_2007_016.jpgpay a chunk of this salary, and this is the same team who moved Cliff Lee and his $9 million dollar tag in December. Dan Haren will be in town next week with his team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. His price tag is not that heavy compared to Oswalt's, and he is three years younger as well. On paper, this makes more sense for the Phils. Also, Roy Halladay and Oswalt will both be 34 years of age next year, so you're looking at an aging staff going into 2011. As disastrous as Werth has been, he is a bonafide major leaguer, but he is a free agent after 2010, so how hard or easy is he to trade? The Astros are going nowhere, which is why a competitive team like the Tampa Bay Rays may want Werth's services, albeit for the next three months or so. Three-team trades are always up in the air until the trigger is actually pulled. ANY team pulling out of the potential trade ruins everything.

Here is something else to consider. A trade of Werth allows highly touted prospect Domonic Brown  to take his place in right field. If that turns out to be the case, don't expect Ryan Howard  to see another decent pitch for the rest of the year. Brown's addition would redefine the term "dominant left-handed hitting lineup." Either way you look at it, neither Raul Ibanez or Ben Fransisco (who would likely see more at bats just for the sake of having a right-handed bat in the lineup) could compensate for Werth's absence in the fifth spot in the lineup.

A Final Thought

Whether the Phillies still had Lee or not in 2010, it is more and more doubtful that with the their "phantom offense" that there would be a MONUMENTAL difference in the team's won-loss record. A few games? Without question. You are a better team with Lee in your rotation. But a seven game differential?(which is how many games they now trail Atlanta by)  Whether it's Lee, Oswalt, Haren, or Nolan Ryan, the only difference would be is that you would lose more 2-1 games than any team in baseball the way this team is hitting, or isn't hitting.

Either that, or a lot of games when Danys Baez comes in when it's 2-1, and he leaves with the score 8-1. There is that whole back of the bull pen issue as well....................

Joe Vallee is a lifelong Phillies fan and former Phillies batboy. Joe has claimed to have seen about 98% of every Phillies game since the early 1980's.

Contact Joe at jvallee@philly2philly.com