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Pondering the Phillies' decision to try and trade Jayson Werth


Well, it is not time to panic just yet, is it?

The Phillies have won five in a row Jayson Werth photo: Joe Vallee Sr.and have gained some ground on the Braves in the division race and the Giants in the wild card race. However, to the general populus we might have reached the stage where the prevailing wisdom seems to be "trade Jayson Werth, trade Jayson Werth."

I think the worst thing the Phillies can do over the next five days is trade Jayson Werth.

There is no question this has been a disappointing and very frustrating season and Werth's struggles seem to have become magnified with each passing day as the trade deadline looms.

But let's examine what is wrong with this team and Werth's situation, separately and together.

Clearly, injuries have been the biggest hurdle to the Phillies season so far and could prevent them from getting to the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. At this point, they just have to stay within a reasonable amount of games in the two races and hope that Chase Utley will make a big difference when he eventually returns. Remember, they did overcome a seven-game deficit with 17 to go three years ago.

Jimmy Rollins has a few game-winning hits since his return and is just rounding into form, but has neither been the dynamic player he has been in the past or the spark plug that we were all hoping he would become for a struggling offense.

Raul Ibanez is finally starting to emerge from a three-month funk and is virtually untradeable because of his contract and relative non-production (he's a super guy but he is the player that needs to be moved, not Werth).

Shane Victorino and Werth have definitely been inconsistent and Ryan Howard was not the impact power he has been in the past during the first half, though he is driving in runs and hitting for a higher average.

The starting pitching on most nights has been good enough to win if the offense was performing at 2007-09 levels, but that hasn't happened.

The manager has no faith in anyone in the bullpen, and justifiably so. The key to the bullpen is Brad Lidge returning to something close to what he was two years ago. However, after the high-wire act he has put together the last two days and him talking about mechanical issues, you have to wonder how realistic that is, don’t you?

So, where does that leave the Phils for the final 60 games of the season?

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has hinted that a deal for pitching could be imminent, but what do the Phillies have to give up to get it done?

And, if the price is Werth, how does that make you better? How are you going to get an impact pitcher for a guy who will be a free agent after the season? And, how can you possibly deal for the pricey Roy Oswalt  when you wouldn't spend the money to sign Cliff Lee and are tied in at $24 million for severely underachieving Joe Blanton? Not to mention the fact that Oswalt has a history of injury, especially with his back, which makes him risky and dangerously over priced.

You would then be weakening an already struggling lineup and removing the one impact right-hand bat that you have to have to balance the lineup. Let us not forget that Werth is a pretty good right fielder with an outstanding arm and a guy who can run and steal bases, though he hasn't done it as often this season (that's a whole other issue for a team that struggles to score).

The fans also seem to think that Domonic Brown's  arrival in the big leagues will be as a team savior. Why do most people think that a guy who has spent a month in Triple-A and never played in the major leagues will step into a pennant race and make an immediate and big enough impact to turn the season around? That is wishful thinking and way too much pressure to put on a young player. It just doesn't happen that way.

The Phillies have captured the city's heart and have become the premier team in the area for the last few years because of their on-field success, the ballpark, the friendly nature of most of their stars, and their willingness to make themselves better during the course of a playoff push.

Trading Werth doesn't make them better. As a matter of fact, I think they need to find a way to sign him and keep him here. The have sold out every game for more than a year, and the stadium is the place to be for the younger crowd and for baseball fans of all levels. You can't give up on the season and expect the fans to come streaming in during the last two months.(especially in September with school starting) and sell them on the idea that every thing is alright.

The Phillies need to plough forward as though the division title and/or wild card is a realistic possibility.

The only way that can happen is to keep Jayson Werth.

Brett Pollock can be contacted at pollock2027@gmail.com

Photos by Joe Vallee Sr.: josephv985@aol.com