ESPN's Buster Olney reports the Phils want to center a deal around Astro's OF Hunter Pence. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Buster Olney certainly is a bigger name than Phuture Phils or myself so that is why, unlike the very short stay in Los Angeles, the trip to Houston may be a longer one for the Rumor Bus.
After the Matt Kemp rumors were pretty much smoke and mirrors – more so the fact LA has no reason to nor really can deal Kemp – Olney reported on Twitter that the Phillies would look to center a deal around pitcher Vance Worley in a trade for proven outfielder Hunter Pence.
This, unfortunately for the fans who hastily bought their Worley shirseys, jerseys and other fan gear, is the best possible trade for the Phils. Pence is a complete player, combining power and speed along with a great glove. He also rocks the high socks! He has also been the topic of trade talks through out the entire season among Phillies fans on Twitter, the radio and other media outlets.
We all know the type of production Pence brings to the table. He’s batting .316 with 11 homers and 61 RBIs, putting him on pace for the .300/20-25/85-95 type season he is capable of giving a team every year. And at 28, he’s a proven talent that will not demand a ridiculous pay check this off season when he is eligible for arbitration.
But what people don’t realize about the Vanimal is that he is a very ordinary pitcher. If you look his numbers, he’s 6-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 10 starts. Those are some pretty darn impressive numbers for a kid who has only made a handful of starts prior to this season. But if you look at his innings pitched, he’s only thrown 58.1 IP; or less than six innings a start.
Worley is giving the Phillies the same innings they would have gotten from Joe Blanton but a lot less runs. Worley doesn’t have a true out pitch that allows him to rack up the strike outs (6.9 per nine innings; four per start going by his average). This makes Worley seem a lot better than he really is.
Don’t get me wrong, Worley is much better than the first pitcher we fooled Houston with named J.A. Happ. But Worley is not going to crack the top three in the Phillies rotation despite pitching like a top of the rotation pitcher currently.
Look at Worley as if he were a piece of real-estate. Right now, Worley’s value is at an all-time high. Very shortly, he is going to come down from that high and look just like the ordinary pitcher he is. But while this is a seller’s market, the Phils can get something very useful out of him without worrying about the backlash of letting a prime piece of real-estate go.
The other name people would rather see a deal centered around is Domonic Brown rather than Worley. And to those people, just stop and really think about that for a second. Do you really want to trade away an outfielder who has showed flashes of brilliance already in his young career? Brown may not be having a rookie of the year-like season but what he’s getting is more valuable than a piece of hardware.
Brown is currently hitting .247 with five home runs and 16 RBIs. But that’s including a dead June in which he hit .165 in 24 games. In 14 games in July, Brown is hitting .320 (16-for-50) and though his RBI numbers are down, he’s getting on base and scoring runs, almost doubling his season total of runs scored with 11 this month (24 total).
The other reason the Phillies can’t trade Brown is that it will still leave them in need of another outfielder this off season. With Raul Ibanez’s contract up, the Phils can offer Pence arbitration (or preferably give him a good deal to avoid arbitration) and have a very fast outfield of Pence, Shane Victorino and Brown for 2012 and beyond.
If I had a choice, I certainly would go after Pence, who could make the Phillies lacking offense exponentially better. And if the price is Worley and a handful of prospects (maybe Jonathan Singleton) than I would be all for it.