Jul 102010

 July 10 Philadelphia Daily News

“When general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said earlier this week that he would consider trading a player off his active roster if it meant an overall upgrade to the club, the first candidate who came to mind was Jayson Werth.

Werth, after all, is the exact type of righthanded power bat that would upgrade most contenders, and the Phillies could very well lose him this offseason when he becomes a free agent.

But the contender who might need Werth the most is the Phillies, who would be left with a glaring hole behind Ryan Howard in what is already a lefty-heavy heart of the order (top prospect Domonic Brown is also a lefty).

So even though the Phillies are anxious to upgrade their rotation and bullpen, trading Werth is still a longshot unless they fall out of contention or another club surprises them with a premium package that can help them both this year and in the future.

“Honestly, I’m not really too concerned,” Werth said prior to last night’s game. “We’re 2 1/2 games back in the Wild Card, we’re 5 1/2 back in the division, and I think it’s a winnable division. We’ve got a team right now who can do it, and we’re getting guys back that are on the DL. We’ll have guys down the stretch. We’re where we need to be. I’m not concerning myself with anything else but that. If something comes up, I’ll deal with it.”

All three American League East powers – Yankees, Red Sox and Rays – are believed to be open to trading for a hitter. Since becoming a regular player in 2008, the 31-year-old Werth is hitting .272 with a .368 on-base percentage, .505 slugging percentage and 73 home runs in 1,273 at-bats.

“It’s definitely part of the game,” said Werth, who entered last night hitting .278 with an .879 OPS and 13 home runs. “If something like that happens, I’ll find out about it, and I’ll deal with it. But, right now, my focus is playing baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies and my teammates here and winning ballgames.””

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