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Trade Rumors Swirl Around Jayson Werth As Phillies Pursue Starting Pitcher

Already, Tuesday morning, it seemed Phillies GM Ruben Amaro was strongly hinting at the possibility that he could swing a deal for a starting pitcher before the weekend. Then, Tuesday evening, Jamie Moyer hurt his elbow, intensifying the need. The results have been predictable. Tweets Buster Olney:

Jayson Stark and I hearing a whole lot about the Phillies working hard on a deal for a frontline pitcher. Don't know for sure, but...Oswalt fits in a lot of ways. They could make the dollars work by moving Jayson Werth's contract -- and they'd have Oswalt for 2011.
Jayson Stark and I heard this: Tampa Bay involved in discussions for Jayson Werth. Could be landing spot for his salary, to free up payroll space for a more expensive commodity -- such as Roy Oswalt. The Phillies are working very, very aggressively to move Werth.

Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Phillies are "not close" to making a trade, but it's becoming clear that, while they may not be close to making a move, they're trying awful hard. Roy Oswalt's has been the name to come up most frequently.

The complication of trying to land someone like Oswalt who is due considerable money is that payroll space would have to be freed, which is where Jayson Werth and the Rays come in - free-agent-to-be Werth has a decent 2010 price tag, and the Rays have a need for his production. However, the Phillies wouldn't just give a player like Werth away in order to make room for another, so this could take a lot of negotiation. Making a move for a frontline starting pitcher isn't easy. Moving a big name outfielder prior to making a move for a frontline starting pitcher is only more difficult.

Stay tuned to this storystream, along with the posts at SB Nation Philly and The Good Phight. While the Phillies are seven games out of the NL East and four games out of the NL Wild Card, Ruben Amaro is demonstrating some determination to make things interesting.