If you’re a Braves’ fan, this would be a good time to pull for anybody other than Philadelphia in the Roy Oswalt trade sweepstakes.
While the Braves have gone through a relatively magical run this season, with unlikely subplots like Brooks “The Big Bambino” Conrad, it figured to be only a matter of time before the Philadelphia Phillies re-emerged as a factor in the National League East. And here they are.
The Phillies have won four straight to trim two games off the Braves’ division lead (down to five). That’s of some concern. But these are the bigger issues:
♦ The Phillies have struggled all year with injuries, most notably to shortstop and leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins and shortstop Chase Utley. Rollins has missed over half the season (playing in 42 of Philly’s 98 games), but he is 9 for 21 (.429) in the past five games. Utley was 18 for 49 (.367) over 13 games before he had to go back on the disabled list after thumb surgery. He likely is out at least another month.
♦ Many expect the Phillies to be players before Saturday’s trade deadline. Philly must know now that they botched it in the winter when they traded starting pitcher Cliff Lee (acquired last July from Cleveland) to Seattle. (Lee was traded again two weeks ago to Texas.) They need a starting pitcher. Houston’s Roy Oswalt is the most likely candidate.
Former AJC comrade Joe Strauss, now of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is reporting the Cardinals are unlikely to acquire Oswalt, who had made it no secret that the Cards were his first choice. That may leave Philly as the most likely buyer.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, scouts from Houston and Tampa Bay both were in attendance at the Phils’ game against Colorado Sunday. Philly is said to be dangling Jason Werth in any potential deal.
If the Phillies get Oswalt, they’ll have Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Oswalt at the top of their pitching rotation. That’s pretty sick.
Combine that with Rollins and Utley coming around, and Philly could again look like the team that has won three straight National League East titles.
So what’s your level of concern? Should this increase the pressure on Braves general manager Frank Wren to make a deal, and if the Phils get Oswalt, do you think that gives them a leg (or arm) up in the division race?
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