Addressing their need in center field has been a challenge for the Philadelphia Phillies so far, as they’ve been forced to watch as the options quickly come off the board. B.J. Upton signed in Atlanta. Washington acquired Denard Span via trade. San Francisco re-signed Angel Pagan. Josh Hamilton is likely too expensive, if not too risky. Reunions with Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino just simply never seemed appealing from the start. It would appear the team is left to address their need via the trade market and it appears, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, that the team is willing to part with pitching in a potential deal. He reports that right-hander Vance Worley is being shopped and the organization has shown a willingness to discuss right-handed prospect Trevor May as well.
Worley may have struggled in his sophomore season, but still holds a 18-13 career mark with a 3.50 ERA over 53 appearances (46 starts, 277.2 IP) with strong peripherals. 2012 was a disappointing season overall for the 25 year old, particularly ending with a need for surgery to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow. He’s expected to make a full recovery in time for Spring Training, but a question still remains whether Worley returns as the pitcher who went 11-3 in his rookie season or the one who allowed 10.4 H/9 this past season. Given his age and cost – he’s not yet arbitration eligible – there’s certainly some value to be had from Worley should the team seriously look to move him.
May, meanwhile, was viewed as one of the top pitching prospects in the organization heading into the 2012 season, but a terrible year has hurt his prospect status in some circles. Ranked as the 69th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America last winter, May would up posting a 10-13 mark with a 4.87 ERA over 149.2 innings (28 starts) for Philadelphia’s Double-A affiliate. He struggled to adapt to advanced hitters upon his promotion to the classification, hitting a career high 11 batters and allowing a career worst 1.3 HR/9.
A handful of outfielders who could appeal to the Phillies have been rumored to be on the trade market at various points this winter, despite recent suggestions by their respective teams that they are no longer available. However, it seems unlikely that Worley or May on their own would be enough of an offer for the Phillies to land what presumably would be their top targets – Colorado’s Dexter Fowler and Minnesota’s Josh Willingham. Willingham, of course, isn’t a center fielder but the fact that the focus may need to shift towards corner outfielders is more emblematic of the lack of options left on the market rather than Philadelphia’s inability to acquire them. Arizona has long stated they want a deal centered around an MLB-ready shortstop, something the Phillies don’t have to offer along side Worley and/or May, so that likely rules Justin Upton out as well.