Phillies Moving Shane Victorino to Keep Jayson Werth?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Every home run Werth hits this season is bittersweet.

According to Howard Eskin and his brand new Twitter feed, the Phillies are seriously considering trading Shane Victorino in order to free up some money and resign Jayson Werth.

It makes sense on the surface as finding a way to keep Werth has to be on top of Ruben Amaro's to-do list, and trading Victorino would free up $7.5 million next year. The Phils would then just insert Dominic Brown to play either center or right field, depending on where they feel he's best suited, and move on from there.

However, trading Victorino seems to create more problems than it solves. Sure, they probably free up enough money to keep Werth, but what do they do once Ibañez moves on and they're forced to replace him in left field?

And even more importantly, how do you replicate Victorino's fantastic defense? Brown is probably a much better hitter than the Flyin' Hawaiian, but Victorino is one of the best defensive center-fielders in all of baseball.

He often helps cover the fact that Ibañez can't cover as much ground as he once could and is routinely making difficult plays look, well, routine.

Then add in the fact that he's crushing the ball better than he ever has and you've got a guy who is very difficult to get rid of. Since becoming a starter in 2006, Victorino has never hit more than 14 home runs in a season; This year, however, he's gone yard seven times and we're only getting into May.

And for all the hype Brown gets as a hitter, he's still got two less than Victorino playing Double-A ball in Reading.

It's obvious the Phillies need to keep Werth around to protect Ryan Howard and to be the power righty in the lineup, but moving Victorino is not the way to do that. It solves one problem but creates a lot more in the long run. The problem here is that Amaro overpaid for Ibañez and now it's catching up to the team.

Speaking purely out of instinct, I think Amaro will find a way to keep Werth around. Paying Howard all that money doesn't make much sense if you're not going to have someone worthy of the fifth spot, so I would have to believe Amaro already has a plan in place.

The most likely scenario (other than simply letting Werth walk and trying to groom someone else) is that the Phils move Ibañez and eat up some of his contract. Then with the money they'll save in the long-run they can pay Werth the $15-18 million per season he's going to demand and have a natural fit for Brown in the lineup behind Werth at six.

This would also mean getting rid of Jamie Moyer's inflated contract and giving Kyle Kendrick a cemented spot in the lineup. A move that, despite Moyer's wonderfully flukey two-hitter, is long overdue.

Then in 2011 the outfield would be Werth in left, Victorino at center, and Brown in right, with Werth batting fifth, Brown batting sixth, and Victorino batting seventh.

In a perfect world, that's how everything would fall. However, as the Yankees showed us all last October, it's certainly far from a perfect world.

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