Report: Rays Interested in Jayson Werth

From George King of the New York Post:

According to several sources, the Phillies have been informed by the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays that they will be interested in outfielder Jayson Werth if the defending NL champions put him on the market later this month.

This sounds like speculative jibberjabber, but MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Phillies are already discussing trading Werth. Also, the Yankees have been linked this morning in trade talks with the Mariners about Cliff Lee. The rumor seems to be that the Yankees are offering Jesus Montero for Lee, and they would then turn around and trade Javier Vazquez for Jayson Werth. Is this merely a decoy, trying to increase the price of Lee for teams like the Rays? Possibly, but I don't like the idea of the Yankees acquiring Lee; Sabathia, Lee, and Burnett would be a fearsome post-season trio.

As for Jayson Werth, obviously he'd be an offensive upgrade for the Rays. We didn't cover him in our Trade Deadline Handbook considering it's an odd move for the Phillies to trade him (or at least seems odd to me), but he would be a) cheap, b) valuable, and c) a likely Type-A free agent at the end of the season. If he's available, he'd be an ideal bat for the Rays to inquire about.

EDIT (3:50 PM): From MLBTR:

The Mariners are backing off, according to Sherman. The Yankees believe they are no longer in the Lee sweepstakes, as the M's have gone in another direction (all Twitter links). Sherman says 'the Yankees aren't getting Cliff Lee,' since another team has entered discussions aggressively.

Jayson Werth

Rest of Season Salary: $3.5M

Rest of Season Projection: .386 wOBA, 12.7 wRAA (~1.3 offensive WAR)

Contract Status: Free agent at end of season, likely Type A 

Notes: Werth is a right-handed hitter that provides both pop (36 homeruns last season, .236 ISO this season) and on-base skills (11.7% BB%), and he's an above-average to elite defender in the outfield as well. He could fill in as the Rays' everyday right fielder, or he could also slide into the DH role, providing the Rays with even more flexibility. The Phillies have made some questionable trades and roster decisions in the last couple of years (notably the Cliff Lee tango of trades, the Ryan Howard extension, and the Raul Ibanez contract), which means it might be possible for the Rays to acquire Werth in a steal. At the very least, it's Werth considering.

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