Phillies deal reliever . . . but not Wagner

By Jim Callis
July 21, 2005

The Phillies traded a reliever on Thursday, but it wasn’t closer Billy Wagner, around whom trade rumors continue to swirl. Instead, Philadelphia shipped Tim Worrell to Arizona for Matt Kata. The Phillies also will pay part of the remainder of Worrell’s $2.75 million salary this season.

Worrell, a 38-year-old righthander, spent two months on the disabled list with undisclosed personal issues before rejoining the Phillies at the beginning of July. Worrell, who has four kids and lives in Arizona, had asked Philadelphia to pursue a trade that would allow him to pitch closer to his home. At this point in his career, he relies as much on guile and command as he does on his stuff, which includes a high-80s fastball, a curveball and a splitter. He has gone 0-1 with a career-high 7.41 ERA in 19 games this year, though he does have a 3.00 ERA in five appearances since coming off the DL. Control hasn’t been a problem, as he owns a 17-3 strikeout-walk ratio in 17 innings, but location has, as opponents have crushed him for a .377 average and four homers. Worrell is in the final year of a two-year, $5.5 million contract. He has a 44-56, 3.95 record and 65 saves in 623 career appearances.

Kata, 27, opened 2005 in the majors but was demoted to Triple-A Tucson in early May and had resurfaced in Arizona just twice for brief stints. He has gone 6-for-31 (.194) in the big leagues this year, and has hit .249/.310/.395 with nine homers and 42 RBIs in 150 career games. He was the Diamondbacks’ starting second baseman in 2004 until he tore his left labrum that May. Kata, who played second base, third base, shortstop, center field and right field at Tucson (where he batted .310/.329/.435 in 46 games), will play a utility role for the Phillies. He has decent pop for a middle infielder but won’t hit for a solid average unless he makes more contact. He has above-average speed, though his arm isn’t really up to par for shortstop or third base.