Philadelphia Phillies: Will They Buy Or Sell?

Closer Jonathan Papelbon will probably end up staying put.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon will probably end up staying put.

The Phillies have been a perennial buyer at the trade deadline since Ruben Amaro Jr. took over as GM. Trying to capitalize big during the window of Philly’s championship caliber squad, trading for guys like Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence, and Roy Oswalt. Ruben hasn’t shied away from making a splash with his attempts to bolster this roster and win multiple championships. Though, for the first time last year, we saw Ruben actually sell some pieces, sending Hunter Pence to the Giants and Shane Victorino to the Dodgers.

Now, Philadelphia is struggling to maintain a .500 mark again this season. Mainly because their roster is full of aging players dealing with injuries and production decline. Which, plain and simply, is a horrible position to be in. But the worst part is that Philly has a boatload of money invested in guys who are on the back-end of their career (Howard, Utley, Rollins, Halladay…) and don’t really have the cap space to go buy more players. Leaving Philly (Ruben), who, for some reason, doesn’t believe their championship window has shut, in a very murky position and only one question looming…

Will the Phillies acquire help and fill holes for a stretch run, or will they sell the pieces that still have some value left and look to start the rebuilding process?

Before the start of today’s games, the Phillies sit 3rd in the National League East at 45-46, 7.5 games behind the 1st place Atlanta Braves. Ryan Howard is out for 6-8 weeks with a tear in his knee, and multiple teams are calling the Phillies about the availability of key contributors like Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, and Chase Utley.

The fan in me wants to see if they can right the ship, but I know it’s not the smart play. That said, I don’t trust Ruben Amaro Jr. to make the smart play. I honestly believe that Ruben will make moves towards making a run for a championship.

…And Philly might be able to actually sell some of extra pieces and get what they need to make a playoff run happen.

Odds are Michael Young won't finish the season in Philly.
Odds are Michael Young won’t finish the season in Philly.

Players Philadelphia should deal: 3B Michael Young, OF Delmon Young, and possibly CL Jonathon Papelbon
They should only deal Papelbon if they can shed money AND get a capable player(s) in return – which will prolly be a hard sell. DO NOT trade Cliff Lee unless they intend to go all “Marlins” and do a straight fire-sale.

Areas Philadelphia needs to address: Bullpen, bullpen, 3B, starting pitcher, bullpen…
I didn’t forget to mention the bullpen did I? This team is going nowhere if they don’t get some capable arms coming out of the pen.

domonic-brownWith Dom Brown finding his power stroke, and the swing of getting a right-handed bat in the line-up with Darin Ruf/getting a struggling Howard out of it, I’m hoping that the Phillies are able to find some rhythm offensively. My biggest worry by far is the relief pitching…

I think the Phillies are capable of closing the gap in the NL East throughout the second half, at least to get in the wild card picture. That said, these guys have under performed for much of last year and this season so far and it’s getting harder to believe they can string a winning streak together. Pursuing these trades would mean Ruben is taking a huge leap of faith. With the trade deadline approaching, we’ll find out soon enough which way Ruben Amaro Jr. will go.

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