Analysis

Writer’s Roundtable: Buying or Selling at the Deadline?

It might seem a bit early, but the MLB trade market will start developing soon, so imagine for a moment that you are the Phillies General Manager. Which players are you actively shopping at this year’s trade deadline? Are there any players in the organization that you would consider “unavailable” if another team came calling? Or are you waiting until a certain date, or a certain “games behind” point in the standings to determine your team’s fate?

Alex Lee: Assuming the Phillies are still in the mix for a playoff spot, the obvious name to look at is Michael Young. While M.Y. has no doubt been solid for the Phils, he is replaceable between Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis, especially if he can bring you a bullpen piece for the stretch run. If the Phils fade out of the playoff race come July, I would make everyone on the major league roster available except for Cole Hamels and Domonic Brown. Even if this team somehow makes the playoffs, this offense is putrid and needs a complete overhaul.

Jon Nisula: I think that it would be in the Phillies best interest to get value for some of their best players at the trade deadline this year. I would shop Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, Michael Young, and anyone else that a contender might be looking for to fill the farm system with some good prospects.

Pat Gallen: It’s hard to pinpoint just one name, but I’m probably shopping Jonathan Papelbon. He can get you a decent haul in return and while the team will likely have to eat a little bit of money on his deal, it shouldn’t be too much. Now, it’s all about finding the right match. Only a handful of teams are in a position to take on big money at the closer spot. Where would that be? Detroit? Could Pap go back to Boston? Would Texas bolster an already strong bullpen? It may not be easy to unload him, but if the Phillies can find a match, he’s the first guy you have to look to move.

Don McGettigan: Regardless of where the Phillies are in the standings in July, I think it’s time to face the reality that this is not a World Series caliber team. Being that they likely can’t win a championship with this current roster, it’s easy to see that it’s time for a complete overhaul. So if I was the GM, I’d be on the phone yesterday letting teams know that any player in the last year of their deal (Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Michael Young, Delmon Young, and Laynce Nix) are readily available at this year’s trade deadline. And I would gauge the interest in anyone on the roster not named Cole Hamels.

Trades my be tough for the Phillies to make though, as I don’t think any team would take on Ryan Howard’s salary, nor do I think that Jimmy Rollins would waive his 10-and-5 no-trade rights (a player with 10 years in Majors, the last 5 with his current team) for any teams other than select few in Southern California (specifically Oakland or San Francisco). Interesting names to follow this July are Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee. Lee is potentially the top starting pitcher available, and Papelbon would likely be the best reliever on the market. The fact that both players are under contract past this season would likely make them more desirable than “rental” players, however, due to their high salaries the Phillies would likely have to eat a hefty portion of their contracts to make any deal work. The other thing to note is that even though a team would have these players for half-a-season less, it might serve the Phillies better to trade Lee and/or Papelbon in the offseason, when their trading partner might be more willing to send MLB-ready talent in return, as opposed to lower-level prospects at the deadline.

If the Phillies are willing to swallow their pride, they might be able to turn this organization into a young, up-and-coming team again in the next few years, but that process needs to starts now.

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