2013 MLB Trade Deadline: Key Moves Philadelphia Phillies Could and Should Make

July 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Fan News

As the 2013 Major League Baseball trade deadline is just over 24 hours away, the Philadelphia Phillies have several key decisions to make about some core players on their roster. 

About two weeks ago, the Phillies found themselves in pretty good position to make a postseason run, as they were within shouting distance of the Atlanta Braves and the National League East lead. 

However, two weeks and an eight game losing streak later, the Phils are a whopping 11.5 games behind the Braves, as well as nine games back of the Cincinnati Reds for a Wild Card spot. 

With an aging and injury-plagued roster, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has some major decisions to make within the next day that may decide the future of his organization.

Superstars such as Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon and Michael Young may wind up on the trading block throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. 

With that said, let’s take a look at three possible deals that Philadelphia could and should make by Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. 


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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

MLB Trade Deadline: Should Philadelphia Phillies Be Buyers or Sellers?

July 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Fan News

As the 2013 MLB season is at its midway point, teams are now being clearly defined as contenders and pretenders. However, one of the teams in between these points is the Philadelphia Phillies.

It’s about this time of year when fans around the league start to examine whether their team will be buyers or sellers come the trade deadline at the end of July.

While many teams will be looking to add the missing piece to their roster for a deep playoff run come the fall, others will be looking to offload hefty contracts and aging players in return for up-and-coming farm league talent. 

With a record of 48-48, the Phillies are the definition of a league-average team. Sitting 6.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, as well as 5.5 games behind in the Wild Card race, the Phillies face quite the predicament this season. 

While some would look at the massive contracts of superstars like Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon and the ages of core players such as Chase Utley, others would see these same players as a solid foundation that could help Philadelphia make a playoff push in the second half of the season.

That is where the debate begins. 

On one hand, many critics of the Phillies would call Philadelphia a team on the decline. First baseman Ryan Howard is out for six to eight weeks with a knee injury. Center fielder Ben Revere is also set to miss six to eight weeks due to a broken foot.

Those two injuries may prove to be costly for the Phillies’ chances in the second half, and that doesn’t even include the injury to Roy Halladay, the pitching ace for Philadelphia who has been out since May with a shoulder injury. 

Furthermore, the Phillies have several contract issues that they may want to address come the deadline.

One of those issues involves superstar pitcher Cliff Lee, who is 34 years old and set to earn $75 million over the next three seasons. 

Not to mention, the Phillies have several key players over the age of 30, including Halladay, Lee, Papelbon, Utley, Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz and Michael Young. 

If general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. wants an opportunity to become younger and stock the farm system, this may be a great time to do so, especially with Young, Utley, Ruiz and Halladay (assuming his option is declined) set to become free agents after this season.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Ford, the Phillies should stick to being sellers at the trade deadline despite their recent success.

Ford’s argument is an interesting one. Ford cites the injuries to Howard and Halladay as a crippling blow to the Phillies’ playoff chances. However, Ford goes on to say that if the prognosis of Halladay’s injury and recovery is promising, then the Phillies have a chance to turn into buyers, although he doesn’t see that happening. 

With all that said, this team is right in the thick of the playoff race. As this team has shown us, like they did in 2007 when they came back to steal the division title away from the New York Mets after being seven games behind with 17 remaining, anything can happen.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, Amaro Jr. has said that his team will in fact be buyers at the deadline. 

Believers in the Phillies would look at the team’s recent form. Yes, they’re a .500 team, but they have won their last four series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and Chicago White Sox. Three of those teams (Pirates, Braves and Nationals) have better records than that of the Phillies. 

Believers would say that players such as Utley, Lee and Rollins have the experience and potential to lead the team in a second-half push. Believers and optimists would say that Halladay may be ready to pitch in late-August, which would only help the starting rotation. Believers would look at Cole Hamels’ recent form, and say that he is finally returning to his game that made him a NLCS and World Series MVP in 2008.

Also, the Phillies schedule favors them. There is no West Coast trip left on their schedule, the longest road trip remaining for the team this seasons is nine games, and the Phils have 12 games remaining with the Braves, as well as nine with the Nationals, making for a great opportunity to make up games in the standings. 

When all is said and done, it is not an easy question. Only one man, Amaro Jr., can answer the question of whether the Phillies should be buyers or sellers come the MLB Trade Deadline, and yet he still might not even know. 

It is an answer that will not be decided until right up against the deadline. While the Phillies have an aging and injury-plagued roster that may need to be overhauled, there is no doubting the potential is there for the Phillies to make a serious playoff push in the second half of the season. 

What do you think? Should the Phillies be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline on July 31st? Share your opinions and predictions for what the Phillies will do in the comment thread below! 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Nationals Live Blog: Instant Reaction and Analysis

June 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Fan News

The Washington Nationals came from behind to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2 on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. 

Washington used an 11th-inning grand slam by Ian Desmond to take the final game of the series and move ahead of Philadelphia into sole position of second place in the National League East. 

After Michael Young put the Phillies ahead in the first inning with a two-run home run, Kyle Kendrick pitched 7 and two-thirds impressive innings.

However, Jonathan Papelbon blew his second save in three nights when he gave up a two-out base hit to former Phillie Jayson Werth, which tied the game at two.

Gio Gonzalez also had an impressive pitching performance, giving the Nationals seven strong innings after early struggles.

Drew Storen earned the win for Washington, while Michael Stutes was credited with the loss for Philadelphia.

Washington returns to action tomorrow night against the Colorado Rockies, while the Phillies have a day off before hosting the New York Mets on Friday night. 

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Why Philadelphia Phillies Should Be Sellers at MLB Trade Deadline

June 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Fan News

It is about that time of the Major League Baseball season.

Despite having played only a little over a third of their season, the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pretenders. And with that separation comes speculation of whether certain teams will be buyers or sellers come the MLB trade deadline at the end of July.

One team that faces a particularly tough decision this year is the Philadelphia Phillies.

Currently sitting seven-and-a-half games back of the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves and seven games back of the second wild-card spot, the Phils are slowly starting to see their season get out of hand.

Now, this is not to say that the Phillies are totally out of the playoff hunt. After all, it is only the beginning of June. And of course, it was less than six years ago when the “Fightins” erased a seven-game deficit with 17 games remaining to snatch the division crown from the New York Mets.

However, this is a completely different team than what we saw back in that memorable fall of 2007. Gone are the days of seeing a healthy Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins take the field on a daily basis. The core of this team is six years older, and while they may still have some gas left in the tank, it is safe to say that the best years of their careers are behind them.

Before I go on, I must say that it is simply too early to say that Philadelphia will definitely be sellers come the July 31 trade deadline. Only the next six weeks will tell us whether the Phillies will look to start building for the future or add big-name talent in hopes of a last-gasp playoff run. 

However, the obvious must be stated: The Phillies are a team on the decline. Howard, Utley and Rollins are all on the wrong side of 30 years old. None of the three can be guaranteed to stay healthy or contribute regularly. Formerly the core of this franchise, the heart and soul of Philadelphia’s beloved baseball team, these three can no longer be counted on to lead the Phillies to the playoffs and beyond.

Even the starting pitching, which was said to be the bright spot on this Phillies roster, can no longer be trusted. Roy Halladay cannot seem to stay healthy, Cole Hamels is having one of the worst years of his career and the back end of this rotation simply does not have the experience to take over the reigns just yet.

Despite positive performances this season by Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and Jonathan Pettibone, the Phillies are simply not getting consistent outings from their starting rotation.

All in all, the outlook is not bright for Philadelphia.

So, what does this mean for the team’s trade deadline plans?

Although Philadelphia may not have the best chance to make the playoffs this season, this does not silence the fact that this team still has plenty of talent on its roster.

Namely, Cliff Lee, who has been having an outstanding season compiling a 7-2 record with a 2.45 Earned Runs Average, may in fact be one of the players that Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. decides to deal by the July 31 deadline. 

At age 34 and set to earn $75 million over the next three seasons, the time is winding down for Lee to win a championship in Philadelphia. Amaro Jr. may well decide that if Lee’s age and money is too much for him to stay in the City of Brotherly Love, then it could be his time to go. Apparently, even Lee is preparing himself to be in another deadline trade.

However, Lee is not the only one who could find himself out of Philadelphia before the end of the summer. Chase Utley, the beloved second baseman for the Phillies, may be playing in another uniform later this season.

At 34, Utley is in the final year of a seven-year, $85 million contract and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. While Utley has been cursed with injuries throughout his career, he is still producing at a level that may interest teams who are looking to be contenders later this season.

With seven home runs and 25 RBI to go along with a .272 BA so far this season, Utley may be the missing piece for some teams who are looking for depth come the postseason. Moreover, Amaro Jr. may feel that he might not be able to re-sign Utley to the terms he may be looking for in the offseason. This might force Amaro Jr. to try and get some value for Utley while he still can.

However, the single biggest reason why the Phillies will turn out to be sellers come this year’s MLB trade deadline is their farm system. Or, shall I say, lack thereof.

According to Baseball America, the Phillies have the seventh-worst farm system in all of the major leagues. While fans love to see the big-name players such as Lee, Utley and Howard play at Citizens Bank Park on a regular basis, most would probably agree that it is time to restock the farm. 

It is clear that the Phillies’ window of opportunity is closing quickly. After a run of success from 2007-2011, Philadelphia’s record has tailed off significantly over the past year-and-a-half. One way to regain this success may well be to start from scratch and build for the future.

Becoming sellers at the trade deadline and dealing the likes of Lee, Utley and Rollins may be the best way to do so. 

Only time will tell whether or not the Phillies become buyers or sellers in late-July. If, six weeks from now, the Phillies were to be right in the midst of the playoff hunt, then you can put money on this team staying together. 

However, as the age and the health of this roster is undoubtedly on the decline, the chances of this happening certainly seem bleak. While it is unlikely that the entire core of the Phillies roster will be traded, it is safe to expect that certain ballplayers will find themselves cleaning their lockers at Citizens Bank Park come later this summer.    

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

MLB Trade Rumors: Breaking Down Latest News Swirling Around Cliff Lee

June 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Fan News

It was not too long ago when Cliff Lee shocked the baseball world by announcing a return to the Philadelphia Phillies. Lee spurned a massive contract offer by the New York Yankees and instead returned to the City of Brotherly Love. 

When the news spread of Lee’s return to Philadelphia, fans and experts all across the league debated about whether Lee’s return gave the Phillies the best pitching rotation ever assembled.

Lee joined stars Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, giving the Phillies—on paper—as good of a rotation as there ever has been in professional baseball. 

Fast-forward two-and-a-half years. The “Big Four” pitching rotation never lived up to its hype and Lee has yet to advance past the National League Division Series in his second stint with the Phillies.

Despite having reasonably good numbers for the past two-and-a-half years in Philly, Lee’s return has not, for one reason or another, lived up to the hype.

Therefore, it is no surprise to hear Lee’s name come up in MLB trade rumors.

This is the time of the season when the cream of the league is rising to the top and the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pretenders. The standings are starting to shape up and teams are starting to be labeled as “buyers” or “sellers” come the trade deadline.

This leads us to Lee. Despite easily being Philadelphia’s best pitcher so far this season, posting a 7-2 record with a 2.45 ERA, the ‘Fightin’ Phils sit 7.5 games behind the NL East division leader Atlanta Braves and are losing ground rapidly.

As the core of the Phillies is not getting any younger or healthier (see: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins), some believe that it may be time to trade some of their biggest producers—including Lee—in order to start building for the future.

According to the SportsWorldReport.com, the Dodgers may be one team looking to deal for Lee:

With Beckett possibly retiring to staying on the DL long term, the Dodgers may want to try and make a big move for the future and one option could be to try and trade for Phillies starter Cliff Lee, as they may want to unload him depending on where the team is at the deadline.

Clearly, this trade would depend on the health of Josh Beckett.

Not only has Beckett had trouble staying healthy, but when he has been on the mound, he has struggled to say the least. Beckett has gone 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA and it would be safe to say that the Dodgers can put little confidence in their starting pitcher.

If Beckett continues to show that he cannot stay healthy or produce when given the green light by the team doctor, then a trade to Los Angeles may certainly be in the cards for Lee.

Furthermore, CBSSports.com’s Mike Axisa has listed several possible trade destinations for the Philadelphia ace.

One of the more intriguing options for Lee would be the Boston Red Sox. Currently sitting 2.5 games atop the AL East above the Baltimore Orioles, Boston could find itself in great position to become a buyer come the trade deadline.

While the BoSox have Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz sitting pretty at the top of their rotation, trading for Lee would be a significant upgrade over Felix Doubront, who has posted a less-than-impressive 4.88 ERA this season.

Acquiring Lee would give the Sox one of the best rotations in the league and instantly make them one of the favorites from the American League to reach the World Series.  

If Boston continues its impressive season throughout the early months of the summer and the Phillies continue on the decline, don’t be surprised to see Lee joining forces with the likes of David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury at Fenway Park.

Given the strength of Boston’s farm system, which was ranked sixth-best in the league by Baseball America, then it is safe to say that the Phillies can get a lot in return and start building for the future by trading Lee. 

However, when all is said and done, trades come down to where teams are at the trade deadline.

If, for some reason, the Phillies are able to get themselves back into the hunt for the NL East title, then there obviously would be no reason for the Phils to deal Lee.

However, if the Phillies are unable to get healthy and make a push during the next six weeks or so, then it is entirely possible to see Lee in a new uniform come July or August.  

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies