Phillies Busy as Trade Deadline Approaches

Cole HamelsLet the rumors, speculation and stories filled with unnamed scouts and insiders begin!

The Phillies return to action tonight in Atlanta, and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is 13 days away. The Phillies are busy trying to find trade partners for several veteran players, but just because they have players to trade it doesn’t mean they’ll trade them. They’re not pressured to make something happen before July 31. The front office hasn’t been told by ownership to shed payroll no matter what. Remember, the Phillies can still trade these players before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline or in the offseason.

Let’s repeat that: The Phillies can still trade these players before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline or in the offseason. Especially if they’re not getting much of a return in their current discussions. Would you trade Byrd or Lee or Papelbon for Tyson Gillies 2.0 just so you can turn to Phillies fans and say, “Look, guys, we made some trades!” It’s doubtful.

A report Sunday had the Mariners hot and heavy for Marlon Byrd, but reports since said their interest has cooled or talks have stalled. Keep this in mind as you read countless reports between today and July 31: 95 percent of this stuff is teams kicking the tires and reporters taking a kernel of information and writing it. For example, when you read a team with a need for starting pitching has inquired about Cole Hamels, don’t say to yourself, “Oh my God! The (insert team here) are going to get Cole Hamels!” Say to yourself, “Well, no kidding! Of course they’re interested in Cole.”

A team expressing interest in a Phillies player and a team actually making a legitimate offer are two totally different things. Maybe the Mariners called the Phillies last weekend and said, “We’d really like Marlon Byrd, but we’ll only give you a marginal prospect for him.” In that scenario, Ruben Amaro Jr. most likely said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and hung up the phone.

A few reminders as the July 31 deadline approaches:

  • The Phillies are absolutely open to trading Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo. The contracts and limited no-trade clauses for Papelbon, Lee, Burnett and Byrd could be stumbling blocks, but I just don’t see the Phillies making deals if they’re only getting a light-hitting outfielder or a middling reliever in return.
  • They would need to receive a huge package of prospects to trade Cole Hamels.
  • Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins have 10-and-5 rights and have repeatedly expressed their desire to remain in Philadelphia. The Phillies will listen to offers for Hamels, Utley and Rollins, but they are not going to give them away.

So, yes, the Phillies are not “looking” to trade Hamels. And they absolutely prefer to trade Lee over him. They would welcome a Papelbon trade, and they are willing to part with Bastardo because they have two younger, less expensive left-handers in Jake Diekman and Mario Hollands.

It is going to be an interesting couple of weeks for the Phillies. Like I said, they are active. But like I also mentioned, there are no indications they’re going to just get rid of players, either.

Enjoy the weekend.

8 Comments

Busy or not, I bet you ten bucks that Ruben Amaro took an afternoon nap today.

Fingers crossed for shedding Bastardo. The sooner the better.

Perhaps we could make a package deal with Bastardo, that other left handed loser, Howard. Even better would be the trifecta of Bastardo, Howard and Brown. I could do without all of them.

Who would trade for that? Why don’t we sweeten the pot with Freddy Galvis? If you know they’re not good, I’m certain baseball GMs have figured it out.

The Angels ought to seriously consider trading for Lee & Papelbon.

And they probably have the prospects to make a deal worthwhile for the Phillies. (Unlike the Phillies, their minor league system seems to churn out productive outfielders and starting pitchers.)

Amaro (and his so far under achieving senior advisors and scouting staff) making the decisions on who to get back in a trade is akin to asking Capt. Smith for a new course heading after the Titanic hit the iceberg.

I wouldn’t be in a hurry to trade Bastardo. He’s not that expensive and might have regained his form. The Phillies shouldn’t have to worry about a contract the size of his. He wouldn’t bring back enough to make it worth it.

Just don’t be the Astros: give away talent for nothing and fail to sign your number one draft picks. Glad there are always a few teams out there for us to look at and say, “It could be worse….”

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