Phillies Quiet As Deadline Approaches
But a last-minute deal is tough to imagine.
The Phillies are facing numerous obstacles in trying to trade veterans players like Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, A.J. Burnett and Marlon Byrd. First, two teams have to agree on players to be exchanged. That is difficult enough to do. Second, the four players I mentioned are owed big-time money following this season. Lee is owed $37.5 million ($52.5 million if a 2016 club option vests). Papelbon is owed $13 million ($26 million if a 2016 club option vests). Burnett could pick up a player option worth $12.75 million, if he makes 32 starts this season. And Byrd is owed $8 million ($16 million if a 2016 club option vests). The money is a big issue for teams, although the Phillies have told teams they are willing to eat money to get the right players in return. But even if the Phillies agree on the players and they money, they still have to work through no-trade clauses, although I believe Lee, Papelbon, Burnett and Byrd would say yes.
Another factor, I believe, is teams believe the Phillies are desperate to pull the trigger, so they are going to wait for Ruben Amaro Jr. to cave. But sources have said the Phillies are comfortable with holding onto these players and trying again in August before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline. And if the Phillies fail to make a deal then, they can still try to trade these guys in the offseason.