Will the Philadelphia Phillies finally get out of their own way in 2014? Will they finally concede their status as a team in full-rebuilding mode and try to stock up on prospects?
The rest of the league is waiting for the answers to those questions. At 25-35 and the owners of one of the worst run differentials in all of baseball, the Phillies are sellers. Whether they will actually admit as much is another issue, however. Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes the following about general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and the team’s reluctance to be sellers:
“The Phils fret a sell-off will disenchant their fans, but the locals are not going to come watch this. The other hindrance to a for-sale sign is whether the Phillies’ top brass will permit the architect of this problematic roster, general manager Ruben Amaro, to make the rebuild trades when his status is so tenuous.”
That is the first problem. The second is the fact that the Phillies are fickle trade partners. Buster Olney of ESPN writes that the Phillies are notorious for making ridiculous demands in terms of prospects and refusing to pick up enough salary to make deals work (subscription required).
The Phillies have juicy trade assets to offer in what is shaping up to be an exaggerated seller’s market: any team hovering around .500 might fancy themselves playoff contenders and therefore “buyers.” Can the Phillies resolve their own issues and take advantage?
How much would a team like the Blue Jays be willing to give up for second baseman Chase Utley? What contending team wouldn’t want ace left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee (pending a healthy elbow)? If Jimmy Rollins budges off his no-trade stance, what kind of return could they get for him? Jonathan Papelbon looks something like his old self this season; if they ate some money, couldn’t a team like the Tigers use him?
The Phillies have a golden opportunity to restock with prospects. If they can get past their internal issues and embrace that mentality, they could reap serious benefits and make the most of an ugly situation as far as their current roster is concerned.