July 31st is approaching, quickly. The Phillies currently sit 9 games back of the Nationals in pursuit of the NL East crown. Many may think that the Phillies are in a pretty good position approaching the All-Star break, and are still in a good position in the division. Unless things change dramatically in the next 2-plus weeks, I foresee the Phils as sellers at the deadline. I might even go as far as saying the dreaded “fire sale” could be looming on the horizon. The Phillies, as inconsistent of a team as they are, have some pretty decent pieces that could be of pivotal help to a contender looking to be put over the top. This article is meant to take an in-depth look at the trade chips the Phils have, and potential trading partners and targets.
Cliff Lee – Arguably the Phillies biggest trade chip. Lee, 35, has started in 10 games posting a 4-4 record with 3.18 ERA and 61 SO. Lee may no longer be a spring chicken, but he can still pitch his butt off. If surrounded by an offense that can give him serious run support, he can be a Cy Young contender for sure. He would be an instant upgrade to any team’s rotation, and since he’s in twilight of his career, he’ll likely be dealt to a contender for a shot at the elusive World Series ring. Since Lee is the Phillies biggest value chip at this point, he will require a pretty penny to pry away, likely, two young prospects and/or a young roster player.
Cole Hamels – The 30 year old southpaw’s stock has been up and down this season. In 16 starts this season, Hamels has posted a less-than impressive 3-5 record. However, he more than made up for that with his stellar 2.93 ERA and 106 SO. In 107 IP, Hamels has surrendered 35 ER. Hamels’ stock has soared of the past week, posting a 2.63 ERA over 13.2 IP, while striking out 12. Hamels has a NTC that 9 teams are clear of, the Yankees, Angels, Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox, Cardinals, Padres, Nationals and Braves. Out of that list of teams, only 3 teams would be able to absorb Cole’s full contract like the Phils ask…the Yankees, Dodgers, and Angels. Out of those three teams, only the Dodgers and Angels have the prospects necessary to meet the likely return on Hamels, which will likely be the same if not higher than Lee.
Chase Utley – The least likely Phillie to be dealt, Utley’s stock has been rising and falling all year. If the Phils had dealt him two weeks ago, they would’ve gotten their highest return on him. Since than, his stock has faltered a bit. But, he’s coming back in a very strong way, hitting .311 thus far during the month of July, with 2 HRs and 9 RBIS. In any case, it’s highly unlikely that Utley will be moved, as he has publicly stated his desire to retire a Phillie. However, if traded, Utley will likely net a return of two prospects or a prospect and young roster player.
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