The Four U’s

May 24th, 2012 by Mike H. | Filed under Baseball, Phillies.

Being that we are already less than ten weeks from the non-waiver trade deadline, I’d like to throw out my opinion on how the Phillies should approach buying and selling. With the Phillies struggling as mightily as they are, one would think it would take a considerable run over the next couple of weeks for the front office to want to pursue adding pieces. It definitely appears that they should be sellers, albeit with very few chips to sell. We can break down what the availability should be by breaking the players down into three categories: Untradeable, Untouchable, Unlikely and Useful.

Leading by example. Showing you what NOT to do!

Unfortunately, the Phillies have a lot of untradeable players. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Lee, and Jonathan Papelbon all have contracts that would make trading them hard to move, be it from lack of health, lack of production, or just inflated salaries. Together they make up roughly half of the payroll. While the pitchers have performed admirably, albeit Lee hasn’t gotten the results, the position players are what is really hurting the team. Utley’s offseason work out regimen has apparently made his overall condition worse as he officially won’t be making his season debut until long after he made his debut last season. Despite the “updates” the Phillies have provided, I am still under the impression that Howard won’t be making his season debut until after the All Star Game.

The Baby Aces may not be the answer, but they should be a part of the solution.

As far as untouchables go, there really shouldn’t be many, if any at all. I can understand wanting to hold on to the “Baby Aces” and some of the position players, but depending on the deal, just about every player should be made available. The Phillies really need to succeed at determining which players within the organization can be viable contributors moving forward.

Would the Phillies trade one of the most underrated catchers in baseball?

While I say that every player should be available, there are a bunch of players that are flat-out unlikely to be dealt. I highly doubt that Chooch and Doc are moved due to their value to the organization. A lot of players would need to go on a tear the next few weeks in order to bring back anything of value to the Phillies, but I have very little doubt that any player will actually significantly raise their trade value between now and the trade deadline.

The best chip

As far as the players who may be useful, I only see a few. The Phillies season begins and ends with Cole Hamels. It looks more and more likely that the Phillies do not resign him and if that is the case, they need to be ready to move him to the highest bidder. Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence should both be dangled. Unfortunately, they both need to increase their trade value in the coming weeks. I’m sure that a team could be convinced that Pence needs a change of lineup scenery and having one final year of team control doesn’t hurt either. If Blanton can bounce back, he may be able to return something serviceable because there is no way the Phillies should even consider making him the qualifying offer to garner draft pick compensation should he sign elsewhere next season.

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