Phillies Look Likely to Start Fire Sale

The Phillies are eight games out of first place. They are one of the worst teams in the National League. Will they pack it in?

Do you like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and other stars of the recent Phillies? Watch them while you can! The Phillies are getting ready to sell.

Before the team’s recently completed eight-game homestand, general manager Ruben Amaro said he’d make a decision on whether the team would attempt to contend this year based on their results. The Phillies lost 6 of 8 and were swept by the Braves in a four-game series for the first time since 1964.

The Phillies almost certainly aren’t going to get rid of all of those players. Lee is hurt and would need to show he can contribute this year to get traded (again). Howard’s trade value is incredibly limited — he’s only slugging .410, and while an AL team might take a shot on him as a DH, his contract is huge and the Phillies would have to eat a lot of money. Closer Jonathan Papelbon is another case of a player whose contract the Phillies would likely have to pay part or most of in order to get anything in return.

The Inquirer’s Matt Gelb adds that “a trade of Chase Utley or Cole Hamels is not among the probable ones,” after Phillies president David Montgomery said he thought a full rebuild, Sixers-style, would depress attendance too much.

But others are more likely to go. Rollins says he’s open to a trade. (As a player with 10 years of major league service and at least 5 with the same team, Rollins has a full no-trade clause.) Other players the Phillies could deal, Gelb notes: Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, Marlon Byrd, A.J. Burnett, Kyle Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo.

Not all of those are names you’ve come to enjoy over the last decade or so, but some of them have been here for a quite a while and are fan favorites. The reality, as the Daily News’ David Murphy notes, is that even with a bunch of trades the Phillies are in no position to contend anytime soon. The future is bleak for the Phillies. It’s just a matter of learning how long we’ll get to see the Phillies’ old stars playing out the string.

[Inquirer | Daily News]