This morning, Buster Olney hosted a Baseball Tonight podcast and Jayson Stark was one of his guests. The two discussed their love for fourth of July baseball, the Biogenisis case, and trade rumors. Among the teams who the two discussed their trade deadline plan, the Phillies were one of the most talked about teams. And Jayson Stark responded directly to people like me, who truly believe that Ruben Amaro is living in a fantasy world if he doesn’t sell this year because he wants to try and compete with this same team next season.
“I think that people who have been concluding that Ruben is deluding himself or misleading himself, are reading him wrong. He was just committed to waiting as long as possible and we’re about two weeks away from seeing the Phillies being one of the most interesting sellers in baseball”.
Stark does mention that the Phillies will wait until the All-Star break, because they feel that the upcoming series against the Braves and Nationals are really the last chance for the Phillies to climb back into the playoff race. But he says their is no question that the Phillies are leaning towards selling.
The biggest issue that the Phillies are facing is whether to deal fan-favorite Chase Utley, or hold onto him in an attempt to make him a Phillie for life. Olney chimes in that the Royals, Blue Jays, and Orioles would all love to acquire Chase Utley, but that this isn’t like trading just any piece. Olney believes that the Phillies are going to have to sit down with Chase and discuss what is best for both sides prior to making any move, or not making any move, at the deadline. Stark echoed the sentiments of Olney.
“They need to know what Chase is thinking on a number of fronts, first of all contract. He’s a free agent after this year and I know he’s told people he thinks, the way he’s playing right now…he thinks he can play four or five more years…. I just don’t see the Phillies committing for that length”.
“I get the sense they’re torn on this…they’ve got guys who can play second base (Galvis and Hernandez) and they have people in the organization saying that it’s time to move on, it’s time to move him.”
Stark talked about the willpower from Utley and how he plays the game the way every loves, which is what makes trading him such a hard choice not only for Amaro, but for team President David Montgomery.
I guess I fall into the non-sentimental group. I love Chase. But it is 2013, and he has trade value for the first time in years because of his health. Not to mention the Phillies have two options(Galvis and Hernandez) that if given a chance, could be productive MLB players. It just feels like as great as Chase has been here, it is time to turn the page. I understand why people want to hold onto Chase, but for the long-term success of the team it isn’t a smart move.