Yesterday, I made an argument for why the Phillies should be buyers at the trade deadline. Today, I’ll take the opposite stance and explain why it would be best if the team acts as sellers as the trade deadline approaches.
The Case for Selling
A deficit of five and a half games in the Wild Card standings is not insurmountable…but it won’t be easy to make up either. Just because the Phillies made late runs in 2007 and 2008, it doesn’t mean that they’re guaranteed to do it again. Those teams were younger and probably more talented than the current team.
Keep in mind that the Phillies needed to go on a hot streak just to get this close. That hot streak was feuled by the likes of John Lannan, Ben Revere, and Delmon Young. Does anyone think those guys are capable of carrying a team over the course of a season?
Even if the Phillies do make the playoffs, is that really worth mortgaging the future of the club? The chances of them actually winning the World Series are so small that it hardly seems worth it to give up even more prospects from a thin farm system.
Besides, win or lose, there are changes coming soon. Roy Halladay, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley are due to become free agents at the end of the season. Even if these players are retained, they’re on the backside of their careers, and will need to be replaced in the next few years.
No matter what the Phillies do this season, it appears that a re-tooling process is inevitable. That process will be made more difficult by the lack of top prospects in the minor leagues. Therefore, the team might be wise to trade away veteran players in exchange for prospects who could help fuel a rebirth.
It would be foolish to trade away everyone. While they might get a good return for Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins, and Jonathan Papelbon, the roster would look rather barren without them. Considering the financial commitments they already have (they can’t trade everyone) I don’t think anyone should want to see a rebuilding effort of that extent.
But it could be just as foolish not to trade anyone. If teams are going to offer top prospects, then it would be wise for the Phillies to at least listen. The era of Phillies dominance in the National League East is over, and the sooner the team accepts it, the sooner they can start to build towards a new era of dominance.
Now that I’ve made arguments for both buying and selling, tomorrow I’ll explain what I think the Phillies SHOULD do.
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