Ahh, aren’t you enjoying this 25-35 record? I mean, the Phillies are literally the worst team in the National League, but at least we still have the core from the 2008 World Series team locked into long-term deals, right? How can you not love going down to CBP every night and seeing the ’08 core, surrounded by many Triple-A level players, tarnish their legacies?
In case the front-office hasn’t noticed (it seems like even they finally are beginning to), the Phillies are a really bad baseball team, and continuing to make moves based off of desire to re-create the 2008 season, probably isn’t the key to short or long-term success. So at this point, no one on the Phillies should be untouchable.
But, as we have been informed the Phillies don’t exactly have a roster full of players with high (or any) trade values. Over the weekend, ESPN’s Buster Olney called the chances of a Phillies sell-off ‘bleak‘. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo followed that up yesterday morning by saying that ‘anyone’ on the Phillies is available, but players like A.J. Burnett have next to no trade-value currently. Then last night, while you were all tucked away watching LeBron go to work, Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote a piece about the trade season beginning, which largely highlighted how the Phillies need to rebuild, but don’t have the ability to trade a majority of their roster because they have team un-friendly contracts.
Sherman seems to think that Utley will have a long list of suitors lining up to acquire his services, as well.
To me, Utley is the prize. The Phillies, in particular, don’t want to give him up because of his local popularity. But rebuilding clubs should trade 35-year-olds performing well who could get big returns. Utley has age on him and has cooled off after a torrid start. But he makes just $10 million next year, and the way his 2016-18 options are structured, they really protect the team should his knee issues recur.
At this point, if the Phillies are concerned about local popularity, they should fire Ruben Amaro and begin to rebuild. Trading Utley might not be a popular move, but making moves based singularly off public popularity isn’t a formula for winning a title. If you begin to move on from the ’08 core and build a new team, the Phillies will find new faces of their franchise, and hey, the might even win another World Series. Imagine that!
Sherman says, that after the Yankees lost Robinson Cano to the Mariners last off-season, they unsuccessfully tried to pry Utley from the Phillies. The Yankees, who currently have Brian Roberts starting at second, could still be a suitor for Utley’s services, as could a whole host of National League teams that Sherman suggests.
Put him on either Bay Area team — the A’s or Giants — and I think that club is the World Series favorite. The same might be said if the Cardinals got him.
It’s time. Utley’s value isn’t going to be any higher than this year, and keeping him on a team that is going to need to go through a four or five season overhaul doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m going to enjoy the last month or so of “Kashmir” playing as one of the greatest Phillies of all-time walks to the plate, but come July 31st, it’s time to move on.