Either the Phillies are so good at providing with their players with an environment that allows them to stomach slowly becoming one of the worst teams in baseball, or the rest of the league is getting back at the arrogance of GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and not entertaining any of the embattled Phillies executive’s trade offers. Over the All-Star break, reports surfaced that efforts to move Marlon Byrd to Seattle hit a snag and the Mariners have shifted their focus toward Tampa Bay. Though it is still likely that Jonathan Papelbon’s days in Philadelphia are coming to a close, one can’t expect a bountiful return for a past-his-prime closer at a substantial price tag, even if the Phillies retain some of his salary. The latest rumblings, courtesy of CBS Baseball Insider Jon Heyman, involve perhaps Amaro Jr.’s two biggest bargaining chips. According to Heyman, when it comes to Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, the Philadelphia organization has definitively polarizing stances on the prized left-handed pitchers.
growing sense is phils would prefer to trade lee than hamels (and the 2 lhp may be ok w/ that 2). http://t.co/xwjEyYcjQ0
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 18, 2014
As long as there are no setbacks in his 2-3 starts before the trade deadline, it would stand to reason that Cliff Lee would happily entertain a move to a contender. At 35 and still without a World Series ring, Lee doesn’t have too many prime years remaining. Though he may not yield the same return as a starter like David Price would, Lee’s postseason success and front-of-rotation talents could net the Phillies a respectable return. Though Amaro Jr. has declared the team is open to just about any sort of shake-up, it would appear that Hamels, much like Chase Utley, would be hesitant to leave the city for any team.
Both Lee and Hamels have no-trades with at least 20 teams on them, but people around the team suggest Hamels is more likely to invoke his, as he wants to remain in Philly. Lee, like closer Jonathan Papelbon, would likely choosing winning over city, they say.
Only time will tell as far as what the Phillies will end up doing come July 31st. That said, when reading between the lines, it’s tough to envision a significant influx of top-end talent coming back in any sort of transaction in the next few weeks.