Rosenthal: Phillies won’t give players away


After an 11-2 beatdown by the New York Mets, it really feels like something needs to give for the Phillies before today’s four o’clock eastern trade deadline. Not that we really needed today’s loss for things to feel like that.

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, it looks like a realistic possibility that the Phillies won’t move anyone before tomorrow’s trade deadline.

Fair enough. Then again, I’d give Jonathan Papelbon away for next to nothing at this point for a few reasons. First off, I don’t think he is capable of pitching like he did in the first half of this season without the electric fastball that he once had, and scouts, plus his recent performance, have echoed that sentiment. Secondly, getting him away from the young players on this team, even if you have to take on most of his salary, might be addition by subtraction, because you don’t want players taking on his attitude.

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It’s also up for debate what ‘giving players away’ really means. I’m not in the Phillies front-office and I don’t pretend to be an insider, but I get this sick sense that the Phillies are taking calls on Jimmy Rollins and expecting to be able to pick a player from an organizations’ top five prospects. I get the sense they do this not in sense that they believe Rollins is actually worth that at this point in his career, but because they’ve gotten this twisted idea that Chase Utley and Rollins finishing their careers in Philly is some sort of consolation prize for sucking for the next five (at least) seasons.

Some people do feel that way about Utley. I don’t think really anyone does about Rollins. I think moving Rollins would allow the team to begin to move forward to the next era of Phillies’ baseball. Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez (if they would try him at short) or a free-agent holdover may have to hold the spot over for a season or so until J.P. Crawford is ready, but so what? Rollins is batting .241. I know he has 15 homeruns and is still fielding, but the Phillies aren’t winning with him, so what are they accomplishing by holding onto him?

As for Utley, he can still play, and would have a good market if the Phillies had even listened to offers, which really makes me angry. I love Chase, and always will. Chase is a 35 year-old with a history of health issues, on a team that is half a decade or more from being a contender. Excuse me if I wouldn’t move him for a very good prospect and another smaller piece, who can help this team when they might actually be a good team again.

Whether either of the two would waive their no-trade clause is another question. I think Rollins would for a majority of contending situations. I think for the right one Utley may have at least considered it, but we’ll never know because the Phillies are determined to make him a lifetime Phillie.

At the end of the day, will it be cool when Chase retires to say he spent his whole career in Philly? Yeah, a little. It would be cooler in a few years to say that we have a very good MLB player that we got for him that is part of building the next World Championship team in Philly.

One prospect doesn’t automatically turn the fate of your franchise, but great front-offices move players when they have value, and replenish their teams one piece at a time. Look what the Red Sox are about to do with Jon Lester, who keep in mind, is a very good pitcher, in his prime, who is less than 12 months removed from helping them to win their third World Title in ten years. Utley doesn’t have his value, but you get my point.

I am by no means advocating giving Utley away. But I think the Phillies’ have entered the trade-deadline with the approach that they have a roster full of players that are still in their primes, and if they don’t move any of them, they can just re-tool with those players for next year. How do I know that? Oh, this kind of tipped me off.

No one has offered you anything suitable for Antonio Bastardo? Rollins? A.J. Burnett‘s contract complicates things, but I struggle to think no one is willing to take that disaster of a deal of their hands, assuming they pick up some of is deal next year, should he play.

Cole Hamels is a complicated deal, because you do need to hit a homerun on any trade for him, but they can’t go into trades treating Hamels like he is Clayton Kershaw, and expecting a team to take on the over $100 million remaining on his deal. If they don’t want to move him, then stop taking calls on him. But expecting four of an organizations’ top five prospects and not being open to eating any money isn’t the type of thing that gets deals done.

Again though, the question arises, if you don’t move Cole, where is this team getting any serious prospects to try to rebuild with other than the ones they get in the draft? Where are they getting any serious financial flexibility anytime soon? Are they going to try this bullshit off-season “re-tool” plan they’ve been doing the last few off-seasons every year until Hamels’ deal expires?

For the record, I think these reports are way too late to be a smokescreen. I think the Phillies front-office made their bed, did an extremely poor job of it, and now they are finding out that not only is it nearly impossible to sleep in that bed, but they don’t have the ability to get rid of the bed to try to get a new one.