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It’s July and the Phillies will listen to anything

Jul 1, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

Hello, July.

Hello, trading season.

The Phillies spent the last day of June recovering from an embarrassing 2-6 homestand that knocked them out of the NL East race for good. There was a smidgeon of hope for this team after it put together a 5-2 road trip earlier last month, but splitting a four-game series with the Marlins and being swept by the Braves at home has put an end to all the little far-fetched fantasies surrounding this losing team.

The Phils needed a good homestand to keep their hopes alive. They came up small. Time to move on.

The Phillies are back on the road Tuesday night to begin a 10-game trip that will take them to Miami, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee before coming home for three games before the All-Star break against Washington.

The sweep at the hands of Atlanta left the Phillies eight games back in the NL East and on pace for 91 losses. Even a good road trip won’t turn this thing around. We won’t be fooled again. This team is just not good enough.

So what’s left for this club?

The coming months will be spent evaluating and giving experience to youngsters such as third baseman Cody Asche and relievers Jake Diekman, Mario Hollands, Ken Giles and Justin De Fratus.

As for the rest of the crew. Well, make an offer. Just about anyone can be had in a trade — for the right price — as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches and a much-needed franchise re-tooling comes to the fore. The Phillies need this and they are headed in that direction. No, it won’t be a Sixers-like strip-down — Phillies management is loath to use the word “rebuilding” — but changes are coming.

Cole Hamels is the closest thing the Phillies have to an untouchable. They would prefer to build around the 30-year-old lefty. But blow them away, and yes, they will consider it.

You can believe all the word salad coming from Phillies management about not wanting to deal the club icons that helped them win the 2008 World Series, but why would anyone admit that changes are coming a month before the deadline? What good would it do to publicly shudder the season a month before you have to? It would hurt ticket sales. Better to focus on winning as many games as possible now and make moves right before the deadline.

If Chase Utley comes to management and says he’d like to move on, maybe be a San Francisco Giant, Phillies elders will try to make to it happen (for the right return). If Utley remains hush, he will stay with the Phillies. He drove the bus last summer when he told club officials not to entertain trade requests and focus on a contract extension. He still drives it.

If the Phillies get an offer they like on Jimmy Rollins, they will go to him and ask what he wants to do. Stay or go? Ultimately it will be Rollins’ call.

Both Rollins and Utley have full veto power over trades.

Ryan Howard? Untradeable because of his contract.

Cliff Lee? If he proves healthy in the three starts he’s expected to make before July 31, the Phils would move him for the right return. Otherwise, they will hang on to him and make him available in the offseason.

Mike Adams? There would have been interest had he not come down with a sore shoulder. It’s tough to see him getting moved before the deadline, but he could be an August waiver deal.

A.J. Burnett pitches Tuesday night in Miami. He has put together four good ones in a row. He is a candidate to move before the deadline.

So is Kyle Kendrick. Yeah, he’s just a No. 5 starter, but sometimes a marginal pickup can make a difference on a contending team. Kendrick could be appealing to a contender.

Jonathan Papelbon could be a fit in a number of towns, especially if the Phillies would pick up part of his $13 million salary for next season. The Phils were willing to do that over the winter. Papelbon, however, might not be the most attractive reliever that the Phillies put on the market. Antonio Bastardo, left-handed and having a solid season, could be the first reliever to go. In fact, he might be the first Phillie to go.

Looking for an outfielder? The Phils would move four of them — Marlon Byrd, Domonic Brown, Ben Revere and John Mayberry Jr.

July is here. It’s baseball’s trading season. The Phillies might not be ready to admit it — why wave the white flag publicly when there is a month to go before the deadline? — but they are open for business. It won’t be easy making trades, not with the money some of these guys are owed beyond this season, but deals are coming. This season is beyond hope (and the Phillies have no one to blame but themselves for that after that awful homestand.)

It’s time to retool.

  1. rollinghighwayblues - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    “Cole Hamels is the closest thing the Phillies have to an untouchable. They would prefer to build around the 30-year-old lefty.”

    For whatever reason I don’t see this. I may be way off base but why would the Phillies want to keep and build around a pitcher that’ll be 33-34 by the time the team is competitive again?

    • gmfw7 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      why would it take that long? if you’re willing to spend money in FA it could take 1-2 years. the marlins blew it up in 2012, and if their owner wasn’t so cheap they could’ve gone out and got a few FA this off season to go along with all the young talent they have, and could be legit. if the phillies are going to blow it up, they first need to fire RAJ, because the fans, upper managment, and the rest of MLB all know that he is not the guy to do the job. he won’t get back the right returns for any of the guys they look to move. beeter not to let this guy destroy a team twice in 3 years

  2. schmedley69 - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    The quickest way to turn this thing around is to trade Amaro for Billy Beane.

    • js20011041 - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      The problem is, only Billy Beane could pull off a trade that lopsided. And only Ruben Amaro could make a trade that dumbfounding.

    • carpi2 - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      Someone needs to pull the trigger on this trade Right NOW!

  3. northernredneck758 - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    And the Phillies will do nothing again

  4. eagles512 - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    I’d say good if anyone but Amaro was the one making the moves. He’s an embarrassment.

  5. tfbuckfutter - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    After listening to comments about how badly they have sucked over the last 3 seasons I’m sure they’re eager to listen to just about anything else.

  6. jlinatl - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    The problem is they players that are Major League ready. Most of those guys are going to get guys with low ceilings if they are close to ready. Otherwise, you are looking at guys with several years before they are ready.

    Either way, this is not a situation ripe for a quick turnaround.

  7. dracko19 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    The Phillies are always a non-factor in the trading season because of their philosophy: They won’t eat money and they must acquire any clubs BEST prospects in any trade. No exceptions.

  8. mazblast - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    They SHOULD be sellers, and as is often the case with dump deals, he who moves first moves best.

    However, being it’s Amaro, he’ll piddle, twiddle, and stall, asking for way too much and refusing to eat any salary. They should pay to move Howard, get Rollins to waive his no-trade, and get what they can for Brown, Kendrick, Burnett, and Papelbon. Utley may be another matter, as he’s probably the face of the franchise at this point. Lee should go once he’s proven he’s healthy.

    But will Amaro do what should be done, or will he (or ownership) persist in the fantasy that it’s still 2008-09? Do they really think all this team needs is a few Band-Aids, that one trade or free agent signing will bring them back to glory?

  9. Professor Fate - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    “What good would it do to publicly shudder the season a month before you have to?”

    Shudder? That’s what I did after reading this sentence. Many Phillies fans are likely doing the same when they watch their team play. The correct word here is “shutter.” As in curtains or window blinds. Bringing the curtain down. Pulling the shutters closed. Giving up (which I did with this article after that hacked up sentence). A professional writer would be ashamed.

    The English language is slowly dying from a million tiny cuts.

  10. musketmaniac - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    How A.j.s hernia, probably a big pain in the balls. And a bigger pain to the general manager trying to trade him.

  11. corky2141 - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    Can you trade GM’s. Or even better do what the eagles & steelers did years ago (decades), sell the phillies move them to Oakland sell the athletics and bring them home to philly

  12. The BEAST - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:27 AM

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Ben Revere traded for some bull-pen help.
    Mostly I think it’s a confidence thing though as the home/away record indicates. That part they can’t get in a trade, but they CAN get it here:

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