Should the Philadelphia Phillies Be Sellers?

By Rich MacLeod

Five National League East Division Championships. Two National League Pennants. One World Championship. These are the things the Philadelphia Phillies have accomplished since 2007 and yet on June 17, 2012 they find themselves without their 3 best players and 9 whole games back of the first place Washington Nationals. Now we all know that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has been aggressive in the past for making deadline and offseason moves but after all of those trades Philadelphia finds it’s farm system to be fairly baron of big-time prospects and in a season that has begun like this, it may be a blessing for disguise for them. That raises the question, should the Philadelphia Phillies be sellers?

Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.48 ERA) has had some great outings, some bad outings and has blown a lot of leads this season. He’s winless in mid-June but that does not diminish his value in any way. The Phillies are paying Lee a great deal over the next few years and it may be in their best interests to not only get some big prospects for him, but to also get his money off of the payroll in order to attempt to re-sign some of their own players. Cole Hamels (9-3, 3.14 ERA), a free-agent to be, started off the season at a terrific pace and while he’s slowed down a bit he is still one of the best young left-handed starters in all of baseball. Hamels will not be re-signing during the season and with all of the Phillies payroll going to guys like Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Jonathan Papelbon and Ryan Howard, it doesn’t seem like Hamels is destined to pitch in Citizens Bank Park past this year as a member of the home team. The Los Angeles Dodgers led by new ownership are having a magical 2012 season and are opening up their wallets so it appears that Hollywood is the likliest destination for Hamels in the offseason. So my question is, if you’re most likely going to lose him, why not get something back because we all know how much Cole Hamels is worth.

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I know that it doesn’t come off as a great PR move for the fans but like I said, they desperately need to replenish that farm system and while they’re not quite out of it yet, the National League East is full of competitive teams who are distancing themselves from the Phillies each and every day. Will returns of aging stars Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay make that much of a difference? And the real question is how far back will the Phillies be when and if they ever do return this year? I never thought I’d say this at any point after what the last half-decade has shown me but to me, the Phillies should be sellers this year at the deadline. Whether they are or not is yet to be seen.

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