The Philadelphia Phillies have been perennial contenders. With a number of superstars all entering their primes simultaneously, they had a very discrete window. However, that window has closed. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and others were core contributors who are now on the tail end of their careers.
The Phillies are now in a difficult position. With one of the worst farm systems in all of baseball, the Phillies are aging with little help on the horizon. It is hard to fathom that Reuben Amaro and his front office members could ever go into true selling mode, but they did show the foresight to trade future free agents Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence.
Ryan Howard is untradeable due to his contract that rivals Barry Zito’s among the worst in baseball. Jimmy Rollins is likely to stay put. Cole Hamels is also unlikely to be moved. Cliff Lee could be traded, but there would be an interesting balance of a team taking Lee’s contract or trading away prospects. The Phillies’ best trade candidate is Chase Utley. In the last year of his current contract, Utley still performs at a high level, playing a very weak position.
The Royals have been playing Chris Getz at 2B, as they have simply refused to give prospect Johnny Giavotella a real opportunity. Their young hitters have massively underachieved this season, and Utley has the experience to work with the young hitters. Utley would be a compliment to new hitting coach George Brett, as they both have great understanding of successful hitting at the major league level.
The Baltimore Orioles have struggled to consistently fill second base, as former star Brian Roberts has been injured more than healthy. With a lineup that is already among the best in baseball, Utley would be an amazing piece alongside Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Manny Machado and others.
Both of these clubs have relatively strong farm systems, though it would not take an elite level prospect to acquire Utley. If the club paid the rest of the money on Utley’s deal, it would take little more than a B level prospect to finish the deal.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.