MLB Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies’ Top 5 Trade Assets

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Five Phillies Trade Assets

Howard Smith - USA Today Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies are at a delicate time in their 2013 season. They sit at 43-46 on the year but only 7.5 games out of the division and out of the Wild Card. For GM Ruben Amaro Jr., the time to make a decision is rapidly approaching; should the band stick together for one more run or is it time to blow it up and start over?

The Phillies started a run of five straight division titles in 2007. To show for it, they made two trips to the World Series and won the whole thing in 2008. The last two years have been a disappointment, however, as they lost in the first round to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 and failed to make the playoffs with an 81-81 record last year.

This is an aging roster and not one that is build to last for the next decade. The window of opportunity is closing for the Phillies and they will use this final week before the All-Star break to see if they can get over .500 to decide if they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline.

Phillies fans caught a glimpse of what life might be like as sellers by having to say goodbye to some fan favorites last year such as Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton. This year, the names of potential players who could be traded are ones that very well could break the hearts of the Philly faithful. Because they have such a veteran roster, that means they have plenty of valuable trade chips for teams that need that one guy to make a playoff push. The question remains whether or not Amaro will pull the trigger.

Here are the top five trade assets for the Phillies as the deadline approaches.

Zach Slotter is a writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page or add him on Google.

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5. Darin Ruf

Eric Hartline - USA Today Sports

Darin Ruf is getting his chance to play with Ryan Howard on the disabled list. Even though Ruf is still a young and talented prospect, the truth of the matter is that no one is crazy enough to take on Howard’s $75 million over the next three three years remaining on his contract. So the Phillies are essentially stuck with Howard at first base and although Ruf is trying to learn to play the outfield, it has been a slow process. It might be wise to trade Ruf to try and get some bullpen arms since there is a logjam preventing him from becoming an everyday major leaguer in Philly.

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4. Michael Young

Charles LeClaire - USA Today Sports

Michael Young spent his entire career with the Texas Rangers before coming over to the Phillies this past offseason. His defense has been suspect over at third base (six errors and a lack of range), but he is hitting .284 with a .339 OBP. His versatility allows him to play all four infield positions and even DH, which makes him perfect trade bait for a contender.

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3. Jonathan Papelbon

Charles LeClaire - USA Today Sports

Jonathan Papelbon is one of three big time names that have been tossed around for the Phillies to clean house. Besides a stretch where Paps blew four out of five save chances, he has been lights out and still sports a 1.82 ERA for the season. The problem is that the train wreck known as the Phillies bullpen cannot get to the ninth inning to get to their closer. He still has elite stuff and any team would love to bolster their bullpen with a guy with a World Series ring.

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2. Chase Utley

Charles LeClaire - USA Today Sports

Chase Utley is finally healthy again! That means trade rumors are swirling around the second baseman. He is a free agent at year’s end and would be a perfect rental player for a team that needs a left-handed bat. He is batting .281 this year with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs, and would definitely command prospects in return. But any Philly fan would ultimately be crushed and confused to see him put on any other uniform.

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1. Cliff Lee

Howard Smith - USA Today Sports

His name is out there every year, but is this finally the year Amaro deals Cliff Lee? He is having a phenomenal year at 10-2 with a 2.73 ERA. Starting pitchers of this caliber are tough to come by and a team like the Rangers, for example, would give up a ton because they know Lee would give them a shot at another trip to the World Series.