If an eight-game losing streak and 1-8 post-All-Star break record weren’t enough of an indication, a tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney stating that the team is now willing to hear offers on some of their top players is certainly more than enough evidence that the Philadelphia Phillies have officially become sellers.
While Olney’s tweet only specifically mentioned Michael Young being on the trading block, it is expected that other top names such as Chase Utley and Jonathan Papelbon could become tradable within the coming days.
Olney’s tweet did mention that starting pitcher Cliff Lee is currently on the untouchable list, but again, all of that could change.
That said, it makes perfect sense that the team is seriously thinking about selling off some of its top players. Guys like Young and Utley are attractive trade pieces and could net the Phillies some solid young prospects in return. Young’s best value would likely come as an AL DH as his defense at the hot corner is still a bit suspect.
As for Utley, he has shown the ability to still play adequate second base. His offensive abilities will be the main draw in a trade, and he has drawn the interest of several teams around both the NL and AL. However, as was reported over the weekend, the Phillies and Utley are reportedly engaging in contract talks that could keep the second baseman in red and white pinstripes for a few more years.
Papelbon still has value as one of the top closers in the league and he will look to command and control the market. At this point, while the Phillies will still probably have to eat a good chunk of his massive contract, he may be their best tradeable asset.
Overall, the Phillies have a good deal of talent to part with and with the team now solely focused on the future, the hope is for a return of fresh, talented prospects that can once again take this organization back to the top. Utley, Young and Papelbon, can certainly net that kind of return.