By Timothy Downs @Tidow1212 on June 13, 2014
The Philadelphia Phillies are in last place in the NL East at 28-36 and are stuck with an aging, overpriced nucleus of players that are underperforming. Barring a miracle or two, they are not in store for a productive summer and should begin to move whoever they can. Here are five players the Phillies could live without in 2014.
Timothy Downs is a fantasy sports writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Tidow1212.
Cody Asche was well thought of in the Phillies minor league system, but has made a lackluster impression since joining the club last season. Thus far in 2014, Asche has batted just .258 with four HRs and 18 RBIs in 40 games. He might be better served to be in the minors gaining confidence, rather than being immersed with the negativity that surrounds a floundering group of veterans.
Outfielder Marlon Byrd has been solid for Philadelphia this season, hitting 10 HRs and 38 RBIs in 63 games, but at 36, it is safe to assume he is not in the Phillies' long-term plans. They might be better served trading Byrd to a contender at the deadline, which would give someone in the minors an opportunity to make an impression.
A.J. Burnett has been mediocre all season after being signed to a one-year, sixteen million-dollar deal this offseason. At 4-5 with a 4.24 ERA, there is a chance, though, that Burnett could bring something back in a deadline deal with a contender if the Phillies were to eat part of the remainder of the contract, which is exactly what they should try to do. The Phillies really have no need for Burnett at this point anymore.
Jonathan Papelbon has been very good this season, pitching to a 1.42 ERA and saving 14 games. However, his future with the club has been seemingly up in the air for two seasons now. The Phillies are not a win-now team, and unloading some payroll by moving Papelbon, who does not seem to be in the clubs long-term plans, would be beneficial and would give Philadelphia the opportunity to look into their system for their next closer.
Cliff Lee is currently on the disabled-list with an arm injury, and the Phillies should make no attempt at hurrying him back, unless they feel he can return prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. Although 35, Lee remains a big trade chip for Philadelphia, so returning 100 percent healthy should be the goal regardless of when that occurs. They don't need him this season.
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