Even while not coming right out and saying it, the message from Ruben Amaro Jr. was that the Philadelphia Phillies were more than willing to sell than buy come the trade deadline.
Is a five-game winning streak (and nine of 11) enough to change the GM’s mind? We will not really know for sure until July 31 because a good GM keeps these kind of decisions close to the vest, but the Phillies at least have to start thinking about buying now.
First baseman Ryan Howard has awoken from a two-year slumber and third baseman Cody Asche is back from a stint on the DL. Cliff Lee has reported no problems in his rehab; becoming buyers makes more sense now than ever.
Here’s two reasons.
Attendance has fallen faster than the economy did in 2008 and the team has plenty of TV money to purchase contracts of players who less deep-pocketed organizations would like to jettison. They must be players the Phillies could use, though, and included among that group have to be power-hitting outfielders.
The Phillies must find someone to replace Domonic Brown now and he currently does not reside in the organization, so they must go out and get him—even if it means giving up a prospect and eating a large chunk of salary.
They could also use a viable backup catcher now that Will Nieves is injured and a dependable back end of the bullpen arm. If they get those pieces maybe—and this is even a stretch—they could make a run for the final Wild Card playoff spot.
It’s amazing what winning five games in a row will do and that includes changing some hearts and minds that may have already been set in one direction.