Split With Miami Marlins Means Sun Has Set On Playoff Hopes of Philadelphia Phillies

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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Philadelphia Phillies the team which survived a “Group of Death” road trip in Atlanta and St. Louis at 5-2 or the team that split a home series with the Miami Marlins?

Neither, but that’s not bad because the Phillies might have spent the last four games coming to grips with what they really are — an inconsistent team that was up and down for the first half of this season and probably will be that way for the rest of this one.

That’s not bad because the Phillies have to make an important decision soon to become a seller or a buyer, and now a buyer apparently is out of the question. They can make small tweaks — maybe replacing Domonic Brown in left field with Grady Sizemore — to become marginally better but not enough to even contend for the last wild card playoff spot.

They have to take a page from the book of the Philadelphia 76ers and GM Sam Hinkie to take a step or two back to take three or four steps forward. In baseball, it’s harder to do because you need nine good starters, not five, and draft choices are not as impactful, but the Phillies can get better if they can move their few aging assets for multiple prospects.

Second baseman Chase Utley, who hit a game-winning home run on Thursday night, is such a piece who can bring not one but two players who can be part of the rebuild a couple of years down the road. Imagine what adding Utley does for a team like the New York Yankees, for instance.   Jonathan Papelbon is another guy who can put a team needing a closer over the top.

Neither Utley nor Papelbon can do much for the Phillies now except maintain the current status quo, and that’s just not good enough. The Phillies do not need Sam Hinkie to tell them that.

Mike Gibson is a Phillies writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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