With less than 24 hours before the trade deadline at 4 p.m. on Thursday, everyone seems to be waiting for the Philadelphia Phillies to make some kind of move. At this point, Ruben Amaro Jr. has done exactly nothing except tell teams interested in making a deal what he wants, getting laughed at and then moving on. But this is the way the trade deadline works. In some ways, it’s nothing more than an elaborate game of chicken, each team waiting to see if the other blinks.
The list of Phillies who might be on the move is a long one, including names such as Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, Marlon Byrd and even Kyle Kendrick. Of those, there are only two, Hamels and Byrd, who realistically have any chance of wearing a different uniform this time next week. If any of the other are dealt, I would be very surprised.
But let’s say, hypothetically, Amaro Jr. starts doing his job and he manages to trade every player on that list. The Phillies are suddenly flush with prospects, a freed up payroll and no more having to deal with “soreness” issues. What can the fans expect from the Phillies then?
If we’re being honest, about the same as what they’ve been getting since the start of the season.
This has been the issue with what Amaro Jr. and Phillies president David Montgomery have been preaching since the thought that the Phillies needed to rebuild was first mentioned. The two just don’t seem able to see the entire Phillies organization as a whole; they’re only focused on the product on the big-league field.
Replace most of the current roster with an army of prospects and younger versions of the veterans and you won’t get better baseball. Why? Because the Phillies’ farm system is a mess, the scouting has been a disaster for years and everyone in the front office seems stuck in 2008. Even if they were able to unload all the players listed above, the payroll is still too high for the team to be able to do anything meaningful in free agency and I won’t even mention the fact that right now nobody can be 100 percent sure that Ryne Sandberg is a good enough manager to lead a retooled Phillies roster.
In other words, the problems with the Phillies run a lot deeper than just the players.
And until Amaro Jr. and Montgomery see that, they can trade and acquire all the players they want, it won’t matter. Buy, sell, stand pat — the result is going to be the same: the Phillies are still going to need a ton of work.