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Should the Phillies Have a Fire Sale?

We've gotten used to the Phightins' first-place contention in recent years, but as they sit dead last in the NL East at the All-Star break, is there any hope for a second-half rally?

If you're Ruben Amaro, July is a great month.

Usually, the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies is sitting pretty, his team in first place and the time nearing when Amaro gets to play "Let's Make A Deal" to bolster the roster for the annual playoff run.

This season, though, Amaro should be humming The Clash song, "Should (They) Stay or Should (They) Go."

The Phils are in dead last in the NL East. And with the trading deadline coming up at the end of the month, Amaro needs to determine if the Phillies are buyers or sellers this year.

He needs to decide if this team's deep playoff run of the past few years, which has led to a World Series victory, a few pennants and numerous NL East titles, is over.

Amaro needs to decide whether it's time to rebuild this team or retool it for the future.

First off, the Phils have a great nucleus that will make them competitive for years to come: You've got Carlos Ruiz, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay and Jonathan Papelbon.

With Utley back in the lineup and Howard and Halladay returning shortly from injury, will the Phils have enough firepower to get them over the hump and maybe grab a Wild Card berth?

We'll see. If Amaro deals ace Cole Hamels, who is a free agent at the end of the year, then you know what direction the Phillies are heading in.

With all the money already devoted to Halladay and Cliff Lee, signing Hamels would basically tie up $80 million each year just in three pitchers.

We've seen how great the pitching can be. But when you get no run support, than your record resembles that of Lee, who just won his first game of the year the other day.

Is it time to try to unload Lee, or Shane Victorino, who is also a free agent at the end of the year? If someone can make great offers for Placido Polanco and Hunter Pence, why not shed some payroll? Ty Wigginton would be a great addition for someone's bench (as the Phillies themselves thought last post-season).

Should chalk up this season to what it is—a bad year? You can't win every year. And maybe this Phillies season is a bump in the road, like last year's Eagles.

Either way, Amaro has some major decisions to make. If Hamels is a goner, then the season is over. But with a healthy Utley and Howard and Halladay on the mend, maybe there's still a little hope left.

The second season resumes right after the All-Star break. Should be an interesting one for the Phillies.

Collingswoodnative July 10, 2012 at 01:44 PM
First to worst this year, total collapse. I don't have the answer.
Porterincollingswood July 10, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Thing is, what has Reuben done that any fan couldn't have done? Anyone could go out and get Halladay and Lee, that's just a function of having an ownership group bucking up the cash. But when it comes to the fill-in guys, he's done nothing. Anyone not signed through next season should be dealt (aside from Cole Hamels).
Porterincollingswood July 10, 2012 at 01:55 PM
To clarify, it doesn't take a lot of skill to see Halladay and Lee and determine they're good. And getting Papelbon with that middle relief trash we have was like buying a high-end home theater system when you still had rabbit ears.
Mike Diviney July 10, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Carlos Ruiz, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay and Jonathan Papelbon are a great nucleus?? 3 of them are injured and Rollins is average at this point. Ruiz is having a career year, Papelbon has been very good and they're still in last place. They have big problems. They should do anything they can to re-sign Hamels, one of the few young stars they have. Best case scenario is that they pull a Cliff Lee and trade Hamels for prospects, then re-sign him, but that's a lot to ask for.
Gary B July 10, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Rent our Cole and try to resign him for the 2013 season would be best. If you don't think he'll come back in the off season, then they must trade for him now, and if the Phils think he'll resign, you get Cole and the 'X' prospects... However, be careful for what you wish for, he wants $25 million a season for at least 4 years... Either way, this team is past the dynasty stage, as they never got it together, there was a lot of wins and World Series's that were left on the table...they blew it.....REBUILD
Porterincollingswood July 10, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Can the Phillies outbid the Dodgers if they rent him and try to re-sign him later? I'm not willing to roll the dice on that. Especially since Cole is from California.
Gary B July 10, 2012 at 11:50 PM
If that's the case, the Phils lose him either way, best to deal him now. There is no reason to keep him the remainder of the season only to lose him and lose prospects in the same process. Rhetorically speaking, he has already told the Phils they lost the bidding war when he turned down contract talks in the Spring. I'm not worried about the Dodgers though, their front office is in disarray still and unless they sell out the name of the stadium I don't see at this moment where a huge salary will be done. Magic Johnson wants $300 million sunk into the stadium and make things more family friendly...I could be wrong, but I don't see that vibe mixing with a $150 million signing (potentially)
Porterincollingswood July 11, 2012 at 01:01 AM
So what's more alluring to you - 2 compensatory first round picks or some prospects? Have to think his trade value takes a hit since he's a rental, but I'm not sure.
Gary B July 11, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Yes, I believe at this point in time compensation would be best. He's a free agent either way, with the Phils or team 'x'. If he wants to be in Philly for the 2013 season, the decision will be his. His trade value does slump a little, but that's always the case for this type of situation. When good teams have an off year, players get rented all the time, it's just the way the game goes now ...
Collingswoodnative July 11, 2012 at 02:27 PM
No one mentioned Antonio Bastardo, he was the MVP with five runs the other night. Problem was he walked in runners that he put on base with walks then gave up a grand slam before Charlie pulled him. Think the fightin Phils lost 5-0 that night. So many loses, it's like the stock market, once in a while it goes the right way.
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Poor Kyle Kendrick. Poor, poor, Kendrick.
Mike Diviney July 11, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Kendrick is not a Major League pitcher. He should be sent down and forgotten about. He stinks.
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 06:00 PM
He has been an effective spot-starter/mop-up guy, but not really as a full-time starter; it all depends whether his sinker breaks.
Mike Diviney July 11, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Look at his career numbers, which stink and look at his numbers this year which stink even more. Conclusion: he stinks.
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 06:30 PM
In years when he's been given 20-30 starts, he's been a better than .500 pitcher, which is far from stinking. In fact, for his career, the team wins at a .545 clip in games in which he starts (MLB average if .500). I love some of the expanded stats here on "cheap wins" and "tough losses," too: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kendrky01-pitch.shtml To me, he's just a guy who's been asked to do more than he might be capable of in some circumstances, but he always shows up available for work. I hope he might be someone who emerges later in his career (he was called up young and he's only 27). But you never know.
Gary B July 11, 2012 at 08:17 PM
The fact that Kendrick entered into a convo in July at the All-Star break is all the more reason it's time to have a good 'ol fire sale. ...sighs...
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Advantage: Gary B.
Mike Diviney July 11, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Yes Gary, he often shows up where he doesn't belong- like on the roster.
Mike Diviney July 11, 2012 at 11:13 PM
In seasons he's gotten that amount of starts- and it's a total of 3- only the 1st was decent. After that, his ERA in those seasons was 4.73 and 5.49. His career ERA is 4.46 and his ERA this year is 4.89 to go with his 2-8 record. That's the definition of stinking. Why would anyone defend this guy? He shows up for work to get hit around?
Gary B July 14, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Just doing my part in exchanging rumors, spreading gossip.... lol http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8162263/philadelphia-phillies-preparing-sizable-offer-cole-hamels

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