Originally posted on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 7/29/12

The Phillies entered this weekend’s series with the Braves fresh off of their first sweep of the season. While they didn’t fire on all cylinders against the Brewers — they won on three late-inning comebacks — the team showed signs of life. It played more like squads from years past than the disappointing 2012 version. The sweep helped them stay somewhat relevant in the playoff picture, as a healthy lineup with Halladay returned to the rotation had the potential to do some damage over the next two months.

While there truly isn’t precedent for a team this far under .500, this late in the season, to surge back and grab a playoff berth, it’s also hard to imagine many instances where a team this talented on paper played so sluggishly for three or four months.

Then this series happened. The Phillies were sluggish in the crucial series opener, fell flat again on Saturday night and struggled to do anything positive this afternoon. The result was a three-game sweep that effectively negated everything they did in the Brewers series and put the team back at the proverbial square one. Roy Halladay pitched better than he did in his previous start, but didn’t look Doc-esque, and the offense struggled to capitalize on the seven hits they recorded against Tim Hudson. It was an extremely disappointing series on all fronts: offense, defense and pitching.

I tend to avoid absolutes whenever possible, but this sweep sure seems like the nail in the coffin for the Phillies playoff hopes. And though that is initially disappointing, there is a positive for those subscribing to the glass half-full theory: now that the team is effectively out of it, Ruben Amaro doesn’t have to remain in limbo with regards to the trade deadline.

When the Phillies were still on the verge of being “in it” it was tougher to justify trading certain players. But now? Move anyone that could bring something of future value back, whether that surfaces in the form of salary relief, prospects, or both. If someone wants to pay Hunter Pence the rest of the season and trade a prospect or two, the Phillies should act on it. He’ll provide short-term salary relief as the Phils won’t be paying his approximate $13-$14 million salary next year, and Domonic Brown could immediately start playing on an everyday basis. Perhaps with less pressure, the Phillies will give him the playing time he needs without jerking him around in the thick of a playoff race.

If a team decides to trade a young, talented, team-controlled reliever for Victorino, and no other offers are on the table, it makes plenty of sense to accept that deal. Given the new collective bargaining agreement, the Phillies would only get draft pick compensation if they made a qualifying offer to Victorino in the vicinity of $12-$13 million for next season. Given his relatively subpar season, it’s doubtful that Shane would get anything close to that over one year on the market. And if there is a risk that he would accept the qualifying offer, the Phillies need to decide whether or not they are okay paying him that amount next season. Maybe they are, at which point a trade wouldn’t make sense. But if they aren’t, trading him now and avoiding the situation entirely is the way to go.

Juan Pierre could also help a playoff contender as a pinch-runner and platoon outfielder. He probably won’t hit like this the entire season, but he makes next-to-nothing and still has skills both at the plate and on the bases. Heck, even Ty Wigginton might be attractive to a contending team in a pinch-hitting and spot start capacity.

The Phillies are in a strange spot in that they have numerous valuable assets yet have struggled to regularly win games this season. They still have enough talent to compete in 2013, but the allocation of resources could use some retooling. Getting out from under Pence’s contract and potentially getting a decent return on Victorino could go a long way towards shaping the roster next season. Getting swept by the Braves stinks, as it’s always tough when a team is out of it before reaching the trade deadline. However, in this case, I’m choosing to view it as a blessing in disguise, as it gives Amaro more reason to act smartly this week by selling assets instead of trying to put lipstick on a pig of a 2012 campaign.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Predators fans throw catfish on ice to celebrate Stanley Cup berth

WATCH: Draymond Green tries just a little to hard to sell foul

Eddie George fires up Predators fans before Game 4 vs Ducks

Viktor Arvidsson had bloody ‘R’ on forehead after hit

Danny Ainge’s son running for congressional seat in Utah

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Wall’s retweet saves fan from taking final exam

WATCH: Cubs pull off two miraculous defensive plays in a row

To raise money for charity, a wrestling fan has Cody Rhodes slam him on thumbtacks

Gregg Popovich on Steve Kerr’s health issues: ‘It’s just a crap situation’

CJ McCollum clearly interested in having Paul Millsap join Blazers

Injuries are depriving us from watching the Spurs thrive in the clutch

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Box Score 5/19: Heartbreak in OT

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker