Found May 12, 2012 on Philly Sports World:
Phillies Centerfielder Shane Victorino is in the final year of his contract with the Phillies.  Could he be used as trade bait to help the team re-build? Photo by Renee Cendrowski.

Phillies Centerfielder Shane Victorino is in the final year of his contract with the Phillies. Could he be used as trade bait to help the team re-build? Photo by Renee Cendrowski.

Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told CSNPhilly‘s Jim Salisbury that he was unhappy with the way the Phillies have played so far this season. The comment didn’t come as a huge shock considering the Phillies are in last place in the NL East and are 3 games under .500.

While there is plenty of baseball to be played still, the Phillies’ performance does have to make you stop and think. What if they can’t turn it around as they have in the past? What if this is the best the team has until Ryan Howard and Chase Utley come back? And is it even sensible to expect Utley and Howard to come back and help the team in some dramatic fashion?

I have said before that you really don’t know what you’re going to get out of Ryan Howard. A ruptured Achilles’ tendon is something that can hamper an athlete long after they’ve found their way back onto the field. I believe that Ryan Howard will find his power stroke again. I’m just not sure it would be reasonable to expect him to do it this year.

Chase Utley can apparently hit, but is having major issues in the field. That is severely impacting his rehab and return. I hate to say it, but I think Chase’s best days are probably behind him.

So the question remaining is what if this is it? Also in that same conversation with Salisbury, Amaro was asked what the team might do come the July trade deadline? Amaro scoffed and said if the team continues to play as they have, the Phillies may be sellers come deadline time.

Some people may not get the impact of that statement. If the Phillies feel that they are out of the race, they could begin to break this team up and start trading players for prospects, signaling a re-building period.

Players like Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino are in the final years of their contract, making them much more likely to be moved. And both players could provide a King’s ransom in return.

In fact, Fox Sport’s bow-tied wonder, Ken Rosenthal tweeted yesterday that teams have already been in contact with the Phillies about Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino. That doesn’t mean a whole lot at this point, but if the Phillies don’t start to right this ship as we get deeper into the season, it could mean a whole lot come July.

If the Phillies are sellers come deadline time on July 31st, it could signal the end of this golden age of Phillies’ baseball.

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