Originally posted on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 7/29/12

Ruben Amaro Jr. said at the start of this Braves series that it was a pivotal one to helping the GM make decisions going forward on this season. Apparently the rest of the team did not get the memo. After winning 4 straight games, the Phillies have now dropped 2 straight to a division rival that they desperately need to pick up ground on.

I think the writing is on the wall… The Phillies need to sell.

Joe Blanton pitched really well, and even in losing may have built up some trade value. Joe Blanton is in the final year of his contract with the Phillies and will probably not be re-signed. The time is now to at least get something for him, and to shed the remainder of his salary for the season. In doing so, the Phillies could save themselves from going over the luxury tax.

Another player who has some value is Juan Pierre. Juan Pierre has played well for the Phillies. He didn’t come here to be a power hitter, he came here to do exactly what he’s done. He could certainly help a contender and while he won’t fetch a ton of anything, why not get some value for him.

Then there’s Shane Victorino. Victorino is also in a walk year, and has had a rough year. There is still some interest in Victorino, despite his down numbers, and there was even a rumor that there was a deal in place last week with the Reds to pick up relief help. Apparently the Reds nixed that deal. At this point I’d prefer to trade him and let Domonic Brown get a long hard look in center field. I’m in no way suggesting Domonic Brown is the answer for the Phillies going forward, but how many abbreviated tryouts have we already seen? Take the leash off and let’s see what this guy can do once and for all.

As it pertains to Cliff Lee, I think the Phillies owe it to themselves to stand pat. Lee has had an awful season, and that’s been extremely disappointing, but to pull the plug on Lee could be a big mistake. In the wake of the Hamels signing, we know the Phillies will bring back Hamels and Roy Halladay next year to anchor their pitching staff. The problem is that we don’t know what Roy Halladay is going to give you next year. I fully believe in Roy Halladay, but he has hit the magical age of 35 when a lot of pitchers begin to decline. I’d keep Lee to give myself a little bit of insurance.

Outside of Cliff Lee, the most valuable trade chip the Phillies have is Hunter Pence. Pence is under club control next year, so he wouldn’t just be a rental if the Phillies were to trade him. He’s put up good numbers this year (aside from RISP) and would help a lot of teams. The problem is, the Phillies are already going to lose Shane Victorino, whether it’s now at the deadline or after the season. I’m not entirely sure if you want to put yourself in a position of replacing nearly an entire outfield. I don’t know how many people believe John Mayberry is the answer in left field, so if you replace him too or add another left fielder, you are pretty much replacing the entire outfield. How many teams do that and then rebound to contend the next year? As much as I believe you could get some real value for Pence, it may upset the chemistry of the clubhouse to trade him away too.

This Braves series was a MUST win. The Phillies didn’t need to sweep them, but they needed to win the series. They have now lost the series and will fight to fend off a sweep today.

When their backs were to the wall, this Phillies team came up short. That’s the signal I needed to end my hope for 2012 and look toward 2013. Ruben Amaro Jr. should do the same. His efforts now need to be focused on trying to help this team become relevant again next season.

Similar Posts:

  • Cliff Lee Leads Phillies to Win…Finally
  • A Step In the Right Direction for Phillies
  • Phillies Could Move Victorino; Hamels by Deadline
  • A Look at Trade Rumors Surrounding the Phillies
  • Phillies Looking for Bullpen Help; Shopping Victorino

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