The calendar has flipped over to July, which means the trade deadline is looming and hard decisions must be made about this Philadelphia Phillies team. After a day off following a dismal home stand capped by a four-game sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves, it is beyond time to hit the reset button on this franchise and begin rebuilding for the future.
Everybody must be made available for trades. This includes Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon. Would I be sad seeing Rollins, Utley or Howard leave town? Sure, because we have had some good times here with those players. But the ultimate goal is to create new memories and if parting ways with aging talent leads to bringing in new pieces that can be a part of a new era then there should be nothing standing in the way of the Phillies brass from making the moves if possible.
Are there parts of this team worth keeping? Yes. Now that the bullpen seems to be coming together and finding themselves a bit, some of the younger arms in relief appear to be something worth holding on to. Of course, we may have also been down this path once before as well. Are we seeing glimpses of the future of the bullpen with Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, and (Super) Mario Hollands? It sure would be nice.
There is not one player on this current roster I view as a must-keep player. If the right offer is made for any player on the roster, I hope general manager Ruben Amaro will think hard about making the deal. There is little room for sentimental feelings in his business, and I fear that has played a role in some of the decision-making going on since he was named the successor to Pat Gillick. This year’s trade deadline could really make or break Amaro’s job security.
The Phillies begin the month of July 10 games under .500. They are sitting 8.5 games out of first place in the NL East and are now 12 games under .500 since Ryne Sandberg was named the manager last season. If Sandberg is truly going to be the manager of this team for years to come, then he needs to be working with players that give him a chance to grow and succeed. This team is not in any sort of slump, so let’s get that out of anyone’s heads. This team has shown for an extended period of time just what it is at this point.
I do not like it. Let’s start the rebuilding process now.