The Philadelphia Phillies are at a point in their season where they need to make a decision that could affect the franchise for many years to come. They need to decide if they should trade some core players to rebuild for the future. The obvious players who would bring the most in return are Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon, but it is still unclear what the Phillies would seek in return.
Jonathan Papelbon might be the best bet to get moved before the trade deadline since multiple teams still in contention need a closer. Also, if the Phillies continue their lack of offense, there may not be a need for dominating closer since they won’t be in the lead heading into the ninth inning very often. Also, Paps may bring back a couple of promising prospects if a deal is made with the right team. Detroit may be the best place for Ruben Amaro to look for a trade partner for the flamboyant closer. They have had struggles all year with the recently demoted Jose Valverde as their closer, but the Phillies are likely to ask for an A-level prospect or two in order to send the game’s best closer since 2006 to Motown. The Tigers most likely would only want to part with a couple of B-level prospects, so this deal may not get done.
The bottom line: It’s clear the team has, more than likely, come to the end of this era of Phillies baseball. The core of Utley, Rollins and Ruiz seem to either not be able to stay on the field or they’ve taken a few steps back in performance. There are going to be moves made, and many of them will be unpopular with a fan base that has grown to love these players over the last decade. Still, these moves are a necessity. A franchise cannot move forward until it takes a step back, and the only way the Phillies can stay competitive is if they get rid of some of their top talent now and bring back some youth in return.
Jonathan Papelbon may be a key to the Phillies future, but it is unfortunate that his value will not be saving games for the Fightins. Instead, it will be from what he brings back in return at the trade deadline.