Friday, May 24, 2013

PhoulBallz Roundtable: Phils' Most Likely Trade Candidate

Could Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. trade Cliff Lee again?
Occasionally, here on the site, we feature guests tackling a topic related to the Phillies.  This time around, I surveyed some of my favorite sports commentators and fans on the subject of which Phils player is most likely to find himself traded by the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline.

The participants in this roundtable are my PhoulBallz Podcast cohost and front man Tug Haines, WFAN radio host and sports writer Joe Giglio, the biggest female baseball fan I know Casey Landman, writer Kieran Carobine, Wall St. Journal Radio's Tyrone A. Johnson as well as yours truly.  Here's what the group had to say on this subject.

Tug Haines-

With Ruben Amaro Jr. at the helm, Chase Utley, Freddy Galvis, and Jesse Biddle will be traded for seven Dominican outfielders, (all 5'10" and 180 lbs.), and three 6'5" first basemen.

Joe Giglio-

Cliff Lee: With the Phillies hanging around the NL East and Wild Card races, I'm sure most fans don't want to hear about rebuilding or re-tooling, but it's likely something that Ruben Amaro Jr. will have to truly consider in July. At this point, only three teams in the sport -- Houston, Toronto, Miami -- have a worse run differential than Philadelphia's -38.

Considering that Amaro tried to move Lee last year, they could conceivably wait until August because his salary wouldn't likely be claimed to ruin a deal, and that the lefty would represent the missing piece for many contenders, it has a real shot at happening. Furthermore, the Phillies could have their pick - barter with a big market team willing to eat salary or eat salary themselves in return for a difference making prospect.

Casey Landman-

Before Chase Utley got hurt, I was thinking he would be the one to get traded if the Phillies were not "in the race", by trade deadline. Someone could use his veteran presence on a playoff bound club and the Phils don't have him tied up in contracts after this year. But, now that Utley's future is uncertain, I think Cliff Lee goes. The Phils have kids from the minors pitching well (starters that is) and if the Phillies are totally out of it the last two months, it would give the organization a good chance to see more young guys to try and figure out the pitching situation for 2014. Ruben's traded Lee before, I can totally see him trading Lee again. 

Kieran Carobine-

Consider it a stretch, but if the Phillies find themselves way down in the NL East basement, look for Amaro trying to dump Ryan Howard on someone.  Yes, I know, this seems impossible but we have all been shocked before.  If this happens, consider it the white flag waving the Phillies on to rebuilding.  However, the current Phillies team has players that could fill the void if Howard is traded.  Michael Young could play first base, giving Freddy Galvis steady time in the infield at third waiting for his time to take over for the not-so-robotic Chase Utley.

Another option would be Cliff Lee.  The Phillies system has some good young arms and this season already shows they have confidence in them and are comfortable moving forward with them.  With that being said, the Phillies are quietly hovering around Wild Card status and could be looking to buy come the trade deadline.  I would much rather being having that conversation right now.

Tyrone A. Johnson-

While conventional wisdom says Cliff Lee is the Phillies player to be dealt, I think that two other candidates fit better. I never want to trade an ace level pitcher and Lee is proving once again that he is one. I would say that Carlos Ruiz or Chase Utley make a lot more sense. Both guys have movable contracts and that may be the biggest factor. They may be the two most popular Phillies but Utley is physically past his prime while "Chooch" may have been a product of PED's. Also both guys could help any contending team short term.

Jay Floyd-

I see the guy parting ways with the Phillies by July 31st being shortstop Jimmy Rollins.  The Phils' longest tenured star is on the way out, forced by the improving offense of infield wizard Freddy Galvis.  Rollins' bothersome approach to the game of baseball, in which he goes hard strictly in a selective fashion, will no longer be a worrisome trait for Philadelphia fans to have to deal with.  Rollins can be someone else's spark on occasion.  Galvis and second base prospect Cesar Hernandez, who has posted a Triple-A slash line of .312/.378/.445 this season with Lehigh Valley, could very well form the Phillies' double play combination before summer is through, if Rollins leaves and Chase Utley continues to deal with health concerns.
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