Why the Phillies Shouldn't Look to Trade Either Blanton or Worley

So here's something I've been hearing a lot of recently. "Now that we know how good Vance Worley is, the Phillies have crazy depth in the rotation. Why don't they look to trade Blanton or Worley to get a bat?"

You should never say never on a trade. It always depends on what you'd be getting in return. But here are a few reasons why the Phillies shouldn't look to trade either of these guys.

1. It would be nearly impossible to work out a trade like that involving Blanton. NOT because Blanton's contract is excessive, as some idiots think. To the contrary, his contract is perfectly fair. In fact, I fully expect him to outperform his 2011 salary. No, the problem is this: A bad, rebuilding team has no need for a veteran pitcher with one-and-a-half years left on his contract, so even if a team like that has a bat it wants to unload, it's not going to do so in exchange for Joe. A contending team, of course, could very well have a use for Blanton. But why would that contending team trade the Phillies a bat that could help the Phillies in 2011 (as opposed to prospects for the future)? If the bat could help the Phillies in 2011, then he's also helping his current team in 2011. So how then would it benefit them to trade him for Blanton? Wouldn't that just be robbing Peter to pay Paul? The only way it could possibly work is if a team had two hitters, both as valuable as Blanton, who play the same position. I can't think of any team that has two players who fit that description.

2. The Phillies are going to continue playing baseball after 2011. Just because you have six starting pitchers and an improveable offense this year doesn't necessarily mean it's the right move to get rid of pitching in exchange for hitting. This is not a one-year fantasy league. It is a keeper league. And as a matter of fact, Roy Oswalt may not be back in 2012. If he isn't, and the Phils end up having to replace him with a market-price free agent or Kyle Kendrick, that will be a real cost, and it's something that needs to be factored into the cost-benefit analysis right now. I know there are a lot of people who like to go around saying things like "worry about next year next year" but statements like that are frankly a sign of stupidity. If you don't worry about next year this year, you're going to suck next year, at which time you'll probably whine about it.

3. This team isn't young. The minor league system has developed a fair number of good players over the last few years, but most of them are now playing for cheap on other teams, while the Phillies are paying hefty salaries to nearly every key player on their team. There's nothing wrong with highly paid veterans, but if you don't mix in young guys as well, then (a) you're setting yourself up for future disaster, and (b) you're forgoing a golden opportunity to basically have two good players for the price of one. Worley isn't a blue-chip prospect, but he's a good prospect, and he's by far the Phillies' best SP prospect who will be able to help anytime before 2013 (and probably 2014). Giving him up for short-term gain would be very costly. The Phillies have already doubled down, tripled down, and quadrupled down on mortgaging the future for the present. Unless somebody absolutely blows them away, it's time to cut that crap out.

Again, to be clear, I'm not saying you can't make a trade. If the Phillies are offered Justin Upton or something crazy like that, then sure, go for it. But NOT trading either Blanton or Worley (or, for that matter, any of the top lower-level prospects) would have some real benefits for the organization, and there's no reason why the front office should feel any eagerness whatsoever to take a different course.

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