I know what your thinking. The devious trade mind is already spinning its wheels, and you're right. I love July. July is when the crazy happens, and for this Phillies team, This Trade deadline has strong ramifications on not just this season, but the future as well.
I'm not gonna make lemonade out of lemons here. This team has been just short of pathetic this season.Yet for as pathetic as they've been, since the 13th game of the season, so have the Atlanta Braves, and really, the Washington Nationals. In reality, a team that was 6.5 games back of the division leader on June 6th, that managed to go 7-12 vs mainly teams below .500 should have at minimum a 10 game deficit. But this team doesn't.
They're just 7.5 back of the Braves, who have lost 10 of their last 16 to the Same pitiful Mets, Brewers, and Padres teams we have. And the scary part here is that with a 3 game series next week, the Phillies could, conceivably find themselves in an interesting predicament.
What happens if by the end of July, The Phillies are 3 or 4 games back in the division, and 10 games off the wild card?
It could happen.
Do they sell?
Do they buy?
Maybe they do both.
That's what I'd do. In fact, its what I'd do regardless.
What follows is the patented JOECATZ plan for the 2013 trade deadline. If Ruben and co. simply follow this step by step guide, we can get better for the future and still wake up August 1st feeling like there's a possible run.
So without further adieu:
Step 1: TRADE JONATHAN PAPELBON AND MICHAEL YOUNG
Both of these guys need to move regardless. Papelbons value will never be higher, Young actually has value as well (think NY Yankees) and both can be easily replaced. I'm not a big believer in the Nick Castellanos for Papelbon stuff, but if that were the case you jump, and he fits right in at 3B. If not, Frandsen becomes the everyday guy.
STEP 2: RELEASE DELMON YOUNG
If he can be traded you say good bye. Simple as that. I'm kind of assuming that his replacement comes from the Papelbon trade in the form of Avisail Garcia. If not, well, there's other options.
STEP 3: MAKE YOUR UNTOUCHABLE LIST and BUY BUY BUY!!
This list should include, but not be limited to: Maikel Franco, Jesse Biddle, Roman Quinn, Carlos Tocci, and a few other guys. But the point here is that unless Giancarlo Stanton comes available, you don't move high level high ceiling guys for anyone.
STEP 4: TRADE FOR KEVIN GREGG
You take the prospect from Young, and a few lesser pieces (I'm looking at you Cody Asche) and you replace Papelbon with Gregg.
Step 4: Inquire on Alex Rios and stay away from Andre Ethier
Here's the thing guys. Regardless of where we end up this year, if there is a deal out there that makes sense that can net us a cost controlled OF (providing Papelbon doesn't do that) you have to listen. The reality is that sometimes at the deadline you can buy if the price is right.
STEP 5: Check in on SP
The same theory with Gregg applies here. There's nothing wrong with checking in on upgrading the rotation.
STEP 5: LOCK RUBEN IN A CLOSET AND TAKE AWAY HIS PHONE
We're working on the following premise. Ruben has successfully negotiated a haul for Papelbon, and simultaneously gotten something of value for Michael Young. Maybe he talked Theo into taking Valle or Rupp and a bullpen piece for Kevin Gregg... Chase Utley and Cliff Lee are standing there, and he's looking at them...
LOCK HIM IN A CLOSET.
I'M LOOKING AT YOU!!
Cliff Lee will not net anywhere near the return you think you want for him, and Chase Utley has more value to this team on the field, and via a QO next year than he does in a trade.
We've done good. Stop while your ahead.
But more importantly here's the real skinny on Cliff Lee and Chase Utley, as far as I'm concerned. I do not, in any way shape or form believe that Ruben Amaro has the ability in him to accurately obtain the right return for either of those guys. I also don't think he'd be smart enough to sacrifice money for talent. If either of these guys get dealt, it will be a bad, bad deal.
The only way he can F*%K up a Papelbon trade is if he doesn't trade him. You know why? There is virtually no reasonable return that he can get for the guy that isn't better than having a 13mm closer on a fringe contending team. he's a luxury. Any discussions he's having already on him likely center around realistic options that he can likely increase to better options. But no team looking at Papelbon is starting talks with people that aren't real prospects. They're trying to keep their BEST prospect. So you move him. NOW. While he's in demand, and someone is stupid enough to overpay. Even Ruben can't screw that up because having him on the team as it stands is already a luxury to begin with.
The only way he can F*&K up a Michael Young trade is if he doesn't trade him. Michael Young will net back something, which is more than they'll get for him next year when they don't have him, and they have a capable backup in Frandsen who likely can play out the rest of the season delivering exactly the same performance as Young.
This team becomes NO BETTER, and NO WORSE this year, when you move those two guys. Its highly questionable with anyone else. Especially with Utley and Lee. Both of those guys have future value to this team that isn't easily replaced. Trust me. I was around in the late nineties. You don't want that again.
LOCK HIM IN A CLOSET!!!
Actually, maybe we should lock him in a closet now anyway. Just give me the keys. I got this.