2013 Phillies’ Fall From Grace: To Trade or Not Trade? By: (@BWMahoney213)
As of today’s July 31 trade deadline, the Philadelphia Phillies have absorbed more disdain and scorn from a frustrated fan-base than ever before—likely the first time since 2006, when the Phillies were high and dry from any post-season play.
The once glorious core of 2B Chase Utley, 1B Ryan Howard, SS Jimmy Rollins, C Carlos Ruiz, and SP Roy Halladay are at the tail-ends of their career. All of whom have struggled with grueling injuries and disabled list stints at one point or another. Each has sputtered in their season statistics and on-field performances.
Howard was once “The Big Piece”. Now he’s “The Big Headache”. Utley once drilled pitchers game after game. Now it’s a question of whether or not doctors will drill into his fragile knees. Rollins showed some pop and pizazz at the top of the lineup with a National League MVP award in 2007. Now he can only muster pop-ups when needed most.
Too many issues, not enough solutions. Phillies’ general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has mastered the art of buying big names but has yet to sell and rebuild. It’s easy to note his 2012 trades of fan favorite outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence. Those trades were necessary to free up money. Now he’s chained to a roster that has lost value and has lost its way. Can anyone figure out why or how closer Jonathan Papelbon is making millions of dollars when he has past his prime?
Now in 2013, money is not the main issue. Hitting the self-destruct button and quickly starting over is the issue. The Boston Red Sox can be a model Amaro can look at as they too had impending trade deadline issues in 2012. With a misguided manager in Bobby Valentine and overpaid stars like Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Becket—the Red Sox shocked the baseball world in giving up their beloved stars for an effort to save money and replenish.
What could the Phillies’ fans expect between August 1, 2013 and the future of 2014 and 2015? Utley, Halladay, and Ruiz are all walking on a wire with their contracts after the 2013 season. Each has variable trade values. Likely, management and fans would be satisfied with extending Utley at the most. Utley’s plate discipline is needed for tutoring farm players like Cody Asche and Darin Ruf if the team wishes to stand a chance in the future. It’s time to part ways with Halladay with his uncanny ability to get hurt. It’s time to part ways with his battery-mate, Carlos Ruiz. It’s sad to see those two leave, especially when one thinks back to the 2010 season of them in each other’s arms when Halladay threw his perfect game AND playoff no-hitter.
That’s the past, though. The fans and media are not privy to the fact that after 2013, you run the risk of getting nothing for these possible walkaways. Why not trade Ruiz at the deadline to—say the St. Louis Cardinals?—when their seasoned catcher Yadier Molina, is now on the disabled list? Why not trade starting pitcher Cliff Lee—the mother of all trading chips—for a set of prospects that can reinvigorate the Phillies much like the 76ers have done this summer in sacrificing a star (Jrue Holiday) for future pieces (like Nerlens Noel and 1st round picks).
It’s a quick-fix society, and Ruben must keep up with the times, because it’s a slow march to October if nothing changes.