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Around the NL East: Phillies about to sell?

Jul 22, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

ATLANTA BRAVES 

Things are still as tight as ever atop this division, with the Braves tussling with the Nationals for first place. For the moment, Washington has pulled ahead of Atlanta in the standings by one game. But with the way things have been going between these two teams, you know things are always subject to change.

The Braves’ past week was highlighted with the team ending its bizarre saga with second baseman Dan Uggla, releasing him despite the $18 million dollars left on his contract still owed to him. Ouch. That’ll happen when you bat .212 in April, .080 in May, and show up late to a team meeting in Chicago after being relegated to a bench role. With Uggla, the juice was no longer worth the squeeze, so it made sense that Atlanta cut the chord after giving him multiple chances to find a way out of his doldrums.

On the flip side, the Braves got a boost Monday when they welcomed back catcher Evan Gattis to the lineup, returning after being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury.

MIAMI MARLINS 

For teams in the NL East not named the Braves or the Nationals, it might be time to start looking towards the trade deadline to see if there’s an opportunity to make some moves and replenish the roster with youth. For the Marlins, it appears as if they don’t have a ton of tradeable assets, so the ball club might look exactly the same come this time next week. The only player most recently rumored to be involved in trade discussion was closer Steve Cishek, but Miami is said to want to hold on to the 28-year old.  Add in the fact that Giancarlo Stanton would not want to sign with the team long-term if Cishek is moved, and it’s no wonder the Marlins will likely keep quiet at the deadline.

Speaking of Stanton, the team’s biggest priority after the season is making sure he’s in Miami for the long haul. How much of that will hinge on what the team does in the second half of the season? He’s made it known in the past that he’s not a fan of the team’s annual effort to dump salary and compromise their efforts on the field, so it may not matter in the end if the team finishes well or not. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how the Stanton situation plays out when the time comes for him to be a free agent.

NEW YORK METS 

As for the Mets, it sounds like their phone isn’t exactly blowing up with trade offers either. The only player they’re dangling appears to be Bartolo Colon, and that apparently is not gaining much traction out on the market. The issue is that the only prospects others teams would want would be the ones New York doesn’t intend to trade, and that may be the right course of action. With Jacob deGrom, Zach Wheeler, Jonathan Niese and a recovering Matt Harvey, it may be best to let the rotation develop and wait until the offseason to address the team’s other needs.

In other Mets news, the team honored David Wright this week on the tenth anniversary of his major league debut. Really? It’s been ten years already? It’s amazing how time flies. Anyway, in that span the 31-year-old third baseman set numerous team records en route to becoming the unquestioned face of the franchise. The only thing left for him to accomplish is helping to bring the team back to relevance in the coming years.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Simply put, this could be the most important part of the season for Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies. The trade deadline gives the team the best opportunity to cut payroll and inject youth into the organization, which is so desperately needed for a return to contention in the near future. Right now the centerpiece of a potential rebuild appears to be Cole Hamels, who is netting interest from around the league – though the team claims that it has no interest in moving him at this time. Which suitor will offer a package of prospects attractive enough to compel the Phillies to make the deal? That’ll be the key question not just for Hamels, but for Marlon Byrd, Jonathan Papelbon, Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee or any of the myriad Philly veterans who are potentially up for grabs on the market.

  1. karlkolchak - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    The Phillies should have started selling about two years ago when it became apparent that Halladay and Oswalt were quickly succumbing to the effects of age and their core was also aging and unlikely to be able to overcome their suddenly beatable pitching staff.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      Yeah, I think that’s the question – not whether they should sell, but whether they have the will to do it.

      There was a show on Philly public radio a few weeks ago that devoted an hour to the Phils (someone here linked it, and I forgot who, or I’d give them a hat tip). The guests, a couple of Philly sports reporters, said that the Phils ownership avoids the limelight and probably doesn’t get as much blame as they deserve. Amaro deserves plenty too, but to some extent is just the public face on bad policy set by his bosses.

      • karlkolchak - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        Yah, I’ve heard that Phillies management feels they have an obligation to the fans to put a “competetive” team on the field evey year. But unless you’re willing to have a $200+ million payroll that just isn’t possible. Most teams go through up and down cycles, and the Phils have essentially ensured that this down cycle will be longer than it might have been had they been more realistic regarding their decline.

  2. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Chase, good post but Amaro is saying today Hamels will NOT be traded.

    Unfortunately for them they waited too long on Cliff Lee. Also, you didn’t mention AJ Burnett who I have to believe will be headed to Bal’more.

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    I’m hoping Cishek is traded by Thursday. He was filthy last night. Fun watching him make JUpton look silly.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Cishek and Brad Ziegler are 2 relievers I wouldn’t mind seeing in the Nats pen.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        We also should hope that Cliff Lee is traded by 7 pm on July 31, or else he will face the Nats that night, if I’ve counted correctly.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        I would expect Cliff Lee to be gone by then and AJ Burnett and Marlon Byrd and Papelbon and possibly Utley.

        That should net them some prospect and get them younger. I think Utley could be the most in demand.

      • RPrecupjr - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        I’m not too concerned about Lee. He came off the DL last night and stank up the place and is having one of his worst seasons. He is not the Cliff Lee we all remember

      • rayvil01 - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        Utley and Rollins should have some trade value. Older ballplayers like that must really regret Geogre Steinbrenner passing. Those two and Lee/ Hamels were Yankee bait back in the day. He’d eat those contracts just for a late run. And Baltimore is there to be had with that starting pitching.

      • masterfishkeeper - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Although I agree that Lee isn’t what he used to be, he’s a far sight better than anybody the Phillies will start in his place. It’s not like they’ve got a bunch of great young arms stashed away in the minors.

  4. adcwonk - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    I am underwhelmed with Ruben Amaro’s efforts for the Phils. Here at NI for three years we knew what was happening with that team and it’s future — it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see that a team that is among the league’s oldest, with lots of long-term high priced contracts, was going to be in big trouble soon.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:01 PM

      They got caught up in sentimental fan feel good stuff. Every team does some of that but they did it on overload. Now they are stuck and it has to suck.

      They look like the 5 Year Anniversary celebration of the World Series team brought back together for a reunion sans Werth!

      • Section 222 - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:56 PM

        You could make the argument that Werth is playing the best now of any member of that team with the possible exception of Utley. Even Colbert isn’t as consistently good as he is.

    • bowdenball - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      “Underwhelming” is easily the most generous description Amaro’s tenure as the Phillies I’ve ever heard. He took a World Series champion with a manageable payroll, a huge, passionate fanbase and homegrown talent and turned it into one of the more hopeless franchises in sports. I enjoyed the journey very much as a Nats fan but even I’m starting to feel sorry for Philly fans at this point.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        That sums it up well except I don’t feel sorry for their obnoxious frontrunner fans who paraded around Nats Park with the CITIZENS BANK PARK SOUTH banners.

        Amaro kept the band together for those obnoxious fans and they bailed on their team quicker than stank on sh*t.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        Eh, me, not so much.

        “but even I’m starting to feel sorry for Philly fans at this point.”

      • knoxvillenat - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        I could never feel sorry for Philly fans. As a group they are worse than obnoxious, they are so low they are beneath whale dung, and that is at the bottom of the ocean.

      • adcwonk - Jul 22, 2014 at 6:15 PM

        Yeah . . . I was using “underwhelming” to be gentle ;-)

    • natsfan1a - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Yeah, we were totally the first to say “tick-tock.” Well, after Sofa said it, anyway. :-)

      “Here at NI for three years we knew what was happening with that team and it’s future — it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see that a team that is among the league’s oldest, with lots of long-term high priced contracts, was going to be in big trouble soon.”

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        Much as I’d like to say that’s true, no, I wasn’t first. IIRC, Joe Seamhead had me beat there.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        Thought so.

        Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa – May 23, 2012 at 3:05 AM

        As to Tick Tock and the Phillies, I was beating that drum a long time ago. An example from a Phillies blog: Posted 10:35 AM, 11/18/2…— joe seamhead
        Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. Rocking chair will get you, oh you won’t what hit you…

        Ah, I defer to Joe; your use of “Tick Tock” as a Phillies-fan taunting cheer predates mine. I do maintain I get credit for TTMP, though.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        *the date on Joe’s quoted post should be 11/18/2011

        The Sofa regrets the omission.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        Oops. Sorry, Joe. I shall amend my comment to read “Well, after Joe said it, anyway.” ;-)

      • tcostant - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        Who posts at 3am in the morning???

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 22, 2014 at 5:14 PM

        This place was happenin back then.

  5. natsfan1a - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Um, Word Press? Speaking of tick-tock? Eh, never mind.

  6. Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    That trip down Read-Only Memory Lane reminds me, the Nats are in first all alone, again. Feels good to bring back the old Soul Possession moniker.

  7. Smyrcok - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    My favorite part about the Phillies’ decline is how after our magical 2012 season Ryan Howard came out and said if the Phillies were healthy they’d have won 100 games that year. No, they wouldn’t have, and I hope they stay irrelevant for a long time and their fans have to cry themselves to sleep and that their park gets taken over by Nats fans.

    • masterfishkeeper - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      I think that was Rollins, although I could be wrong.

      • rayvil01 - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        It was Rollins.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        It was Rollins, and what he said was more like, if the Phillies had been healthy, the Nats would have finished in second place, IICR.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        from Oct. 3, 2012

        “That’s great for them,” Jimmy Rollins told writers in Washington, D.C., of the Nationals going to the postseason. “But with us being healthy, you know, they’re still second place. But we weren’t [healthy].”

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        Rollins was also the one who called the Phoolie fans “frontrunners” and he said that mid-summer before they won the World Series. He was right about them. Probably the worst fans in sports.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 22, 2014 at 5:44 PM

        Mike Schmidt famously said that Philadelphia is the only place where you can experience the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day.

    • ArVAFan - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      Based on NatsLady’s good experience there (other than the GPS leading her astray), I could see that happening. As she said, booing Worth is getting less and less satisfying as the years go by.

    • adcwonk - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      Ahhh, memories . . . .

      Remember that four game sweep of the Phils in Philly at the end of the 2011 season? And that a month before that we took 2-of-3 at home, which included a 6-run bottom of the ninth walk-off?

      There were a number who commented that the 4-game sweep might be heralding a changing of the guard.

    • Doc - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:59 PM

      I think that it was Dr. James Rollins, team statistician and long time SS for the Philthies, and reluctant runner to 1B on infield grounders.

      Previously at the beginning of the season, Dr. Rollins prognosticated that the Philthies were the team to beat.

      He needs to consider some short courses at Sabermetric U.

      • natsfan1a - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        Dr. Rollins, who evidently has a sub-specialty in fan psychology, also diagnosed Phillies Phans as front-runners at one point. Oh, wait. That part may be true…

      • Smyrcok - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        Okay gang, I get it! It was Rollins :)

        Love the Dr. Rollins comment, and everything else you added along with it, Doc.

  8. natsfan1a - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    And now for something completely different.

    http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/gnome.jsp?partnerId=ed-8462959-726557553

    I would totally follow that. If I was on the Tweeter. Probably…

    • Doc - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      I getting one for my front yard—maybe two!

  9. Doc - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    No team will want the Philthy players with their big ass salaries.

    Amaro will have to kick in a lot of cash to get them off the roster and down the road.

    Mike Rizzo, beware of long-term contracts!!

  10. Section 222 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    I went to my first game in CBP about a month ago (Phils vs. Marlins, so it was my first time rooting for the Phils). It’s really a beautiful spot, and very easily accessible with lots of reasonably priced parking and great food. My friend who’s a STH and Phillies fan, though not of the obnoxious stripe, said that the falloff in enthusiasm of the fan base is breathtaking. Used to be impossible to get a ticket, now there are thousands available for under face value on SH. He and his buddy spent much of the evening with one eye on the 76ers’ draft choices.

    Of course, while all of us were fantatics back in 2006-2011, the rest of the city and the media may have been just as apathetic as the Philly fans are now. Though not nearly as obnoxious.

    • coop202 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      I’d love to know the economics of their choice – I.e by not blowing up the team two years ago how much additional revenue did they generate by staying somewhat relevant and then assuming they’ll have to eat a good chunk of each contract. I’d imagine that drove a lot of the decision not to sell earlier.

      • Section 222 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:54 PM

        That would be interesting I agree. Though I guess it’s pretty generous to say they’ve been “somewhat relevant” for the past two years.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM

        The Phils just signed a huge TV deal in January–$2.5B over 25 years, plus an increased ownership stake in their regional sports net.

        It is arguable (at least, it has been argued) that part of the economics for the Phils was that they didn’t want to do a tear down before signing that deal, as it might have hurt their popularity and ratings and thus reduced the contract.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      Deuces, I went to CBP for the Nats very first game in 2005. I was so happy to be getting a team back in DC! Anyway, I agree about CBP being a great stadium, with great food. A minority of the phans really make the fan base look bad. They are some of the most knowledgable fans of anywhere that I’ve ever been.
      That said? I will never feel sorry for them after what they put us through down here for what seemed like forever. Many on this board got to where they refused to go to Nats Park for Philly games. I was of the opposite mindset. I went to every one that I could possibly get to. “It’s Our House, Damn It” was my mantra.

  11. Joe Seamhead - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Thanks for the TickTock credit, Sofa. When I first started posting it I was ridiculed for it on here by one who shall remained nameless. The Phillies were almost universally being picked to win the NL East in 2012 when I started the Tick-Tock Rocking Chair anthem of trying to tell anybody that would listen that they had gotten old without anybody noticing.

    • Section 222 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      Did you notice that the nameless one made an appearance here last night (under an alias, of course)? Strangely, he didn’t tout Espi as the most likely to be headed to the HoF.

      • Soul Possession, Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Danger Boy has been posting as CBC for a while now. As someone once said about Dennis Rodman, “Not much of a disguise.”

        But I’m grateful he’s moved on.

  12. Joe Seamhead - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    The prices that Amaro paid to retain Utley, Rollins, and especially Ryan Howard, along with what he gave up to get Hunter Pence, Oswalt, Lee, and Doc Halliday,and Papelbon was idiotic. Meanwhile Polonco and Ibanez were applying for Social Security. Ruben Amaro Jr bankrupted that club for years to come. He is the worst GM in all of organized sports. there was a poll of the fans by the media a couple of weeks ago and something along the lines of 94% want to see Amaro fired. Personally, I hope that they retain him.

    • jd - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      Joe,

      I think Amaro’s weakness is not so much that he believed in his players, after all they won a world title and went to the world series 2 years in a row, is that he is stubborn. He keeps doubling down instead of slowly replacing ageing broken down pieces. Like Rollins I bet you Amaro feels that if ever the Phills could stay healthy for a full year they would regain their glory days.

      Now, the pieces he could have used to rebuild his farm system are too old and too expensive and they won’t bring that much in return. He has 2 attractive pieces in Utley and Hammels and even Utley won’t get you more than one decent prospect so he’s pretty much f’d.

      Watch for him to say that they are not throwing in the towel and that they are not sellers. As you say I hope he sticks around for many years to come.

  13. Another Tyler - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    Headly to Yanks: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/07/yankees-acquire-chase-headley.html

    • Another Tyler - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      Headley, rather. I don’t earn the Charlie and Dave bell ding this time. Imagine how beautiful an edit function would be?

  14. tcostant - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    Marks re-tweet: Tentative schedule, subject to revision, calls for Red Sox to open ’15 season in Philly April 6, with home opener vs. the Washington Nats.

    Me: I though the Nats played in Boston last time and were gonna play in DC this time. Confused???

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      You are correct. That is strange. Could be a home and home where the Nats still play th Bosox later in the season in DC.

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    “Ghost of Steve M. – Jul 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM
    Cishek and Brad Ziegler are 2 relievers I wouldn’t mind seeing in the Nats pen.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2014/07/22/nationals-looking-to-bolster-bullpen-at-the-trade-deadline/

    Like I’ve been saying, if you aren’t looking to improve at the trade deadline your competition is. Hairston of course is a no-brainer and you could replace him internally the Dan Duquette way or make a deal for a Cody Ross or one of the other top pinch-hitters I’ve listed.

    Cishek and Ziegler are no-brainers as Cishek wouldn’t have to close and Storen could move into a 6th inning set-up but it will also take innings off of Soriano and Clip. Barrett has options and he goes to Syracuse and comes back on September 1st.

    I still see Treinen as a reliever I want for the stretch run. You carry 8 relievers for the post-season and 4 starters.

  16. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Chase Headley to the Yankees. Solid pickup for them.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 22, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      Headley is hitting .229/.296/.355 with 12 doubles, seven homers and 32 RBI this season. If he’s healthy, it may work out for the Yankees, but back problems for a 3rd baseman are iffy issues. 3rd base has been a revolving door for NY since A-Rod.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 22, 2014 at 5:57 PM

        Yep, that move by itself won’t get them to the playoffs. They need pitching and lots of pitching.

  17. lowstrikes - Jul 22, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    Isn’t this the time of year the Nats go get Kurt Suzuki?

  18. NIWatcher - Jul 22, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    Off Topic. In the previous thread Candide and others suggested trades of bobbleheads. To ease contact among NIers who are interested in exploring such trades, I have posted an entry on the Washington, DC, Craigslist under “collectables.” The title is Bobbleheads Nationals for Trade. By contacting me through Craigslist, I can share anyone’s emails with the others who are interested in making trades.

  19. natsfan1a - Jul 22, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    There’s also the NI Bulletin Board, here:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArHMZg5A8wSXdGViSG8xUGQxUlZzaUVxekJFNHFRcEE#gid=11

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