Recently GM Ruben Amaro Jr said the Phillies are not rebuilding. Well I am here to tell you that either the Phils GM needs to wake up and smell the coffee or he doesn't want to let anyone know he is looking into rebuilding trades. As of Tuesday morning June 25th the Phils are in 3rd place with a record of 36-41 and are 8 games behind the 1st place Braves & are 11 games behind in the loss column to the Pirates in the wild card race.
The core of the Phillies is getting long in the tooth and quite simply they are no longer a top team because currently are not throwing 3 aces ever 5 days and Ryan Howard, Chase Utley & Jimmy Rollins are not the players they once were. The Phils have a number of free agents after this year highlighted by Doc Halladay, Chase Utley, Michael Young & Carlos Ruiz. These players salaries this year add up to 48 Million towards the Phillies payroll.
The Phillies farm system going into Spring Training was ranked by Baseball America as the 23rd best system out of 30. On Baseball America 2013 Top 100 the Phillies had 2 prospects on the list with Jesse Biddle (SP) at # 89 & Roman Quinn (SS in A Ball, 20 years old) at # 100. Biddle who is a 21 year old lefty in AA is doing good and projects as a middle of the rotation innings eater. That describes most of the Phillies top prospects, starting pitchers projected to be middle of the rotation guys who are innings eaters. We saw one of them this year in Jonathan Pettibone, I mentioned Biddle in AA, there is also Adam Morgan & Ethan Martin both in AAA but struggling. In terms of position player prospects I mentioned Roman Quinn but he is between 2-3 years away as well as catching prospect Tommy Joseph. The Phils are hoping that power hitter slick fielder Cody Asche who is doing decent in AAA can be their starting 3B come opening day next year. I would imagine the Phils will see what they have with 26 year old Outfielder Darin Ruf sometime this summer although he is not having anywhere close to the year he had in 2012.
Considering the Phils roster and their farm system this is not an organization currently in great shape and one that you would think would contend in the next 3 years. Jimmy Rollins is guaranteed just one more season after this season and Cliff Lee & Jonathan Papelbon just one more after that in 2015. The Phillies look like they have a declining Ryan Howard at age 33 who is making 20 million this season & is guaranteed 85 Million from 2014 - 2016. The Phils have Cole Hamels locked up long term although he is having a bad year in the first year of his mega contract and the only other future core player you can say the Phils have is Domonic Brown.
So given the young talent of the Braves & Nationals its hard to see the Phillies competing. In fact this season the Phillies are 9-4 versus the Marlins which means against everyone else their record is 27-37 (.422). So The NL King is telling Ruben Amaro that if the right trades are there he would be foolish not to move Papelbon & Cliff Lee to get some talented young players to this organization. In addition to doing that Amaro would be freeing up some major payroll giving him money to spend on other free agents. I will also give Amaro some trade ideas. The Tigers are a team where it's World Champs or bust and they do not have a closer. They know with this fact they will not make it through 3 rounds of the playoffs. Papelbon would be a perfect fit for the Tigers and if Amaro can pry loose top OF prospect Nick Castellanos (Rated # 21 by Baseball America Top 100) that's the kind of deal Amaro has to make. As far as Cliff Lee goes sending him back to Texas who is also another team desperately trying to get the brass ring (The Rangers have never won a championship) makes all the sense in the world. Lee really enjoyed his time in Texas, not sure if Texas is one of the 9 teams he can veto a trade to but even if it is I think Lee can be persuaded to go. The Rangers have the 3rd best Farm System in Baseball according to Baseball America and they are very deep. Perfect fit for the Phils.
Don't believe Ruben Amaro, believe The NL King.
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NL King - C.Lizza