The Philadelphia Phillies look to be major sellers after all, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, who says teams talking to the Phillies are girding their loins for the Phillies possibly making as many as three deals aimed at beginning a transitional rebuilding of the club that had the National League East in a five-year headlock.
The possiblities, says Stark: the Cincinnati Reds making a play for Juan Pierre; the Los Angeles Dodgers having an inside track on landing Shane Victorino; and, the Baltimore Orioles, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Toronto Blue Jays circling for a possibly play at Joe Blanton.
The realities, Stark continues: The Phillies would want a ready bullpen arm if they pull the trigger on Victorino, but they might also want a younger center fielder in a deal since they have concerns about whom in their organisation could step in for the aging Victorino. They may, Stark notes, think about asking for Tony Gwynn, Jr. in a Dodger deal.
The motives: Getting under the luxury tax as well as reconstituing a fading veteran team.
The peripheries: Stark thinks Blanton is likelier to be moved in August, while Hunter Pence—whose name remains in the trade winds approaching the non-waiver deadline—is likelier to leave after the season, giving the Phillies room to ensure themselves for outfield replacements.
On the other hand, several sources are cited by MLBTradeRumors.com as reporting the Orioles have received Blanton’s medical records from the Phillies after keeping a close enough eye on the pitcher since spring training. What the Phillies might ask for Blanton: a major league ready utility player or a middle relief prospect.
And, regarding the possible Cliff Lee move, if it’s the Texas Rangers who want to make him a prodigal the Phillies may be likely to ask for a glandular package—third base prize Mike Olt, a young outfielder, and at least two young, top pitching prospects. Which could scotch any Lee deal before it takes on wings, just as clubs interested in San Diego third baseman Chase Headley were told he’s off the market because the packages offered for him weren’t to the Padres’ satisfaction.
Only Fox Sports isn’t all that sure Lee’s going to move. Ken Rosenthal tweeted the Phillies didn’t offer a lot of contract relief regarding Lee for the package they might be demanding to trade the lefthander.