The Phillies are approaching the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline as sellers but they've run into a predicament. Many of the guys they are looking to sell - Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, Marlon Byrd - are all expensive players. Yes, the Phillies want a decent haul for these guys but they are literally expensive as their contracts have excess money and years remaining.
A lot of teams would like the use the contract against the Phillies to minimize the talent they have to send to Philadelphia in exchange for the former All-Stars. That's why the Phillies will likely have to sent cash along with their players to increase their haul which is their plan according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Still, even with the added cash, Rosenthal says teams aren't willing to make the move for some of the Phillies players. He recommends the Phillies treat the trade deadline how the Red Sox treated the non-waiver trade deadline in August 2012. Boston got two decent prospects from the Dodgers when they sent the enormous contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to Los Angeles but what Boston really got was a ton of financial flexibility. Rosenthal cites that financial flexibility as the reason they were able to bid on players in free agency to build their 2013 World Series championship team.
While that move cleared tons of salary for Boston and helped them build a World Series championship team, the Phillies are not in the same situation. Boston had young, impact guys waiting to be called up in Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts who helped make the future look bright for the Red Sox. The Phillies don't have a wealth of talent in their farm system. Yes, they have Maikel Franco and J.P. Crawford but aside from that they have a lot of unknowns. They need prospects for some of their high-priced players.
Plus, above all else, the free agent market this offseason is painfully thin. If the Phillies were going to try and "retool" for a run at a championship next year, they'd be hard-pressed to find the necessary pieces on the market this winter.
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