CBS Sports is now reporting that the Philadelphia Phillies are looking at the possibility of trading Cole Hamels. Fox Sports is also speculating that Shane Victorino may be in the same boat. Both are in the final year of their respective contracts.
Losers of five straight and now 11 games behind the first-place Washington Nationals, the Phillies' chances of a sixth straight NL East championship appear to be fading fast. The Phils are now nine games under .500 and a dismal 17-24 at home.
Decimated by injuries that have hit them from every angle (Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley), Philadelphia has yet to find its stride.
The return of second baseman Chase Utley this past week, along with the fact that slugger Ryan Howard began his rehab assignment, left room for optimism as the Phillies headed into the last 10 games before the All-Star break.
But now, having lost all five games since Utley's return combined with the fact that the timetable for Halladay's return is uncertain, may be what has them looking to the future and becoming the league's first admitted "sellers."
The Phillies have been the East's dominant force for the last five years, winning each of the last five division titles, earning a trip to two consecutive World Series (2008 and 2009) and winning their first World Championship in 2008.
This year, however, the injury situation combined with a very young and impressive Nationals club and a surprisingly good first half from the New York Mets has left the Phillies reeling.
While many believe that there is enough veteran talent there to get back in the race, their window of opportunity is ticking away fast. If the reports are true, the NL East may be in the midst of a very competitive race for a new king. And the Phillies could be dusting off the old drawing board.
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