Right now, this is a team running low on options, morale and hope, kind of like the analogy of a man stranded in the desert with just a drop of water left in the canteen. He knows that's his only hope, and the Phillies know that the returns of Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard could give them a spark.
But make no doubt about it, the vultures are circling. If the Phillies were to mail it in on the 2012 season and become sellers, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. would be a popular man.
Contenders would drool over the opportunity to add legitimate difference-makers like Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence or Shane Victorino. They're all the type of players that evolve a team from World Series "contender" to "favorite."
The Phillies have their motives as well. Those players would each bring in a pretty piece in a trade, and the Phillies farm system is lacking in quality positional prospects. They've had their eyes on third basemen and outfielders for quite some time.
So as the July 31 trade deadline comes into focus, we'll be keeping our eyes on the Phillies like a hawk, watching to see if they can overcome seemingly impossible obstacles to become buyers and make a run at the postseason or if they succumb to the circumstances and wind up selling.
Either way, we'll be keeping track of all of the latest rumors and deals right here and provide in-depth reaction on each.