The 2012 season has kind of been like a game of poker for the Philadelphia Phillies.
With the July 31 trade deadline just around the corner, they're sitting at the table already knowing that the other players (the contending teams) hold better hands. Ruben Amaro Jr. is using his best poker face, but it's just one of those hands. The other players just seem to know.
But there's no shame in admitting that you've been dealt a bad hand. The fact of the matter is that any team would struggle after missing their third and fourth hitters, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, respectively, for most of the season.
Then you lose your ace, Roy Halladay, and the plan of action suddenly becomes pretty clear: Fold. Don't lose anything else. There will always be another chance.
But not for the Phillies. The Phillies are the game's high rollers. They have the luxury of staying in the game until the last moment, waiting out some stroke of good fortune that seems to have evaded them since the first card was dealt.
For the Phillies, that means waiting out the trade deadline until the last possible moment. They'll watch the dealer turn over cards until there is absolutely no way that they can win.
Of course, at that moment, the Phillies will begin to dismantle their "core" of players—the players that the entire roster is built around for now and for the future.
That could mean dealing obvious names like Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino, but it could mean so much more.
Cliff Lee. Jimmy Rollins. Vance Worley. Ryan Howard. Are any of them really safe?
If the Phillies go into an all-out sell-mode, all hell could break loose here in the city of Philadelphia, but I'll be the one to tell you why it shouldn't.
With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, I'll give you 25 reasons why the Phillies shouldn't blow up their "core."