It seems like just a few days ago that nearly every Philadelphia Phillies player could be acquired in the right deal.
Of course, signing an All-Star pitcher to a long-term extension and winning four straight games leading up to the trade deadline can change things.
But that has not, however, stopped teams from displaying their interest in certain players.
With Hamels in the fold long term, the Phillies' payroll for this season and next is expected to exceed the $178 million luxury-tax threshold. Additionally, Pence is likely to receive a salary increase through arbitration, as he is still signed through next season. Therefore, moving Pence could make sense to give the Phillies payroll flexibility this season and next.
But trading him to the San Francisco Giants? Not a good idea.
For one, the Phillies are currently 14.5 games back in the National League East and 10.5 games back in the wild-card standings. The Giants, meanwhile, currently have a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West.
However, both the Phillies and Giants could have a tough battle in their respective divisions going forward due to the teams near the top of the standings.
The Washington Nationals, who are in first place in the NL East, have a roster that features a starting rotation that has the best ERA in the NL. Combined with a roster that also features a great deal of young talent, the Nationals could be in contention for NL East titles beyond this season.
This means that the wild-card playoff spots could come into play for the Phillies until they are able to add young talent to their lineup.
Meanwhile, new ownership for the Dodgers has already showed a willingness to spend money, as they have recently acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins. The Giants seemingly have their own perennial competition for a division title, and a wild-card spot could also come into play.
If the Phillies were to trade Pence to the Giants, they could be trading an All-Star outfielder to a team they will be in direct competition with for a wild-card spot both this season and next.
Furthermore, trading Pence to the Giants would essentially mean the Phillies are preparing more so for next season, although they just made their task more difficult.
The Giants could have added incentive to try and acquire Pence since they currently have two outfielders set to hit free agency after this season in Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera.
The team’s farm system, however, is likely lacking pieces that would intrigue the Phillies enough to trade their starting right fielder.
Between trading an All-Star outfielder to a team that already has a .261 batting average, which ranks fourth in the NL, and improving a team that they could be in direct competition with for a wild-card spot this season and next, any offer from the Giants would have to blow the Phils away.
Chances are a deal with the Giants wouldn’t provide the Phillies with enough value to make the trade.
Trading Pence could still be an option for the Phils as they look to lower their payroll this season and avoid paying the luxury tax. But with Shane Victorino set to become a free agent after this season, the Phillies would need to replace their entire starting outfield if they deal Pence.
That doesn’t mean a deal won’t happen, but the Phillies will need to be swept off their feet to make the trade.
And making a trade with the Giants will make a run at the postseason that much harder this season and next.
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