Now that the Philadelphia Phillies have been swept by the NL Wild Card-leading and division-rival Atlanta Braves, it's almost safe to say that all hope of a possible postseason run for the Fightins has been lost. Any glimmer of hope that may have still existed after the Phils' four consecutive comeback wins early last week has been erased thanks to the Braves.
The Phillies now sit at 45-57 and are a whopping 16.5 games behind the NL East leaders, the Washington Nationals. The Braves, who occupy one of two NL Wild Card spots, have that lead over the Phillies by 12.5 games.
Had the Phillies swept the series, the lead would have narrowed to just 6.5 games. With two wins, it would have been 8.5 games. And even if they managed one win, the gap wouldn't be as terrible at 10.5 games. But with the sweep, the Phillies are almost surefire bets to miss the postseason for the first time since they began their five consecutive NL East division title run in 2007.
With the Braves' sweep coming off a sweep by the Phillies themselves over the Milwaukee Brewers, trade rumors involving many of the Phillies' players should not only begin to heat up, but intensify and materialize into actual trades. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Phillies very well could be one of the deadline's top sellers:
Team that has a chance to be the most active seller in next two days: The Phillies. They've prepared a lot of groundwork for possible deals.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 30, 2012
Word also comes from ESPN's Jayson Stark that the Phillies could make as many as two or three trades before the 4:00 p.m. deadline on Tuesday, July 31:
#Phillies still haven't lit the sale lamp. But teams they've been talking to believe they could make 2-3 deals in next 46 hours.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 29, 2012
Now that some of the baseball world's top reporters are saying it's so, is it so? Chances are, yes, And even though reporters can be wrong, it's not expected that they are. Players will be traded.
Last week, I wrote about fire sale trades the Phillies could make should such a situation arise. Now that said situation is now the status quo, perhaps some of these trades will be completed. Well, maybe not exactly with what I predicted. But the players the Phillies could trade in that slideshow are on par with reality, at least.
Players such as Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, Joe Blanton, Juan Pierre and possibly even Cliff Lee could be on the move in the next day and a half. Some will be gone. Others will stay. Or maybe all or none of those players are dealt. But is it viable to believe that the Phillies will sell? You bet it is.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com wrote that the Phillies will consider trades now that they're more than likely out of contention. Is there reason to believe Salisbury? Absolutely. He has the ability to interview top Phillies front office personnel, including GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. I don't.
The next day or so should be flooded with Phillies trade rumors and trades that will come to fruition now that the team is basically down and out. Funny to think that back in spring training, the thought was that the Phillies might trade for a player. Now, they're trading their players away. Go figure.
Who will stay? Who will go? Only time will tell.