5 Reasons the Phillies Are Right in Becoming Buyers at the Trade Deadline
It seems like Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Philadelphia Phillies should have been sellers all season, but things are changing in the City of Brotherly Love.
Ever since Amaro announced that Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon weren't up for sale, fans and analysts (including myself) have questioned his decision. Not anymore.
The Phillies are starting to look like legitimate buyers who could make a late-season run to make the postseason, and here's why.
5. The Starting Rotation Is Better Than You'd Think
It all starts with Cliff Lee, who has been a legitimate ace all year, going 10-4 with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. He has been on fire, and he leads the charge.
After Lee, things look to get a little hairy, but they're actually not all that bad.
Cole Hamels has been roughed up all year, going 4-12 with a 4.16 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. However, that's much better than when he was 1-9 with a 4.86 ERA at the end of May.
Hamels really can't get much worse, but he could get much better.
Kyle Kendrick has also proven to be a valuable asset. He's no ace like Lee, but his sub-4.00 ERA is encouraging, and he's gone 9-6 this season.
Finally, Roy Halladay struggled early in the season and is on the 60-day DL after undergoing shoulder surgery, but there have been rumors that he could return by the end of the year and help the team make a September run.
With all this talent, the Phillies have the potential to have a solid starting rotation by the end of the year, and closer Jonathan Papelbon has been his usual self as well. The only need is for another middle reliever or two.
4. Ruben Amaro Jr. Has a Knack for Making Big Trades
Ruben Amaro Jr. has become one of the best GMs in baseball, and over the last five years he's made a habit of landing big-name guys.
In 2008, Amaro traded for Joe Blanton, who was crucial in the team's run to, and victory in the World Series.
In 2009, Amaro traded for Cliff Lee, who helped the team reach back-to-back World Series.
In 2010, Amaro traded for Roy Oswalt, forming the best starting rotation in baseball.
In 2011, Amaro traded for Hunter Pence, who was arguably the biggest name on the trading block.
If there's a star who could help the Phillies, you know Amaro has the power to get them, and if he can make a big splash in the outfield and in the 'pen, the Phils have a chance to make a run for the postseason.
3. Nationals Haven't Been as Good as Advertised
After going 98-64 last season and posting the best record in the MLB without Stephen Strasburg for much of the season, the Washington Nationals were supposed to run away with the NL East in 2013, right?
The Nats haven't been the best team in baseball—they haven't even been the best team in the division, sitting six games back of the Atlanta Braves.
With Washington failing to capitalize on a weak NL East, does that leave the door open for Philly?
2. Braves Are Playing .500 Ball Since April
After starting the season 12-1, the Atlanta Braves looked like they could run away with the NL East. However, the team sits just 14 games over .500 right now.
What's the problem?
After a fast start, the team has been playing hardly better than .500 ball. In fact, the team has gone 40-37 since April 18.
In that same timeframe, the Phillies have also gone 40-37, proving that they can hang around with the NL East's best team, despite the plethora of injuries facing Charlie Manuel and co.
If the Nats and Braves aren't running away with the division title, are the Phillies still in it?
Amaro knows it too, saying "No one is running away with it."
1. The Team Is Hot
You just don't mess with a winning combination, and that's what the Phillies have right now.
In a make-or-break month of July the team has gone 10-6. During that span, it remains the best record in the NL East.
Amaro has said that he will make his final decision about buying or selling after the team's current 10-game homestand, and going 7-3 has to help.