Philadelphia Phillies' Untouchable List at the 2013 MLB Trade Deadline
While the baseball world is still in the midst of the All-Star break, the conclusion of the festivities means one thing: It's the peak of trading season. Teams around the majors will be dealing for or trading away players based upon their standings and future potential.
Such a position isn't always clear-cut, and for the Philadelphia Phillies, this could not be any truer in 2013. Their prospect depth isn't ideal for the future by any means, but their recent winning ways have them slated toward making one final push for October.
Even though there still remain just under two weeks until the July 31 trade deadline, things still can change. The Phillies could move into first place in the division, or they could fall flat on their faces into the cellar of the division. Right now, they're leaning toward buying, but as is always the case with baseball, anything can happen.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. has admitted that nobody on the Phillies is untouchable, per CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, but it's hard to imagine that there aren't some players about whom the Phillies would hang up the phone immediately if they received calls for them. Here's a run-through of the Phillies who will definitely be here to stay through the trade deadline and beyond because the team will refuse to even listen to offers about them.
Honorable Mention: Prospects
Who said this list had to stick strictly to major leaguers?
The Phillies' farm system is pretty thin on blue-chip talent. It's an undeniable fact. However, there are a few prospects who won't be available in trades should the Phillies buy this summer.
Jesse Biddle: Biddle, the winning pitcher of this year's Futures Game, has seemingly improved his prospect stock with every performance. His first half was incredible, and his 1.1 innings of relief on July 14 garnered him national attention, especially with his curveball. Biddle may not be an ace when all's said and done, but he's the best starting pitching and overall prospect the Phillies have right now. He's not going anywhere.
Maikel Franco: At the beginning of 2013, Franco wouldn't have been considered quite untouchable. He'd seen some slight improvement in 2012 compared to his previous seasons, but it wasn't anything extraordinary. Then came 2013, and Franco has done nothing short of play exceptional baseball all season long. His offensive numbers throughout High-A and Double-A are ridiculous, and his defense has improved tremendously at third base this season. Once a question mark to stick at the hot corner, Franco's inclusion in the Futures Game has established him as a can't-miss prospect.
Carlos Tocci: Tocci was an international signee by the Phillies in August 2012, and despite his struggles in the Phillies system this year, the Venezuelan prospect is just 17 years old and won't turn 18 until August 23. He's got tons of offensive potential if he grows into his frame, and his defensive instincts are incredible for someone his age. Tocci is the Phillies' top outfield prospect and should continue to grow with more experience.
Roman Quinn*: Quinn isn't an untouchable, in my opinion, now that the Phillies have a better shortstop prospect in J.P. Crawford, but he's as close as they come. He may find himself in the outfield someday, as his glove work can be sloppy at times, but Quinn has the offensive tools and speed to be an impact bat at the top of a future Phillies lineup. The good news is that if he doesn't stick at shortstop, Quinn has a great arm, so an outfield job could suit him well. Regardless, Quinn's wrist was broken by a pitch earlier this season, so he's unlikely to hold much value as is.
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The Phillies will have to build around youth if they want to contend in the future. It's a part of the cycle of baseball success. And headlining that youth movement will be none other than 2013 All-Star left fielder Domonic Brown.
Brown has been absolutely vital to the Phillies' success this season. Brown has proven that he's got the five-tool talent he was thought to have possessed when he was named Baseball America's fourth-best prospect in all of baseball before the 2011 season.
Simply put, Brown is under team control for four more years and has played too well to be dealt. If the Phillies want to be contenders this year, they need Brown for the long haul. Even considering trading him would be ludicrous at this point, a far cry from the general consensus before the season.
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One of baseball's biggest surprises in 2013, and undoubtedly the Phillies' biggest surprise this year, are the struggles of Cole Hamels. Signed to a six-year, $144 million contract extension just before the trade deadline last year, Hamels inked a new deal with the Phillies to spend the rest of his career in the City of Brotherly Love.
Hamels was arguably the most highly coveted pitcher on the trade market at this time last year. However, his mediocre play in 2013 has rendered him immovable, even if the Phillies desired to trade him. Hamels is a better pitcher than his numbers indicate, but while his numbers were at first flawed by poor run support, Hamels had nobody but himself to blame when he reached loss No. 11.
The good news is that Hamels looked good in his final three starts before the All-Star break, winning two of them. Perhaps his 2013 struggles are behind him. But Hamels won't be moved regardless of the circumstances because he's the Phillies' ace of the future. Without him, the rotation in three to four years will be nothing short of a disaster.
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Jonathan Pettibone as an untouchable? At least in 2013, yes he is.
Pettibone entered the season as the Phillies' fourth-best prospect according to Baseball America, and he made his major league debut soon after the season began. He impressed immediately, showing incredible finesse and control while posting solid numbers and earning win after win.
Although his undefeated streak ended soon enough, Pettibone has maintained decent production in the Phillies rotation. Granted, he hasn't been exceptional, but for a guy whose ceiling is supposedly a fourth or fifth starter, Pettibone has fit in nicely and is now a key cog to the Phillies rotations of the future.
With Vance Worley gone, Pettibone will serve as the young starter to mentor the up-and-comers as they make their way into the majors. He may not be the best of the bunch and could be traded at a later time, but for now, the Phillies need Pettibone to stay afloat.
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The last of the Phillies' untouchables has been one of the hottest hitters in all of baseball since the end of April—Ben Revere. The only problem is, Revere is out six to eight weeks after fouling a ball off his ankle and undergoing surgery to correct the fracture.
It came at a bad time for the Phillies, as Revere was the team's best hitter for contact and consistency over the last two-and-a-half months. Despite Domonic Brown's power surge and the modest production from Chase Utley, Michael Young and Delmon Young as of late, it had been Revere who was keeping the Phillies offense alive, batting .347 since the beginning of May.
Revere's defense, which had been shoddy at the onset of 2013, had also settled and regained the form which it had when he played for the Minnesota Twins. His speed was also a tool nobody else in the organization could offer. Revere's presence will be missed, but injury aside, he's a part of the future for the Phillies and won't be going anywhere anytime soon. The Phillies have nobody else better in their system to man center field, and Revere will be welcomed back with open arms when he fully recovers.