Far removed from their 2008 World Series title, the Phillies are now a popular target for teams looking to acquire stars from a team flush with big names surrounded by poor role players.
The question is, which of Philadelphia's stars could be on the move come the trade deadline?
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has not ruled out the possibility of trading his biggest stars. That includes some of the biggest names in baseball, with Cliff Lee, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley and Michael Young all potentially targeted.
To put it simply, when teams come calling, Amaro Jr. will not be so quick to say no, according to Crasnick:
I can't sit here and say I'm not going to trade Chase [Utley], or Cliff [Lee], or Michael Young, or Chooch (Carlos Ruiz), or any of these guys. Some guys are less tradable than others. But I think I owe it to us as an organization to listen. If teams are going to come at us and suggest things, I'm not going to turn off the faucet and stop listening to them.
That may not give you a committed answer, but it opens the door for potential trades involving some of the biggest names in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia has not been MLB's most successful franchise of the 2013 season, resting at 49-56 and with an eight-game losing streak in tow. With that being said, their top players rank among the best at their positions and have undeniable trade value for a contender looking to add missing pieces.
Here's who may be on the move.
Lee remains one of the best pitchers in baseball, and if he were playing for a contender, he'd like be a NL Cy Young Award contender. He's 10-4 with an ERA of 3.05, an opponent batting average of .230 and a WHIP of 1.01.
That's exactly why the baseball world has such a close eye on his future.
Lee continues to go deep into games, averaging more than seven innings per contest. In addition, Lee has maintained his dominance, ranking in the top 10 in both WHIP and wins above replacement for pitchers.
Here's the kicker: Just as Amaro Jr. made Lee available, he reportedly changed his mind without hesitation.
Fear not—another elite pitcher on Philadelphia's pitching staff is still available.
According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, closer Jonathan Papelbon spoke candidly on his future in Philadelphia. Papelbon opened up on his feelings about the current situation in Philadelphia and what needs to change for the team to rediscover its glory days.
Most importantly, Papelbon spoke on whether or not he'd accept a trade:
"I definitely didn't come here for this," he said.
Asked after the game if he wants to be traded, Papelbon said, "No, I would like to stay here. But if I'm going to have to put up with this year after year, then no, I don't want to be here. Why would you? Why would anybody?"
Papelbon has every reason to feel that way, and teams have every reason to be interested in acquiring his services.
Papelbon has converted 20 saves this season, going 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA. He's blown five save opportunities, but in the end, his overall body of work is significantly more impressive than the rare slip-up.
With every contender needing back-of-the-bullpen aid, adding a former World Series champion is as attractive as it gets.
As stated in Crasnick's report, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley and Michael Young are all in play for the Phillies. Each player is a former All-Star, possessing strong-to-elite hitting ability and the remaining skill level to make a major impact.
Due to his multi-faceted game, the most sought-after name has been Young.
Young is a seven-time All-Star, a 2008 Gold Glove winner and a career .300 hitter. While he isn't having a stellar season in Philadelphia, it's perfectly clear that the man can still hit.
At 36, Young has seven home runs, 32 RBI, 18 doubles and three triples on a batting average of .277 this season, which has numerous teams in the market for the former batting champion.
Health has always been an issue for Utley, but he also has extraordinary value. The four-time Silver Slugger is hitting .274 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI, also registering in 16 doubles and four triples in 76 games.
Injuries are all that separate Utley, who also has seven stolen bases, from maintaining his label of elite.
Ruiz hasn't been as strong, hitting .253 with nine RBI in 46 games. Those aren't the best of numbers, but they sum the Phillies' situation up perfectly.
For teams in the market for a veteran, few teams can offer as much as the Phillies.
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