As the 2013 Major League Baseball trade deadline is just over 24 hours away, the Philadelphia Phillies have several key decisions to make about some core players on their roster.
About two weeks ago, the Phillies found themselves in pretty good position to make a postseason run, as they were within shouting distance of the Atlanta Braves and the National League East lead.
However, two weeks and an eight game losing streak later, the Phils are a whopping 11.5 games behind the Braves, as well as nine games back of the Cincinnati Reds for a Wild Card spot.
With an aging and injury-plagued roster, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has some major decisions to make within the next day that may decide the future of his organization.
Superstars such as Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon and Michael Young may wind up on the trading block throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon.
With that said, let's take a look at three possible deals that Philadelphia could and should make by Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
Looking at the general picture, it's been a rough time for Cliff Lee in Philadelphia.
Easily the best pitcher in the Phillies' starting rotation, Lee's window to win a championship is closing quickly.
At 34 years old (Lee turns 35 in August), Lee has stated his desire to stay in Philadelphia. However, it is clear that the Phillies are nowhere close to winning a World Series.
With the Phillies owing Lee approximately $75 million over the next three years, Amaro Jr. may feel that he can get the most off the market for Lee right now, while he is still at the top of his game.
One of the teams that has remained very interested in Lee's services recently has been the Boston Red Sox.
Boston, currently sitting .5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East standings, needs an ace like Lee to help their postseason push.
However, the Phillies would most likely want the world for Lee in return. This would probably include Boston outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and/or infielder Xander Bogaerts, two Boston's better prospects.
However, according to CSN New England's Sean McAdam, the Sox are reluctant to give up either of these pieces to acquire Lee.
Despite Boston's reluctance, if the Phils can somehow convince the Red Sox that Lee is the missing piece for their postseason run, then this a deal that Philadelphia and Amaro Jr. could and should make.
Michael Young's time with the Phillies may be up just several months after he arrived in Philadelphia.
Yet another Phillies infielder who is over 30 years old, Young is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, which potentially forces Amaro Jr. to deal Young now.
One team that may be interested in Young's services: the New York Yankees.
According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Yankees have been interested in Young for a long time now.
While the Yankees are currently 7.5 games behind the Rays in the AL East, New York sits only 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.
Young could be that man.
Today, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the Phillies decided to call up third base prospect Cody Asche, making the way for a Young trade to possibly go down.
In a trade with the Yankees, the Phillies would not only be able to shed salary, but also likely get some outfield depth in return. One player the Phils could receive is Ramon Flores, a New York prospect that has plenty of potential for the future.
In simple terms, this trade would be a win-win for the Phillies.
It wasn't too long ago when Jonathan Papelbon signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies to become the highest-paid reliever in MLB history.
Fast forward two years, and Papelbon may find himself pitching in a different city in a couple of days.
According to ESPN, Papelbon will want to leave the Phillies if the organization does not return to its winning ways:
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?
Despite Papelbon, who has blown five save opportunities so far this year, having a down year, he remains one of the top closers in the game. He could potentially be the missing piece for a team trying to make a deep run in the postseason.
One of those teams: the Detroit Tigers.
Currently battling with the Cleveland Indians for first place in the AL Central, the Tigers are in desperate need for a top-end closer. That's where Papelbon comes in.
While Philadelphia would likely not want to part ways with the best pitcher in their completely awful bullpen, Amaro Jr. may feel that the time is now to ship Papelbon off and get some value in return while his trade value is high.
While the Tigers would likely not give up too much in return for Papelbon, the Phillies should expect to be able to receive at least one of their top-rated prospects. One prospect that immediately comes to mind is outfielder Avisail Garcia.
Garcia, a young outfielder with plenty of potential, also comes with big league experience. Garcia batted .329 in 23 games with the Tigers last season on his way to earning a spot on their postseason roster.
With this trade, the Phillies would be able to shed more salary and age off of their roster while possibly acquiring their right fielder of the future.
In other words, another win-win scenario.
It's amazing what two weeks of an MLB season can do to the entire outlook of a franchise.
Heading into the All-Star break, all of the talk surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies was about how well set-up this team was to make a postseason run in the second half of the season.
However, two weeks later, things could not have gone any differently.
With practically no hope left for the Phillies to make the playoffs, it's time for the organization to clean house.
In recent years, the Phillies have teased their fan base with the dream that this group of core players could help Philadelphia return to the World Series.
However, it's time for Amaro Jr. to face the facts: this is an old roster whose health and production are on the decline.
For that reason, it's time to make some big-name changes. In a matter of hours, superstars such as Cliff Lee, Michael Young and Jonathan Papelbon could find themselves wearing a different uniform.
It's time to face reality, Philadelphia. The Phillies are a long way off from winning their first World Series since 2008.
While there is undoubtedly talent on Philadelphia's current roster, no time is better than now for the Phillies to start their rebuilding process.
Now, have YOUR say! Who do you think the Phillies should deal at the deadline? Give me your opinions and predictions for the Phillies' moves in the comment thread below!