Concerning the Philadelphia Phillies, there is good and bad news. The good news is that they are only 4.5 games out of first place in the NL East. The bad news? They're dead last in the division at 17-21, have lost three straight and are 3-7 in their last 10 games. One more note: They're 6-11 at home.
In order to make one last run at the playoffs, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was supposed to improve the team over the offseason in its most-needed areas. Marlon Byrd was not the worst pickup he could have made, but there was better out there. Carlos Ruiz was overpaid. And Brad Lincoln being the most significant bullpen addition Amaro made in the offseason speaks for itself.
Amaro needs to focus on the future. The window has closed, and it's time to accept that fact. What may hinder him from doing so, though, is the amount of money tied up to the Phillies' most attractive trade pieces. Most, if not all, of the Phillies' best trade chips are due guaranteed money in 2015, if not beyond.
However, it's time that Amaro and the Phillies front office get creative and make some trades that go against their self-imposed rules. That means eating salary when necessary. And it will be necessary for many players.
While it's too early to speculate on who the Phillies would get in return in a hypothetical fire sale, here is the framework for five deals Amaro should propose come the July 31 trade deadline.