Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
The Philadelphia Phillies are likely to be sellers this summer.
Now that they're in their third consecutive disappointing season, the team's front office seems to realize that it's time for a bit of a rebuild. That means good players will be available for teams to talk to the Phils about.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the O's were one of many teams to have representatives in attendance for Monday's game in Philadelphia, a game that left-hander Cliff Lee was starting. Lee's first start after coming off the disabled list didn't go too well, but the O's likely won't be swinging a deal for the lefty ace anyway.
While it's possible that the team is interested in Lee as well as starter A.J. Burnett, as was tweeted by Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, neither of those two will be whom the O's acquire.
No, the O's will be looking to add either second baseman Chase Utley or closer Jonathan Papelbon, both of whom could be available.
As I mentioned in an earlier slide, it would be tough for the O's to pony up the necessary prospects to acquire an impact position player, especially one of Utley's caliber.
And Utley just signed a contract extension with the Phils last summer, showing his commitment to the only big league team he's ever known. Couple that with the fact that he has 10-and-5 rights, and Utley simply may not want to leave the Phillies organization.
Papelbon, on the other hand, would be much easier to acquire. He's a late-inning reliever in the middle of a great season (1.17 ERA, 23 saves) on a team that doesn't have much use for a shutdown closer. He wouldn't cost as much as Utley in terms of prospects and would be much more willing to leave Philadelphia, as he's previously expressed.
The O's seem like a logical landing spot for the righty, as he has AL East and postseason experience and could turn the O's bullpen from a very good one to a scary good one.
The only issue is Papelbon's outgoing and vocal character, though the O's haven't shied away from controversial players in recent seasons.
Two summers ago, the O's and Phils made a deal that sent designated hitter Jim Thome from Philadelphia to Baltimore. Let's see if the teams can get together on a summer trade once again.