The most important issue at this season's trade deadline is not which starting pitcher the Phillies should get or even if they should get one. It's not about getting a key reliever or a possible closer to take over for struggling Brad Lidge. Getting a key bat off the bench is not priority No. 1 either.
The biggest move before this season's trade deadline is what the Phillies will do with the prospect that they refused to trade in both the Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay deals.
Phillies Triple-A outfielder Domonic Brown is major-league ready, no matter how much people think he needs more seasoning in the minors.
Is it the 19 combined home runs this year between Double and Triple-A that make him ready? Maybe it is the career .323 batting average in the minors. How about being rated by some as the top minor league prospect in all of baseball!
Could it possibly be the selection to the 2010 Futures Game and hitting fourth for the USA team?
Being one of the oldest players in the Futures Game at age 22, and being one of the only Triple-A players in the Futures Game in a sign. The Phillies need to bring up Brown to the big leagues and not waste all of his talents in the minor leagues.
Bringing Brown up would benefit all of the fronts in the equation.
The Phillies had a more complicated situation back in 2005. All-Star first baseman Jim Thome was occupying first base back then, while Ryan Howard was destroying every level he faced in the minor leagues.
The team was in the middle of a playoff run, but they had a player that they could not waste in the minors. Everything eventually worked out for the Phillies, with Thome eventually getting hurt.
Howard was called up for the second half of the season winning rookie of the year, and Thome was traded to the White Sox in the offseason. Howard's call up eventually led them to the dynasty that the Phillies built from 2007-2009.
The Phillies have more options this time around, but every one of them will work. If it takes sitting Raul Ibanez and his .248 Avg and seven home runs, then so be it. That option could actually solve some of the bench problem.
If they decide to trade Jayson Werth, that could bring in the prospects they need to trade for a front of the line starter. Domonic Brown is quite a capable replacement to Werth, and even if he is a little drop-off, they will have either helped their farm system or gotten another reliable pitcher.
If they can work a three-way deal, they can use the prospects they get from a Werth trade to get a frontline starter. This way, the offensive will suffer little to no damage (it may even get better with Brown) and their pitching with improve mightily.
The Phillies aren't going to win with this set of outfielders playing this way. The Phillies need to stop waiting for them to turn it around. The power-speed combo of Domonic Brown is the excitement the Phillies need to make a second half push.
The time is now to bring up the future corner outfielder. First baseman Ryan Howard was brought up when he was 25 years old, and even though all his seasons have been good, being called up so late when he could have been used earlier is really going to hurt his career stats.
Even if Domonic Brown struggles, they can play Ben Francisco whenever a lefty is pitching—although Brown is very good against lefties too. If Werth is gone, Francisco can continue to give Ibanez a spell against lefties while Brown plays either day.
Either way, Francisco can minimize Brown and Ibanez's at bats against pitchers that they struggle against.
Brown will have to learn Major League pitching, and struggling will be normal for a young player. But even if he struggles, that is not the time to panic. Brown won't have forgotten his minor league stroke, he is just learning to adapt to the next level.
Today in the big leagues, many teams are doing a lot better this season with young players. The Nationals are doing better this year with 22-year-old rookie Stephen Strasberg, as Strasberg has had no speed bump in his transition to the majors, posting 75 strikeouts in 54.1 innings.
The New York Mets are hanging around in the hunt with 23-year-old Ike Davis.
The Reds are one of the surprise teams in baseball led by a very young pitching staff.
Why can't the Phillies be a team that rides off of young excitement? Imagine the energy Brown would give to the players and the fans: A fresh start, a young and excited player.
Somebody needs to ring on General Manager Reuben Amaro's doorbell and tell him to hurry up Brown. Domonic Brown should not be wasted away in the minors. The Phillies are in need of a change, the energy level needs to go up.
Everyone is tired of the Phillies struggles. The way for the Phillies to turn it around, not only hitting but possibly pitching, is to turn to Domonic Brown.
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