Now that the All-Star Break has ended, there is one big thing left to watch for in baseball in July: trades.
Since Ruben Amaro, Jr. has taken over as Phillies general manager following the team's World Series championship in 2008, he has been the backbone behind many of the team's big splashes near the July 31 trade deadline.
In 2009, he traded minor league prospects Lou Marson, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, and Jason Knapp to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for pitcher Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco.
Last season, though he himself did not do this deal (Phillies president Dave Montgomery dealt with Houston alone), the Phillies acquired ace Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros for pitcher J.A. Happ and two prospects, outfielder Anthony Gose and shortstop Jonathan Villar (Gose was then traded by the Astros to the Toronto Blue Jays for first baseman Brett Wallace).
Regardless of who has been behind these big deals that have boosted the team's depth, namely in starting pitching, the Phillies have been a team to reckon with at the trade deadline in July. They have learned how to get a deal done and how to do it right.
Although the Phillies do not need to acquire another starting pitcher this year, there is always the possibility that they could trade for someone big or small. The Phillies could make a splash by acquiring someone the likes of Jose Reyes of the Mets, or a less notable reliever to strengthen the bullpen.
Here in July, anything is possible for this Phillies team, although Amaro has said that he doesn't expect to make any big deals this year. Though earlier in the season he hinted that he plans on making a big trade this year, so either way such discussions are arising...
However, there are also a few players who the Phillies could attempt to sell at the trade deadline.
Joe Blanton, the Phillies' fifth pitcher and their only "non-ace," could be a very nice option for other teams looking for pitchers. Since Blanton would be a second or third starter on most other teams, his abilities could come in handy to a team looking for a starting pitcher, especially since the upcoming free-agent market is slim in starting pitching depth, with little behind current Texas Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson.
The problem with Blanton is his salary. According to Cot's, he is expected to make at least $17 million through this season and the next (more than that if Blanton meets incentives).
But, of course, there's that small problem that he's had a couple of stints on the DL this year, and now that he's out at least through the end of the month, he could lose some trade value if any was left at all.
Another option is 39 year-old left-fielder Raul Ibanez.
Ibanez could provide some power to a club that needs another outfielder or even a DH. Although he has emerged out of his hitting slump, he is getting older and may be reaching the point where he can't play every day anymore. The other problem is that, like Blanton, he's due a good amount of money this season—$11.5 million to be exact—and what's more is that he has no-trade protection.
If either Blanton, Ibanez, or someone else along those lines were to be dealt, the Phillies might have to eat a good chunk of their remaining salaries in order to get some deals done.
I should mention that this isn't your average, Joe-Schmoe trade deadline slideshow that names targets the team will acquire or players the team will deal. It's very different.
This slideshow is an in-depth analysis of 10 possible trades: five in which the Phillies will be acquiring a key player (and/or minor league prospects), and five in which the Phillies will be dealing a key player (and/or minor league prospects).
This slideshow will present not only the players involved, but if any minor league players and/or cash is involved, player names will be specific and cash will be included.
And when I say in-depth, I mean in-depth. These are extremely long slides, and there are 10 deals that are explored, so if you plan on reading all of this, I warn you: it will take a long time.
Here's how each slide is going to work: it will talk about the key player mentioned in the deal, followed by their appeal to either team involved. Minor league players will also be described in-depth, but they will be described more as how they can/will benefit its receiving organization in the coming years.
Some names may be tossed around more than once, though I'll try to keep things to minimal repetition. In addition, some of these possible trades may seem impossible, but as we've seen from Ruben the past two years, anything can happen. And one last thing: not all of the following trades are realistic, but they are just deals that could happen, albeit by a long shot.
So, without any further ado...
*Statistics courtesy of any of the following: Yahoo! Sports: MLB, ESPN.com, MLB.com, MiLB.com, FanGraphs.com and Baseball-Reference.com. Salaries courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.