As the July trade deadline looms, the Philadelphia Phillies will continue to shop the major league market to upgrade their current corner outfield situation.
The Phillies are in need of a right-handed bat to break up their abundance of left-handed hitters. The team is missing the right-handed power of Jayson Werth, who signed a mega-deal with the Washington Nationals.
With Raul Ibanez on the brink of 39 years of age and his contract expiring at the end of the season, the Phillies may choose to address the future of left field sooner rather than later. Raul's defensive ability and overall plate consistency have been an issue the majority of the 2011 season.
Over the past few years, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has pulled a rabbit out of a hat and brought big names to Philadelphia. Reports indicate the Phillies may be strapped for cash, but if a big opportunity knocks at their door it will tough for the Phillies not to extend themselves.
Hopefully Ruben can make a splash and help the Phillies make a deep run into October.
Major League trade rumors have continuously linked the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies. Rumors state that a multiple player trade involving outfielder Ryan Ludwick and relief pitcher Heath Bell could be on the move to Philadelphia.
Ryan Ludwick will turn 33 on July 13th, and his power numbers have declined over the past few seasons. Ryan hit 37 home runs in 2008, but hasn't hit over 25 since then.
Ryan plays a ballpark in San Diego with large dimension and could benefit from a shorter left field porch in Philadelphia.
So far this season, Ludwick is batting .245 with 11 HR and 55 RBI. If brought to Philadelphia it is likely his power numbers would increase.
Unfortunately, these numbers almost mirror Raul Ibanez's this season, but if Charlie Manuel does not think Domonic Brown is the solution in right field for this season, Ryan could take his place and give the Phillies lineup some much needed power from the right sight of the plate.
Heath Bell seems to play a key role in getting this deal done, Ruben Amaro Jr.. would like to add some experience to the back end of his bullpen.
The Tampa Bay Rays have waved right-handed power hitting B.J. Upton on the trade market for the last few season and could be made available if the right deal crosses their path.
Upton is on pace to have one the best seasons of his career in 2011 and looks to be slowly maturing both on and off the field. He is on pace to hit 30 home runs and drive in close to 100 runs. B.J. does tend to strike out a lot, but hopefully he can learn to hit for more of an average if some of the pressure to be the teams HR leaders is taken away.
Upton is currently batting .239 with 15 HR with 50 RBI and 21 stolen bases. B.J. has stolen 40 or more bases in each of the last 3 season.
The Rays find themselves six games out of first place and five game behind the wild card leading New York Yankees.
Come the July deadline they could be either buyers or sellers. The next two weeks will determine how the Rays front office will approach the remainder of the 2011 season.
If they become sellers, they are going to look to acquire quality prospects for Upton. Since Upton is only 26, he could be in the future plans for the Phillies and could learn how to play like a Champion from the quality veteran Phillies players.
B.J. is a long shot, but Amaro is known for having an ace up his sleeve during the July bargaining process.
With the New York Mets front office in squalor and ownership that is overly critical of its players, the Mets could be looking to shed some payroll in order to sign either David Wright or NL MVP candidate Jose Reyes to a long term deal.
This is where the Philadelphia Phillies could take advantage of the Mets' financial situation and make a deal to acquire switch hitting outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Beltran will be a short term fix in one of the corner outfield positions, because he has recently turned 34 and seemingly only has a few quality season left in the tank.
Carlos has already played more games in 2011 than 2009 and 2010, so it looks as if he his healthier than he has been in years.
He's having one of his most quality all around starts to a season in his career. He is currently batting .285 with 13 HR, 58 RBI, a .377 OBP and an NL-leading 28 doubles. Carlos' power numbers would also benefit from the smaller dimensions at Citizens Bank Park.
If the Phillies could make a deal for Beltran, it could be the deal that helps their offense consistently produce more runs, than any other available player.
Minnesota Twins right-fielder Michael Cuddyer has one of the most consistent bats of any of the corner outfielders who could be available for the Philadelphia Phillies. He also can play first-base and third-base which could spell Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco more much needed days off.
Cuddyer is currently batting .298, with 13 HR and 43 RBI. At the age of 32, he has a career high 7 stolen bases, which could give the Phillies another threat on the base path.
Over Michael's career, he has played in 22 playoff games, which will only benefit the Phillies as they make a run into October.
The Twins are most likely going to be sellers come the July deadline as the find themselves seven games below .500 with a record of 41-48. The Twins will look to obtain high grade prospects from the Phillies if they are going to trade away one of their best players.
The Twins rank 26th in team ERA at 4.29, they need pitching, and the Phillies have several quality pitching prospects the Twins would be interested in.
Its seems more and more like a deal for Michael makes the most sense for both the Twins and Phillies.
With the Los Angeles Dodgers on the verge of bankruptcy, the team will be looking to condense their payroll and rebuild their team from the ground up.
One player any team would love to add to their lineup is NL MVP candidate Matt Kemp.
It would be a dream come true if the Philadelphia Phillies could somehow bring Matt Kemp to the City of Brotherly Love. Kemp is currently batting .313 with 22 HR and 67 RBI. He is also only 26 years old and could be wearing Phillies pinstripes for many years to come. Kemp also has 27 stolen bases and has only been thrown out three times.
Can you imagine an outfield with Shane Victorino, Domonic Brown and Matt Kemp?
It would be utter bliss.
Ruben Amaro Jr. has said the Phillies are strapped for cash, but bringing Matt Kemp to Philadelphia would catapult this team to having a chance of being one of the best teams ever assembled for several years to come.
Matt Kemp would also provide the right handed protection Ryan Howard desperately needs. Kemp has both power and speed, so opposing pitchers will have no choice but to go after Howard and throw him more quality pitches.
Matt also will provide great range in the outfield combined with an excellent throwing arm. Since this team is built around its starting pitching, defense is as important, if not more important than offense.