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Phillies: Buy or Sell?

Jul 6, 2005, 8:05 PM EDT

With the Phillies playing a rather unexciting brand of baseball lately, the topic of conversation on the Internet and among Phillie faithful has been whether the Phillies should be buyers or sellers with the trade deadline in sight.

A Citizen’s blog, which I agree with a good deal of the time, has this to say:

-I think the Phillies should be active at the trading deadline and make
some deals. Instead of doing their usual thing and deal prospects for
relief pitching, I think the Phillies should deal David Bell (if possible), and Mike Lieberthal.  This team needs help at third base and catcher if it is going to make the playoffs.

I would trade David Bell and Lieberthal in a heartbeat.  The problem is, you probably couldn’t get a Von Hayes baseball card for them.  Who wants to take on Lieberthal’s contract?  Granted CitBlog noted if possible, I just don’t see it being possible.  Where I completely disagree with him are with his comments on Billy Wags:

-Billy Wagner is a terrific, “lights out” closer. But I’d deal him for
those defeatist comments he made. Having someone in your clubhouse
bitching and moaning like that is unacceptable. If you want to play on
a team that doesn’t have a chance, Billy, I’ll give you a plane ticket
to Colorado to play with the Rockies. Pack him off to the Red Sox in
exchange for some prospects to restock the farm system and give Ryan
Madson the job. I think he’ll pick it up with virtually no slack.

While I wouldn’t have a problem dealing Mr. Wagner, I disagree that he has a defeatist attitude.  I think he is one of the only Phillies to point out the obvious.  Good for Wags for saying how he really feels.  Somebody in the Phillies organization not trying to make excuses.  Like John Marzano has been saying lately, the players need to be held accountable.

One of my other favorite Phillies sites, Beerleaguer.com, put my thoughts together much better than I could have:

The Phils should seize any opportunity to get younger, and the
easiest way is to keep existing prospects. The latest rumor says the
Phils owners do not want Ed Wade to trade Ryan Howard, and I applaud
that. Players like Howard and Chase Utley are future of this franchise,
plus, they’re attractions on a team that’s grown too stale.

It
seems fans are clamoring for more young guys: Howard, Madson, Utley.
Personally, I’m more likely to buy a ticket now to see Utley and Howard
than Polanco and Thome two months ago, and in my experience reading
other sites and comments from fans, I’m not alone.

There’s
no question, however, the Phils need pitching and won’t make the
playoffs or get very far in the post season with the existing options.
In light of their long-term contract situations, it’s time to bite the
bullet and patch those holes with young players. I get the sense most
fans do not wish to mortgage the future. That means Gavin Floyd,
Madson, Robinson Tejeda or even Cole Hamels are all better options than
Barry Zito, Jason Schmidt, etc.

I’m all for the Phillies making any kind of move to get younger and build for the future.  So should the Phillies buy or sell?  Sure, they have a shot at making the playoffs this year.  The East has a good deal of parity and anything could happen.  I said way back in May that "they will linger around for a while and eventually crumble."  And I still feel pretty much the same way.  They are a decent team, but they just don’t have what it takes to win a pennant.  Sure it could happen, but I still haven’t won the lottery either.

So I say sell for the most part, but there isn’t really much to sell.  If Wags can get you some prospects, do it.  I’m with Beerleaguer, the younger the better.