It may only be the middle of May, but the rumor mill is already churning. The Phillies remain in the basement of the NL East, which needless to say is not where anyone expected them to be. Four games under .500, and six and a half games behind the first place Nats is frustrating enough for most fans to call for a sell off; TRADE THEM ALL! This type of gut reaction to a disappointing start is understandable and almost expected from the fans, but not from the GM. The debonaire bow tie wearing Fox sports reporter Ken Rosenthal broke the news last weekend that Ruben Amaro Jr. has been having conversations with teams about Shane Victorino and Cole Hamels.
They wouldn’t let the Flyin Hawaiian go would they?
Cole can’t possibly toe the rubber for another team could he?
Don’t worry fans, these beloved players aren’t going anywhere…yet. Despite their last place standing, the Phillies have plenty of time to scratch and claw there way back into contention. While Victorino’s plate discipline has been frustrating to watch, he still plays a gold glove caliber center field. Whether or not the team ultimately decides to sign him after the season, they will need him in the fold if there is any hope for another division crown. This is not a situation like 07′ when the team traded away Bobby Abreu, and miraculously went on an offensive tear. That move paved the way for Utley and Howard to become clubhouse leaders, and broke up their left handed heavy lineup. Moving Victorino would open up a spot for Dominic Brown, but he is no where near the maturity of Utley/Howard circa 2007.
The very thought of Hamels leaving is almost inconceivable. He has been the best Phillies starter this year, which is no small feat, and could even eclipse the elusive 20-win plateau. If the team can’t get out of the basement by the trade deadline i have a hard time believing they would trade Hamels. Trading an ace very rarely works out for the team receiving a bundle of prospects. Any Phillies historian would cite the Curt Schilling trade as a prime example. Schill went on to win a World Series in the dessert, while the Phillies received a group of players that featured Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla, need i say more. Given how well Amaro fared in his ace-swap (see Cliff Lee trade) i don’t have very much faith in his ability to get maximum value in any Hamels deal.
I’d be shocked to see either Hamels or Victorino traded by the deadline. If this doomsday scenario does come to fruition, it not only spells the end of this season, but throws a whole slew of question marks for the future of the team.