A.J. Burnett. Image Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

TBOH Debate: Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline and Chase Utley in the All-Star game


Every week, the writers of That Ball’s Outta Here debate the key issues facing the Philadelphia Phillies.  Joining me this week are Alex Cheremeteff, Emily Gruver, and Michael Lecke. We will discuss which Phillies may be traded at the deadline and if Chase Utley‘s All-Star selection was a surprise

Which current Phillies do you think will be ex-Phillies by the July 31st trade deadline?

Alex

The most probable Phillies to be traded by the July 31st deadline are Marlon Byrd, Jonathan Papelbon, and A.J. Burnett. Cliff Lee would have been at the top of this list had he been healthy.

Marlon Byrd would be an attractive piece for a team looking to add a bat to bolster their lineup. He’s relatively cheap, so the Phillies would not need to pickup a significant amount of his salary.

Jonathan Papelbon might not be as easy to move because he is a relief pitcher making $13 million per year. The Phillies would have to eat a sizable chunk of the remaining contract to consummate any prospective deal. The Orioles might be a potential landing spot.

A.J. Burnett would be a safe bet for a team looking for a three-month rental. The Pirates and Orioles are potential suitors. Both teams are legitimate contenders who have a need for a starting pitcher. Plus, both teams are relatively close to Burnett’s rural Maryland home.

Emily

Cliff Lee. Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I think Cliff Lee has the greatest chance at being traded, with Jimmy Rollins being another possibility.

It has been rumored that Lee would make a great fit with the New York Yankees, and Rollins might go to the Detroit Tigers. I’m sure the Yankees would love to have a guy like Lee in their rotation, especially after CC Sabathia‘s crucial injury.

Mike

I think that when the team acquired A.J. Burnett and Marlon Byrd, they did so knowing that they might have to jettison them. Neither one is going to be a difference maker, but both have been productive and would be good supplemental pieces on a contender.

The Phillies are somewhat fortunate that the Pirates and Orioles are two of the more likely Burnett suitors, and those are two teams to which Burnett would probably accept a trade.

It seems like both the Phillies and Jonathan Papelbon would prefer that he soon become their ex-closer. Considering how the rest of the Phillies bullpen has stepped up this season, they seem capable of withstanding his loss. Now that they’re in the third year of his deal, the contract probably isn’t enough of an obstacle to keep him from being traded.

Yes, the Phillies will likely have to eat some salary in any deal, and they can’t expect a huge return for those guys. But getting anything better than minor league “inventory” players should be viewed as a win.

Michael

Marlon Byrd is tearing the cover off the ball and having an overall great year; he will command a ton of interest. A.J. Burnett is also likely to be a pennant race rental. And with a little luck the Phillies will be able get something worthwhile for Papelbon despite his huge contract. High paid closers are wasted on non-contenders like the Phillies.

Frankly, the time for tiptoeing around the roster is over. Anyone should be fair game.

Chase Utley. Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

How surprised are you that Chase Utley is an All-Star again after a three-year absence?

Alex

There should be little surprise that Chase Utley is once again an All-Star. There are three main reasons that Utley was voted in for the sixth time in his career. For the first time in three years, he is finally healthy. Utley is on pace for at least 140 games and 500 at-bats for the first time since 2009.

Second, even though he has cooled off the past few weeks, Utley got off to a torrid start this season. When voting got underway, Utley was hitting around .350 and lining doubles at a record-setting pace.

Lastly, Utley’s popularity extends well beyond the Delaware Valley. His old-school style of play resonates with baseball fans from coast-to-coast. We can only hope that Chase Utley has a few more All-Star games in him.

Emily

I’m very surprised that Chase Utley made the All-Star game this season. I think everyone expected Utley to continue to be fairly productive this year, but not have a .286 batting average and 40 RBIs at age 35. The fact that Utley is still 100 percent healthy this season is a huge shock as well.

Mike

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Utley still has a lot of name recognition throughout baseball, so it seems that as long as he’s healthy and relatively productive in the first half of the season, the starting spot on the All-Star team belongs to him.

I just hope that Utley can remain productive in the second half. He did not have a good month of June, and at his age, he probably needs more rest than he’s been given.

Michael

The only surprise with Chase being an All-Star again in 2014 is that his knees didn’t give out.  Talent was never the question.

To play as much as Chase has played this season is a testament to his hard work and dedication. If Chase is around after the deadline perhaps it would be best to ease him off as the year winds down. There’s no reason to put extra miles on him now.

What do you think? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments!

Tags: Philadelphia Phillies