Jun 16, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon (58) pitches in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies Trade Deadline Primer

There are just seven days until the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, and for the Philadelphia Phillies, the number of potential trade partners is diminishing as teams make other deals. Last night, the Detroit Tigers agreed to acquire veteran relief pitcher Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers for a pair of high-level prospects, closing one possible destination for Jonathan Papelbon.

This is a make-or-break point in the career of Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr, at least as far as the increasingly disgruntled fan base is concerned. So with pressure on in the Phillies front office, the team disappearing to the bottom of the N.L. East standings, and the fans disappearing from the once-packed Citizens Bank Park stands, here are seven players that the Phillies could move in these next 7 days:

 JONATHAN PAPELBON

The closer wants to go. The team would like to accommodate him. He is an experienced veteran who has delivered at the highest levels in the most pressure-packed environments on the biggest stages. Who wouldn’t find that attractive?

Unfortunately there are two big negatives with Pap. First, his salary, which is exorbitant for a closer. He is owed $13 million for next season, and has a vesting option for 2016 for another $13 million that he is likely to reach.

Second, he is an eccentric personality, to say the least. Should money really be an issue for a couple of years in an industry bathing in cash? He has a limited no-trade clause, can block deals to 17 clubs. Says he would waive to go to a contender.

POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Toronto.

Antonio Bastardo. Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

ANTONIO BASTARDO

The reliever has a handful of key things going for him. He is cheap, making just $2 million this season, though he does become arbitration-eligible next year. He is relatively young, not turning 30 until September. And perhaps most of all, he is left-handed. He has also had success in a big market.

POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: every single team that is at .500 or above and thinks it is a contender.

A.J. BURNETT

He was coaxed to play by the possibility of joining Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and the 2008 leftovers in one last shot at contending. It hasn’t worked out here in Philly. But the 37-year old proven vet is already in playing shape, and is having another solid season. Not an “ace” but would strengthen most any rotation.

He is owed $15 million next year on a mutual option contract. A team could buy him out for $1 million, but he could respond by activating a $7.5 million player option. The contract shouldn’t be a hinderance. You only get him for this year. If you want him next, would likely have to talk him into playing.

POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: could be most any contender, but best bets may be Baltimore or Pittsburgh.

MARLON BYRD

What Burnett is to Phillies pitching assets, Byrd is to hitting assets. He turns 37 years old next month, and is a proven veteran having a solid season. He brings right-handed power to a lineup, an increasingly valuable characteristic.

A downside? He can block deals to four clubs that would appear to be potential trade matches: KC, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. Should be able to be coaxed for the chance to win. An affordable $8 million option each of next two seasons that is likely to kick in if he stays healthy and productive.

POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Cincinnati, Cleveland, KC, NY Yankees, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa Bay

Cliff Lee not likely to move before the deadline {Picture: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports}

CLIFF LEE

Any team would want a true “ace” caliber pitcher with Lee’s big game pedigree and veteran experience. Problem is, Lee spent a majority of the first half of the season on the DL. He just returned, and laid an egg in his only start back to this point.

Would a team be willing to roll the dice on the vet regaining form? Best bet probably would be for the Phils to get him through waivers and deal him in August, though it might now require an off-season deal to move the popular lefty.

Negatives? He turns 36 years old next month, and is owed $25 million next year, with a $27.5 million vesting option for 2016. The injury this year combined with his age may make that unreachable. Has limited no-trade protection blocking 20 clubs.

POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Atlanta, Cleveland, NY Yankees, Tampa, Toronto, Washington

GRADY SIZEMORE

Could the Phillies have possibly acquired Sizemore for anything more than the hope that he would play well in an audition for other teams before the trade deadline? He turns 32 years old next week, and missed two years with various injuries and performance issues. But he has fought back gallantly, and has looked excellent.

If a team can limit his exposure, his lefty bat, speed, and veteran experience would be very valuable. No real financial investment required, and could probably be had for a mid-level prospect at most.

POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Any team that thinks it is a contender and is willing to part with some type of organizational arm with any amount of potential at all.

 THE 2008 GANG

Cole Hamels. Image Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Cole Hamels is the crown jewel, but you likely can’t get him. This would be a blockbuster, and you would need to part with 3 of your best prospects in return. Not many teams have 3 prospects at the level it would take. But he is indeed a true “ace” that could make all the difference for any contender now and for the next few years.

Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins can still play up the middle, can still produce. Neither wants to go anywhere, the team wants to keep both. Odds are they finish their careers in Philly. But JRoll could be coaxed to go back to the west coast to a contender in the right deal.

Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz have had too many issues with injuries and non-performance to be attractive to teams, and Howard has a nearly untradeable contract, but the club would welcome offers on either.

POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS: Nowhere, unless some desperate team ponies up for Hamels, or a west coast team pushes suddenly for Jimmy.

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Tags: Cliff Lee Jonathan Papelbon Philadelphia Phillies

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