There's finally some baseball on tonight to give us something to talk about other than pro wrestling, advanced hockey stats, Justin Bieber moms, and Merrill Reese rapping. The Phillies are in action up in New York to kick off a pivotal nine-game road swing that will take them from the Big Apple through St. Louis and finish up in bankrupt Detroit.
Phillies scribe Jim Salisbury laid out all of the story lines surrounding this team at a final crossroads which you should read.
A snippet on the buy or sell conundrum:
But at 6 1/2 games back in the NL East and 5 1/2 back in the wild card -- with 66 to play -- there’s no giving up just yet.
There might not be any serious buying-in -- as in going out and buying talent -- but there’s no giving up, not at least for another 10 days. The Phils have nine games to convince management to stay in it. As we said, it won’t be easy. The first three games come against a fresh Mets team with All-Star ace Matt Harvey set to pitch on Sunday. After that, the Phils have three games at NL Central-leader St. Louis and three at AL Central-leading Detroit. That tough bit of scheduling will take the Phils to July 29. That’s an off day in the schedule, but it won’t be an off day for management. You can bet that Ruben Amaro Jr., who for weeks has been deep in trade discussions, has two files going in his laptop, one marked “sell,” the other marked “buy.” July 29 figures to be the day he puts one of those plans to work.
Which got me thinking... the Phillies only actually have one game at Citizens Bank Park before the 4:00 pm July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The July 30th date with the San Francisco Giants.
Obviously, if the next nine days go very poorly for the Phils, Ruben Amaro Jr. could opt to trade everyone. It's always tough in the immediate term to see longtime fan favorites get traded ala Shane Victorino last season, but nothing would signify the end of the Phillies WFC Era as much as a trade of Chase Utley. It could happen.
If the Phils flounder over the next week, and Ruben gets an offer for Utley he can't refuse or has the framework of a an enticing deal in place on the 30th, it's certainly possible he could hold Chase out of that July 30th game.
If that were to happen, we'd have already seen Chase Utley's final game as a Philadelphia Phillie at Citizens Bank Park.
It's weird just to even think about. But it's possible.
>>One Final Run [CSN]