Biogenesis Scandal, Suspensions Could Actually Help Phillies... If They Become Sellers

Biogenesis Scandal, Suspensions Could Actually Help Phillies... If They Become Sellers

Maybe the best news when the Biogenesis scandal, and possible suspensions, broke was no news locally. But one team's likely loss could potentially be a gain for the Phillies, who otherwise might not have a lot to dangle at the trade deadline outside of Cliff Lee.

Detroit's Jhonny Peralta is one of the 20 players implicated and mentioned on Hardball Talk's list of players most likely to get the kicked-around 100-game bans. That would rob the Tigers, last year's AL Champs who expect to be back this year, of the top shortstop OPS in the league and a pretty sure glove.

Quietly, Jimmy Rollins is killing it of late, hitting .289 with a .478 on-base percentage since May 15, and his defense is at last year's Gold Glove level. Last July, the A's and Dodgers kicked the tires on Rollins, but didn't bite. Clearly there's interest. It just seems a matter of who would woo the Phillies most with a deal.

Detroit could do that. They don't have tremendous depth in their system, but they have a few pro-ready guys that could help the Phillies. No, Rollins-for-top prospects Nick Castellanos or Avisail Garcia doesn't seem like great value for the Tigers. Not with Rollins due $11 million per for two more years.

But it's possible -- possible -- that desperation could make such matters afterthoughts.

It's possible that Detroit would be a team Jimmy would waive his no-trade rights to go to.

For the Phillies, that could compensate for how Chase Utley's injury and Carlos Ruiz's injury/lack of production have crimped possible reconstruction plans. Utley was figured to be all but on the cover of the July issue of baseball's unofficial One Last Piece catalog, but was felled by a tricky oblique strain that won't do wonders in consumer confidence. Ruiz just hasn't worked out. Hasn't been good enough to re-up after the year. Hasn't been good enough to ship out mid-year. Then he got hurt, something he's done a bit of.

Both are expected back in mid-June. Maybe that's enough time for Utley to get right/conjure interest. For Ruiz, that's an overwhelming unlikelihood -- at least under normal circumstances. But, peep HBT's list, and you'll find that the Yankees could be sans catcher Francisco Cervelli soon. New York also has decent farm system depth, maybe enough to consider parting ways with a mid-level prospect to plug a hole.

It's important to remember the timeline. Three weeks are a reasonable projection for any suspensions to come down. (Assuming, of course, they do come down.) That puts us at July 1, almost to the day. The players union, inarguably the strongest in sports, would definitely fight back, but a month would be enough time to get a feel for how appeals are going, and whether teams need to replace players for a playoff push.

For the Phillies, it's been fun to watch Dom Brown and (gasp!) a four-game win streak... against the two worst teams in the league. But there's a likelihood the hard hats and jack hammers will need to come out in fewer than 60 days, and it would be nice to have options. Oddly, the Biogenesis PED scandal, and possible suspensions, could give them just that.

Shocker: Phillies interested in getting one of baseball's best players

Shocker: Phillies interested in getting one of baseball's best players

We're all looking forward to the free-agent class of 2018.

If Maikel Franco doesn't shape up, the Phillies could make a hard push for Manny Machado. Franco after a two-game benching is back in the lineup for this afternoon's game against the Rockies (see story).

Then, of course, there's Bryce Harper, who earlier this month agreed to a one-year, $21,625,000 deal for next season. 

And guess what? If Harper becomes a free agent after next season, the Phillies would be interested in signing him.

Really?

According to a FanRagSportsNetwork, citing a Phillies source, the Phils would be interested luring Harper to Philly.

Shocker. 

It'd be big news if a Phillies source said the team wasn't interested in signing Harper. 

Anyway, the story also quotes a National League scout.

“Could you imagine what he could do in that ballpark playing 81 games a year in that bandbox?” the scout said.

Chances are every Phillies fan has already imagined it. Harper this season alone is hitting .351/.400/.784 with five homers and 12 RBIs in nine games against the Phils. In three games at the Bank, he's hitting just .250 with a homer and two RBIs.

But in 38 career games at CBP, he's hitting .296/.361/.627 with 12 home runs and 26 RBIs.

In 89 career games against the Phillies, he's hitting .282 with 20 homers and 54 RBIs.

At the risk of stating the obvious, here's one thing to remember: If the Phils sign Harper, then he'd no longer benefit from facing them.

Today's Lineup: Franco batting cleanup as Phillies try to snap skid

Today's Lineup: Franco batting cleanup as Phillies try to snap skid

Well, this hasn't gone well. 

Coming into Thursday afternoon's game against the Rockies, the Phillies have lost five straight. They've lost nine of their last 10. They've lost 20 of their last 24. 

At 15-29, they're not just the worst team in the NL East. They're not just the worst team in the National League. 

Through 44 games, the Phillies are the worst team in baseball. 

Just to make it to a .500 record this season, they would need to go 66-52 (.559) the rest of the way. 

Their four-game series against the Rockies will mercifully come to a close on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. In the first three games of the series -- all losses -- the Phils have been outscored 23-5. 

Maikel Franco returns to the four-hole as the Phillies try to snap out of their funk.

The Phillies on Thursday also activated right-handed pitcher Jeanmar Gomez from the disabled list. Gomez takes Adam Morgan's spot on the roster. Morgan was reassigned to Triple A Lehigh Valley after throwing three scoreless innings during the Phillies' 7-2 loss to the Rockies.

Gomez hasn't pitched since May 4 because of an elbow injury. He began the season as the Phillies' closer but was demoted after blowing two saves and allowing seven runs in his first five innings. In 11 1/3 innings this season, Gomez has a 7.94 ERA.

Here's the full lineup: 

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Aaron Altherr, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Michael Saunders, RF
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Vince Velasquez, P