I don't know if there's anything more fun about rooting for a winning team in baseball than going into the trade deadline as buyers. There's just something so imperial about walking down the streets of the MLB open market like Vito Corleone, seeing what goodies the lesser-thans have available for your sampling as you fatten your already-impressive riches. It's a tremendous ego-feeding, one that makes you feel like you'll always be one of the big brothers of the MLB, stealing from the plate of one of the little brothers whenever you get hungry.
It seems about a thousand years ago at this point, but really, it was only summers ago in which the Phillies were the ones going into the MLB trade deadline with their wallets open. More remarkably, it had been six straight deadlines at that point in which the Phillies had purchased something, a remarkable streak that felt at the time like it could even last a whole lot longer. I mean, remember all these?
2006: Andrew Baldwin and Andy Barb to the Mariners for Jamie Moyer
2007: Matt Maloney to the Reds for Kyle Lohse
2008: Matthew Spencer, Adrien Cardenas and Josh Outman to the Athletics for Joe Blanton
2009: Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson to the Indians for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco
2010: Anthony Gose, J.A. Happ and Jonathan Villar to the Astros for Roy Oswalt
2011: Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Josh Zeid and Domingo Santana to the Astros for Hunter Pence
Not all of them delivered particularly princely returns--ironically, the most underwhelming of the six was probably for Blanton, and that was the year we actually one the damn thing--and one or two, namely the Pence deal, seems like it may ultimately backfire somewhat. But man, it felt so nice to even be in the position to make those deals, after countless years of the Phillies being the sellers, getting sub-optimal returns for the likes of Curt Schilling, Scott Rolen and Bobby Abreu. (Abreu's deal actually happened the same year as Moyer's, making '06 a sort of transition year for Philly.) You started getting used to it a little, feeling like every end of July would bring a new All-Star to the Fightins roster along with it.
This year, the Phillies will not be buyers at the trade deadline. Hell, they might not even be sellers, since even at an NL East-worst 47-61 and with plenty of tradeable veterans, it seems that selling just might not be in the blood of Phils GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. Maybe RAJ got spoiled by being a buyer for his first handful of deadlines as GM, and he just doesn't want to admit to himself that those days are now long in the rearview. Maybe all the deals he's finding are on the level of the fleecing he inflicted on the Indians for Cliff in '09. Maybe the trade deadline just kinda sucks this year.
In any event, the best we can do as the minutes tick away to today's 4:00 trade deadline is just to remember the times that were good. We might not be getting back to big-brother status at the trade deadline anytime soon.