|Yes, even Delmon could stay.|
There's been a lot of talk about the Phillies selling off the team at the deadline to whoever wants these guys. The sense is, the team stinks, and it's old, and it's expensive, so they have to blow it up. Even I've bought into it so far. Let me take an alternative view on that though.
There are a couple of reasons you sell off a team at the deadline. One is money. One is a bunch of bad, long term deals. Another is old players blocking young players. Yet another is a lack of minor league talent. I think the general assumption is that all of these apply to the Phillies. That is not true though, at least not the way it was true before.
The Phillies do not have a money problem. For one, the contracts of Utley, both Youngs, Ruiz, Doc, Lannan, and even Kendrick if they want, are all off the books this year. That's about $50 million in payroll for this year that is not already paid out for next year. For that reason alone, even if they need to lower their payroll, they could do nothing and have that still happen for 2014. Even if that's not enough economic relief, there's more. MLB's TV deal increases payouts starting next season to every team in the league. Still not enough? The Phillies are due for a new, very, very large TV deal of their own. Money is not an issue.
Bad contracts? Well, Ryan Howard's is pretty awful. Papelbon's deal is too much for a closer. Hamels' deal is iffy right now, after half of year one. That's three, and really only one of those is even considerable to deal (Papelbon). Hamels deal has too much left, and could still end up good, and I really doubt anyone would take the Howard deal on. Sure, I'm leaving out Lee and Rollins deals, and that's by design. Both are in their later stages now, and if the Phillies had to ride them out, they could easily do so.
Are there old players blocking young ones? Yes. Utley, Michael Young, Delmon Young, and even Rollins are blocking younger guys. Guess what though? The first three names there are free agents after this season. It would be nice to move them and get a look at say, Cesar Hernandez or Darin Ruf now, but they could just do it next spring. Even Jimmy could play out the rest of his deal, and Freddy Galvis would still be plenty young to stick out there at shortstop. It's not an imperative to do this now, as opposed to in the winter.
Then there's the minor league system, and it's status right now. Well all knew about how weak it was supposedly before the season, and it's still not exactly the best in the league. With that said, Jesse Biddle, Maikel Franco, Carlos Tocci, Roman Quinn, Kelly Dugan, Cameron Perkins, and Aaron Altherr have all impressed. Cord Sandberg is another I'm watching. Cesar Hernandez, Darin Ruf, and Cody Asche all appear capable of helping the team soon, and Tommy Joseph and the other catching prospects aren't many years away either. In fact, Franco and Biddle are going to the Futures' Game in New York.
So none of this means the Phillies should do nothing, but the point is that even if they just wait until the winter, they will have available money, space to slide in youth, and less bad contracts. Sure, if they can move Papelbon for some value, or if they can get rid of Utley, either Young, or Ruiz for value, do it. The point is, things aren't so bad that the Phillies have to trade everything away. If there are no good deals, or they have to pay to part ways with guys, the Phillies can play it out as is, and hope for the best.