By virtue of their performance so far, the Philadelphia Phillies have a remote chance of making the playoffs this season. All hardcore fans know that.
Yes, there is enough time to rip off a ton of needed wins that would put them within striking distance of the National League Wild Card race. If the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, New York Mets and Miami Marlins all falter, maybe the Phillies could even move closer to the divisional lead. But, both scenarios seem very far fetched.
As a result of reasoned reality, there are a number of players who will soon be saying goodbye to their life in Philadelphia. Some will do so this month, others in August and then the final set during this offseason.
Who really knows what the specific dollar amount and numbers of years are. Will the Phillies lock-up this great left-hander in the prime of his career? Does Hamels want to forgo free agency simply to stay in this particular city?
To conclude that the odds are any better, or worse, than 50-50 at this time would just be a guess.
After Hamels, any of the other names that have been roundly considered as trade bait are replaceable. By that I mean any of the commodities the Phillies have can be replaced within one (or two) seasons.
Obviously this is true for people like Joe Blanton, Placido Polanco, Kyle Kendrick and Juan Pierre (who I actually favor in the role that he currently has). I would also say that if higher caliber players like Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Lee or Hunter Pence are moved, that their slots can basically be compensated for as well.
To all of the naysayers, yes it's possible that Lee could be traded. The Phillies might choose to simply shift the entire amount of his check to Hamels, while throwing in a few bucks (millions) more. Then again, they could keep their three aces and try to make another playoff push again next season.
Personally, I hope they do keep all three aces. This has been a strange year and it would be nice to see how Roy Halladay, Lee and Hamels do next season with a bolstered bullpen and an evolved offense in place.
Of the players who could be traded this summer, or leave the team via other avenues in the future, there's no doubt that Hamels is the most important among them. Once his situation is resolved (in either direction) the team's future road can be built.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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