With the All-Star break approaching and the Philadelphia Phillies still sitting well below the .500 mark, talk about selling players has grown louder.
As a fan, I'd be the first one to tell you that pushing the panic button now would be a bad move. I don't want to see the Phillies trade off their top players, especially Cole Hamels. However, there is one move that could make the team significantly better. The time has come for the Phillies to send a message to the team and trade Shane Victorino.
Victorino might have been the best offensive player on the team in 2011. Though he ended the season with a .279 average, he was their top hitter for a long time and showed surprising power with 17 home runs and 61 RBIs. This season has been a different story. Victorino is hitting just .248 and his on-base percentage has dropped 40 points from 2011. With runners in scoring position, Victorino is hitting just .259. He hasn't shown the hitting patience that he once did. Generally speaking, he has become a liability at the plate and he seems unwilling to change. Since June 8, Victorino has knocked in a mere three runs. That is not enough for a guy that bats anywhere from second to fifth in the lineup.
Unlike Hamels, there is no chance that the Phillies will bring Victorino back next season. He is a free agent and some team will pay him. The Phillies would be foolish to even offer him a contract. I know Victorino is a nice guy and I appreciate what he's done. However, his time in Philadelphia can't last beyond this season. The Phillies might as well move him now and see what they can get.
While Domonic Brown nurses an injury, perhaps they could move John Mayberry to center. That would allow Juan Pierre to play in left every day. Considering the season that Pierre has had, I think most Phillies fans would welcome that. While trading Hamels would mean that the team is giving up on the season, trading Victorino might actually make them better. If nothing else, it will give this lineup a new look that it badly needs. If Ruben Amaro wants to make a move, this would be a good starting point.* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and lifelong Phillies fan.
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