Phillies have to sell the right parts

Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz and closer Jonathan Papelbon. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Well, it's been about an hour, and you know what that means.

It's time for another "Should the Phillies buy or sell" article.

This one is from the Sporting News, and postulates that the team is very possibly a playoff contender, but is missing out on the chance to cash in on Cliff Lee, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz, and Michael Young for sweet, sweet prospects and rebuild now.

Writes Ryan Fagan:

Moving these players for younger, more affordable talent is the Phillies’ golden opportunity, not the remote chance to slip into the playoffs in October. Let’s not forget that the Phillies enter the week a game under .500. To have any reasonable shot at that wild card slot, the Phillies would need to get to at least 88 wins, which means they’d have to go 39-24 the rest of the way. That’s a .619 winning percentage.

Did we mention they’re a game under .500 at the moment?

And 88 wins is pretty much best-case scenario. That’s what got the Cardinals into the wild-card spot last year, with a .543 winning percentage. Right now, the Reds own the second wild-card spot with a .561 winning percentage, and the Braves are in first in the East with an identical .561 winning percentage.

So not only do the Phillies need to elevate their level of play dramatically, but they’ll need other teams to slip and slide down the stretch. And they’ll need the NL West leaders, the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, to maintain their .500 ways, which doesn’t seem likely. The Dodgers, especially, have been playing very well lately.

It’s time for the Phillies to sell. From the outside looking in, that’s clear. From the inside, though, the view is a bit murkier...

Murkier because general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters on Sunday that as of now, he is looking to "improve the club somehow," but added, "That could change, I guess."

But what if he can't improve the team, and for the first time in his tenure as GM, Amaro is forced to move proven veterans for unproven prospects?

For starters, we have no evidence of how skilled Amaro is that situation. The body of work just doesn't exist.

In theory, the Phillies swapping their veterans out for a class of high ceiling prospects, or middle of the pack guys who come through big, is great.

But that may not be what happens. Prospects are tricky. And Ruben, at least out loud again, seems to think the team has a shot at sneaking into the Wild Card spot.

See you in an hour!

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