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Buyers or Sellers
In July of 2012, the Phillies found themselves in a position to sell for the first time in a decade. Running on a string of nine straight 85-plus win seasons, the Phils were 12 games out of first place in the NL East at this time last year, and they ended up unloading Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton and Hunter Pence in the days leading up to the deadline.
By comparison, Philadelphia's current 9-game deficit in the standings doesn't look quite as daunting, but with the clearly superior Braves and Nationals well out front in the East, it looks like it is once again time to sell, sell, sell.
What They Need
Well, salary relief would probably be welcome. The Phillies are currently going nowhere with a $165 million payroll that ranks as the third-highest in the majors. They are saddled by the hefty price tags of aging vets like Cliff Lee ($25M), Ryan Howard ($25M), Roy Halladay ($20M), Michael Young ($16M), Chase Utley ($15M), Jonathan Papelbon ($13M) and Jimmy Rollins ($11M).
Cole Hamels was signed to a $144 million extension last summer, so he'll be a centerpiece as they move forward, but you have to imagine that general manager Ruben Amaro would be open to moving pretty much any of the names listed above in return for younger talents that might be able to factor into the next wave. Papelbon, in particular, is likely to be a hot commodity; since the Twins aren't expected to make Glen Perkins available, Paps figures to be the premier closer on the market.
What Might Work
Since both teams are pretty well locked into "Sell Mode," there really isn't a great match here. The Twins have plenty of payroll flexibility but they're not necessarily close enough to contention to justify taking on one of Philly's bloated contracts, particularly one that is set to expire like Utley or Young.
If the Phils were to take an interest in any player in Minnesota's organization, it would probably be a young, somewhat established player that could become a long-term staple, a la Ben Revere. With the veteran Young ready to hit free agency at year's end, and no clear replacement at the hot corner, Trevor Plouffe comes to mind. As was the case with Revere, Terry Ryan's price will likely be young pitching.
On TwinsDaily.com, we're also listing a few sleeper targets the Twins might target from the Phillies organization and one "Dream Target." You can find them here.
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