The Phillies should be sellers at the 2021 trade deadline. No matter what the NL East standings might say at this moment, they aren’t contenders. If they want a legitimate chance to compete in 2022 and beyond, Dave Dombrowski should put up a neon red “for sale” sign outside Citizens Bank Park.
When Cole Hamels tossed a no-hitter in his last start as a Phillie, it was a bittersweet Hollywood ending that would be unbelievable if it wasn’t real. The Phillies traded Hamels to facilitate the rebuild. The no-no gave the 2008 World Series squad one last moment in the sun.
That was 2015. The Phillies haven’t improved much since Odubel Herrera’s wayward route on that game’s final flyout. In fact, the franchise has gone 401-467 (.461) since the no-hitter.* Season Ten of their playoff drought caps a thirsty decade with a thin mix of memories:
- Tyler Goeddel throws a game-ending outfield assist
- The Phillies sign Bryce Harper
- Vince Velasquez shows promise… as an outfielder
- Bryce Harper walks off the Cubs
- … and?
How To End The Dry Spell
It’s hard to remember the Phillies being good. The light at the end of the tunnel hasn’t brightened since Bryce Harper inked a 13-year contract in 2019. If John Middleton wants to honor his promise to “die trying” and get his trophy back, he can re-tool his team with a fire sale in 2021.
The 40-man roster is non-competitive. Despite a few stars at the top, the middle and back ends of the roster are loaded with Four-A players that are wearing out the asphalt on I-476. They are hardly one or two moves away from changing the Phillies outlook. Help isn’t on the way.
Players like Velasquez, Herrera, and Scott Kingery are fringe big leaguers. The organization’s struggles have turned them into more important IF’s than they should be. Former GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. still has a more positive imprint on the organization than Matt Klentak ever managed.
How can the Phillies get better at the trade deadline in 2021?
Shuffling The Deck
It’s time to give Dave Dombrowski a chance to flex his Hall of Fame credentials. While trading stars like Zack Wheeler might land the blue chippers the Phillies need, it won’t help them in 2022. Dealing from the middle of the roster gives the team a chance to fill the upper minors with talent.
The Phillies should explore deals for whatever players generate value for other playoff contenders:
- Rhys Hoskins
- Jean Segura
- Andrew McCutchen
- Archie Bradley
- Brad Miller
- Hector Neris
- Jose Alvarado
The list isn’t longer because the Phillies don’t have much of value. Didi Gregorious’ contract looks like an albatross, but odds are he’ll be handing his position to Bryson Stott in 2022. Without much waiting in the wings, dealing replacement level players for a different mix gets the Phillies closer to a playoff spot.
Close your eyes and imagine the next World Series game at Citizens Bank Park. Who is in that dream? Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and…? The answer should be clearer after July 31.
*before play on July 25, 2021