June 13, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
The Philadelphia Phillies stand at 37-50, 14 games behind the Washington Nationals in the National League East and 10 games behind the Atlanta Braves for the final Wild Card spot. It appears that the team will be in sell mode in the coming weeks.
According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Roy Halladay will make a rehab start on Thursday night and, if everything goes well, will join the Phillies for a start on Tuesday of next week. Since Halladay's injury on May 27, the Phillies have gone into a tailspin, losing 26 of 38 games.
Last week it was reported that, according to General Manager Ruben Amaro, the Phillies would hold off on selling until after the returns of Halladay and Ryan Howard. Given the team's record and the minimal impact Halladay could make before the deadline (he's expected to make only three starts), it's unlikely that the the right-hander's return will make an impact on the team's plans for the next several weeks.
A number of Phillies could be made available. Here's a look of players (and what's left of their contracts) that the Phillies could move before the July 31 trade deadline.
Cole Hamels, LHP, 1 year/$15M
Hamels will be a free agent after the season and will likely sign with the highest bidder in the offseason. Philadelphia should be able to collect a compensation pick for him if that happens, but they could acquire the type of prospects that rejuvenate their system in a trade involving Hamels.
Joe Blanton, RHP, 1 year/$8.5M
Blanton is having a fantastic season in terms of strikeouts and walks, but has surrendered too many hits and home runs this season. He could be a solid middle-to-back-end starter for a team that could that needs pitching and could land the Phillies a second-tier prospect.
Hunter Pence, OF, 1 year/$10.4M (under team control through 2013)
The Phillies gave up a lot to get Pence, and the extra year on his contract makes him an attractive trade option to teams now, as he could still net them a draft pick even if he walks after the deal. Philadelphia could earn a sizable haul for Pence, especially if the trade market for outfielders remains as thin as it is right now.
Shane Victorino, OF, 1 year/$9.5M
The Flyin' Hawaiian has struggled this season, but the tools that have made him such a valuable player remain intact, and opposing teams could look at him as a buy-low option with high upside.
Juan Pierre, OF, 1 year/$0.8M
Pierre will make approximately $300k for the rest of the season and could continue to get on base at a slightly above average clip for a team that needs to replace a poor outfielder or has injury issues.
The Phillies will have plenty of interested parties in their assets this month and have an opportunity to restock a farm system that is severely lacking in the upper levels.