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Philadelphia Phillies roundup: Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, prospects.

While the Phillies are in no way competing for a playoff spot in 2015, a lot of their future hinges on what the front office does this season.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies aren't an exciting team on the field, but they're at the center of most trade rumors, and are a fascinating team to follow this season. Ruben Amaro is still holding onto his biggest trade chip in Cole Hamels, and his team is in limbo until he makes a deal. There's been very little indication on when a trade might occur, but talks have apparently been ongoing for months.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ruben Amaro Jr., on trade talks: &quot;We’ve been in dialogue about a lot of things. That really hasn’t stopped since the offseason.&quot; <a href="">#Phillies</a></p>&mdash; Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) <a href="">May 11, 2015</a></blockquote>

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There hasn't been a legitimate update to this situation since it was revealed that the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Cubs were involved, but this confirms that talks haven't stopped.

Other news and notes:

  • Todd Zolecki also reported that 2014 draft pick Aaron Nola may see himself in the major leagues at some point this season. While he has modest strikeout figures (6.58), his walk rate is fantastic (0.91), and has performed well at every level
  • The Phillies are close to promoting third base prospect Maikel Franco. While he had a tough year in 2014, he's posted a wRC+ of 154 in 29 games at AAA. Despite a great start, the discrepancy between his walk and strikeout rate (3.8% and 18.3%), is likely too much to succeed at the major league level. Amaro said that he would spend the majority of the time at third, but could potentially see time at other infield positions.
  • Chase Utley is off to an incredibly slow start, but is hoping for better days ahead. He hit his first double on Sunday, and raised his batting average to .116. Mike Schmidt said he doesn't see any parallels between Utley's performance and how his own career ended.
  • While Utley's BABIP is dreadfully low (.101) and suggests his results will improve, his other metrics aren't so sure. His ISO (.105) is the lowest of his career, and his hard hit% has fallen to 17.1%. While it would be nice for all players to be able to ride off into the sunset and retire on their own terms, Utley may not have that option. He's currently on pace to finish the season with more than 500 at-bats, which would trigger a 15 million dollar option for 2016. He may be one of the all-time greats for Philadelphia, but at the moment he has a wRC+ of 7. If he were a no-name player, Utley would be in the minor leagues, and not a starting second baseman. If Utley is still below the Mendoza Line by the beginning of June, they may have to think about cutting him.