Fire Sale for Phils?

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The MLB trade rumors surrounding the Phillies have primarily focused on the possibility of trading star pitcher Cole Hamels, with reports Sunday that the team is making and/or fielding calls around the league.

On Monday, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro attempted to shoot down those rumors, but he didn't precisely deny that Hamels could be traded. And as it turns out, Hamels might not be the only one on the block.'s Danny Knobler wrote on Monday that he believes the Phillies "could be selling soon." More importantly, Knobler writes that it won't just be Hamels who's on the trading block: it could also be outfielder Shane Victorino, infielder Placido Polanco and pitcher Joe Blanton that could be dealt.

Jim Salisbury of added in his Amaro commentary that Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence would interest teams as well.

In other words, we could be looking at a full-blown fire sale for the five-time defending NL East champs if they don't get on a serious hot streak going into the All-Star Break. With less than a week left before the midseason festivities begin, Philadelphia has six games (three each) against the Mets and the Braves. Lose more than half of those and they're a good bet to be closing in on 15 games out of the division and more than 10 out of the wild card at the midpoint of the season.

Does it make sense to panic and deal everyone at that point? Well, yes and no. No, it doesn't make sense just to trade everyone simply to trade them. That's never smart. But the Phillies makeup right now is precocious at best -- the lineup is burdened with aging stars who are themselves saddled with massive contracts. The pitching staff is superb, and giving away Hamels is dumb.

But if Hamels walks for nothing in a wasted season, that's simply inexcusable. Additionally, everyone believes it's a seller's market this year, and it should be. As of Tuesday, only seven teams in all of baseball as of are more than 10 games out of their division race and there's an extra wild card this year. Lots of teams think they have a chance at making the postseason.

The Phillies might feel that way too, but they've got a much better chance of flipping lots of MLB-ready assets for some serious prospects. Teams aren't as thrilled about dealing stars of the future as they used to be, but if they can get multiple pieces in return for a title run, it's certainly not unheard of.

Which is why it makes a lot of sense for the Phillies to stick a sign in their front yard and start driving up the price on their favorite pieces of furniture before the trade deadline. That may be precisely what they're about to start doing.

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