Philadelphia Phillies: Why they won at the deadline

Watching the Philadelphia Phillies this season has been like watching the same episode of a once beloved television show over and over.  They are the same team on paper that they were at the start of the season, with the exception being the Thursday trade that sent Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers.

It was expected by many that the team would be trading away players such as A.J. Burnett, Jonathan Papelbon, and Marlon Byrd at the trade deadline.  Instead, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. decided to stand pat and not make any changes to his team.

Taking into account that the Phillies are last in their division with a 52-64 record, with many players past their prime, one would argue that the team lost the deadline by not trading their players for prospects.  However, it is simply the case that now was not the right time to trade their players.  In most cases, the teams that are looking to add pieces at the deadline are doing so to make a playoff run.  However, this in turn limits the amount of teams looking to add pieces.  Not to mention that other teams do not value these players the same way that the Phillies value them.

Halladay notched his first NL shutout

Roy Halladay came to Philadelphia in the offseason, rather than at the deadline.

However, once  the offseason rolls around, there is a better chance that the Phillies will be able to trade away some players and get a good return.  For example, while there may not have been many contending teams in need of an outfielder at the deadline, once the offseason arrives there are many teams looking to improve.  These teams could then in turn be willing to trade for Byrd, without the added pressure of a deadline.

The Phillies were in a similar situation just a few years ago in 2009.  It was during the 2009 trade deadline that the team was unable to make a trade for Roy Halladay, instead “settling” for Cliff Lee.  However, once the offseason came around the team was finally able to work out a trade for Halladay with the Blue Jays.

Another reason that the offseason is a better opportunity for the Phillies to trade away certain players is because it gives other teams more time to evaluate what they already have.  At the trade deadline a team may not be willing to give up on a younger player who has been struggling.  However, with another half of a season to see whether or not the player improves, a team may be a lot more willing to move on and find another player to fill the hole.  This is why it was the right decision for the Phillies to stay put at the trade deadline, and wait for more potential trade partners.

The wait until the offseason is also beneficial for the Phillies in another way.  It provides a chance for the players they are looking to move to make themselves more appealing.  If  Byrd and Papelbon continue their successful 2014 campaigns, then it only makes them more and more appealing to other teams in need of a power hitting outfielder and closer respectively.  It also allows the Phillies to decided whether or not they will be willing to eat most, if not all of Papelbon’s contract considering that there are few teams that would be willing to pay him that money.

Ultimately, the Phillies won by doing absolutely nothing.  Their best trade chips will have a chance to make themselves even more valuable, which could merit a great return for the Phillies.  There is also the fact that more teams will be looking to add pieces in the offseason compared to at the trade deadline.  All the Phillies, and the fans, have to do now is wait and see.

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  • yas

    They won the deadline? Riiiiiiight… Really hope you’re not planning on becoming a sports journalist, Michael.