July 31st 2014 20:34
After months of smoke, no fire.
Despite rampant speculation that the Phillies, who have been languishing in the NL East basement for most of the season, would be sellers as today's trade deadline loomed, the 4:00 PM witching hour passed with little fanfare at Citizens Bank Park.
While the 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox became the first team in MLB history to trade three starting pitchers who had all won a game in the Fall Classic the previous season, the Phils were content to let this train wreck of a season careen wildly down the tracks until it officially crashes (mercifully) to a halt in late September.
The closest thing to a trade today for Ruben Amaro, Jr. was a report on Twitter that the Phils had dealt veteran OF Marlon Byrd to the Yankees, but that was almost immediately debunked as a bogus report from an equally bogus Twitter handle.
And while the passing of today's trade deadline does not officially mean Amaro won't be looking to deal in August via waiver trades, the fact that no deal was struck shows two things:
First, that RAJ's proclivity for including easily-attainable vesting options in free agent contracts and/or veteran contract extensions have bitten the organization in the behind, specifically in Byrd's case, who reportedly would only accept a trade to the Mariners (a team on his no-trade clause list, another Amaro favorite) if they agreed to pick up said option (at $8 million for 2016). Various reports indicated that teams interested in anyone the Phillies had to offer were scared away by these vesting options, and made the Mariners specifically unwilling to invest $16 million and change in Byrd, who would be 38 when 2016 rolled around.
Secondly, it shows just how bad this roster that Amaro assembled is, and how little value trade value there is on it. Ryan Howard's ridiculous contract cannot be moved unless the Phils eat a significant chunk of his remaining salary; Chase Utley, thought to be one of their more valuable chips, had little value due to his $13 million plus salary next year at age 36 and his balky knees; Jimmy Rollins' option for $11 million in 2015 vested already last week, and he, like Utley, is a 10/5 guy (10 years service time/5 with same team) and can veto any trade Amaro comes up with; Cliff Lee's $27 million club option and $12.5 million buyout at the end of his contract would scare away most third world countries; and Cole Hamels, their most valuable chip, has been pegged by Amaro as a guy who can bridge the Phils gap between the heady days of 2007-2011 to the next winning era, which seems to be a long ways away.
So here we are Phillie fans...at least we'll always have 2008, and the Eagles are in full swing at training camp.