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July 11, 2013

Painting the Black

Time for Phillies to Rebuild, or Refill?

by R.J. Anderson


Over the past week, the Phillies have taken series from the Pirates and Braves and at worst split a four-game set against the Nationals, thus improving their positioning in the playoff race by moving them to within 5 1/2 games of the second wild-card spot. Positive results tend to boost confidence, and that's exactly what's happened in Philadelphia. While our Playoff Odds Report says the Phillies have a 6 percent chance of making the postseason, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is flirting with the idea of adding a piece or two at the trade deadline.

Amaro's stated plans have, predictably, gone over poorly. Too many authors have penned too many pieces about why the Phillies should sell over the past 12 months for any other reaction. The arguments go like this: the Phillies are a mediocre, veteran-laden team with too many big-money, long-term commitments and too few worthwhile prospects; they aren't good enough to compete for a title, but not poor enough to bottom out and force a clearance sale. Amaro seemed to acknowledge this last July, when he traded Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, and even Hunter Pence, who had team control remaining. The stripping down stopped there, however, and in the time since the Phillies haven't done much to change their talent level.

Urging Amaro to sell further is a popular, reasonable perspective. Which is why examining the Phillies' plausible reasons for buying could produce something of value. So, let's do it. Here are some potential reasons why Amaro is talking about adding a new player or two in the coming three weeks.

Possible explanation No. 1: The Phillies believe they are contenders
Most teams that buy at the deadline are in the playoff race. The Phillies, as mentioned earlier, are on the margins—within six games of

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Related Content:  Phillies,  Trade Deadline

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Call-Up: Sonny Gra... (07/11)
<< Previous Column
Painting the Black: Er... (07/10)
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Premium Article Painting the Black: Th... (07/16)
Next Article >>
The Lineup Card: Ten o... (07/11)

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