You probably read the title and thought this article was going to be about my outstanding National League team of the first half. That is not the case; a dynamite team to me is a team that needs to be blown up, and constructed over from the ground up at the major league level. I have picked one team from each league to depress the plunger on, so turn away, cover your ears and put your safety glasses on. My national league team that needs blown up is the Philadelphia Phillies.
There are two basic reasons why this needs to occur, one they are too expensive and second they are far too old. The Phillies have the third highest payroll in baseball, which currently sits at $179.5 million. They have seven players making at least $11 million and they are currently fighting with the New York Mets for last place in the National league East despite having the highest payroll in the division. Plus, as afore-mentioned they are old. They have four players in their everyday lineup that are 35 or older and 1st basemen Ryan Howard is 34 years old and signed through 2016 which will pay him $25 million for those two years and a $23 million option for the third year with a $10 million buyout. If that is not enough to convince you how old this team has suddenly become, consider this; every pitcher in their rotation will be at least 30 this summer.
They need to trade Howard to a contending American League team while eating most of his salary and receive a good young infielder in return. My suggestion is trade him to the Seattle Mariners eating 75% of his salary in return for Nick Franklin.
I would then trade Chase Utley to the New York Yankees. Philly should not have to eat much if any of the contract here, he is owed roughly half of his 2014 salary of $15 million and is signed for next year for either $10 or $15 million depending on his number of days on the DL in 2014. He is then signed for three additional years after that as long as he receives 500 plate appearances the previous year. I would think the Yankees would pick-up the contract as long as all they would have to give Philly would be an A or AA level prospect.
Next I would trade Jimmy Rollins to the Cincinnati Reds, having them pick-up the remainder of his $11 million 2014 salary for another prospect. They also have A.J. Burnett, Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee they can trade and should be able to get decent upper level talent back for. Maybe they could find the Baltimore Orioles a willing trade partner for taking on the contracts of both A.J. Burnet and Jonathan Papelbon for a couple of “change of scenery” players who are still on their 40 man roster in relievers Evan Meek and Brian Matusz. And provided Cliff Lee can prove he is healthy with a couple starts before the trade deadline then there should be plenty of suitors for him as well.
All is not lost for the Phillies, they do have some decent pieces that would allow them to stay competitive and build around. They would have an outfield of Ben Revere, Domonic Brown Marlon Byrd, John Mayberry Jr.. Corner infielders Cody Asche, Darin Ruf with Freddy Galvis at 2nd and Nick Franklin at shortstop along with starting pitchers Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick and Brian Matusz being caught by Carlos Ruiz. This would make them younger and would shave around $85 million off their 2015 payroll, excluding any potential future salaries they might have to pay mentioned in the trades above.
It is time they stop leaning off their past success. Yes it got them multiple playoff appearances, and a World Series championship, but if they keep going with the same guys it will get them multiple last place finishes as well.