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Phillies may be busy near Trade Deadline

March 26, 2017

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies could be one of the busiest teams in baseball in July.How so?Well, they have veterans Jeremy Hellickson, Michael Saunders, Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick, Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek and Andres Blanco on one-year contracts. The conventional wisdom is the rebuilding Phillies will look to trade those

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies could be one of the busiest teams in baseball in July.
How so?
Well, they have veterans Jeremy Hellickson, Michael Saunders, Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick, Joaquin Benoit, Pat Neshek and Andres Blanco on one-year contracts. The conventional wisdom is the rebuilding Phillies will look to trade those players in July to continue to stock the farm system, while simultaneously providing opportunities to their top prospects in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
MLB.com is looking Monday at every team's chances to be buyers or sellers at the Trade Deadline. It seems most likely that the Phillies will sell. They finished 71-91 last season with the worst offense in baseball. They would need plenty of things to break right to hold onto what they have or surprise everybody and become buyers.
If the Phillies are not in postseason contention, they will be motivated to sell.
First, as already mentioned, every veteran other than Saunders can become a free agent following the season.
Saunders has an $11 million club option for 2018.
If the Phillies' prospects play the way the organization hopes they can, there will be no place for most of those veterans beyond 2017. It only makes sense that the front office will try to find something of value in return for them, rather than keep them and have them walk after the season without receiving anything.
Second, if the prospects play well the first two or three months of the season, the Phillies will want to promote them to get a better idea about what they can do in the big leagues. Consider the Lehigh Valley rotation. Nothing has been finalized, but it could be some combination of Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, Ben Lively, Nick Pivetta, Ricardo Pinto and Mark Appel.
If at least a couple of those starters are pitching well for the IronPigs, it only makes sense to get them to the big leagues.
The same can be said about Lehigh Valley outfielders Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and Dylan Cozens. If one or two of them are playing well in July, why wouldn't the Phillies want to see what they can do the final three months of the season?

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.