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Yankees trade rumors: Phillies not selling off longterm contracts

Christian Petersen

The Phillies have no plans to sell off players they have multi-year contracts on like Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Jonathan Papelbon, but could look to trade their impending free agents Roy Halladay, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, and Michael Young.

Of the multiyear contracts, Lee was the most realistic, though he does have $50 million coming to him in the next two years and a $27.5 million option in 2016, depending on how many innings he pitches. The Yankees would also need to take on a portion of the $25 million he's owed this year and, at 34, despite his successes, you have to worry how long he can compete at a level to warrant such a contract and such a trade. Right now he might be having his best season since his 2008 Cy Young Award-winning season and the level of prospects they'd need to give up would be minimal, considering the money, but if the Yankees are not willing to spend big time, for this year or for next, this isn't going to happen.

Cole Hamels is only into the first season of his $144 million contract, so there's no way he's going anywhere. Jonathan Papelbon is still owed nearly $40 million, if you include his next two seasons and the $13 million vesting option he has. Mariano Rivera is retiring, so save situations would be wide open for him after this season and it would make an already expensive relief pitcher even more expensive. Also, it's Papelbon, so no.

Of the Phillies' free agents to be, Carlos Ruiz and Michael Young could be the most likely to trade for. Roy Halladay could be permanently broken and Chase Utley is an injured mess of a second baseman, which we definitely don't need. This year Ruiz has been suspended for testing positive for amphetamines and has suffered a strained hamstring, so he hasn't been as productive as he can be. The 34-year-old catcher would prove to be an upgrade over Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, or anyone else. He has a 122 OPS+ since 2009, which is lightyears ahead of Cervelli's 91 and Stewarts 73. He is also only owed $5 million this year, so he is very affordable if the Yankees plan to upgrade at the position.

Young is having a league-average season (97 wRC+), which would still be an upgrade over the likes of David Adams and Jayson Nix at the position. Now that Kevin Youkilis is gone, again, a move for Young is becoming more and more likely to happen. The Rangers are currently playing $10 million of the $16 million he is owed and, if the Phillies take on a portion of that $6 million, he'll be a really cheap option until Alex Rodriguez can return from the dead. He is currently hitting .256/.429/.349 against lefties, so he could even slot in as one half of the DH platoon. Still, Michael Young to the Yankees would be a Vernon Wells-like low point to the season. He's much cheaper and I'm certainly not convinced that it won't happen.

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