Cole Hamels has been so frustrated lately he has snubbed the media twice after losing starts. Credit: Getty Images
The Phillies as we know them could change forever in the next few weeks.
Or, they could stay the same, float just below the .500 mark and put off rebuilding for yet another year.
With just under half a season of games remaining in the MLB season, here are five things the Phillies can do to make them count.
Trade Papelbon and Byrd
These two veterans are playing a lot better than many expected they would at the start of the season, and they each have contracts the Phillies would like to spurn (even if they have to eat a little bit of them to make a move).
The Phillies have an up and coming closer in Ken Giles, and with the Phillies out of contention for a playoff spot, why not give the young hurler a taste of the action in the ninth inning of a major league game.
As for the outfield, the Phils have a cheap option in Grady Sizemore as well as Domonic Brown and Ben Revere. Byrd's power would certainly be missed, but he could get a good prospect or two in return.
Call up Franco, move Asche to OF
Trading Byrd could thin out the Phillies outfield reserves. But not if they move Cody Asche, whose offense has picked up lately but defense continues to struggle at third base, to a corner outfield spot.
This would open things up for the Phillies' third baseman of the future, the hot-hitting and quick gloved Maikel Franco. The influx of youth and improvement on defense would help fill the void for a departure of Power (Byrd).
The Phillies offense could have three extremely fast players in its everyday lineup in Revere, Sizemore and Jimmy Rollins (who is expected to stay with the team through the deadline). Mix in a few guys who run decently well, like Chase Utley and Asche and there is no reason the Phillies, who struggle to hit with men on base anyway, can't run rampant on defenses.
There is no reason they Phils can't take a bag every time a speedy player reaches first base, and the big hitters, Utley and Ryan Howard can't simply hit them over, or get them in with a sac fly or well-placed ground out.
Rest Utley, Rollins and Howard regularly
Utley got into a slump a few weeks ago, and it had a very easy fix. He hadn't rested in a long-time, and his batting average dipped considerably. But after just one day off, Utley came back to collect four hits in his next two games and bring his average back up.
With aging sluggers like Utley and Howard, and even Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies need to mix in some backups, give them at bats, and keep their core three from surpassing 130 games started this season.
Get new management
It's safe to say the Ruben Amaro experiment didn't work. Since taking over the defending World Champions as GM in 2009, the Phillies regressed every single season while spending more and more on payroll and completely depleting their farm system.
The Phillies need a new GM, one who is cognitive of the changing baseball environment, one who emphasizes the importance of home-grown players and one who is willing to do everything it takes to rebuild the Phillies into a contender again.
After all, it wasn't mercenaries who carried the Phillies to their first World Title in 25 years back in 2008. It was home-grown talent.