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Metro exclusive: Billy Ripken breaks down the rebuilding Phillies

Future Phillies squads will get harder and harder to reGetty Images

It’s the first time since the Veterans Stadium era that the Phillies braintrust has uttered the dirty word “rebuilding.” The core has been stripped of Jimmy Rollins and more deals may be on the horizon soon. Metro went one-on-one with MLB analyst Billy Ripken to discuss the status of Cole Hamels, who else could be dealt and what bright spots there are for the Phillies.

Are you surprised it took the Phillies this long to start tearing the team apart?

The last couple of years have been some tough ones for the Phillies. They hoped their big three, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, would get back and play the way they once did but it didn’t pan out. It’s certainly time to move on.

It’s been bleak and 2015 doesn’t look promising. But what silver lining do you see?

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I like the guys they have at the front end of their rotation. But that’s if they keep Hamels and if Cliff Lee can come back and do what he has done in the past.

How wise is it to trade Hamels, your crown jewel, when no prospects panned out in the Roy Halladay, or Lee deals or even, when you look outside the Phillies, the CC Sabathia deal and when Ruben Amaro is making the trade?

You have to do your homework if you’re trading a guy that is the caliber of Hamels. But I’m with you. I like keeping the bird in the hand. You know what you’ll get out of Hamels as opposed to prospects.

If you were the Phillies GM, what would it take for you to trade Hamels?

Three really solid prospects. You hope you hit on a couple of them. A guy who is an ace is huge. Look at the Kansas City Royals. A lot of saber guys went nuts when they traded Wil Myers for Jamie Shields. Myers was one of the best prospects in the game but Shields helped Kansas City get to the World Series for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Are Phillies fans prepared to watch Hamels win another World Series in another uniform ala Hunter Pence?

That can be painful, especially when a deal doesn’t pan out for you.

If the Phillies don’t trade Hamels, the most attractive player on the team is Utley but he has the full no-trade. How could Amaro convince him to leave?

He needs to convey to Chase that he’ll have an opportunity to get back to the postseason to relive those seasons when the Phillies were really good. If he exercises his no-trade, you’re stuck. But if he does remain with the Phillies, he was pretty productive last season.

What do you do about Domonic Brown?

That’s an interesting one since Brown had a month of great productivity.

It was six weeks.

I would hate to underboogie him. Six weeks. I think this is the reality. That burst he had was encouraging but I don’t think he is that player that was dominant for six weeks. You have to hope he’s not the player he was last season. You have to hope that was an aberration. The only thing is that if you’re the Phillies, you just don’t have a lot of options. You have to hope Brown turns it around.

Ben Revere gets a lot of grief but last season wasn’t his fault. His biggest problem is being on a team bereft of power and production.

I agree. How many RBIs did Revere get last year?

28.

That tells me not a lot of people are getting on base in front of him. I think Revere did his job. He hit .300 (.306). He’s not going to hit homers for you but he’s going to hit singles. The Phillies problems don’t start with Ben Revere. I think he’s someone to build on. I think Revere can get better and there are some parts of the Phillies I like.

Which takes us to the bullpen.

The Phillies bullpen has arms. You got to like their arms, particularly (Ken) Giles. What’s not to like about him. The Phillies have a lot of good young arms.

And then there’s Jonathan Papelbon. If it weren’t for his behavior he would probably have been dealt.

I think that’s the problem. Teams need bullpen pieces. Papelbon is expensive but he’s solid. I think his behavior is a big reason a team didn’t bite. You look at the teams that can use him.

Like the Detroit Tigers.

It’s funny how the Tigers come up when it comes to bullpen needs. We’ll see what happens with Papelbon and Hamels as far as trades go. Next year is a season of transition for the Phillies.

 
 
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