The Phillies may or may not have hit rock bottom Tuesday night. It has gotten so bad in Philadelphia that Andy MacPhail could be hired to clean house. And according to Ken Rosenthal, if Pat Gillick tabs MacPhail as his replacement that he could be the one that fires Ryne Sandberg.
The Phillies are “making an ardent push to make some deals” with Jonathan Papelbon being one of the players that is being “marketed aggressively” according to Buster Olney. The Cubs and Blue Jays were reportedly the two teams with the most interest in Papelbon. But the Jays appeared to have balked at the Phillies asking price.
The Phillies are reportedly willing to include money with any deal for Papelbon to improve their return. According to Nick Cafardo, Ruben Amaro Jr. was eyeing LHP Daniel Norris in a deal with Toronto for Papelbon.
The Cubs are believed to be interested in trading for Jonathan Papelbon and Cole Hamels. While the level of interest the front office has in Hamels is unknown, Papelbon is reportedly one of the relievers the Cubs have discussed as a way to upgrade the bullpen.
The Phillies have continued to scout players in the Cubs’ system, both at the Major and Minor League levels.
Despite the public denials, the media continues to report that the Cubs are open to trading Starlin Castro. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Joe Maddon have stated countless times that Castro is the team’s shortstop this season.
Joe Maddon likes the progress Castro has made in the field and at the plate this season. And Castro’s work ethic has been praised by his teammates throughout the year, even those that were new to the clubhouse and unsure about his commitment to the game prior to the season.
Bruce Levine reported Tuesday “the trade rumors have been unfounded for Castro so far.” Starlin Castro has been linked to the Phillies and Mets but one of Levine’s sources “confirmed last week that Castro was not on the Phils’ radar” and the Mets “have not been aggressive in the trade market.”
Levine added, for now the Cubs “main focus is not trading Castro.” Levine pointed out that what position or team Castro plays for in the future is unknown. But for now, the Cubs view him as their shortstop.
After a strong start to the season, every aspect of Castro’s game took several steps back in May. Castro has shown a lot of improvement with the bat and glove over the last three weeks. Castro does not seem as indecisive in the field and is making more than just weak contact at the plate. Castro is 14-for-53 over his last 13 games with a double, a triple and two home runs (.264/.304/.434) for a .738 OPS.
The Cubs and Phillies might eventually work out a trade or two. But if the two front offices are finally able to work out a deal, it does not appear Starlin Castro will be putting on a Phillies’ uniform any time soon.