Friday, July 18, 2014

With trade talks swirling Phillies open second half in Atlanta

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 18 2014, 3:00PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

The Phillies open the second half of the regular season with a three-game series in Atlanta beginning Friday night.

With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, the remainder of July presents an opportunity for the Phillies to retool by shopping players to contenders.

Marlon Byrd ranks as one of the top power outfielders in the National League and is under contract for another year at a reasonable $8 million. Jonathan Papelbon, despite an outstanding first half, is a bit more difficult to move with a $13 million price tag for next year and a vesting option for 2016.

Other potential players on the move include Kyle Kendrick, Antonio Bastardo and Friday night's starter A.J. Burnett.

"Time is running out," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "I'm hopeful we turn things around now, especially with [Cliff] Lee and [Carlos] Ruiz returning soon."

The Phillies enter Atlanta with fourteen of their next 24 games against teams from the NL East.

"I know we've been saying it for a while now, but it really is now or never," Burnett said. "Things need to turn around quick."

Burnett has pitched extremely well over his last seven starts, putting together a 3-3 mark to go with a 2.94 ERA. He's another chip with the potential to be moved.

"I don't talk about those things," Burnett said. "Whatever happens, happens."

Scouts from at least four different clubs were at Citizens Bank Park last weekend when the Phillies hosted the Nationals. More are expected tonight in Atlanta.

"That's part of the game," Byrd said. "If you're around long enough you run into this sort of thing."

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news source in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia region.

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