It’s official…for now.
Speaking with reporters the other night, Pat Gillick announced "Absolutely, we're buyers now. We're not sellers." According to Todd Zolecki of the Inquirer, the operative word here is “now.” All would depend, it seems, on how the Phillies fare on their current road trip through the rest of the American League East and where they reside in the standings as the July trading deadline approaches.
What else is Gillick going to say? We’ve given up? Don’t bother coming to the Bank the rest of the year, we’re just biding our time?
The funny thing about buying and selling is the inescapable fact that both transactions are required to complete any deal. You know the old saw: If someone is buying someone else is selling. So, what exactly is the currency Gillick plans to use?
If the Phillies are absolutely buyers as of right now, we can safely assume they don’t have the ready funds for a straight cash transaction. Their bloated payroll and contractual obligations through the end of this season hardly provide them with much room to maneuver on the cash front. So, who not what, are they planning to exchange when they go shopping?
That is a long and familiar list, headed no doubt by Abreu and Burrell and potentially including at least one other outfielder, either Dellucci or Victorino. The Phillies certainly don’t have pitching to give, but they may decide to give up on Gavin Floyd, whose trade value is so low at this point he is more likely to be the throw-in than the bait.
What does this all add up to? I’m not buying that the Phillies are buying.
When the salaries of Bell, Lieberthal and Wolf are off the books at the end of this season and the obligations to Jim Thome are further reduced, then the Phillies will seriously enter the market. For now, Gillick is just rallying the troops inside and out of the clubhouse, many of whom are in retreat.