Buster Olney is among the most overrated commentators on baseball. That said, his "Winners & Losers" column following the trade deadline is accurate when he grades the Phillies:
Loser No. 2: The Phillies. The Rangers have taken some
criticism for not being willing to trade their top position-player
prospects for top starting pitchers in the market -- but maybe they
wanted to avoid the mess that the Phillies have fallen into, after
repeatedly trading prospects and overpaying to keep an accomplished but
aging team together. The Phillies dumped Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence and will presumably allow Joe Blanton
and Placido Polanco to walk after this season. But a lot of that
savings is going to be quickly swallowed up as they work to keep Carlos Ruiz
-- and they'll still need to find a third baseman, two outfielders and
at least one starting pitcher between now and the start of next season.
The Phillies had a remarkable run from 2008-2011, fielding a team
that won one World Series and appeared in a second, but they will be
paying off the debt of that splurge for some years to come, given their
contracts with Ryan Howard, Lee and others.