The Phillies stood pat as the July trade deadline passed, which is to stay they stood upstream without the proverbial paddle.
Was it any wonder?
The Phils had little to trade. Oh, sure, they had a few commodities of widely different values, but each of those came with enough baggage to negate any final transactions. Of these, Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon stand out. Lee is still a fine pitcher, but he's owed a ton of money. It was also notable he developed a stiff neck as the deadline approached and missed two starts. Timing is everything.
Papelbon is the most overpaid free agent closer in baseball history. Not the career saves leader. Not the all time strikeout leader. Not the most respected closer (especially by his own teammates). No, just the most overpaid. He is in decline though still decent. No one wanted to take on his salary or his personality.
Michael Young is a competent journeyman player with a mediocre glove. His type aren't a dime a dozen but they aren't difference makers either.
So, the Phils continue to age and decline.
As the deadline approached a number of articles pointed out Ruben Amaro and the Phils' alleged brain trust had done pretty well in these matters over the years. They had given up a lot of prospects, few of whom have panned out in their new uniforms, and gotten some pretty solid players in return.
That was then.
Papelbon may have angered a lot of fans and teammates when he moaned aloud after the Phils' seventh or eighth straight defeat that he didn't come here "for this", but you have to wonder if Cole Hamels, who signed a long-term deal last year, Cliff Lee, who was happy to return here two years ago and other aging veterans like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins must be thinking the ship is taking on water fast and there are no life boats or shorelines in sight.