Ruben Amaro, Jr. built a two-way scenario into this season. If Ryne Sandberg's spring training team is playing well by the All-Star break, a playoff run will be supported. If the Phillies have fallen out of the race by mid-season a number of high-value pieces can be traded.
The obvious Cliff Lee rumor will always remain in the air. But, the likelihood that one longtime Philadelphia baseball star could be dealt, regardless of current contract status and no-trade clauses, is real. However, that person isn't likely to be Ryan Howard, which leaves Darin Ruf seemingly out of the equation.
First base is Ruf's natural position. Unless Amaro plans to keep him as an indefinite 'Big Piece' insurance policy, the only other spot this 27-year-old slugger could realistically play in would be left field. The team appears to be committed to Domonic Brown at that location and thus this dilemma continues.
Ruf is proving to be a classic masher. Power, with plenty of whiffs in his bat as well. So, it's natural to think that he could develop into, or already is, a designated hitter candidate.
The man, who was aptly dubbed 'Babe Ruf' by his Double-A Reading Phillies' teammates during a record-breaking 38 home run season in 2012, has trade value. The only question is: Would the choice to deal him be the best bet for his initial baseball employer?