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Philadelphia Phillies can still make a meaningful trade

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The Philadelphia Phillies are long shots to make the playoffs next fall. However, a meaningful trade could give Ryne Sandberg's team a better chance at realistic postseason contention.

'Ryno' has been with the organization long enough to know that his offense is hardly reminiscent of the slugging squad that his predecessor Charlie Manuel led to five consecutive (2007-2011) playoff appearances. With luck, Sandberg's pitching staff (starters and bullpen men) might have enough depth to work effectively through the season.

Even if Ryan Howard is able to remain healthy this season, the Phillies still need another slugger to back him up in the lineup. Free agent (and former alumni) Marlon Byrd shouldn't be expected to match his career-high (24) in home runs, as he did last season. Domonic Brown's 27 round-trippers in 2013 also could have been an aberration.

While minor league prospect Maikel Franco might prove to be the right-handed bat that is needed in the future. That's far from a certain proposition.

General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. needs to find a way to leverage the reasonable assets he has in exchange for another right-handed home run hitter. A variety of outfield positions and the third base slot represent potential fits in this regard. That type of meaningful trade would bolster the Phillies chances of playing meaningful baseball in 2014.

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