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Philadelphia Phillies laying groundwork for major trade

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The Winter Meetings always represent that time of year when executives commiserate with their baseball brethren about family, friends and existing inventory. Ruben Amaro, Jr. surely caught up on everyone's home and hearth as he was dropping the names of Jonathan Papelbon and Domonic Brown under the Florida sun.

Dealing Papelbon and the guaranteed $26 million that he's owed through 2015 won't happen unless the Philadelphia Phillies pay part of his salary. Factors, both financial and statistical, speak to the need to make an adjustment now, rather than at the trading deadline.

Domonic Brown has an offensive upside that can be marketed. But, the return would have to be steep in order to justify jettisoning a young controllable player in his mid-20s.

Dealing either player would represent a major trade.

Amaro knows that Ryne Sandberg needs a more consistent starting lineup so that his pitching staff receives sufficient run support. The bulk of current positional starters either can't, or likely won't, be traded. But, there's always room to maneuver when motivated minds are willing to compromise.

The Phillies should find at least one willing partner who enables them to make major league roster moves this month, or prior to the start of spring training. An incomplete team, resulting projected attendance figures and connected money matters have created momentum that will affect the 2014 roster in one way, or another.

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