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Philadelphia Phillies likely to make major trades after All-Star break

Second-guessing has always been part of this great game.
Second-guessing has always been part of this great game.
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Yes, a five-game winning streak restored some energy to the team. However, the Philadelphia Phillies' fan base knows that after the All-Star break ends, the first of many significant roster moves will begin.

A team that has the third-highest payroll in baseball, but sits in last-place well below .500 can't stand still. Despite no-trade clauses, big contracts, apparent emotional ties that the ownership group previously didn't want to break, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. can and will make as many trades as possible this month, next month and during the off-season (if he's allowed to stay). His decisions will directly affect the Phillies' ability to be competitive through the remainder of this decade, not just 2015.

Many have chided the man who is seen as riding a World Series' contender straight into the major league cellar. However, hardcore analysts know that Philadelphia's ownership group likely dictated many marketing related sentiments that caused a once-great team to descend into squalor.

Whatever can be gotten for Marlon Byrd, Jonathan Papelbon, A. J. Burnett, Kyle Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo should had, within reason. Those players won't be part of the next Phillies' team that tries to make a strong playoff push.

Cliff Lee was a great pitcher. He may have a few good years left, if he can stay healthy. Unless a deep package is offered in return this summer, trading him by winter might be the smartest option. Cole Hamels is a completely different consideration.

Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are two different stories. One, or both, could be kept, or traded. Amaro's toughest potential conversation will result if he has to ask either man (again, or both) if a trade to (insert contending team name here) is acceptable.

Carlos Ruiz could be dealt as well. That only happens if there's some type of plan in place to fill his roster slot with a major-league ready, or veteran, backstop before next season begins.

By the start of next spring, Ryan Howard will likely platoon with someone at first base. Cody Asche could be shifted to left field because Maikel Franco has assumed his third base position. Grady Sizemore, or some other sound defender, also needs to be positioned in center field and a new right fielder needs to be found. Of course, the bench will also be filled with fresh faces.

Hamels seems the only near-lock to remain in the starting rotation. Ken Giles is almost certain to be the stopper who fronts a bullpen that seems to be filled with promising and generally effective young arms, along with a few new veteran relievers.

The next few weeks will start a tough process that should have been underway for awhile. However, second-guessing has always been part of this great game.