The Phillies are clearly in sell mode after dropping five of six since the All-Star break, and should now begin fielding offers for Chase Utley, Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News says. The oft-injured Utley can no longer man second base for a full season in the National League, but would do well in a situation where he could regularly play first and DH for an American League team, while appearing at second only occasionally, Hayes opines. Shipping Utley to another club would clear a spot for prospect Freddy Galvis, who's now in Triple-A. As Hayes notes, Utley too was once a 23-year-old prospect blocked by an aging veteran at the keystone. On to tonight's NL East links:
- Cliff Lee's best asset is his durability, as he's "never hurt" and "always goes out there," an executive tells Jayson Stark of ESPN (Twitter link). Lee, of course, offers other virtues, including a 3.05 ERA in 144 2/3 innings this year. We heard this week that the Phillies will listen to offers for their ace.
- The Braves continue to assess the cost of starting pitchers such as the White Sox's Jake Peavy and the Royals' Ervin Santana, whom they consider to be "legit upgrades," Mark Bowman of MLB.com tweets. However, their focus is on landing a reliever. In a second tweet, Bowman says Atlanta's deep rotation and the high price tag on starting pitching this year make it more likely that the club will acquire bullpen help and/or a backup infielder.
- Discussing potential trades, Braves GM Frank Wren says payroll isn't an issue for his club, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. "It’s going to be the talent we have to give up," Wren said.