The Phillies currently sit at 11 games under the .500 mark. Short of a miraculous comeback, the Phillies likely will be sellers at the trade deadline. According to one report, the Phillies may already be involved in some preparation for trade discussions.
Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies have spent a good amount of time scouting the Boston Red Sox in recent weeks:
6 out of the last 7 series Phillies have scouted Red Sox.— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) June 9, 2014
This begs the question: where might the two teams match up?
We can rule out Jonathan Papelbon right off the bat. Looking at the Red Sox, their needs appear to be outfield and perhaps some bullpen help. Most notably, the Boston Red Sox need a center fielder. Judging by the fact that the Phillies are looking at the Red Sox major league roster, it appears that any match would be for Phillies center fielder Ben Revere.
Any deal involving a center fielder could mean the Phillies take back one of the underachieving Red Sox youngsters. There are currently three on the Red Sox roster: infielder Will Middlebrooks, infielder Xander Boagerts, and outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Boagerts is going nowhere, even if he struggles. The Red Sox gave themselves breathing room in the infield to be patient with Boagerts by signing Stephen Drew last month. Still, Boagerts can play third base.
Will Middlebrooks does not seem to make sense for the Phillies, because he is strictly a corner infielder. The Phillies already have Cody Asche and Maikel Franco to build for the future. That has led to some whispers that Asche could end up in left field. There is no clear place for Middlebrooks on the Phillies.
Jackie Bradley, Jr. could be the one the Phillies are looking at. If Ben Revere and perhaps other pieces head to Boston, the rebuilding Phillies could nab Bradley in the hopes that he reaches his higher ceiling in the future. Revere could give the Red Sox a centerfielder that they badly need. They do not view Shane Victorino as an option in center field, despite Victorino's many years playing there.
Bradley continues to be a force defensively, covering three zip codes worth of ground in center field, but his .203 average is tied for sixth-worst among major leaguers with at least 200 plate appearances this season. Even his .286 on-base percentage is among the bottom 15.
A bullpen arm like Adams might have interested the Red Sox before he went down with rotator cuff inflammation. Maybe a reliever plus Revere could have gotten that deal done, depending on where Bradley stands in the eye of the Red Sox organization. If his stock has fallen far enough, the Phillies could try to get Bradley's bat to come around, whereas a contending Red Sox may not have the ability to be as patient.