December 10th, 2014, will forever be known as the day Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies finally began the process they should have started two years earlier. Already today, Jimmy Rollins has waived his 10-and-5 rights to move out to the Los Angeles Dodgers (though, not confirmed as of yet). Just a half hour later, the Phillies received minor league left-hander Joely Rodriguez from the Pittsburg Pirates in exchange for Antonio Bastardo. Now, reports have picked up in terms of trades with the Baltimore Orioles. MLB Insider Andy Martino had this to say:
Of the two, Marlon Byrd currently holds more value, putting together two consecutive career seasons. The Orioles have already lost a handful of players from their playoff roster, including both Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz. Byrd would help fill the void, having the ability to both DH and play some games in the outfield. Though he is older, Byrd stands to bring back more of a value to the Phillies than Ryan Howard would. The thought may be that packaging the two together, however, would bring back the best haul in what has now become a rebuild.
A trade involving these two, assuming the Phils get a respectable return, would work on all three levels. The Phillies dump some salary (though, they'll probably be sending some cash to Baltimore), open up two roster spots, and continue to replenish their farm system. Baltimore fills some of the void they've lost thus far, and move toward another division championship opportunity. The third level I'm considering is the career of Ryan Howard. It is readily apparent that, at the very least, Howard needs a change of scenery. The ability to DH most, or all, of the time reduces that stress on his ankle, and could possibly salvage the second half of his career.