The Philadelphia Phillies will likely trade veteran infielder Michael Young before next week's trade deadline, but will have serious trouble dealing Jonathan Papelbon if they put him on the block, reports Jayson Stark of ESPN.
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Philly GM Ruben Amaro is still holding fast to his "we're not sellers" mantra, but he could alter his tune a little if the club's losing streak continues through the weekend. Like an undecided voter in the week leading up to an election, the Phillies probably know what they should do, but are holding out hope that something will happen in the next seven days to change their mind.
One exec who spoke to Stark said that the team's next two series -- against the Cardinals and the Tigers -- "will determine Michael Young's fate more than anyone else" on the roster. The exec added that Young is "pretty much a lock" to be traded if the Phillies cannot reverse their current fortunes this weekend.
A player that Stark's sources believe Amaro would have a very tough time trading is closer Jonathan Papelbon. The team has given no indication that the 32-year-old right-hander is available, but even if he were, one AL exec believes that his huge contract makes him "practically untradable."
Papelbon is making $13 million this year, and is owed another $26 million over the next two seasons. While he may have been worth that kind of money in his prime with the Red Sox, his steep strikeout rate decline this year -- down to a career-low eight per nine -- raises a pretty big red flag.