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Valuing Phillies on the Trade Block

Cliff Lee has a torn flexor tendon in his pitching elbow, just another disastrous piece of news for a Phillies team that's seemingly being run by a third grader who's more of a "football guy" than a baseball guy. Ruben Amaro's wretched stench has been emanating from South Philadelphia for far too long, and is still somehow impacting the losingest franchise in sports history. Amaro's failure to move Lee at any point over the last two years has come back to bite the team, just like many of the overmatched general manager's decisions.

However, this injury could be a blessing in disguise for owners of players like Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, and the few other legitimate pieces that make up a small portion of the Phillies' hideous roster. Instead of languishing away on a team that will fight to avoid losing 100 games, the Lee injury may force their child-like GM to finally lower his (reportedly exorbitant) asking price and trade Hamels, Paps, and others to legitimate contenders. Then we could actually get the stud-level production we expect from those guys.

Unfortunately, as a tried and true Philadelphian, I can tell you one thing: Never trust Ruben Amaro. More likely than not, Amaro will continue to overvalue his pieces, so they'll waste away on an atrocious team rather than getting something of value in return – even if he has to eat some the absurd salaries that he's handed out. Ultimately, Amaro may be forced to move these players by team president Pat Gillick, but for now, it appears the decision still rests in the buffoon's hands. If you're an owner of Hamels or Papelbon, don't expect to see your player in a better fantasy situation until at least the trade deadline…and that's assuming they don't join Lee in the doctor's office before then. My advice for fantasy owners is to avoid Phillies altogether (aside from the speed of Ben Revere), unless you can get them at a steep discount.

Wednesday's Barometer

Rising

Neil Walker returned to the lineup after getting hit by a pitch on Monday. Walker seems healthy and ready to go.

Charlie Blackmon made his spring debut Wednesday. Blackmon had been dealing with a sore abdomen, but now appears to be good to go moving forward.

CJ Cron blasted a two-run homer in Tuesday's game, and he appears to be fully recovered from offseason wrist surgery. Cron could be an interesting sleeper this draft season with Josh Hamilton's playing status still up in the air.

Coco Crisp will be back on the field by this weekend, as an MRI on his elbow came back clean.

After dealing with a sore hamstring, Jimmy Nelson was able to return to action on Monday. The right-hander threw two scoreless innings in his spring debut so he appears to be back on track.

Pedro Alvarez appears to be fine after hyperextending his elbow on Sunday. Manager Clint Hurdle said the team tested Alvarez's elbow extensively, and he should be able to return to game action immediately.

The Rangers are still unsure whether Derek Holland will be ready for Opening Day, but the left-hander seems to be making progress after experiencing discomfort in his throwing shoulder. Holland is expected to make his spring debut on Saturday.

Falling

Jay Bruce was a late scratch from Wednesday's lineup with an apparent calf strain. While the injury does not appear to be serious, Bruce has struggled to stay healthy over the last year, so it's worth keeping an eye on.

Alex Avila exited Wednesday's game with lower-back stiffness – a little worrisome as the issue has cropped up multiple times already in spring training.

Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels confirmed what many already believe: that Yu Darvish will almost certainly require Tommy John surgery. Darvish will apparently seek a third opinion, but at this point, the surgery seems inevitable.

C.J. Wilson will miss his scheduled Thursday start with a minor knee injury. Wilson "tweaked" the knee in drills, and is expected to be fine.

Etc.

Huston Street is out with an illness, but should be back on the field soon.

Billy Hamilton was unable to meet his scheduled return date on Monday, as the speedster has been dealing with lingering shoulder soreness. However, it appears Hamilton should be back in action soon, provided Cincinnati's team doctor clears him.

According to manager Chip Hale, Cuban import Yasmany Tomas lacks focus defensively, which could cause the Diamondbacks to go with Jake Lamb at third base over the more highly touted Tomas – at least initially

Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run of the spring on Wednesday. My thoughts: Who cares?