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Victorino is nearing the end in Philadelphia as trade deadline looms

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

NEW YORK -- If the Phillies sell (and yes, we'll be nice and say "if" for a few more days), it won't be a fire-sale. This team isn't going into rebuilding mode.

The focus would mostly be on trading players who aren't expected to return in 2013.

Players like Shane Victorino.

Yes, the Phillies are already exploring the trade market for Cole Hamels, even though they hold some hope of keeping him from departing as a free agent. But people who have spoken to the Phillies and others familiar with their plans say that in a July sale, they'd be much more anxious to move Victorino than Hamels.

Victorino has been a Phillie since 2005, when he arrived as a Rule 5 draft pick from the Dodgers. He's won three Gold Gloves, made two All-Star teams and played a big part in five straight division titles and a World Series crown.

But that run seems almost certain to end, either this month via trade or this winter via free agency.

Victorino insisted Tuesday that he wasn't thinking about the possibility of getting traded or about free agency.

"Nobody knows what tomorrow brings," he said. "I'm a Phillie. I'm playing here. I'm not even worried about it. I always remember what my brother told me, 'Play every game like it's your last.'"

Victorino prefers to talk about what the Phillies can do to convince the front office not to sell. He prefers to talk about Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay coming back from the disabled list after the All-Star break.

"There's no two bigger acquisitions any team could make," he said.

By the end of the month, though, Victorino could well be some other team's big acquisition.

In any case, his time with the Phillies seems to be nearing an end.

Victorino told MLB.com this spring that he hoped to get a five-year contract and that he would be willing to take a hometown discount to stay with the Phillies. Right now, though, the team seems more intent on trying to sign Hamels.

 
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