The bad news first: The worst team in baseball is about to get worse.

That probably seems unfair and impossible for a ball club that already has sunk to the equivalent of an ocean's Sea Monster Graveyard. But the Phillies are well known for being really good at being really bad and their final destination for 2015 appears to be baseball's version of the Mariana Trench, the deepest and darkest known place on the planet.

To the masochists still following this voyage to the bottom of the baseball sea, it should come as no surprise that a more pronounced level of awfulness is on the way. In 15 days or fewer, the best starting pitcher and the best relief pitcher on the team are going to be wearing different uniforms, and we've known that was going to be the case since the season started.

In case you had forgotten, closer Jonathan Papelbon used his bully pulpit as the Phillies' lone all-star representative to remind us Monday. Wasn't it shocking to hear that he would be unhappy if he remained in Philadelphia beyond the July 31 deadline? The last time Papelbon seemed genuinely happy was Nov. 12, 2011 when the Phillies gave him that four-year, $50 million contract. The money and his sunny disposition have made him difficult to trade, but he will finally be shipped elsewhere in the next couple weeks.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, Papelbon's mouth and money are going to prevent them from getting what they should for a guy who has posted a career 2.33 ERA and converted 89 percent (339 of 383) of his save opportunities.

The Phillies pitcher with the most value is also going to vanish in the next 15 days and that is going to create a sense of sadness. Cole Hamels is a homegrown World Series MVP and the second-best lefthander in franchise history, but the team's inability to score and need for quality young players out weighs his usefulness on the mound. The package the Phillies get in return for Hamels will be the most interesting thing that happens between now and the Oct. 4 season finale against the Miami Marlins.

Regardless of whom the Phillies acquire for Hamels, the deal is not going to make this team immediately better. In fact, the Phillies are going to be so bad during the final two months of the season that the franchise record of 111 losses is in jeopardy.

To surpass that tragic number, the Phillies can go no better than 21-50 in the second half of the season. That's a .296 winning percentage, which is exactly the clip they have played at during their last 71 games. Subtract Hamels and Papelbon from the recent 21-50 stretch and it becomes quite plausible that the franchise futility record is going to fall.

The Phillies, despite almost never scoring for Hamels, are 8-10 in his 18 starts this season. They are 21-52 when they send their other starting pitchers to the mound.

The modern-day record for losses is 120 set by the expansion 1962 New York Mets. The Phillies would have to go 12-59 to break that mark and it is hard to imagine that even this wretched bunch could sink that low.

That, however, seems more likely than a scenario in which the Phillies avoid losing 100 games for the first time since 1961 when they lost 107. The Phillies have already lost at least 100 games 14 times. Only the Athletics have done it more often (16), so there will be a number to shoot for next season.

For the record, 11 of the A's 100-loss seasons came during their time in Philadelphia, so that means our city already has been home to 25 of the 141 teams that have lost at least 100 games.

All right, you've waited long enough for the good news.

As bad as things are going to get during these final 11 weeks, it should not get any worse than this. The departures of Hamels and Papelbon will provide two more major steps in the rebuilding process.

The Phillies still must get rid of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Carlos Ruiz to complete the process, but that's one of the things president-elect Andy MacPhail is here to do. The other is to tell general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. his services are no longer needed after the season.

The focus then can turn to Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez, Aaron Nola and the younger generation of players charged with getting the Phillies moving in an upward direction again. It's not going to happen this season.

The best news of all: The Phillies finished the first half tied for the lead in baseball with 91 games played, so no team has fewer games remaining before reaching the finish line.

bbrookover@phillynews.com

@brookob