The Phillies have stated willingness to trade most key pieces this winter, and Peter Gammons is saying that they are toying with a package that would combine Jonathan Papelbon and Domonic Brown.
The intention would be to get some money for the team to spend on a starting pitcher, Gammons says. However, Ruben Amaro Jr. is apparently having conversations about trading some of the starting pitchers he already has.
Trading a closer and starting outfielder to acquire a starting pitcher would make more sense if the Phillies' had a plan in place to acquire a closer and a starting outfielder, as well, to replace them, which they may.
If this were a rebuilding project, the team could just stick one of its utility outfielders in a starting role until the next phase of their plan, as winning in 2014 wouldn't be a priority. And there is no bigger waste of money than a high-paid closer on a team not planning to win a lot of games, so there'd be no reason to replace Papelbon immediately with a costly stopper in the bullpen.
However, again, the Phillies have yet to admit that they are rebuilding, though trading Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels would indicate that perhaps they are.
If they lost Brown, they could feasibly be in on one of the remaining free agent outfielders, but trading Papelbon is going to be even harder to do than it would have been with the normal reasons - his deal, his attitude - if the Phillies aren't willing to eat any of his money.