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.