The trade that appeared to have the most legs Monday night was righthander Joe Blanton to the Baltimore Orioles.
A report from MASNsports.com Monday night said the Orioles had asked the Phillies to fax them Blanton's medical records. A baseball source said the Phillies have asked the Orioles about infielder Jon Schoop, the team's third-ranked prospect, according to Baseball America.
Schoop, a 20-year-old righthanded hitter from Curacao, has played this season at double-A Bowie in the Eastern League. Through Sunday's games, he was hitting .244 with 17 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs, and 43 RBIs. Schoop, 6-foor-1 and 195 pounds, has played primarily at second base this season, but has also played shortstop and third base.
Landing Baltimore's No. 3 prospect for Blanton would be a nice score, but the Phillies may have to eat some of Blanton's remaining salary in order to do so. Blanton, in the final year of a deal that is paying him $8.5 million this season, will make a little less than $3 million the remainder of the year. The Orioles apparently do not want to take on all of Blanton's salary.
The sense around baseball was that the Phillies could do quite a bit before Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline.
"Ruben is going to make a huge splash," a baseball source said, referring to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. "I'm feeling it. A huge overhaul is coming."
The most likely trade candidates remain Blanton, Victorino, and Juan Pierre. All three are free agents at season's end.
There were indications the Phillies could think bigger. They have spoken to teams about outfielder Hunter Pence, but as the baseball source said, they want a "huge package" in return.
Rumors of a Cliff Lee trade spread through baseball Monday, but such a deal is likely too complex to happen in a short time frame. The Texas Rangers reportedly showed interest in reacquiring Lee. The Phillies could revisit the idea come wintertime.
But Amaro is hardly predictable this time of year, as evidenced by an exchange with reporters Friday. The general manager was asked if he planned on keeping his expensive starting rotation - Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Lee - intact.
"Plans can change," Amaro said, "but that's what the plan is right now."
The Phillies' plan appears to prioritize financial flexibility where possible, hence the Pence and Lee discussions. The Phillies want to sneak below the luxury tax limit of $178 million for 2012 and could accomplish that by dealing Victorino and Blanton, who are owed a total of $6 million for the remainder of the season.
Baltimore is viewed as the leading candidate to acquire Blanton, according to another baseball source. The Orioles believed the Phillies' asking price was too high Monday afternoon, the source said, but there is enough interest to possibly find common ground.
Pierre's most likely landing spot is Cincinnati. The Reds have extensively scouted the Phillies for the last two weeks and are looking for an outfielder to stick at the top of their lineup. Baltimore is not as keen on Victorino or Pierre.
Both San Francisco and Los Angeles are searching for outfield help and have scouted the Phillies in recent days.
If the Phillies engaged in talks for Pence and Lee now, it could portend possible moves during the offseason.
Teams are interested in Pence, but wary of his potential $15 million salary through arbitration for 2013. That could diminish the possible return for him now. It does not preclude a better market for Pence developing during this winter.
The same could be said for Lee. Like other Phillies stars, Lee has a no-trade clause in his contract. That clause, according to a source, allows the player to submit a list annually of 21 teams he cannot be traded to without consent. The identity of the eight teams in play is unknown, but reports say Texas is one option.
In any deal, the Phillies would likely have to eat a significant amount of Lee's contract. The more money the Phillies assume, the better the prospect haul would be. But the Phillies also want payroll flexibility. They may not be able to achieve both in a Lee trade.
Rival GMs will have to ask themselves this question: Would they sign a 34-year-old pitcher to a three-year, $87.5 million deal this winter? Lee is due $25 million per season from 2013 to 2015 and has a $12.5 million buyout or $27.5 million option for 2016.
Another factor the Phillies must consider: Halladay will not reach the conditions for his 2014 vesting option. So if Lee is dealt, that would leave Hamels and four question marks in the 2014 rotation.
Either way, these are conversations the Phillies are having internally. With two months left in a disappointing 2012 season, the focus has clearly shifted to the future. It begins Tuesday.
Contact Matt Gelb at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @magelb.