When you are a last place team with the second highest payroll in your sport, you have to find creative ways to get better moving forward.

The Phillies have been in last place in the National League East every day in July, and for all but five days since May 5. They haven't been higher than fourth since the 10th game of the season.

Even without Cole Hamels under contract, an item that would rank as their highest priority with the July 31 trade deadline looming, the Phillies have $112 million committed to eight players next year; throw in the $5 million club option they have on All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz and you can bump that to $117 million to nine players.

With their current place in the standings and the ever-present luxury tax threshold ($178 million next season), the Phils have to think creatively. That's why Hunter Pence's name became the latest trade rumor du jour.