It seemed automatic.
For the past half-dozen years, the Philadelphia Phillies were playoff bound and General Manager Ruben Amaro was adding those important pieces to the puzzle at the trading deadline.
But Tuesday, Amaro became a seller instead of a buyer, shipping Shane Victorino back to the Los Angeles Dodgers and then flipping outfielder Hunter Pence to San Francisco.
Amaro probably also tried to unload pitchers Clif Lee and Joe Blanton and outfielder Juan Pierre but the price was too high. It doesn't mean, though, that Amaro is done dealing.
If he can get some players through waivers in the next month, then the team will really begin its retooling process.
Yes, like last year's Philadelphia Eagles -- the magic just wasn't there for the Phils.
Blame it on poor play, possibly some bad decisions by manager Charlie Manuel, a longer recovery for the injured Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and the wearing down of pitchers Roy Halladay and Lee.
So this season is over. Throw in the towel.
But don't think the Phillies are done competing. Amaro has said that the team would remain competitive and that should be obvious with the huge contract the team gave Cole Hamels.
There's now two months left in the season for Amaro to evaluate talent and to determine who should stay for 2013. It's clear he's giving prospect Dominic Brown some time to shine -- and it's about time the team did so.
If anything, Amaro replenished the farm system, something he burned in making so many deals the past few seasons. The Phils picked up three solid prospects, a needed reliever and a backup outfielder.
Hey, you can't win in baseball every year. And the fact that the Phils had a long run, and a World Series victory, should have us all smiling after many long, suffering years as fans.
So it's the end of an era.
And maybe what Amaro is trying to do, after watching his team this year, is end the errors. The Phils are too talented to have such losing ways.
So let's pretend 2012 didn't happen, like that dream where Bobby Ewing didn't really die on "Dallas" and the whole TV season was a wash.
Let's do that here.
Cause going into spring training for 2013 with a nucleus of Howard, Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz, Lee, Halladay and Jonathan Papelbon can't be all bad, right?
Get a new solid third baseman and centerfielder and fix the bullpen and this team has as good a shot as any for 2013.
The Phillies aren't dead yet. Just this year.
So suck it up and enjoy two months of baseball with no pressure. And maybe, just maybe, we'll see some surprises.