The first few trade pieces have found their place and the Phillies remain calm as we approach the MLB Trade Deadline this Friday at 4:00 PM EST.
The first track was written on July 15th when the Atlanta Braves acquired Joc Pederson from the Chicago Cubs. The Braves’ new right outfield has established himself in the Braves lineup, hitting two home runs and beating .270 in his nine games on the list.
The next move came late last week when the Tampa Bay Rays traded for Minnesota Twins’ thug Nelson Cruz. Then, a day after acquiring the seven-time All-Star, the Rays made a second trade and sent the Rich Hill left-handed starting mug to the New York Mets. Under the return package for Hill was former Phillies relief pitcher, Tommy Hunter.
Hill, who will add to a troubled Mets rotation, made his debut against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. In his first start, Hill allowed three runs over five innings, allowed five hits and two walks while hitting a batter.
The latest move came from the west coast when the San Diego Padres took over Adam Frazier from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. Frazier, a second basemen with a utility past, will likely find himself in the field for the Padres.
What about the Phillies closing trading plans?
With the Braves getting an extra bat and the Mets getting another pitcher, the pressure on the Phillies to cause a sensation increases. Dave Dombrowski, president of the Phillies’ baseball business, knows this well. Over the weekend, while speaking to reporters, Dombrowski stated that the Phillies will not sell by the deadline. Instead, they will try to bring new additions to the club.
“I can say that I probably know that we will be aggressive.”
Dave Dombrowski (On Chances of Bringing New Staff to Philadelphia – via MLB.com)
Among his comments, Dombrowski also stated that he would not be ready to trade top prospects like Bryson Stott for a high-profile upcoming free agent. In other words, if the Phillies trade against players like Kris Bryant, they will either have to bring back additional players or take on Bryant’s contract to send back a smaller package of prospects. However, given John Middleton’s reluctance to cross the luxury tax threshold, the latter could prove difficult.
Overall, the Phillies need to improve in both the starting rotation and the bullpen at close of trading. With Zach Eflin on the list of injured, the Phillies have been completely exposed of how little depth they have in the starting mug role. While Wheeler and Nola can be relied on, reliability ends there. Spencer Howard is not ready for the Major League, Vince Velasquez should not get another start and the signings of Matt Moore and Chase Anderson have failed.
While Phillies fans would love to see Cole Hamels heroically return to Philadelphia, claim fourth rotation, and lead a playoff attack round, Hamels isn’t ready just yet.
In his last training session, Hamels threw a bullpen session, a total of 75 pitches. He hasn’t seen a live batter in the game for the entire season and has to work his way up to that level. Which could be another month. While Dombrowski hasn’t ruled out bringing Hamels in, another move will also be needed to fix the rotation.
And then there is the bullpen.
In the past two weeks, Ranger Suarez has recorded two parades, while Archie Bradley and Connor Brogdon have been the only reliable guns penned. If the Phillies manage to get closer in good faith, Suarez can switch back to a long relief role, which the Phillies desperately need.
Close of trading rumor mill
The Phillies’ main trading partner currently appears to be the Chicago Cubs. Closer Craig Kimbrel would save grace in the Phillies’ bullpen and become the team’s first real Closer since Jonathan Paplebon. That is, if Kimbrel is willing to forgive Phillies fans for … past transgressions.
Also, a friend of Bryce Harper’s Kris Bryant would be a good match for the Phillies. He could potentially start in midfield while switching to the corner infield spots if necessary. Probably the best scenario here would be a deal that sends Kimbrel and Bryant to Philadelphia in exchange for a package with Bryson Stott and Johan Rojas.
Kris Bryant, a friend of Bryce Harper’s, would be a good match for the Phillies. He could potentially start in midfield while switching to the corner infield spots if necessary.
Kimbrel has a $ 16 million team option for 2022, while Bryant will join the freelance agency this off-season.
In addition, the Phillies were linked to the Outfield Byron Buxton by the Twins. The twins who just sold Nelson Cruz are in sell mode. Given that Buxton and the twins were also unable to finalize a contract extension, it may be time for the Phillies to take a step.
The Phillies are also one of the cases where it was reported as active in the pitchers market before the close of trading. The Phillies’ reported targets include Tyler Anderson and Merrill Kelly. In addition, Max Scherzer and Michael Pineda are in the trading bloc for the Nationals and Twins.
The big picture before the trading deadline
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The Phillies currently sit at .500 in the season. Despite all the team’s fights, they are only four games ahead of first place in the National League East. They have the easiest schedule of the season and are still in the mix. With two or three of the right moves, they’ll easily take the NL East crown and make the team’s first post-season appearance since 2011.
Whether the Phillies will cause a sensation or not remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: this trading deadline will tell whether the Phillies believe they can make a run.