The Phillies are coming off a dreadful weekend, dealt a three-game sweep by the hands of the non-competitive Cubs. That dropped Philadelphia to 49-46, a recreation behind the Cardinals for the ultimate Wild Card spot within the Nationwide League. Having outscored opponents by 44 runs and with a agency win-now mentality, there’s no query the Phillies are nonetheless going to be motivated to improve the roster over the approaching eight days in an effort to snap their decade-long playoff drought.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski addressed the staff’s deadline outlook this night, implying the membership will look so as to add to the beginning rotation (hyperlink by way of Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer). That appears straight tied to the well being (or lack thereof) of right-hander Zach Eflin, who has spent the previous month on the injured listing resulting from one other proper knee challenge. The 28-year-old hurler stays with no clear restoration timeline, and the Phils entrance workplace head intimated that uncertainty might make them search for back-end assist. “I’d love for him to return again, however I don’t know when,” Dombrowski stated of Eflin. “So I don’t suppose, from my perspective, that I can simply say we’re going to attend for that to occur. I don’t suppose we are able to simply sit right here and wait to see what takes place.”
The Phillies landed one of many commerce market’s high starters final summer season, sending a prospect bundle centering on Spencer Howard to the Rangers for Kyle Gibson (and reliever Ian Kennedy). This 12 months’s market incorporates a trio of high-profile arms who, like Gibson on the time, include a season and a half of remaining membership management: Luis Castillo, Frankie Montas and Tyler Mahle. Given the group’s urgency to compete after a sequence of underwhelming seasons and Dombrowski’s status for daring motion, one might think about the Phillies being out there for that high trio. Dombrowski, nevertheless, urged the Phils have been reluctant to deal from the highest of their farm system this summer season.
“Each place there’s premium guys on the market, after which there’s different guys that might be useful,” he stated (by way of Lauber). “Nicely, the premium guys are most likely going to price you your high prospects. I don’t suppose, as a corporation, we’re in that place proper now. I simply don’t suppose we’re there.” The Phils had 4 gamers — right-handers Andrew Painter, Mick Abel and Griff McGarry and catcher Logan O’Hoppe — on Baseball America’s most recent Prime 100 prospects replace. Painter was the one member of that group to verify in among the many high 50.
For any staff to land Castillo, Montas or Mahle, they’ll definitely need to deal no less than one participant from the higher tier of their system. Dombrowski’s feedback would appear to recommend the Phils might look in the direction of the marketplace for back-end starters and/or pitchers who’re impending free brokers, however as MLBTR’s Darragh McDonald explored last week, chunk of that group has both slumped these days or comes with some questions on their availability in commerce. Dombrowski urged the asking value even for function gamers has remained excessive in discussions with groups so far, though he opined that promoting golf equipment will scale back their calls for because the August 2 commerce deadline attracts nearer.
Past the rotation, the Phils have had longstanding points in middle subject and within the bullpen. As Matt Gelb of the Athletic explores in larger element, the roster spots of Odúbel Herrera and/or Jeurys Familia might be in jeopardy if the Phils can discover upgrades at these positions. Herrera, re-signed to a $1.75MM assure throughout Spring Coaching after the membership declined a costlier staff possibility, has hit solely .240/.280/.389 via 186 plate appearances. Herrera, Matt Vierling and Mickey Moniak have all struggled once more, and the Phils carried a league-worst .202/.254/.296 displaying out of middle subject into play Monday night time.
Gelb writes that the Phillies want to add a left-handed hitter able to taking part in middle subject, however the variety of attainable gamers who match that profile is restricted. 26 left-handed or switch-hitters have taken no less than 50 plate appearances as a middle fielder this season. The overwhelming majority all both include prolonged home windows of remaining membership management, play for groups which might be presently within the thick of the playoff race and/or are enduring dismal seasons of their very own. Speculatively talking, the Cubs’ Rafael Ortega (proprietor of a .232/.327/.348 line via 265 plate appearances) may provide one of the best mix of respectable 2022 manufacturing and attainability for a minimal prospect price.
The bullpen, in the meantime, has been a middle-of-the-pack group on the 12 months. They’ve been glorious of late after a disappointing begin, posting a 2.69 ERA via the previous 30 days. Given the Phils’ longstanding aid points, nevertheless, Dombrowski and his employees determine to discover methods so as to add one other arm to the combination. Familia, signed to a $6MM deal over the offseason, has continued to wrestle of late and owns only a 4.83 ERA/3.81 SIERA throughout 31 2/3 frames on the season.
Two areas the Phillies don’t appear they’ll want to deal with by way of commerce are second base and the nook outfield/designated hitter. They’ve been with out Jean Segura and Bryce Harper resulting from respective finger fractures, however each gamers are progressing nicely of their recoveries. Segura is ready to start a rehab task with Triple-A Lehigh Valley tomorrow, and Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes that the second baseman is hopeful of returning to the large league roster by the point the membership kicks off a homestead August 4 in opposition to the Nationals. That’d be an ahead-of-schedule return for Segura, who was projected to overlook 10-12 weeks after present process surgical procedure in early June.
Harper is additional behind, having suffered his harm in late June, however he tells reporters he’s hopeful of getting the pins faraway from his surgically-repaired thumb subsequent week. The reigning NL MVP reiterated that he absolutely expects to play once more this season, and Dombrowski famous (by way of Lauber) that Harper’s harm “will not be a type of the place it’s [going to be] lengthy sufficient that you just exit and commerce for somebody that’s going to take that place.” Harper had been restricted to DH obligation earlier than his thumb fracture due to a partial UCL tear in his elbow that rendered him unable to throw. He acknowledged he’ll need to undergo a throwing program and expressed some hope he might get again into the outfield earlier than the top of the 12 months. Even when Harper have been to wind up restricted to bat-only duties, the Phils would fortunately plug Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber into the nook outfield if it meant getting Harper again within the lineup for the season’s ultimate month-plus.
Nearly each win-now government will face some questions concerning the recreation’s highest-profile commerce candidate over the subsequent week. But between their glut of nook outfielders and acknowledged reluctance to deal top-tier younger expertise, the Phillies would’ve made for a tricky match within the Juan Soto bidding even when the Nationals make him out there to intra-division rivals. Dombrowski didn’t handle Soto straight, however he kind of shot down any hypothesis about that risk. Requested whether or not they’ll look into including a “generational expertise,” Dombrowski replied “I don’t know that we’re swimming in that market. I really like star gamers. I all the time have. I’ve acquired plenty of them. I do know [owner] John Middleton likes that. However we do have some star gamers. I feel the issue we’ve had is the depth of expertise in our group. To strip the depth of our expertise so as to add a generational expertise, I don’t know that’s the place we sit at this level.“