Taking a look at Phillies needs and possibilities as trade deadline approaches

(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

With the trade deadline nearly two weeks away, the Philadelphia Phillies will be busy trying to improve their roster in hopes of making a postseason run.

When the Philadelphia Phillies begin the second half of their season Friday, the players on the field will look to flip the script on what has been a rough last month. While that is happening, the front office will be busy assessing its options to upgrade the roster with the hope in mind that the Phillies can make a postseason run.

Currently 47-43, the Phillies sit in the second wild-card spot. If the season ended today, the Phillies would match up with the Washington Nationals in the one-game wild-card round, with the eventual winner moving on to face the NL-best Dodgers.

While a lot can change over the next two-and-a-half months, you have to wonder if it is worth it to mortgage part of the future and go all-in for what could be one-and-done, or at best a series with the best team in the National League.

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Within the division, the Phillies trail the Atlanta Braves by 6.5 games, a wide margin but surely nothing that the Phillies can’t come back from. One hot-streak could be all the Phillies need to get back in the NL East race, and that is what makes these next few weeks leading up to the deadline that much more intriguing for the Phillies.

If the Phillies come out of the break cold and head towards the trade deadline at, or below, .500, will the front office still try to trade assets to upgrade the roster? Or will they opt to stay put and let the season ride out, and then making upgrades in the offseason?

Obviously, the best-case scenario would be the Phillies get hot and tighten the Braves lead, then it makes the front office’s decision that much easier on whether to make upgrades.  If they do end up looking to the trade market for upgrades, what areas of need should the Phillies fill and who could they look to go for?

The Phillies biggest need right now is starting pitching. Outside of Aaron Nola, the rotation is much of uncertainty. Hopefully, Jake Arrieta can pitch through his injury and start providing quality starts, and Zach Eflin can build off the high-points of his first half.

Outside of that, the Phillies need help in the rotation. They need at least one, if not two, starting pitchers at the deadline. Plenty of names have been thrown around, with one of the more commonly mentioned has been Madison Bumgarner. He presents plenty of postseason experience but certainly comes with some risks as well.

Approaching 30, Bumgarner is not the pitcher he used to be, but a change of scenery could be the best thing for the southpaw. The big concern with Bumgarner is that he may come strictly as a rental as he is in the final year of his contract. If the Phillies don’t consider themselves championship contenders this season, is it really worth it to go all-in and get Bumgarner for what could only be the remainder of this season?

Bumgarner aside, the Phillies still need to trade for some form of pitching, but it should come in the form of players who will still be under team control beyond the 2019 season. Some other names that have been floating around have been Robbie Ray and Mike Minor.

But, the other issue is that nearly two-thirds of teams still consider themselves contenders, so it may be hard to find teams willing to sell starting pitching. Even if the Phillies don’t want to mortgage the future for 2019, they should still look to trade for an arm or two that will still be on the roster in 2020 to at least help make a push for the postseason this season.

Looking at other positions, the Phillies could look to upgrade, and center field and third base come to mind. Neither two are as pressing a starting pitcher, but the Phillies could still decide to make a move at one of those two spots. It will, of course, all depend on where they want to play Scott Kingery at.

If the Phillies opt to keep Kingery in center field, they could look to upgrade and move on from Maikel Franco at third base. Or, they could move Kingery back into the infield and try to make a move for an outfielder.

Another position of “lesser” need is at backup catcher. If the Phillies don’t want to run JT Realmuto into the ground over the season’s second half, then acquiring a catcher who is better offensively than Andrew Knapp should be a priority.

To make all these moves possible, the Phillies will obviously have to part with some members of their current roster, or some of their highly touted prospects. The only untouchables in the minor league system should be Alec Bohm, Adonis Medina, and Spencer Howard. Outside of that, anyone else could be moved.

Former number-one overall pick Mickey Moniak could be moved, and the Phillies should make it a priority to send Nick Williams somewhere in a trade. Some other chips to pay attention to are Lehigh Valley catcher Deivy Grullon and lower-tier prospects such as former first-round pick Cornelius Randolph.

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With all of that being said, the Philadelphia Phillies need to take a strong look at their roster and where they stand in two weeks and decide what the best course of action to take is for the franchise moving forward.