This is an important time for the Philadelphia Phillies. They’ve just squeezed themselves back into the playoffs, but the NL Wild Card race projects to be insanely close down the stretch. A cold spell or surprise injury is all it could take to derail the reigning National League champions from another postseason appearance.
That’s why the upcoming trade deadline is crucial. A key addition to shore up a weakness (like starting pitching or defense in the outfield) could pay huge dividends down the stretch.
Thankfully, it sounds like Philadelphia is heading into the trade deadline with an extremely open mind.
Phillies GM Dave Dombrowski spoke with the media prior to Wednesday’s contest. He made it clear the team is “always looking to get better any way that you possibly can.” While this is regular front office-speak, what Dombrowski added about the team’s farm system is the most intriguing.
"“You’re never looking to trade your top prospects,” Dombrowski said. “But I can’t also tell you that any time somebody drops something on your lap that you can’t say no.”"
The fact he didn’t rule out trading top prospects means he’s prepared to make a big sacrifice if it leads to significant addition. This, added with his later comment that “We have a generous owner that wants to win,” should get Phillies fan buzzing ahead of the trade deadline.
The obvious names that first come to mind are Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto, both of whom could be on the move by the deadline. Either one would instantly raise the Phillies’ odds to win the World Series, which are currently No. 8 (+2000) on FanDuel Sportsbook.
There’s plenty of talented veteran starting pitchers who could be available for a bit less, though. The likes of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Civale and Jack Flaherty would net their teams — who are outside the playoffs right now — a nice return and give Philly’s staff the boost it needs, especially after the news that Andrew Painter is headed for Tommy John surgery.
Right-handed hitting and a defensive upgrade in the outfield are also pressing concerns. If Bryce Harper is able to take over at first base, Kyle Schwarber can then slide over to DH, opening up a spot in left field. Veterans like Teoscar Hernández or Mark Canha could fill that hole and both needs extremely well, while rising talent Lane Thomas presents a longer-term target if the Phillies want someone with more team control left.
Regardless, this front office has options at the deadline. It just remains to be seen how big a swing they decide to take.