The Phillies need one or two more pieces to prepare for a playoff run
In the midst of a 60-game sprint, the Phillies find themselves in position to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011. That’s also the last time they had a record better than .500 at seasons end, which is where they sit after 28 games.
Coming off Saturday’s win over Atlanta the Phillies are two games out of first place in the National League East and a half game out of the wild card. They’re in the midst of their toughest stretch of the season with five more games against the Braves and Nationals and playing four doubleheaders in 11 days.
General manager Matt Klentak has already emphasized that this is a win-now season with his acquisition of David Hale, Brandon Workman, and Heath Hembree to bulster the bullpen, but this Phillies team needs more depth.
Here are some of their biggest needs going into Monday’s trade deadline
3. One more bat
The Phillies offense, albeit inconsistent, is one of the best in baseball this season. Averaging 5.41 runs per game (third best in baseball), they have a top-five team batting average (.261), on-base percentage (.344), and OPS (.796).
For years the Phillies offense was always a bat or two short and their bench was never fully developed. This past offseason the front office put an emphasis on the bench, signing Neil Walker, Phil Gosselin, Josh Harrison, and a host of other bench options to compete for jobs in spring training.
Gosselin has demolished lefties this year and the center field platoon of Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley has held its own both in the starting lineup and off the bench. Walker, on the other hand, has not lived up to expectations on the field. Off the field and in the clubhouse he’s a great guy to have around, but he’s hitting .192 with two doubles, no home runs, and eight strikeouts in 14 games.
The Phillies need one more utility man to pair with Gosselin off the bench when Scott Kingery is in the starting lineup. This player could be a guy who mixed into the outfield with some pop or a younger version of Walker.
Matt Carpenter would be a reach if the Cardinals decide to sell, but I don’t expect them to move the fan favorite this year. Wilmer Flores has two years left with San Francisco, but his contract is reasonable with $3 million due in 2021 and a $250K buyout of his $3.5 million 2022 club option.
The Phillies don’t really need this year’s Jay Bruce or a star addition like Starling Marte, but they need at least one more bat to add depth for the stretch run.