Phillies Taking ‘Wait-and-See’ Trade Deadline Approach

Phillies (Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports)
Phillies (Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports) /

The Phillies are neither buyers nor sellers right now, according to Jayson Stark.

The 2021 Major League Baseball trade deadline is less than a month away, meaning hot stove rumors surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies — in their first season under President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski — are surely to come.

Yet, according to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark, in an early Wednesday evening interview on 97.5 The Fantatic, the organization is currently neither buyers nor sellers. Rather, they are in “wait-and-see mode.”

“They know they have to win the division. They aren’t going to catch the Padres — who would be the second Wild Card, and they’re already 15 over,” Stark said. “The Phillies are three under and are not catching any of those teams. They have to beat the Mets — and the Mets are beatable.”

Stark added that he likes to talk to other teams about what the Phillies are up to, and based on those conversations, he does not think the organization expects to be major sellers or major buyers. A significant reason for this philosophy is their core — Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Zack Wheeler, and Aaron Nola.

“If you think of the money committed to those guys and the age of those guys, the window to win with them is now, or at least in the next couple of years,” Stark continued. “So, it’s hard to blow that up. Then the question is, what’s the reason to believe in this team? I know it doesn’t look like there’s any reason to believe in it or invest in it.”

The Phillies are holding out hope that Bryce Harper can put up MVP numbers.

Washington Nationals outfielder Kyle Schwarber has been on an amazing run. Entering Wednesday’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays, the 2016 World Series champion slugged 16 home runs and 27 RBI over an 18-game stretch.

One conversation Stark has had with someone connected to the Phillies is about Schwarber, and whether it is possible that Harper can go on a similar run — such as what was seen during his 2015 MVP season.

“Suppose Bryce Harper has a three-week stretch like Kyle Schwarzer is having right now. We’ve seen him have it before,” Stark said. “If you asked me three weeks ago, I would have said the Nationals stink. They were eight games out and looked terrible. Then, this guy gets hot, hits 16 homers, and saves their season.”

“Is it impossible that Bryce does that? It’s not impossible,” Stark continued. “I don’t know how likely it is, but it’s not impossible.”

“So, [the Phillies are] waiting — at least for a few weeks — to see where they are.”

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