When you think of MLB trade deadlines, most people gravitate to the major moves where the superstar was traded to a contender and carried them on a playoff run like C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers in 2008, Ricky Henderson to the A’s in 1989, and Curt Schilling to the Diamondbacks in 2000.
However, most times, it’s the bench moves and fringe roster trades at the deadline that end up propelling a team to the next level and forcing a long playoff run. Last year, the Phillies acquired defensive minded infielder Edmundo Sosa, once-promising prospect Brandon Marsh, back-end starter Noah Syndergaard, and bullpen help in David Robertson. Not one of these additions forced the Phillies to mortgage the future by selling off multiple major prospects but each one of them had their own fingerprint on the World Series run that the Phillies embarked on last fall. Marsh and Sosa, and Marsh in particular, have factored into the 2023 season as well and have a chance to stick with the team for many more years.
Finding the balance between pushing the chips in for the star-studded addition and working the edges of the roster is a big part of the front office's job and can be the difference between a World Series run or a September collapse. It’s up to Dombrowski and Co. to dig deep into the pool of available players and decipher who are the diamonds in the rough that can help this team, even marginally, get into the playoffs. The Phillies should be looking for bench help that would solidify the roster and ensure there are no holes or drop off when Rob Thomson looks on his roster sheet for defensive replacements, pinch hitters, pinch runners, or simply guys to come in to spell the “every day” players. Let’s take a deep dive into the mid-tier, under the radar trade targets to sure up the 2023 Phillies bench.