Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports says that the Phillies should be looking to add, not subtract, a reliever by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Morosi notes that the Phillies, whose 4.65 bullpen ERA ranks second last in baseball, is their weakest spot in the midst of a hot streak headed into the All-Star break. Morosi uses some interesting logic defending his opinion: the Phillies could trade for a player like John Axford or Jim Henderson of the Brewers, Addison Reed of the White Sox, or Steve Cishek to be a set-up-like reliever now while holding on to a trade chip like Jonathan Papelbon for the actual trade deadline.
But even if the Phillies slip in the standings and sell at the deadline, it makes sense for them to add a reliever. One of the aforementioned pitchers could close for the Phillies in 2014, if not this year. And that’s a significant statement because Papelbon — the current closer, with a contract through at least 2015 — may become available if Amaro decides to sell.
The Phillies would save money by trading Papelbon and acquiring a cheaper replacement. And the decision on Papelbon may wait until August, since his $13 million salary in each of the next two years could help him clear trade waivers after the July 31 deadline.
And if wild speculation isn’t good enough for you, how about this Ruben Amaro quote from Todd Zolecki when asked about trading for a piece before the deadline: “Yeah, I think we’ll try to do that.” This is perfectly in line with the Buster Olney tweet from early this morning, who has heard that the Phillies are buyers.
One player we learned that the Phillies are not pursuing, however, is reliever Joba Chamberalin. Chamberlain was rumored to be a moving piece in any potential deal that would send Michael Young and/or Carlos Ruiz to the Yankees. Ken Rosenthal, however, says that the Phillies are not among the teams pursuing Chamberlain at this time.