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Trade Deadline Post-Mortem: A Lot Of Ifs

One full day after the non-waiver trade deadline, and the Phillies still don’t have any additions to the 25-man roster. Ha-ha.

Looking back at all the available players and the rumored deals, I’m not too upset the Phillies didn’t make a deal. But it’s not the make-a-deal or not-make-a-deal issue that matters here.

As the season has unfolded, the holes have appeared.

  • They have a thin, mediocre starting rotation without a strong, dominant starter to back Cole Hamels.
  • They have a great bullpen that will weaken, has weakened, and needs a reinforcement or two.
  • They have an inconsistent offense that needs one or two experienced hitters to level the home run boom.

They’re not huge holes, really, but big enough holes that they will become badly noticeable as the season winds down.

The Phils attempted to patch the first by acquiring Joe Blanton, a move that has already been wildly criticized. Personally, I was hoping the Phils would’ve focused more on Rich Harden, but his injury record scared them. Considering the Cubs’ package for Harden and the Phils’ package for Blanton, a bounty of Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman and either Greg Golson or Dominic Brown could’ve worked. Maybe.

Blanton isn’t enough. I wrote that before. Now, maybe Brett Myers becomes a top starter very quickly, but I doubt it. As it stands the Phils have a No. 1 starter and four No. 4 starters. Not playoff worthy.

The pressing issue with making a big move was the duet of Carlos Carrasco and Lou Marson, the Phils’ top pitching and hitting prospects this season. The Phils didn’t want to give them up, and that’s fair. I probably would’ve given up Carrasco if it meant a top pitcher such as CC Sabathia or Harden. But that’s it. They didn’t need Matt Holliday, didn’t need Manny Ramirez. Those moves shake you up much worse than you’d think.

The real problem was the offseason, when the Phils could’ve signed LHP Ron Mahay. Instead they felt weird dangling the Royals a top prospect. (By the way, I wasn’t too against trading Jason Donald for him. They’ll probably have to trade Donald at some point, and Mahay was the best LOOGY outside Damaso Marte.) They should’ve went after these pieces in the offseason. Pat Gillick said he really wanted a LOOGY. He missed his chance and paid for it by not having what it took to trade for one.

The Phillies farm system is shallower than most, so it makes sense that they couldn’t mortgage the farm. I’m sorry, but Holliday wasn’t guaranteeing a world championship, and that’s the only way I’ll accept giving away the top prospects.

So now what? Probably a trade or two and a waiver claim or two. Look for a bat or two to join. Look for a reliever to find his way on board. Is that enough? Not sure.

What would’ve been enough? Going hard after Sabathia or Harden with one of Carrasco or Marson (or maybe less?) and signing that left-handed reliever in the offseason. Those were the moves to make. They did neither, settling on a back-end starter (while giving up two top prospects), hoping for either Myers or JA Happ to strike gold, banking on the bullpen to hold together and thinking the offense will remain consistent until October.

Those are lot of ifs.

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