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Stark’s Latest: Machado, Hamels, Hitting

Manny Machado (left) and Cole Hamels (right) continue to be connected to the Phillies. (Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

The Athletic‘s Jayson Stark joined Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic Thursday to discuss a variety of topics as the upstart Philadelphia Phillies move towards the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Here’s a highlight of some of the most interesting nuggets that the long-time scribe passed along:

  • With the Washington Nationals now one game under .500, the Phillies have a legitimate chance not just to snag one of the National League’s two Wild Card spots, but to win the National League East. The Phillies currently control the second National League Wild Card spot, but are a game-and-a-half back of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. “The vibe I get is that this front-office – if this continues now for another couple weeks – is prepared to be a lot more aggressive at the deadline than it may have originally intended.”
  • Manny Machado – shortstop, Manny Machado, that is – just participated in his Baltimore Orioles being swept in a two-game set by the Phillies. The series was a dream scenario for writers – a struggling team with a superstar that’s going to change addresses in the near future comes to play against one of the teams that could employ him shortly. But while the Machado-to-the-Phillies narrative is reaching a fever pitch, Stark said that he thinks it’s “so unlikely” that the Phillies trade for the soon-to-be four-time All-Star before the month is up.
  • However, while Stark thinks general manager Matt Klentak and the Phillies are unlikely to meet the Orioles asking-price for Machado this summer, he thinks the Phillies stand as good of a chance as anyone of signing Machado, who will turn 26 on Friday, this offseason. “Right now, they [the Phillies] would seem to me to be really unlikely to trade for him [Machado], but incredibly likely to sign him next winter.”
  • Earlier this week, Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports said that he’s begun to hear to some “chatter” about a potential reunion between the Phillies and 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels, currently pitching for the 38-49 Texas Rangers. Heyman did add the qualifier that he wasn’t sure how serious the chatter was. For his part, Stark seemed to think a trade for Hamels is unlikely, pointing to his 1.76 HR/9 and the fact that he’s already hit 10 batters this season to suggest Hamels probably wouldn’t be a major upgrade at this point.
  • Last week, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported that the Phillies and Kansas City Royals have had fairly substantive conversations regarding third baseman Mike Moustakas. However unlikely a trade may be, the Phillies have also been connected to future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre. Stark says he believes that the Phillies are “much more likely” to make offensive upgrades than to trade for a pitcher. The Phillies could make an upgrade in right field as well, as both Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams have struggled when given the chance to start. I suggested Wednesday that Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Curtis Granderson could be an interesting rental option. Stark opined that Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, a free-agent after the season, could make sense as well.

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