It appears as though the trade market has begun to heat up — specifically in the National League East.
Following the Atlanta Braves’ acquisition of outfielder Joc Pederson from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Atlanta’s No. 12 prospect Bryce Ball, ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan reported that the Braves aren’t the only middle-of-the-road NL East club looking to add to their roster.
Passan tweeted Thursday night that, according to sources, the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals are also, “at least for the time being, acting like buyers.”
That the Phillies, Braves and Nationals are seeking trade deadline upgrades would’ve come as no surprise in the offseason, but how they’ve gotten there is a different story entirely. No team has been particularly impressive or even met preseason expectations in what was predicted to be a loaded NL East field, but with the first-place New York Mets at just 47-40 and with only a handful of games separating them from the rest of the division’s main contenders, a path to the postseason certainly exists.
It’s worth noting that any deadline acquisitions — concerning the Phillies or any other NL East club, save maybe the Mets — are unlikely to be earth-shattering. The Phillies likely won’t be interested in parting with top prospects Mick Abel or Bryson Stott, and their lack of other high-end prospects may preclude them from making a significant splash. Plus, the luxury tax is a cloud that continues to hang over the organization.
Potential moves may simply include a back-end starter, bench bat or solid but unspectacular reliever.
Still, there have been plenty of question marks surrounding the Phillies’ approach to the trade deadline as the team has essentially hovered around .500 the entire season, and the answers have been few and far between. The Phillies have played better as of late, winning three consecutive series and seven of their last 10 games to move into second place before the All-Star Break. It appears that has at least partially convinced president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowksi and the front office to seek upgrades until swayed otherwise.
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