As Phillies officials furiously worked to add some much-needed pitching help at the big-league level before Friday's 4 p.m. trade deadline, they were also forced to deal with a COVID outbreak at their minor-league complex in Clearwater, Florida.
The facility was shut down Friday and that night's Clearwater Threshers game was postponed after a significant number of positive tests. Saturday night's game was also said to be in jeopardy, though no official decision had been made.
The Phillies' Florida facility includes BayCare Ballpark, home of the Threshers, and the Carpenter Complex, which houses a Florida Complex League team and many other players who work out, receive instruction and treatment for injuries. Carpenter Complex is also closed.
The intersection of the COVID outbreak and the trade deadline is not insignificant. The Phillies have players in Clearwater that could be used as trade currency. It's not out of the realm of possibility that the outbreak could impact the ability to make deals.
The COVID outbreak may explain why top prospect Mick Abel has not pitched for the Clearwater club in nine days. Abel, however, is an untouchable in trade talks. Another prospect, outfielder Johan Rojas, has not played for the Clearwater club in a week.