The Phillies missed out on Manny Machado. And then Zach Britton. Add J.A. Happ to the list.

The Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday traded the former Phillie to the New York Yankees.

While the Phillies were chasing Machado, our Jim Salisbury reported 10 days ago that the Phillies had "definite interest" in acquiring Happ (see story).

Happ posted a 10-6 record with a 4.18 ERA and 1.175 WHIP in 20 starts with the Blue Jays this season. He did make the AL All-Star team, though.

Starting pitching hasn't exactly been an issue for the first-place Phillies. They rank fifth in the National League and 10th in MLB in team ERA (3.82) and mostly, the starters are the main reason why they're in first place of the NL East.

But acquiring another starter does make sense, though it does fall lower on the priority list — bench help, offensive upgrade at shortstop and a late-game reliever headline it.

For one, the Phillies haven't had a left-handed starter in their rotation since 2016. That changes tonight when Ranger Suarez makes his major-league debut. Having a lefty in the rotation is far from a necessity, but it certainly does have benefits.

Secondly, the Phils are in the midst of a pennant race and their starting rotation is young. Only Jake Arrieta has been through this before. There's value in adding a veteran to the rotation.


Thirdly, another starter would allow Phillies manager Gabe Kapler to use either Vince Velasquez or Nick Pivetta as a bullpen weapon for either August and September and eventually, the playoffs.

If the Phillies do desire another starting pitcher, they could find one internally. Jerad Eickhoff hasn't pitched all season because of tingling in his right fingers. But there's uncertainty he can pitch this season.

The Phillies just won a huge series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but it's clear they still need help.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak owes it to his players and the city to buy before Tuesday's trade deadline.

When the Phils missed out on Machado, Klentak said he expected to make a move before the deadline (see story).

With Machado, Britton and Happ off the board, the list of names the Phillies have been connected to is getting shorter.

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