The Phillies won't blow up their farm system at the trade deadline.
Team president Andy MacPhail does not believe the club is close enough to winning a World Series to justify that.
“If you think that you are close to the ultimate prize and you're one piece away then your appetite for giving up something big to acquire that piece is pretty substantial,” MacPhail said. “If you're a team like we are now — we're in the postseason if the season ended today, but what if we're in a one-game playoff?
“It's hard for us to make the judgment now that we're one trade away from the World Series. We don't believe that. I don't believe that. So, as a result, you're going to have to be more judicious with your playing talent.”
MacPhail’s comments certainly won’t excite the fan base, but his read on the club is sound. The Phils, who came back from the All-Star break Friday night in third place in the NL East after a six-week free-fall from first place, have significant holes. Their starting pitching staff features one consistently reliable arm, Aaron Nola. They could use bullpen help and a bat. It will be tough to fix all of that at one trade deadline.
The Phils come back from the All-Star break with three games against red-hot Washington and four against the Dodgers, owners of baseball’s best record.
Washington entered the series in second place in the NL East. The Phillies led the Nats by 10 games in the standings in late May.
A good showing in these first seven games after the break could push management to consider reasonable upgrades.
A bad showing could cause them to completely stand pat.
Though he indicated a reluctance to give up significant minor-league talent to patch a team that might not be ready to win in October, MacPhail said he could be open to acquiring a high-salaried player who might cost less in talent.
Arizona's Zack Greinke could be one such player. The right-hander is still a top talent at age 35, but he is owed about $17 million for the remainder of this season and $35 million each of the next two seasons.
“Our ownership has been pretty clear and they've demonstrated by their actions that salary is not something that is going to be — it has to make some sense, but that's not going to be something that's going to hold us back,” MacPhail said. “I think from my standpoint, I'm going to be more judicious. We win seven in a row on this homestand, I might feel differently, (but) given our current circumstances, I think I'm going to be a little judicious and careful about what talent's walking out the door.”
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