Phils beef up OF by adding Bucs' Dickerson

Philadelphia also adds right-hander Straily from Baltimore

July 31st, 2019

PHILADELPHIA – If the Phillies plan to make the postseason for the first time since 2011, they will need their best players to play better the final two months of the season. They made that point clear as the Trade Deadline passed Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re going to need the stars in that room to carry us,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. “We have the talent. We had a very splashy offseason. We brought in a lot of talent, and those guys are going to have to do what they do to push us into October.”

The Phillies made one trade of significance Wednesday. They acquired outfielder from the Pirates for a player to be named later and international bonus money. Dickerson is batting .315 with four home runs, 25 RBIs and a .924 OPS in 142 plate appearances this season. He won a Gold Glove last season and made the American League All-Star team with the Rays in 2017. He is primarily a left fielder and could play regularly, at least until Jay Bruce returns from a strained right oblique in the next week or so.

The Phillies also acquired right-hander from the Orioles for cash considerations. He will report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

But Klentak made a point to say that the Phillies had been acquiring players before Wednesday. Since the end of May, the Phillies added Bruce, Dickerson, utility player Brad Miller, left-hander Drew Smyly, left-hander Jason Vargas, and right-handers Mike Morin and Blake Parker to the big league roster. They added utility player Jose Pirela, outfielder Logan Morrison and Straily to the Triple-A roster.

“Today was the culmination of two months of roster building,” Klentak said.

But will it be enough? Time will tell. The Phillies entered Wednesday with a 56-50 record, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves in the National League East and tied with the Cubs and Nationals for the two NL Wild Cards. Phillies president Andy MacPhail said earlier this month that they were unlikely to part with top prospects because they were more than one player away from winning the World Series. Their place in the standings also dictated their aggressiveness, he said.

“I've said this before,” Klentak said. “When you are 6 1/2 games back in the division, you might have a different approach than if you're 6 1/2 games up. And when you are in a Wild Card chase vs. competing for the division, that might lend itself to a different approach. … To suggest we would have been more aggressive, or maybe would have pulled off a different trade if we were closer in the division, I just don't know the answer to that. We were pursuing controllable players even where we are, so I suspect we would've pursued them [as] well if we were closer in the division chase. I just don't know if we would've pulled it off. A year ago, we were closer and we pursued [Manny] Machado in the middle of July. Our behavior probably suggests we're not afraid to pursue that type of guy, but we didn't get him.”

The Braves this week fortified their bullpen with Shane Greene, Mark Melancon and Chris Martin, surrendering three of their top 30 prospects (per MLB Pipeline) and big league reliever Dan Winkler. The Nationals fortified their bullpen Wednesday with Daniel Hudson, Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland. Washington surrendered three of its top 30 prospects as parts of the deals.

The Phillies surrendered nobody of consequence.

“We explored all that and obviously we got what we got,” Klentak said, when asked if the team pursued some of the top talent traded Wednesday. “We have had a season where whether due to injury or underperformance by certain players, we've asked a lot of our depth players to come and contribute at the Major League level. Some have done well, like Ranger Suarez, and others have not. We felt like it was really important to address that in this summer Trade Deadline season. It's not about one day. It's not about today's transactions or yesterday's. It's really about what we've done the past few weeks or even months.

“You can't trade your top guys at every opportunity. There are times to do that and there are times not to. We were willing to do it now if we lined up. We were willing to do it. What we ended up doing was raising the floor of the organization and providing support for our club to make a run the next two months.”