Dombrowski: 'We'll be aggressive' in market

July 24th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies still plan to be buyers before Friday’s Trade Deadline.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski spoke to a handful of reporters Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. His team entered the night’s game against the Braves with a .500 record and four games behind the Mets in the National League East.

Here is what Dombrowski said about the Deadline. Some answers have been edited for clarity and brevity:

Q: Where do things stand today?
A: We’ve been talking to everybody, all clubs, got a pulse of what’s going on. Some clubs don’t even know themselves what they’re going to do. It’s an either/or scenario. And we’re working off that. I think a lot more is to be felt after this weekend with some organizations, and even some after Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I know what they’re looking for. They know what we’re looking for. And we’ve had preliminary conversations. The one thing I can safely say is we’re not in a position where we’re looking to move players. That is not where we are, we’re looking to add players to our club, if we can.

Q: Could you look to move guys if things don’t go well over the next seven days?
A: I guess all of a sudden if … we got crushed seven games in a row, and the Mets won seven games in a row, but that’s not what we’re looking for.

Q: What’s the likelihood you have new personnel here in the coming days?
A: That’s a tough one. I can say the likelihood is I know we’ll be aggressive in making it happen. We have ownership support in trying to make things happen. They've been very supportive. But you never know if you can get a deal done or not. We'll find out. There's a lot of competition for players out there. But we're going to try.

Q: Will you pursue high-profile talent, or are you pursing more complementary pieces to the roster?
A: The way I'd answer it is we're kind of open to anything. And I think it's incumbent upon us to try to get better. Let's just say somebody says [we need] an established closer. OK. Well, sounds great, right? I think [Ranger] Suárez has done a nice job, [Archie] Bradley's thrown the ball better. I wouldn't dispute that statement. However, you'd also have to realize that there's very few of those types that are out there. So, let's say that would not take place. And I'm not even saying we're pursuing that. OK, what's Plan B? I think you have to be nimble on your feet at this time. You have to have a lot of alternatives, you have to have a lot of choices, because if you can't get this, what makes you better next? And we're trying to get better.

Q: Does it make sense to get a high-profile player considering the prospects it might take and the other flaws you would still have on the roster?
A: The way I would describe it is that for a two-month rental player, I would not anticipate that we would give up premium prospects. I don't think we're there. Now, who do you trade? Who are you talking about? Who becomes available? What is part of a bigger deal, all those type things? But that's not what we're really trying to do. I don't think we're there.

Q: Does ownership support mean you can go over the luxury tax?
A: I really wouldn't get into that publicly. But I would tell you that ownership here is very supportive of trying to win.

Q: If you get a closer, could you move Suárez into the rotation?
I guess it depends upon what would happen at the Deadline. I mean, we think he can do either. I don't think we'd move him back and forth between, like, 'OK, we'll start you and then move you back to the bullpen.' Do we think we can start him? Yeah, I think we can start him. But he's also very valuable to us out there right now.

I guess it would be something that we would talk about. I wouldn't say we'd do it either way, but I don't think we've been confronted with it at this point. If you were to say to me, 'Next year, what do you think Ranger's going to do?' I wouldn't rule him out being a starting pitcher for us next year.

Q: Could you get a bat if you can’t find pitching?
A: You have to keep an open mind and be nimble. We’re basically connected to everyone, which is all right. Because I do think we’re in a position where you keep an open mind on what's going on. But again, ownership's very supportive. But what does it cost to get certain players? Today's what, the 24th? So we've got six days, five days. It's one of those situations where, it's amazing what clubs ask for a few days ago and what they start asking for closer to the Deadline. You just kind of play that out and see what happens.

Q: Does Cole Hamels make sense for you?
A: We saw him. We liked him. He threw the ball well. I think what we have to factor in is, what can we do now knowing that Cole, as much as we like him, might not be ready for 30 to 40 days? Because if you sign him, you're basically telling him you're giving him a spot in the rotation. I don't know right now if we are in the spot where I can 100 percent say that. In five days, six days, will I be able say that? Perhaps.

Q: Is there ownership pressure to end the postseason drought?
A: The way I would say it is, I can feel how badly they would like it to end. And I get it. Not just them, but other people in the organization. But I have not felt any pressure at all. They've been fantastic. Very supportive. Do things that are smart, do things that are right. But we also don't want to do things that are foolish. So I have not felt pressure like that at all.