Phils claim Bautista, working on deal with Mets

Clubs have until Tuesday to complete trade; Eickhoff set to return Saturday

August 27th, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are trying to acquire another hitter before Friday's postseason roster deadline.

Sources confirmed Monday afternoon that Philadelphia has claimed Mets outfielder on revocable waivers. The teams have until Tuesday to complete a trade. If the Phillies and Mets strike a deal -- the Phillies would also have to clear a 40-man roster spot -- Bautista will join Philadelphia as another bench option for manager Gabe Kapler.

"We're not there yet," Kapler said before Monday night's series opener against the Nationals. "I don't have much for you guys on that front. He's a really good player. That's about it." 

Bautista, 37, is hitting .207 with nine home runs and a .724 OPS in 82 games since the Mets signed him in May. But it's been a tale of two performances for Bautista. He posted a .921 OPS in his first 39 games with New York, and he has a .592 OPS in 43 games since. Bautista started for the Mets against the Cubs on Monday at Wrigley Field.

"We have been fairly aggressive this month in claiming players on waivers," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "One of those claims led to a trade for a couple of weeks ago. Most of our claims have not led to any trades happening.

"We have added five players in the past few weeks that we feel have shored up our most pressing needs. We are very cognizant of the fact that August 31 is close and that's the roster deadline, and if there is anything else we need to do we need to do it by Friday. At this stage, it's tough to handicap whether that's likely or not."

Bour is sidelined with a strained left oblique. He is optimistic he will not miss much time, but there is no timetable for his return. His injury could be one reason why the Phillies are taking a shot at Bautista.

It remains unlikely that the Phillies will add a starter before Friday's roster deadline. They did not pursue pitchers like Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ or Chris Archer before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline because they like their rotation.

That has not changed.

"We have made claims on starting pitchers, none of which have led to a trade," Klentak said. "The fact that we've made claims on those guys says nothing. It doesn't diminish our confidence in our current group. I think we just have to be smart about recognizing value when we see it. I don't expect us to add a starter between now and Saturday. I don't think that's a pressing need for us. We really like the guys we run out there."

The Phillies entered Monday three games behind the first-place Braves in the National League East and two games behind the Brewers for the second NL Wild Card. 

"I actually think we're in a perfectly good spot right now," Klentak said. "We are a team that has lost 90-plus games three years in a row and hasn't been to the playoffs since 2011. That doesn't change the fact that we have had some really tough losses this year -- not only in the last week, but all year long, and yet we are still where we are in the standings. There are 32 games left to play, seven of which are against the Braves. We are in a good spot. We get hot and play well in September, we can do some damage and play some October baseball. That is the goal for these players, for this coaching staff and for this organization."

We like Eick

pitched six scoreless innings Sunday in a rehab start with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and he will join the team when rosters expand Saturday. Klentak said there will be two waves of roster additions in September. The first will come Saturday, and the second will come following the Triple-A postseason.

But how will Eickhoff be used once he joins the team?

"The way I view Eick, very early on, is easing him back in," Kapler said. "Probably coming out of the bullpen for some longer work, always keeping him as an option to start a baseball game, but really easing his way back onto our roster."

Eickhoff has not pitched in the Majors this season, first because of a strained right lat and then because of a nerve issue in his right fingers.

Sixto update

Class A Advanced Clearwater right-hander Sixto Sanchez, who is the organization's No. 1 prospect and the No. 17 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, has not pitched since June 3 because of inflammation in his right elbow. But he is nearing a return, albeit not with the Threshers. He could pitch in instructional league and later the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost developmental time.

Minor moves

• The Phillies made one trade Monday, dealing Gulf Coast League Phillies first baseman Jack Zoellner, 23, to the Orioles for international slot money. The Phillies selected Zoellner in the seventh round of the 2017 Draft.

• Left-hander Austin Davis (lower back tightness) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Monday with Lehigh Valley. Infielder (broken right foot) will continue his rehab with the IronPigs.