PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are going to be busy in the weeks leading up to the July 31 non-wavier Trade Deadline.They should be anyway. They have players to trade, incentive to trade them and plenty of financial flexibility to seal the deal."I think a lot of our short-term controlled players
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are going to be busy in the weeks leading up to the July 31 non-wavier Trade Deadline.
They should be anyway. They have players to trade, incentive to trade them and plenty of financial flexibility to seal the deal.
"I think a lot of our short-term controlled players have had nice first halves," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said about players like Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick and Daniel Nava. "I think that's going to put us in position to field a lot of inquiries, and we are fielding those inquiries. We'll have to see. Again, we'll make trades that make sense for this club. But if we feel like there's not a fit, obviously as we demonstrated last year, we're not afraid to hang on to guys."
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Besides Neshek, Kendrick and Nava, the Phils could trade Tommy Joseph, Jeremy Hellickson and Joaquin Benoit. And who knows? If a team calls about the right player and makes the right offer, they might surprise a few people.
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Hellickson did not have a strong first half, although he had a 3.20 ERA in his final four starts before the All-Star break. The Phillies will not expect much in return, so he makes sense to teams that aren't ready to push every chip onto the table. And the remaining salary on Hellickson's $17.2 million contract? Teams should not concern themselves with that. Philadelphia will pay the contract to facilitate a move.
What are they playing for?
The Phillies are playing for 2019 and beyond, which is why they are expected to trade every veteran in line to become a free agent following the season. They also will likely trade Joseph at the right price to allow them to promote Triple-A Lehigh Valley first baseman Rhys Hoskins. The Phils think Hoskins has plenty of upside, but they can't give him an everyday opportunity until Joseph is moved.
The road ahead
The second half is all about the young players on the 25-man roster and prospects in Triple-A. Hoskins should be up at some point. Dylan Cozens, J.P. Crawford and Jorge Alfaro could be up, even if only as September callups. It would be interesting to see Thomas Eshelman make his big-league debut. Scott Kingery is not expected to be promoted at this time.
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Crawford gets the nod because he put up alarmingly poor offensive numbers through much of the season in Triple-A, but has an .893 OPS in 20 games from June 10 through July 8. If Crawford, who is not on the 40-man roster, can keep that up, when will he get the call? To complicate matters, Freddy Galvis is having his best offensive season -- good enough to rank in the middle of 26 qualified shortstops in OPS -- he is a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop and he has established himself as a leader in the clubhouse. Would the Phillies trade Galvis? Nobody is untouchable, but they had better be sure Crawford is ready to make the jump.
Prospects to watch
It would be fun to see Nick Williams, Hoskins, Cozens, Crawford, Alfaro and Roman Quinn on the field at the same time, wouldn't it? It might not happen this season, but there are plenty of reasons to keep eyes on the Phils in the second half.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.