PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Gabe Kapler made a few notable comments in Spring Training when he discussed the Phillies and their chances in 2018.One of the most memorable?"I think if everybody on our roster takes a small step forward, we have an opportunity to shock people," Kapler said.The Phillies have certainly
PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Gabe Kapler made a few notable comments in Spring Training when he discussed the Phillies and their chances in 2018.
One of the most memorable?
"I think if everybody on our roster takes a small step forward, we have an opportunity to shock people," Kapler said.
The Phillies have certainly surprised folks, including a few executives in their own front office. The Phils will open the second half of their season on Friday against the Padres in first place in the National League East. It is the first time they have held that spot at this point in the season since 2011, when they won a franchise-record 102 games.
The Phillies are there because their starting pitching has been much better than expected. But to stay in first place and make a run deep into October, they will need help. They are working on reinforcements.
Current status: Buyer
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said a couple weeks ago that the organization needs to strike a balance between upgrading the 25-man roster and keeping the pipeline of Minor League talent flowing to the big leagues. But the club's thinking has changed a bit as Philadelphia looks for other ways to improve its 25-man roster.
What they are seeking
The Phillies need a bat, particularly on the left side of the infield. Mike Moustakas and Eduardo Escobar are possibilities. They also could use some help in the bullpen. The Phils may also need another starter, even though that area has been a strength. Cole Hamels is unlikely, but J.A. Happ makes some sense.
What they have to offer
The Phillies have one of the deeper farm systems in baseball, which puts them in good position to make a blockbuster trade. Class A Advanced Clearwater right-hander Sixto Sanchez might be the only player off limits. He is the No. 23 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. But Clearwater right-hander Adonis Medina, who ranks No. 73 in that Top 100 list, could entice any team to make a deal.
The Phillies make a few incremental upgrades to the roster without gutting the farm system. Those moves may not excite the fans, but then dealing for Joe Blanton over Carsten Sabathia did not excite anybody in July 2008, either. But Blanton helped the Phils' rotation on their way to winning the World Series that season.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.