July could bring big changes to Phillies' roster
'We're not sure about anything,' interim manager Mackanin says
PHILADELPHIA -- Pete Mackanin knows his roster is subject to change.
With today marking the start of July, the MLB Trade Deadline is officially less than a month away. And with sought-after trade commodities Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon on the Phillies' roster garnering interest from contending clubs, Mackanin said it is "probable" that they will be moved before the Deadline.
"The whole point of this year basically is to see young guys, help us get ready for next year and beyond," Mackanin said. "If we can get good deals for Hamels and good deals for whoever else there might be out there, Papelbon. There might be a team that will come after Ben Revere or after [Jeff] Francoeur. We're not sure about anything, so we're going to have to wait and see what develops."
Infusing more youth into the Phillies' everyday lineup has been Mackanin's main talking point since taking over as interim manager Friday. But so far, this youth infusion has only come on offense. While young position players like Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez have had the opportunity to grow in expanded roles, the rotation features mostly veterans like Aaron Harang, Sean O'Sullivan and Kevin Correia, none of whom fit the mold of "next year and beyond."
Mackanin said he is "anxious" for a handful of pitchers in the Phillies' farm system to arrive to the Major Leagues, but said he and the organization have to be careful with exposing young players to the pros too soon.
Aaron Nola, the Phillies' first-round pick in 2014, has already climbed through the Minor League ranks to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he has allowed just three runs in 17 2/3 innings over three starts. His strikeout rate at Triple-A has been higher than it was at other levels and he has yet to surrender a home run since his latest move.
"Everyone's anxious to see Nola," Mackanin said. "And they're just going to pick the time that's right. They're going to pick the time that they feel is most beneficial not only to him but the team."
But before Nola joins the Phillies or Hamels, Papelbon, Francoeur or Revere are traded, another change will be made to the Phillies' roster. With pitcher Chad Billingsley scheduled to come off the disabled list to start Thursday, the Phillies will have to make a move to make room.
The most likely candidates to be sent down to Triple-A are O'Sullivan, who last started Tuesday, and Adam Morgan, a 25-year-old who has only made one big league start since his last start was abbreviated by rain.