Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Inbox: What trades might Phils make in July?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki breaks down potential midseason additions
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

Who are some trade targets for the Phillies in July?
-- Al J., Philadelphia

The Phillies need to pick up their play if they want to acquire a top talent or two before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. They are 4-10 since May 26, when they moved into first place in the National League East for a day. Sixteen of their next 19 games are against teams currently with winning records.

Who are some trade targets for the Phillies in July?
-- Al J., Philadelphia

The Phillies need to pick up their play if they want to acquire a top talent or two before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. They are 4-10 since May 26, when they moved into first place in the National League East for a day. Sixteen of their next 19 games are against teams currently with winning records.

If the Phillies' slide continues, there will be no reason to speculate about Manny Machado or Cole Hamels or anybody else because it would make no sense to give up even a single top prospect for a team that is buried in the standings. But if the Phillies steady themselves and survive June, they have a very favorable schedule in July. From July 3-29, they play 20 of 23 games against teams currently with losing records.

:: Submit a question to the Phillies Inbox ::

But let's start with Machado. Sources told MLB.com on Friday that while the Phillies have genuine interest in Machado, they are highly unlikely to mortgage the future for a two-month rental.

Machado is eligible to be a free agent after the season. He will test those waters. Bet on it.

The suggestion that Machado could fall so much in love with a two-month Phillies experience that he would skip free agency and sign a contract extension before entering the market is far-fetched. Machado waited this long to become a free agent. A few more months are not going to kill him.

For that reason, it makes no sense to trade top prospects like Sixto Sanchez, Adonis Medina, Adam Haseley or whomever else the Orioles might want for two months of Machado, especially when he might only guarantee a one-game playoff in the NL Wild Card Game. But Machado's name will continue to be connected to Philadelphia because the Phillies have the prospects to trade and the money to pay his salary.

The better bet is that the Phils look elsewhere for infield help and pursue Machado hard in the offseason.

Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is hitting .267 with 13 home runs, 42 RBIs and an .812 OPS. He will be a free agent after the season, but he will not cost nearly as much as Machado. It would allow the Phillies to platoon J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery at shortstop, perhaps getting a little more production out of them.

Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson is a bigger name than Moustakas. He is hitting .234 with five homers, 16 RBIs and a .757 OPS in 36 games. He missed nearly a month because of a right shoulder injury, and he's currently on the disabled list with left calf tightness, but Donaldson hit .320 with a .913 OPS in his last seven games. He also will be a free agent after the season, but he also will not cost as much as Machado.

Hamels remains a popular name and he makes a ton of sense. Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ makes sense, too. No front office should make a move based on sentimentality or fan reaction, but bringing back Hamels would electrify the fan base. And with a club option for 2019, the Phillies could have him in next year's rotation, too.

Hamels is 3-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 13 starts, although he has a 5.37 FIP. Happ, who will be a free agent after the season, is 8-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 13 starts. He has a 3.43 FIP.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies, Josh Donaldson, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Manny Machado, Mike Moustakas