MacPhail, Phillies actively weighing trades

July 14th, 2018

MIAMI -- Is Phillies president Andy MacPhail all-in on a possible trade for Manny Machado?

MacPhail spoke to the media, providing his midseason remarks, hours before Saturday afternoon's contest with the Marlins. Although he never directly mentioned the Orioles shortstop, or any names of rumored trade targets for that matter, he did not shy away from questions about making a move.

"We are just now, right now, prying open the window of contention for the first time in six years," MacPhail explained. "Our stated goal and directive from ownership is being in a position where you sustain potential postseason life. Not just be a one-and-out type of thing. As a result, Matt [Klentak, Phillies general manager] and his department are going to have to measure where we have some depth and where we don't."

One year ago, when MacPhail sat down to chat with the media, he recalled the team was reeling, 27 games under .500.

On Saturday, however, the Phillies are in first place in the NL East, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Braves and poised for a postseason run.

"I was hoping for and expected that we would have meaningful and measurable progress," said MacPhail, on what he anticipated from his club after it stumbled through 2017, finishing last in the division. "I think what we've done to this point exceeds meaningful, measurable progress. The fact that we're a game and a half in first place was beyond my expectations"

Adding pieces to strengthen its roster, as much as it may give Philadelphia the momentum it needs to contend down the stretch, comes at a cost. If the Phillies want to go out and acquire a star player like Machado, they need to be willing to pay the price.

"You're trying to assess where you have some depth and where you don't," MacPhail said. "Where you have some strength and where you can absorb some losses and where you don't [have depth] and you have to react accordingly. So, this is a very active time organizationally."

In terms of acquiring a rental, a guy like Machado who is set to be a free agent upon the conclusion of the 2018 season, MacPhail assured that he and the front office are actively weighing the decision.

While the Phillies would be adding a player that can immediately help the roster, they'd be simultaneously subtracting several key prospects and assets for the future from the equation, all with no guarantee that the rental will stick around in the offseason.

"That's the balance," MacPhail said. "It's an inexact science, for sure, but you try to ascertain what you have that is immovable and where you have areas where you're giving up talent but you have enough in the system to absorb that. And that's how you make that balance, that's how that equation gets solved. You have to have some belief that you have a chance at advancing, and those are the things you're going to measure against the cost "

Bottom line is that MacPhail is beyond pleased with the Phillies' production thus far this season. With Philadelphia tasting contention for the first time in several years, but still needing a bat to shore up the offensive end, an upgrade before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is imminent.

"We're in a different situation that we anticipated, and I think we have to react accordingly," MacPhail said. "We're in a position where we need to augment our current group to try to preserve our place in the standings for as long as we can."