CINCINNATI -- The Phillies are making a push for their first National League East title since 2011.
They announced Friday evening they have acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets for right-hander Franklyn Kilome, who was the Phillies' No. 10 prospect. Cabrera solves the team's most glaring need, which is more offense in the infield. Cabrera will be in uniform in time for Saturday night's game against the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
"He has a track record of proven success in the batter's box," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said in a phone call Friday with Phillies beat reporters. "He's a switch-hitter, which means every time he is in the batter's box, we will have the platoon advantage. When he's not playing, I think he'll be a very dangerous bat off the bench. He's an excellent roster fit for this current group of Phillies, and notably, I think, his positional flexibility puts us in a position where we can continue to let our young players play. This acquisition doesn't relegate any of our young players to a full-time bench role, and I think that is important, too."
Cabrera, who will be a free agent after the season, is batting .277 with 18 home runs, 58 RBIs and an .817 OPS this season. His OPS will rank second on the Phillies only to Rhys Hoskins (.879). The Phillies previously pursued Manny Machado, who joined the Dodgers, and Eduardo Escobar, who joined the D-backs, indicating their desire for an upgrade. The Phillies entered Friday with a .628 OPS at shortstop, which ranked 27th in the Majors.
Scott Kingery will continue to play shortstop, but with J.P. Crawford also expected to rejoin the team early next month, Kingery's playing time could be reduced.
"I don't necessarily agree that Kingery will be the one that takes the brunt of this," Klentak said. "I think we really like the way that Scott has continued to develop as a defender at shortstop and we like the way that he's been swinging the bat lately, and obviously, we think very highly of the player. So, I think Scott Kingery will continue to play fairly regularly and Asdrubal will work in at a few different spots and we will make sure that all of these guys get reps, and ultimately, that we are running out the most competitive lineup on a daily basis."
Cabrera is not known for his glove. He has -18 defensive runs saved at second base this season, according to FanGraphs. He played 45 games at shortstop in 2017 and 135 games at shortstop in 2016. He had a combined -15 DRS at shortstop those two seasons.
"Ultimately, it will be up to [manager Gabe Kapler] how we use him there, how we use him at all," Klentak said. "One thing I have learned about Gabe Kapler is that he is excellent at putting players in the best position to succeed and help the team. So, the fact that Asdrubal has a history of playing second, short and third, coupled with Kap's ability to manage players like that, puts us in an advantageous position."
Kilome, 23, was 4-6 with a 4.24 ERA in 19 starts this season with Double-A Reading. The Phillies liked him, but they have a surplus of starting pitching depth in the Minor League system. They cannot keep them all.
"For all the reasons we like Cabrera, I know there were other teams actively pursuing him as well," Klentak said. "To get something good, you have to give something good."
Klentak said the Phillies could make more moves before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. A source said they are still considering a right-handed-hitting fourth outfielder. They have had some interest in Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. They also could look for bullpen help.
The Phillies are not in the market for starting pitching.
"I think this was our most pressing need, so it was important that we got this one done," Klentak said. "Obviously, we still have a few days until the Deadline and we're going to continue making phone calls and looking for any possible way that we can upgrade this club. We will continue to balance the present versus the future with every move we contemplate. We'll see where those phone calls take us. I wouldn't rule out another move, but I wouldn't predict one either."