In the last several weeks, various reports have linked the Philadelphia Phillies on the trade market.  They spanned from Zach Greinke to Mike Minor to closers Shane Greene and Alex Colome.  But at the end of trade deadline day, the Phillies walked away with something people did not expect for their only major league acquisition: a left-handed hitting outfielder.

To summarize the time ahead of the deadline, the Phillies have made the following moves in the month of July:

  • Acquire in trade OF Corey Dickerson from the Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Acquire in trade RHP Mike Morin from the Minnesota Twins
  • Sign free agent LHP Drew Smyly
  • Acquire in trade LHP Jason Vargas from the New York Mets
  • Sign free agent RHP Blake Parker

Heading into the trade deadline, Phillies president Andy MacPhail told NBC Sports Philadelphia that the club would not trade their prospects:

“Our ownership has been pretty clear and they've demonstrated by their actions that salary is not something that is going to be — it has to make some sense, but that's not going to be something that's going to hold us back,” MacPhail said. “I think from my standpoint, I'm going to be more judicious. We win seven in a row on this homestand, I might feel differently, (but) given our current circumstances, I think I'm going to be a little judicious and careful about what talent's walking out the door.”

He was definitely true to his word.

The problem is, the Phillies could have acquired pitching that would help them next season, too.  Aside from Gerritt Cole, there is next to no free agent pitching available on the trade market.  Even though the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets are probably not contending in 2019, they each acquired top starting pitching talent now that would help them in 2020 in the form of Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman, respectively.

So where will the Phillies get that talent in the offseason?  The reality is they will probably have to trade prospects then, too.

Meanwhile the Phillies saw their National League East foes get better.   The Mets turned the rotation spot occupied by Vargas and upgraded to Stroman.  Even though the Mets are not without their flaws, almost any day of the week they can match up with any team.

The Atlanta Braves added not one, but two back-end relievers to address their struggles.  Shane Greene joins the Braves via a trade with Atlanta.  Mark Melancon is in the process of clearing out the visiting clubhouse in Philadelphia to join the Braves as well.

The Washington Nationals added not one, not two, but three relievers on deadline day.  The Nationals made a five-player trade with the Seattle Mariners to add righty Hunter Strickland and lefty Roenis Elias.  From the Toronto Blue Jays the Nationals added back-end reliever Daniel Hudson.

Besides the path in the National League East and, the National League Wild Card just got more difficult.

The Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals are all bottlenecked in the National League Central.  The Cubs got the big prize of the day, adding Tigers slugger Nicholas Castellanos.  The Brewers added Drew Pomeranz from the Giants and Jake Faria after adding Jordan Lyles from the Pirates earlier this week.

The Phillies will move forward with a starting rotation of Aaron Nola, bone-chipped Jake Arrieta, Drew Smyly, Vargas, and Vince Velasquez.  Klentak told the Phillies media including Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that the club added minor league Dan Straily, who is headed to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  But that was the lone addition.

Their bullpen may or may not feature Zach Eflin and Nick Pivetta but is without another veteran back-end option to join Hector Neris.  The veteran relievers not good enough to pitch for the Twins will be counted on heavily along with lefties Jose Alvarez and Adam Morgan.

Are the Phillies contenders for the Wild Card?  Yes they are.  Could the win the National League East?  Maybe.  What is lacking is a move that would inspire confidence from the fans that this team could win.  Hopefully the players do not feel that way.