We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag.  Each week we take your questions and then answer them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill.  Tune in each Tuesday afternoon to hear your questions answered.

Well you sure got it wrong about Darick Hall, huh?
~James

Yes.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.  The day after I said on these airwaves that I did not think the Phillies would put Nick Castellanos back into the outfield and use two roster spots on first basemen.  But they sure did.  And they did so in a clever way, and by using their financial strength.

The Phillies made two moves this week that added to the payroll in a significant way.  They added not one, but two injured minor leaguers to the major league roster, and then put them onto the 60-day injured list.  Both Damon Jones and James MacArthur will earn major league salaries and accumulate service time while being on the injured list.

That opened two spots, one of them went to Darick Hall.

These shrewd moves allowed the Phillies to do something important:  Evaluate Hall at the major league level with enough time to influence what moves they make at the July 31 trade deadline (which, by the way will come August 2 this year).

Hall has certainly impressed with four hits thus far with his first three hits being home runs.  The Phillies seem to like having him against right-handed pitching.  So he will get a look the next month or so, or, until they need a roster spot.

Then with three options remaining, Hall can be sent to Triple-A and kept for their next need.

What will the Phillies do without both Zach Eflin and Ranger Suárez on the injured list?
~Kelly

The depth the Phillies have will sure be tested the next few weeks.  With Zach Eflin already on the injured list due to a bruised knee, the Phillies really could not stand to lose Ranger Suárez to the injured list, too.  But back spasms necessitated a second injured list stint.

Something seemed off with Suárez of late, so of course it's good to have them get him right.

Bailey Falter already occupied Eflin's spot.  Therefore Cristopher Sanchez will start tonight against the Washington Nationals.  But with minor leaguer Hans Crouse injured, they are out of options within the organization for starting pitching.

The Phillies had an off day yesterday and have another off day next week on Thursday.  My guess would be they would prioritize pitching Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson on regular rest until the All-Star Break, with the hopes that after the break Eflin and/or Suarez will be back.

We need more information as to when they will be back.

But this underscores something I said before: the Phillies will need to make a move at the trade deadline.   I really like Merrill Kelly of the Arizona Diamondbacks, if he can be had.  The Phillies showed interest in Kelly next year, and he is someone who could help fill one of the spots that free agents-to-be Gibson and Eflin might vacate after this year.

What would you do at the trade deadline now?
~Roger

As I just mentioned, a starting pitcher will be my priority.  But the Phillies do have other needs.  Relief pitching is always good, and the Phillies are still down a bat.

A lot will depend on how the next few weeks play out.  In recent days, both Jose Alvarado and Corey Knebel seem to be finding themselves again.  That's huge, especially with Connor Brogdon on the shelf. Andrew Bellatti has been stellar and Nick Nelson very good.

What a relief that is.  But adding more help is always good.

As for a bat, I think the Phillies will look for someone.  Andrew Benintendi was someone recently mentioned in trade rumors.  He would be an outfield bat that would help give the Phillies some depth and some defense.

The Phillies seem to be hanging in offensively despite many injuries.  But more is always better.

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