We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag.  Each week we take your questions and answer them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill.  Tune in Tuesday at 2:30 to have us answer your questions.

Does management truly believe that with a healthy team they will contend? Things seemed to be ok when everyone was in the line up at the start but then everything fell apart.
~Dave

The Phillies had Bryce Harper back for two games and so far the Phillies have won both.  A while back I did the math and realized that the Phillies are 10-8 when Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Didi Gregorius, and Jean Segura were all in the lineup together.  That's probably not a coincidence.

The dominoes falling as the result of these injuries led to other problems.  Brad Miller, a strong bat who can temporarily fill in at many positions, ended up playing the outfield regularly.  His defensive strong suit is not in right field.

And then the Phillies did not have Miller to spell Andrew McCutchen in left field, Jean Segura at second base, and Alec Bohm at third base.  All had to play every day, without a break.  Perhaps the day off would have helped each player.

Andrew Knapp and Rafael Marchan are not the same as having Realmuto in the lineup.  Same for Nick Maton at shortstop instead of Gregorius.  Maton was in an 0 for 20 funk when he was sent down.

I think getting the Phillies back to full-strength will have many benefits.  When Adam Haseley returns, he can spell McCutchen in left some, too.  That is defense the Phillies can be comfortable with.

What will it take for The Phillies and Dombrowski to be buyers at The Trade Deadline? Will it be determined by amount of games out of playoffs? If they're sellers, who will be the top trade piece?
~Kevin

 

I think the first thing that has to happen is what we discussed above: the Phillies must be a healthy team.  Then, after they have several weeks to play as such, the Phillies can have a better sense of who they are and what they need.

That said, I would be looking for stronger solutions in the outfield and infield, players who might not be starters but can hold down the fort if necessary.

I think of a Freddy Galvis-type for the infield.  Galvis could fill in at shortstop if Gregorius has lingering injury issues.  Or, he could serve as a late-inning defensive option at third base.

Galvis is batting just .250, but has nine home runs.  His glove, however, would be what the Phillies can use.  His $1.5 million salary will not break the bank, and he probably won't cost too much in terms of prospects.

And in the outfield, a left-handed bat if Matt Joyce cannot pick up the pace.  The Phillies signed Joyce with the idea he could be someone who can spell McCutchen in left field from the left side.  McCutchen's splits indicate that he might be someone who benefits from a platoon partner.

Not that I am trying to only bring up ex-Phillies, but a Corey Dickerson-type might fit the bill.  I'm not sure Dickerson himself would be an option due to his $9.5 million salary.  But Phillies fans saw him play a couple years ago and someone like him might be helpful.

Pitching is always good, if the Phillies can get it.  Starter or reliever, the Phillies could stand to get the best player they can.

But what I don't think will happen is that the Phillies will give up any prospects of great value.  The Phillies wish to get better, not just now, but in the long-term.  To do so, they'll need some of their prospects to rise through the system and not exit.

I expect the Phillies to hang around, but also expect a conservative approach in terms of prospects.  And, the Phillies don't have a lot of money to spend, either.  I think they'll be in it, but won't go too far with trading prospects or exceeding the Competitive Balance Tax threshold.

I just saw the Scott Kingery news. That was off my radar. Who will replace him on the 40 man?
~Van

I advocated for the Phillies to make this move at the end of Spring Training.  When a player is outrighted off of the 40-man roster, all 29 teams have the chance to claim him. After a poor Spring Training and 39 at bats over the major leagues and Triple-A, the Phillies finally made the move.

Could the Phillies have had a chance to unload the $17 million-plus that Kingery is owed if they made the move back then?  Maybe.  But I'm not sure just over 80 at bats more would change anyone's mind.

The Phillies have one space now on the 40-man roster.  That could come in two ways: Either outfielder Adam Haseley or super-utility player Luke Williams.

Williams was named the defensive player of the month in the Phillies season last month. Williams plays all infield and outfield positions, and on top of that was batting .352.  But there's more.

Williams was on Team USA's qualifier team, and led the team in hits, despite veterans such as Todd Frazier and Matt Kemp being his teammates.

The Phillies are down an infield option and bench bat with Nick Maton being optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday.  Williams would help the Phillies in the infield, and offer a right-handed bench bat.  With Ronald Torreyes starting at the moment and Roman Quinn on the injured list, the bench has been thin from the right side.

Haseley, meanwhile, is batting .250 (4 for 16) since beginning a rehab assignment at Lehigh Valley.  However, that might be a separate transaction.  Haseley is due to be reinstated to the 40-man roster by the end of the week.

But would keeping an extra left-handed bat around make sense?  Technically the Phillies have two free 40-man roster spots with David Hale and Chase Anderson on the COVID-related injured list.  If their time on the list persists, there's at least a roster spot.

The Phillies could designate Hale or Travis Jankowski for assignment to clear a space.  Jankowski and Haseley on the major league roster might be a little redundant.

But today: Williams seems to make the most sense, unless there's an acquisition taking place of some sort.