We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies Mailbag.  We take your Phillies questions and answer them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill each and every Tuesday afternoon.  As your questions at any time to @FrankKlose on X.

Can Phillies get one more elite bullpen arm without giving up core four prospects?

Michael is probably referring to recent suggestions in national pieces that thought that Oakland Athletics closer Mason Miller might be a good fit for the Phillies.  Who is Mason Miller?  Miller is a second-year pitcher with rookie status, who converted from the starting rotation to the bullpen this season for the Athletics.  The results so far have been stellar.

In 15 games, Miller is 0-0 with 8 saves in eight opportunities.  His ERA is just 0.93 and has pitched to a WHIP of .062.  He has struck out 38 in 19 1/3 innings pitched.  That's pretty good.

Would the Athletics trade him?  The team is set to make its move to Las Vegas, beginning in the 2028 season and might wish to build for that date.  Of course, with only 33 1/3 innings heading into 2024, Miller is considered a rookie and the club would have Miller under control through their entry to Las Vegas and then some.

But the Athletics might be looking to accumulate talent with expectations of low revenue the next several seasons.

The trade proposal, as broken down here by 97.3 ESPN's MIke Gill, was the following:

Trade Proposal: Philadelphia Phillies get RHP Mason Miller; Oakland Athletics get RHP Mick Abel (Phillies No. 2, MLB No. 39), OF Justin Crawford (Phillies No. 3, MLB No. 56), SS Starlyn Caba (Phillies No. 5)

I believe that this is way too much to include in a trade for Miller.

Should Miller continue this pace, one of the top prospects from the Phillies system might be reasonable.  I doubt the Phillies would wish to trade either Mick Abel or Andrew Painter.  I think even Justin Crawford might be a stretch, too.  But they may consider Crawford and a lower-level prospect in their system.

With just 25 total major league appearances, it could be fair to question whether or not the book is out on Miller.  Will the league figure out how to adjust to him?  Will he adjust back?  It might be early to come to a conclusion.

It also may be early to think that the Athletics would trade Miller. The argument being made is that the Athletics simply have no need for a top closer.  Therefore, an infusion of multiple players could help the Athletics prepare for the days they approach Las Vegas.

Acquiring Miller now could be risky.  But if he is still firing on all cylinders by the end of July and the Phillies want to go for the kill, maybe they will bite.  But if he is available, many other teams will be interested, too.

There will be plenty of relief help available at the trade deadline; there usually is.  I would think the Phillies add somebody.

What to do with with Whit Merrifield, Christian Pache, and Kody Clemens? They can’t all exist on the same team.

You are correct, James, in that the roster simply does not have enough space for all three players, should everyone be healthy.  Right now, of course, everyone is not.  Trea Turner is on the injured list.  While he is set to start taking batting practice, Turner should be out another 2-3 weeks, minimum.

Last week I suggested that  Kody Clemens might be set for a return trip to Triple-A.  He still may be, but his extended success makes his progress worth watching.  I think we are starting to see Clemens get some playing time over Merrifield in particular; the Phillies might be starting to settle into somewhat of a Whit Merrifield-Clemens platoon.

Clemens, it appears, will have an opportunity to show that he needs to stay between now and Turner's return.

Clemens is batting .294 with three home runs and an OPS of 1.166 in limited action during Bryce Harper's paternity leave and since taking the roster spot of Turner on the roster.

To this point, the Phillies have hesitated to cut Cristian Pache. Out of options, the Phillies would have to put Pache on waivers and he could be claimed by any other team.  Despite the fact Pache is batting just .197 with an OPS of just .504, I tend to think that Pache would be claimed.

Should Pache be claimed, the Phillies would lose out on some organizational depth.  They have Weston Wilson as the next likely man up.

An $8 million free agent and with the ability to play infield and outfield, I believe Whit Merrifield's roster spot is safe.

Clemens currently is at just 28 at bats; a starter would probably have that many in a week.  I think what the Phillies will do is provide Clemens with more at bats to see if he is able to sustain this pace, or if it is just simply a small sample size.

By the time Turner returns, the Phillies might have a better idea of where they stand.

Are the Phillies really a good team or did they just benefit from an easy schedule?

There seems to be a bit of buzz around the game of baseball suggesting that the Phillies have had an "easy schedule" and that is the only thing to account for their strong play, which includes the most wins in all of baseball and a five game lead against the Atlanta Braves.

There are several reasons I think going over the top about the "easy schedule" is a bit much.  Here are three that come to mind.

1. The Phillies have played really well on the road

I remember hearing a baseball analyst years ago explaining that if a good team can play .500 baseball on the road and win at home, they're a good team headed for the playoffs.  The Phillies enter 2019 with a record 9 games over the .500 mark on the road, at 15 wins and 6 losses.

They have played really well at home too, of course. They are 19-8 there.  Add the two up and you have the best record in baseball.

There will be some road challenges ahead, particularly in a West Coast trip that will take the Phillies to Seattle, Los Angeles, and then Arizona for 10 games.  But the way the Phillies are playing, does that really scare anyone?

2. The Braves are not beating some of the same teams the Phillies have beaten

The second-place Atlanta Braves just wrapped up a four-games series against the San Diego Padres in Atlanta.   The Braves lost the first three games before taking the finale on Monday afternoon.  Remember: the Phillies faced San Diego on the road in their home field, and the Phillies swept the Padres.

Then there is the Chicago White Sox. The Braves split two with the White Sox and one game was rained out.

If we are judging the Phillies in comparison to the second-place Braves, the Braves were swept by the Dodgers and lost 2 of 3 to the Seattle Mariners.  Can the Phillies do better than that on that upcoming road trip?  I think they have the ability to.

3. The Phillies pitching is good, as are the bats

The Phillies are winning with a run differential of +80.  Only the Los Angeles Dodgers have a larger run differential in baseball at +87.  That means you're seeing the pitching shutting down opponents and the bats taking care of business.

The Phillies biggest losses came perhaps at the hands of the Atlanta Braves, with a six-run and eight-run loss each. Those outings featured uncharacteristic outings by Aaron Nola and Jose Alvarado, easily their worst outings of the season.

Do we really think based on what we have seen of each that they are about to implode at any minute?

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