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 each Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 to hear your questions answered on the air.

Are the Phillies buyers or sellers?

I think that this question came out before Bryson Stott hit the home run that gave the Phillies the victory on Monday.  After the sweep by the Cubs the Phillies outlook on the season definitely took a blow.  But the win against the Braves certainly made things feel more optimistic.

But yes, the Phillies are absolutely buyers.

Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made that very clear on Monday afternoon.  He spoke to reporters about what lies ahead and he seemed pretty clear in this piece by Todd Zolecki about one thing: the Phillies must add a starting pitcher:

“I’d love for [Eflin] to come back, but I don't know when,” Dombrowski said. “And so I don't think from my perspective I can just say we’re going to wait for that to happen. I don’t think we can just sit here and wait to see what takes place. I’m very happy with Falter and Sánchez, the roles they’ve filled. But ideally we’d be in a position where we’d look to supplement what we have in that regard because of the injury status.”

It does not sound like offensive help is that big a priority, as Dombrowski notes that getting Jean Segura and  Bryce Harper back is "like a trade".

But the cost, he noted, is high.   The Phillies will not trade six years of Mick Abel or Andrew Painter for a number five starter.  Costs could (and surely will) come down on a lot of players.  But we are one week away from this year's trade deadline.  Something probably will happen, but as is often the case, it will happen closer to the deadline.

Can the Phillies trade Nick Castellanos?

There were a few questions related to the exchange between Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos and veteran NBC Sports Philadelphia beat reporter Jim Salisbury.  I am guessing that this question had something to do with that.  Before I directly answer this question, I will address questions about the exchange.

Do I think that the question was a "dumb question?" My answer to that is "no.".  Here's why. The elephant in the room was there.

What I think Salisbury did was just simply acknowledge the elephant in the room without saying too much.  By bringing it up, it gives Castellanos the opportunity to say something the writers can carry in their story.  Castellanos did not seem to want to deal with it.

Amy Fadool-Kane pointed to this piece from 2019, in which Bryce Harper acknowledged some boos he heard.  Harper took the opportunity to basically say, "Yes, I would have booed myself too."    It was a good answer that certainly would have helped endear himself to fans.

Castellanos did not appear to be in the mood to endear himself to the media or to fans.

But yes, Castellanos is struggling mightily.  I still think he will be better than this in the long-term.  But the Phillies and Castellanos are in a marriage that is long-term.  And they will have to ride this out.

Besides: what team would be interested in taking one $80 million the next four years after this one based upon what they see right now?

Is Garrett Stubbs the Phillies most consistent hitter?

After heading into the All-Star Break sweeping the Marlins in Miami, the Phillies somehow managed to get swept by the Chicago Cubs at home.  The big-dollar contracts on the team were silent: J.T. Realmuto, Nick Castellanos, and Kyle Schwarber were mostly quiet.  Didi Gregorius is coming back slow from injury.  Garret Stubbs hit a home run.

We have spoken repeatedly that the Phillies need to have their big-money players step up in the absence of Bryce Harper and Jean Segura.   There were moments the "little guys" stepped up and got the big hit.  But at some point the rookies are not going to work out and the veterans have to go big.

I will say this: I thought it was very telling in Sunday's game against the Cubs.  At the end of the game against Cubs closer David Robertson the Phillies let Stubbs hit for himself.  Their $23.1 million catcher Realmuto used to see an at bat in that situation, or at the bottom-end of the order otherwise.

Right now the two most consistent hitters are Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott.  

In Bohm's last 15 games he's hitting a cool .463, and in the most seven recent games he's batting .500.  He has two home runs in those 15 games (though none the last seven).  But there are some signs his high-contact is finally leading to some power.

As for Stott, he his hitting .292 in his last seven games, with two home runs.  The batting average is still below the .200 mark, but has been climbing.  Stott figures to get some playing time at shortstop when Segura returns as soon as next week.

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