Last night's 13-8 victory over the Atlanta Braves did not need to be that hard.  What started as a brilliant eight-inning performance from starter Aaron Nola that included 13 runs from the Phillies offense and a 12-run lead heading into the ninth inning ended with closer Hector Neris warming up.  Something had to be done.

Beyond the bullpen moves, the Phillies see the departure of 
Nick Williams.

Williams was part of the trade that sent pitcher Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers.  The rebuilding Phillies took back some prospects and a contract back to even out some of the money.  The prospects were outfielder Nick Williams,, pitchers Jake Thompson and Jerad Eickhoff, and catcher Jorge Alfaro.  Matt Harrison has not pitched in the major leagues since the trade and primarily served as salary coming back to the Phillies.

Williams will get a fresh start somewhere else. There may be interested teams who claim Williams or trade for Williams. After showing great promise, Williams was never able to stick at the major league level.  Despite taking part in Summer Camp after a late-March option to Triple-A, Williams did not stick.  His power remained in batting practice, but never on the major league diamond.

Most exciting of this move is  Connor Brogdon, a right-handed pitcher who hopefully will help the Phillies badly in need of help.  Brogdon has earned the praise of new manager Joe Girardi since this Spring.   Girardi has said he will "ease him in", but the Phillies bullpen can use him sooner or lader.

Also joining the Phillies is veteran Blake Parker.  Parker joined the Phillies late last season and returned as a minor league free agent.  He had been in the Phillies alternate site as part of the 60-player pool.  Parker has pitched in the major leagues with then-Girardi's New York Yankees and with the Minnesota Twins.

Reliever Nick Pivetta seemed to fall out of favor with the Phillies after losing the battle for a rotation spot.  The Phillies sparingly used him during game action, and entering last night's game with a 12-run lead should have been an easy outing.  Instead, Pivetta was charged with six earned runs, getting just one out.

Pivetta has no competitive play in Lehigh Valley other than instrasquad games among remaining pool players.  He may have a tough time finding his way back to the Phillies.  Pivetta has a 15.88 ERA to show for his outings this season.

Additionally, the reliever who replaced Pivetta and allowed two of Pivetta's inherited runners to score, Trevor Kelley, was designated for assignment.  After going 0-3 with an 8.64 ERA in Boston last season, the Phillies claimed Kelley on waivers.  They designated him for assignment, he cleared waivers, and stayed in the organization.  The Phillies ultimately added him back to the roster and he was with the club Opening Day.

Kelley departs with a 10.80 ERA and 2.70 WHIP.

Something had to happen for the morale of the team.  There is a clear message of accountability and the desire for the team to win.  Just one game under the .500 mark, the Phillies are very much in the running for a playoff spot, after splitting series with the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves.

If the Phillies take care of business with the Baltimore Orioles this week, they may be viewed as a legitimate playoff contender.

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