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July 24, 2019

MLB rumors: Why Phillies might be wise to hold off on trading for high profile relievers

The Phillies' bullpen was simply excellent Tuesday night, as Philly outlasted the lowly Tigers in 15 innings. They tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing just three hits in a 3-2 victory.

However, anyone who watches the Phillies on the regular knows this is not the common theme. The Phils' pen — including Tuesday — has a 4.79 ERA, 20th of 30 teams. They also have the fourth worst opponent batting average, .266.

The clock is ticking, but the Phillies will need improvement in the bullpen if they hope to contend this fall. Tommy Hunter, one of the team's best veteran bullpen arms, is done for the season after getting surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon. Six other relievers are on the injured list including Pat Neshek, Seranthony Dominguez (recently moved to the 60-day injured list) and David Robertson.

The decision as to whether they should sacrifice prospects for bullpen help, with bullpen help theoretically healing and soon to return on the injured list makes things difficult.

According to, the Phillies have the 14th best chances of making the playoffs as their team is currently constructed — a 35 percent chance — with 10 teams making the playoffs in October. 

Using a methodology they call DOYLE, the statistical website determines how many wins of future talent a team should trade away for one win right now. The Dodgers, Yankees and Astros, for example, have 99 percent chances of making the playoffs, and are listed with a DOYLE number above 2.0, meaning this algorithm suggests they should go all in with trading prospects before this year's deadline.

The Phillies have a DOYLE of 0.48 — suggesting that they shouldn't sell the farm. This seems to be in lock step with GM Matt Klentak and team president Andy MacPhail, who each said they would be cautious and strategic with how they approach the trade deadline.

The Phils have a big, glaring need in the starting rotation. They may have some reinforcements coming in the bullpen. Which could suggest that it may be more worthwhile for them to make a move for a starter, if at all, before July 31. 

With one week to go, moves could be made at any time. Follow along here, live, with our live stream/open thread all day long to keep up with the latest reports, rumors and updates:

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