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July 29, 2021

Live MLB trade rumors: Will Phillies get in on 'crazy' bullpen market ahead of deadline?

UPDATE [2:50 p.m.] — A few hours after Brad Hand was dealt to the Blue Jays earlier in the day — prior to the first game of a doubleheader against the Phillies — another bullpen arm has come off the board. And this time it's one who the Phillies could have been targeting ahead of Friday's trade deadline.

The Phillies dropped that opener to the Nats and fell to 50-51 on the season, 4.5 games behind the Mets. But they could shortly move back to four games back as New York trails Atlanta, 6-3, in the ninth inning.


The MLB trade deadline is tomorrow. And the Phillies have yet to make a move. Well, they did, but... um, you know. Will they address any of their needs before it's too late?

A lot could hinge on what the Phillies do Thursday in their doubleheader against the Nationals (after Wednesday night's game was postponed due to a COVID outbreak in the Washington clubhouse). The Phillies are currently four games behind the Mets for the division lead, but could be as many as 5.5 back by the end of play on Thursday. Or, they could be as close as 2.5 games back with 60 left to play. And they have a three-game set with the Mets on tap later next week. 

The Phillies, who have the second-best odds in the NL East at +450 according to BetMGM on Pickswise, have been linked to outfield help in Starling Marte and Byron Buxton, but the former was dealt on Wednesday and the latter is injured, making an offseason deal more likely than a deadline one. They've been linked to starting pitching, like Tyler Anderson, who they thought they had acquired on Tuesday before that deal fell apart and he was sent to the Mariners instead. 

The starting pitching market was always going to be tough, as there have been a lot of contenders rumored to be looking for rotational upgrades and not many options for them to target. And it seemed like any move the Phillies did make would be for depth. The outfield help is another tricky one, given that their corner outfield spots are spoken for and upgrading the lineup isn't as big of a priority as the pitching.

But then there's the bullpen, where the Phillies could seemingly always use help. There's expected to be a ton of movement in that area over the coming day-plus, with some big names available — as well as some cheaper depth pieces that could make more sense for a Phillies team that might be more than a couple of pieces from true contention. 

However, there are also apparently a lot of teams looking for bullpen help. 

It's interesting that Feinsand didn't mention the Phillies in his list of teams that are looking for help, especially since they've already been linked to a few of the players he listed, like Kimbrel, Rodriguez and Tepera. Maybe he just overlooked them, as they're relatively far down the pecking order of legit contenders. Or maybe Dave Dombrowski has cooled on the idea of being a buyer and has instead decided to stand pat at the deadline? 

That's not likely, given that as recently as Tuesday night the Phillies had scouts checking in on the Orioles bullpen. Here's more from Roch Kubatko of

The Phillies have been scouting the Orioles with an eye toward the bullpen. Paul Fry and Tanner Scott are attracting the most interest and the Phillies are in the market for relief help. Cole Sulser and Dillon Tate also are possibilities to be dealt.

Given the number of former Orioles employees now working for the Phillies, the scouting feels more like a refresher.  []

Is Dombrowski simply waiting to see how these final two games play out before he's forced to make a decision? With so many teams involved, would that be a mistake? Or would the bigger mistake be using a two-game sample to decide whether or not you're a buyer? 

Friday's deadline is rapidly approaching, so be sure to keep it locked right here for the latest news and rumors surrounding the Phillies and the rest of Major League Baseball... 

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