July 29, 2019
UPDATE [4:58 p.m.] — The Phillies have acquired 36-year-old lefty starter Jason Vargas from the Mets, reports ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Jason Vargas has been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, a source tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 29, 2019
In 18 starts (94.1 innings) this season, Vargas is 6-5 with a 4.01 ERA and a 1.272 WHIP.
UPDATE [5:09 p.m.] — In return, the Phillies will reportedly be sending the Mets Double-A catcher Austin Bossart.
Mets get double a catcher for Vargas— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 29, 2019
More to come...
If you were hoping for the Phillies to make a big splash before Wednesday's MLB trade deadline, you might want to dial back your expectations.
The Phillies, 55-50 after dropping two of three to the Braves over the weekend, are currently 6.5 games behind Atlanta in the National League East and a game back of the second NL wild card spot. All along, president Andy MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak have said that they won't go crazy at the deadline unless their team makes a sudden climb up the standing, and with just about 48 hours until the deadline, it appears they'll be remaining true to that — especially with the Phillies playing just about .500 ball since the All-Star break.
Aside from their record and place in the standings, one of the reasons Klentak and MacPhail could be hesitant to spend big at the deadline has to do with all the holes they'd need to fill if they hope to be real contenders in the fall. Dealing prospects for one-year rentals does not seem like the wisest use of those assets. And adding players under team control beyond 2019 will cost an added premium, as we saw with the Mets' trade for Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, a player in whom the Phillies were reportedly interested.
Here's the latest report from Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
According to sources, the Phillies are working on a number of potential deals that would represent marginal upgrades as opposed to big, headline-grabbing deals. This lines up with views shared publicly by club president Andy MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak in recent weeks. Both have indicated that the Phillies are more than one piece away from being considered World Series contenders and for that reason the club will be protective of its top prospects in potential trades. [nbcsports.com]
In other words, the Phillies might add a few guys, but the moves aren't likely to be huge, franchise-altering trades. That being said, Philly may still be active ahead of the deadline, as Salisbury reports, and they continue to scout their options. One option could be second-tier starters rather than top-shelf guys who would cost a bit more. But another area they're likely to address is the injury-ravaged bullpen. Here's more from Salisbury:
According to a survey of ballpark spies around the country, the Phillies have had a member of their pro scouting department watching the White Sox, Blue Jays, Reds, Padres and Giants in recent days. All of these teams have available relief pitchers.
The White Sox are likely to deal closer Alex Colome. The Blue Jays are likely to move Ken Giles and/or Daniel Hudson. The Reds could move closer Raisel Iglesias and the Padres are listening on Craig Stammen and closer Kirby Yates. The Giants could move Sam Dyson or Will Smith, but they could also hang on to them after their recent surge in the NL wild-card race. [nbcsports.com]
Interestingly enough, one of those names mentioned by Salisbury has recently been linked to the Phillies: White Sox closer Alex Colome. At least that's the latest from MLB.com's Jon Morosi...
The right-handed Colome is 30 years old and, more importantly for the Phillies' interests, is under team control through next season. This year, he has 21 saves to go with a 2.27 ERA and a tidy 0.782 WHIP in 40 appearances for Chicago. In 2016, while with the Rays, Colome made his only All-Star Game, and the following year, he led the American League in saves with 47.
Furthermore, according to Salisbury, the Phillies had a scout in attendance when Colome pitched a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning against the Twins over the weekend.
If the injury bug didn't bite Philly's bullpen so hard this season, they might be able to shift their focus to the starting rotation, something they failed to do during free agency this past offseason. But with David Robertson, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter and Seranthony Dominguez — four guys expected to be major contributors out of the 'pen — all currently on the 60-day injured list, they don't have much of a choice.
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