Ron Costello

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Phillies used their heads in the trading free-for-all going up to the July 31 deadline. After 4 p.m., Tuesday, a trade player must first clear waivers. That means any team can claim him.

The break up of major league teams in divisions and the two wild-card spots in each league have created a much larger pool of playoff achievable teams. In the AL there are likely four teams that could win one of the three divisions, and three or four teams that are in the hunt for the two wild cards.

In the NL, where the division races and wild card competition is tighter, there are about ten teams still in the division fight and at least seven still competing for the wild cards. Which means more teams — by picking up players before the deadline,  soon-to-be free agents or unwanted players — believe their chances for a division championship or wild card are greater. Real or imagined.

But the Phillies played it smart.

With a slight lead over Atlanta and a five-game lead over Washington, plus wild card possibilities, the Phillies conceivably could have made a stronger attempt to improve. Nonetheless, they backed off on Manny Machado, smart move.

They didn't empty their farm system for J.A. Happ or Cole Hamels. They passed on Austin Meadows, who went to the Pirates. They passed on former Phillie Jake Diekman, who went from Texas to the D-backs.

They passed on other available players. Why? The Phillies wanted to improve their chances — like all teams do with a shot in the last week of July — but weren't about to dip into their core.

Smart. Smart. Smart.

The core I speak of is a group of young Phillies' players — both at the major and minor league levels — that will ensure the team's success in the present and the future. The Phillies didn't mortgage tomorrow.

Refreshing.

But at the same time, they didn't stand pat, either. Showing the players and the Faithful their serious intentions of playing October baseball, the Phillies acquired three good players — DL catcher Wilson Ramos, 30, infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, 32, and lefty reliever Aaron Loup, 30, without taking playing time from the core players and without trading the core's top players.


They could resign all three or let them pass into free agency in November.

I've got their numbers on the charts to the right so you can check them out. Without a doubt all good additions to the team.

So this much it tells us: The Phillies chances for the postseason are that much greater and, the organization believes in this team and simply added a nip and tuck without disturbing it.

Bold.

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