5 Phillies trade deadline takeaways from Dave Dombrowski


Eight days ahead of the trade deadline, Dave Dombrowski sat in the Phillies' dugout for about 15 minutes Monday afternoon and answered questions on a variety of topics.

Here are five takeaways, mostly related to the Phillies' need for starting pitching.

How Eflin's injury affects Phils' pursuits

The Phillies need another starting pitcher with Zach Eflin sidelined by another knee injury. Eflin has been out since June 25 and there is no timeline for a return.

The Phillies won't wait around or rely on Eflin to fill that void.

"Eflin, it's a little bit of a tougher situation and I do feel bad for him," the Phillies' president of baseball operations said. "He's dealing with this leg, there's nothing really structurally wrong from all the tests that have been done. It's just a slow healing process for him. 

"(Manager Rob Thomson) and I talked to him about it the other day with the training staff. I'd love for him to come back but I don't know when. And so I don't think from my perspective I can just say we're going to wait for that to happen. Last year was a little bit different because (his knee injury) happened after the trading deadline. But I don't think we can just sit here and wait to see what takes place. 

"I'm very happy with (Bailey) Falter and (Cristopher) Sanchez, the roles they've filled. But ideally, we'd be in a position where we'd look to supplement what we have in that regard because of the injury status."

Phillies unlikely to pursue top players on market

The two starting pitching trade candidates mentioned most this season have been Oakland's Frankie Montas and Cincinnati's Luis Castillo. They will cost an arm and a leg.

It does not sound like the Phillies will pursue one of the top players on the market because of the prospect cost.

"Every position, there's premium guys out there, and then there's other guys that could be helpful," Dombrowski said. "Well, the premium guys are probably going to cost you your top prospects. I don't think as an organization we're in that position right now. I just don't think we're there."

Below the tier with Montas and Castillo are guys like Tyler Mahle, Martín Perez, Noah Syndergaard, Paul Blackburn, Jose Quintana, Chad Kuhl, Brad Keller and Jordan Lyles, among others.

Acquiring multiple players from one team is an option

Just like it was last July when the Phillies traded Spencer Howard to the Rangers for starting pitcher Kyle Gibson, closer Ian Kennedy and pitching prospect Hans Crouse.

"We're still going to try to put together something to make us better. So, it could be a combination like that. We got Crouse last year. I know he hasn't pitched as well this year. He's had some injury factors but he's starting to feel better now. We thought we at least protected ourselves in that regard. We tried to help ourselves to win then and for the future. Gibson's helped us this year. He's been a steady force for us."

Sellers are asking for a ton right now

Dombrowski offered a little glimpse into how bold selling teams are with their asks when the deadline is not imminent.

"Where we are at this time right now, you might ask for a No. 5 starter and they might ask you for your No. 1 prospect," he said. "I mean, that's where you are. People have a hard time relating that today's July 25. We still have eight days because (the deadline is) 6 o'clock next Tuesday. That's an eternity at the trade deadline. 

"I talked to one general manager on Friday, a veteran general manager. He said, 'I can't believe these guys are all calling me for this stuff. We're so far away from doing anything at this point!' I'm thinking, 'Well, it's less than two weeks away.' But when you've been doing it for a while, you realize ... the frustrations come with this. Because if you talk to somebody and you're looking for a fill-in guy, a backup utility guy, 'Oh, we'll take your top two starting pitching prospects.' It's like, 'What?'"

"But come August 1, they won't be looking at that same type of thing."

What about Juan Soto?

Dombrowski wasn't asked explicitly about Soto but rather the idea of acquiring a generational talent.

"We have some generational talents with us over here," he said. "I don't know that we're swimming in that market. To me -- and I love star players, I always have, I have acquired a lot of them, I know John Middleton likes that -- but we do have some star players. I think one of the problems that we've had more so is the depth of talent in our organization. So to strip the depth of our talent to add a generational talent -- whomever you may be talking about -- I don't know that is where we sit at this point."

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