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Phils Trade Winds Starting to Blow?

Jul 15, 2011, 2:07 PM EDT

MLB trade deadline approaching and the Phillies have a need for a right handed bat and some help out of the bullpen. Can Ruben Amaro Jr. fill the holes in the roster?

The Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline is a mere 16 days away. For a team with the best record in baseball the Phillies certainly have a few areas of need.

Separate tweets by ESPN writers Buster Olney and Jerry Crasnick seem to indicate that a) the Phils may be narrowing their focus and b) opposing teams are headed to the Phils Class A affiliate in Clearwater to scout the arms of the “Baby Aces”.

Lots of scouts flocking to Clearwater, Fla., to check out #Phillies pitching prospects Cosart, May, Pettibone and Colvin, I’m hearingless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Rival evaluators beginning to believe PHI’s current priority is in going for bullpen help,rather than for a right-handed hitting outfielder.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

To date they’ve lost three closers (Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras, and Ryan Madson). Madson is now off the DL, Lidge may be activated in the next week or so (it remains to be seen how effective he’ll be), and Contreras just flew to California for a second opinion on his ailing forearm.

Mike Stutes and Antonio Bastardo have been revelations in the bullpen, but I don’t think I am going out on a limb by saying that the Phils could certainly use some relief help.

Similarly, I am not telling you anything you don’t already know, but the lineup has been screaming for a right handed bat. To date the prevailing wisdom has been that Ruben Amaro Jr. would look fill that need via the corner outfield spot. I am not sure whether Placido Polanco’s trip to the DL changes that analysis at all, but I think we can all agree that they need a stick from the right side.

Further complicating matters is the fact that the Phils are right up against the MLB luxury tax threshold. They do not have a whole lot of wiggle room as it relates to taking on additional salary.

With that being said, if you were the GM of this team which area of need would you prioritize – bullpen or right handed bat? Or are you content with the state of the roster as is?

UPDATE: Olney added later in the day on Friday that, “Phillies are in play for Heath Bell or Mike Adams or Chad Qualls. They have been considered frontrunner to land a SD reliever.”

Photo Credit: Howard Smith, US PRESSWIRE