Lost in the shuffle of offseason trades and signings was the elimination of the August 31st waiver trade deadline. That means July 31st is last opportunity for teams to make trades.
We are less than a week away from the deadline and the Phillies are still in a weird place. They’re 5.5 games back in the division and 1 game back of both wild card spots. A couple of days ago, Matt Klentak said any deals would be similar to what the 2007/2008 Phillies made.
In a piece by Scott Lauber of the Inquirer, Matt Klentak said, “I think in a lot of respects the record at the deadline and your proximity to the playoffs will dictate what you do.”
That’s where things could get interesting this weekend. The Phillies play division leaders, the Atlanta Braves, in a 3-game set. Coming into the series, the Phillies will have decent momentum, coming off a quick 4-1 road trip. Atlanta will not have the same momentum that they had the last time the Phillies saw the Braves.
The Braves lost their last 2 games against the lowly Royals and are 4-6 in their last 10 games. The pitching matchups in the series will be the key to the Phillies success.
On Friday night, Jake Arrieta will oppose rookie phenom, Mike Soroka.
On Saturday, Zach Eflin will face 10-game winner and artery-clogging fast food menu item Max Fried.
In the finale, it will be Aaron Nola against the disappointing Kevin Gausman.
The key for the Phillies will be winning at least 1 of the first 2 games. Aaron Nola looks like a slam dunk on paper, although with the Phillies anything can happen.
If the Phillies can with the series, there’s a good chance that they’ll find themselves in second place again. The Nationals will be playing a series against the Dodgers in a 3-game set.
Let’s look at the extreme possibilities for the Phillies after this weekend. We’ll get the bad mojo out of the way first. If the Phillies are swept, they’ll be 8 1/2 games back of first place. If the Nationals win their series, the Phillies would be 3 games back of second place as well.
Now for the fun scenario.
If the Phillies sweep the Braves, they’d be 2.5 games back of first in the NL East. If the Nationals lose their series 1-2, the Phillies would jump the Nationals in the standings and in the wild card.
Winning the series could be the difference between the Phillies trading for a 4-starter or them trading for a 2 or an ace. If the Phillies are swept, they might just stand pat at the deadline.
It all depends on this weekend.
Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports