Talk about a deadline downer.
After weeks of the usual hype — and speculation that the elimination of the August waiver period would spur even more July 31 action — the trade deadline came and went yesterday with mostly a whimper. Zack Greinke went to the Astros in a buzzer-beating stunner at 4 p.m., but Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard, Mike Minor, Matthew Boyd, Robbie Ray, Zack Wheeler, Felipe Vazquez and other notable pitchers stayed right where they were.
The Phillies? They did what they said they would do and what they’ve been doing for nearly two months. They made another small trade designed to improve the roster on the margins, picking up lefty-hitting outfielder Corey Dickerson from the Pirates, and added triple-A pitching depth with Dan Straily. But as far as a real needle-moving move — or one that would solve their starting-rotation problem — well, that didn’t materialize.
Then, the Phillies went and laid an egg in a 5-1 loss to the Giants at Citizens Bank Park.
Quick turnaround today, though, and a chance to take the series with a matinee victory.
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Disappointed by the Phillies’ relative inaction on trade-deadline day?
Fans in St. Louis and Milwaukee can relate.
Actually, few of the National League contenders made splashy moves yesterday. The Braves appeared to be the big winners by reeling in relievers Shane Greene from Detroit and Mark Melancon from San Francisco in an attempt to secure a second consecutive NL East title. Otherwise, there weren’t many impact players who entered the NL playoff race.
If anything, the Diamondbacks essentially dropped out of the running by trading Greinke to the Astros, while the Giants stayed in by keeping Bumgarner and closer Will Smith.
Here’s a look at the additions made by the teams in the mix for wild-card spots:
Cubs: Acquired outfelder Nicholas Castellanos and cash from Detroit for pitching prospects Paul Richan and Alex Lange; acquired utilityman Tony Kemp from Houston for catcher Martin Maldonado; acquired lefty reliever Brad Wieck from San Diego for reliever Carl Edwards Jr.
Cardinals: Traded infielder Jedd Gyorko to the Dodgers for lefty reliever Tony Cingrani, who is out for the rest of the season; claimed lefty reliever Adalberto Mejia off waivers.
Nationals: Acquired reliever Daniel Hudson from Toronto for cash; acquired relievers Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland from Seattle for pitchers Aaron Fletcher, Elvis Alvarado and Taylor Guilbeau.
Brewers: Acquired lefty reliever Drew Pomeranz and triple-A right-hander Ray Black from San Francisco for shortstop Mauricio Dubon; acquired triple-A right-hander Jake Faria from Tampa Bay for first baseman Jesus Aguilar.
Phillies: Acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson from Pittsburgh for a player to be named and international bonus pool money; acquired triple-A right-hander Dan Straily for cash.
Giants: Traded relievers Sam Dyson to Minnesota for three minor leaguers and Melancon to Atlanta for relievers Dan Winkler and Tristan Beck; acquired second baseman Scooter Gennett and cash from Cincinnati for a player to be named.
“When you go into a deadline, I think most contending clubs seek to add the highest-impact talent that you probably can,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “Often times, that’s very challenging at a deadline when prices are so extreme and, in some cases, supply is diminished. In this case, we thought it was important to add to the depth of our pitching roster given the injuries and some of the attrition we’ve had over the last month.”
Sounds a lot like Phillies general manager Matt Klentak, doesn’t it?
The Phillies added Dickerson, but as Klentak said in Matt Breen’s story, it will be up to the superstars who have been here all season to lead any playoff push.
By balking at sky-high asking prices for Minor, Boyd and other controllable starters before the deadline, the Phillies only kicked the can on their biggest organizational need into the offseason.
The enduring image of this trade deadline for Bob Ford: As other teams added players, the Phillies subtracted David Robertson, who will need season-ending surgery.
Hector Neris has decided to drop his appeal with Major League Baseball and begin serving his three-game suspension today.
It has been a next-man-up situation in the Phillies’ injury-ravaged bullpen all season. For triple-A relievers such as Connor Brogdon, that brings new meaning to being only one phone call away from the big leagues, as Angel Franco writes.
Today: Jake Arrieta starts the series finale vs. Giants, 1:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Jason Vargas makes his Phillies debut vs. White Sox, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Bobby Abreu inducted into Phillies’ Wall of Fame in pregame ceremony, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Drew Smyly starts the finale vs. White Sox, 1:05 p.m.
Monday: Phillies open a seven-game West Coast trip in Arizona, 9:40 p.m.
Tommy Hunter recently had season-ending surgery to repair a flexor tear in his right arm. Robertson revealed yesterday that he, too, will have that procedure and might even need to undergo an elbow ligament reconstruction. And Pat Neshek won’t pitch until at least September, and maybe not again this season, because of a hamstring injury.
Behold the perils of signing free-agent relievers.
Over the last two offseasons, the Phillies doled out $18 million for Hunter, $16.25 million for Neshek and $23 million for Robertson. That’s $57.25 million, plus $2.75 million in buyouts, for three relievers who have combined to make 127 appearances.
Send questions by email or on Twitter @ScottLauber.
Answer: Hey, Blaine. Good question. You’re referring, of course, to the outfield logjam that will occur as soon as Corey Dickerson joins the Phillies.
I would imagine that Nick Williams will be optioned to triple A, where he will receive more regular playing time than he will get in the big leagues, especially now with Dickerson in the mix. It has been a lost year for Williams, who came to spring training as the prohibitive right fielder, got bumped to the bench after the signing of Bryce Harper, never really found his rhythm at the plate, and has been shuttled back and forth from Lehigh Valley recently.