The Phillies made a trade Saturday afternoon that they hope will aid them if they are in contention for the season’s final month, but not one that they expect will help them stay in contention before then.
They acquired Jose Pirela, a 29-year-old utility player, from San Diego for cash considerations. The right-handed hitter was added to the 40-man roster and optioned immediately to triple A, where he will likely stay until rosters expand in September.
“We believe we are going to be playing meaningful games in September, and we want those guys to come up and contribute to be experienced with big at-bats,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “And he had them both with the Yankees and with the Padres, and has had some success.”
A trade for Pirela - a minor move with no immediate impact on the major-league club - would have usually been reserved for sometime in August. But Major League Baseball instituted one trade deadline this year, as all movement must occur before July 31. Therefore, even minor moves are happening during baseball’s busiest trade season. The Phillies are still expected to add reinforcements to their major-league roster before Wednesday.
Pirela has spent the majority of the season with San Diego’s triple-A affiliate and has a .353 batting average with a 1.075 OPS in 55 games. He hit .249 with a pedestrian .645 OPS last season in 146 major-league games with the Padres. He has experience at almost every position.
“I think it’s a real strong depth play,” Kapler said. “It doesn’t mean he won’t be here at some point sooner rather than later. I think that’s always performance-based and opportunity-based. But the one thing I’ll say is it makes us a deeper club. So the idea that guys that come up and take up at-bats for us, whether that be in August or September, are major-leaguers, right? And this was one that has really sparked the mood of the clubhouse in a good way.”