DENVER - The non-waiver trade deadline has passed, but that does not mean contending teams such as the Phillies are done tinkering with their rosters as they prepare for the September stretch run and the postseason.
A year ago, the Phillies added the righthanded bat of veteran Mike Sweeney after July 31. Two years before that, the acquisitions of veteran lefthanded hitter Matt Stairs and lefthanded reliever Scott Eyre proved invaluable as the team made its run to a World Series title.
"I look at our club right now, and I'm very happy with it," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before his team's game against the Colorado Rockies Monday night at Coors Field. "We could still use a bullpen piece, but . . . that piece might be in our minor leagues. We got two or three good, young prospects down there. I'm not saying we have to go make another big trade or something."
Manuel's biggest concern with a third of the regular-season remaining is bullpen depth. He does not want to overwork rookie Michael Stutes or lefty Antonio Bastardo, both of whom have emerged as vital members in the Phillies' bullpen.
Adding a veteran for the stretch run and the postseason could be difficult for general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. because the Phillies have the best record in baseball. While that's a nice distinction, it also means they are last in line for any waiver claims at this time of year.
So, for instance, if Colorado were to place someone such as veteran lefthanded hitting slugger Jason Giambi on waivers, the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants would get a chance to claim him and make a trade ahead of the Phillies. At the moment, Giambi is on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps muscle, but it would not be surprising if he lands with a contending team before the end of the year.
If Amaro is unable to get a bullpen arm, the Phillies may be willing to give either Michael Schwimer or Phillippe Aumont a look at some point in August. Manuel mentioned both their names when asked about bullpen help from within the organization.
With Roy Oswalt apparently ready to return to the starting rotation, Kyle Kendrick could be making his final start for a while Tuesday night against the Rockies.
Kendrick is 5-5 with a 3.52 ERA overall and 3-3 with a 4.00 ERA in 10 starts. Those are decent numbers for a guy who opened the season seventh on the rotation depth chart.
"He's done good," Manuel said. "He gives us a chance to win the game. He goes six innings. He's kind of tailor-made for six innings, and every now and then he'll throw a seven spot on you. It seems like we always have a chance to win the game when he pitches."
Kendrick has had his share of problems against the Rockies in the past. His career ERA against Colorado is 5.79. He has a 6.35 ERA in three career starts at Coors Field.
Manuel said he told Houston third base coach Dave Clark during the opening series of the season that the Phillies were going to acquire Hunter Pence from the Astros before the season was over.
"I've known Clark a long time," Manuel said. "He played for me. I told him we were going to get him. He says, 'No, you're not. You're not getting Pence.' "
Reliever Danys Baez cleared waivers Monday and was released by the Phillies. . . . Since Raul Ibanez's batting average bottomed out at .152 at the end of his 0-for-35 slump on May 3, the Phillies leftfielder has batted .278 with 15 home runs and 49 RBIs. . . . Michael Martinez's 15 RBIs in July ranked third among National League rookies. Only Atlanta's Freddie Freeman and San Diego's Jesus Guzman, with 18 each, had more.