CHICAGO It was just about a month ago that Charlie Manuel expressed his desire to add a hitter before the trade deadline.
Manuels wish list has grown.
Two weeks before the trade deadline, hed like to add some bullpen help, as well.
We definitely could use a reliever, without a doubt, Manuel said before Mondays game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. But we also could use a bat.
Manuel doesnt want just any bullpen piece or any bat.
Im talking about a good one, he said. If were going to get somebody, I want somebody good that will help us. I dont want someone weve already got. We could use a good hitter.
The Phillies have had their antennae up for available right-handed bats for months. The teams need for one is exemplified by its offensive numbers against left-handed pitching .235 batting average, .308 on-base percentage, .342 slugging percentage.
The desire to add a reliever is more recent. Jose Contreras, who was huge in the teams plans at the start of the season, has missed significant time with an elbow injury. (He is scheduled to throw for the first time on flat ground Tuesday.) The team is uncertain how effective Brad Lidge will be when he comes off the disabled list in the next week or so. Rookie Mike Stutes has been impressive, but hes untested in a pennant race.
Unlike the last few years, the Phils face a hurdle in acquiring help this July. They are within 3 million of reaching the 178 million luxury tax threshold and will pay 22.5 percent for every dollar they go over that, so adding salary could be dicey.
Nonetheless, the Phils are looking for help in both areas. San Diego could be a possible trade partner as the Padres have a right-handed hitting outfielder in Ryan Ludwick and several bullpen arms, most notably Mike Adams and Chad Qualls, that appear to interest the Phils. The Padres could also deal all-star closer Heath Bell, but the Phils appear to be looking for more complementary pieces.
The Phils arent the only team looking for a bat and a reliever. Its a sellers market.
Some guys are hard to get, said Manuel, who put chances of a trade at 50-50. Well see. Ruben (Amaro, the general manager) and the front office do a good job at that. Its got to be the right deal at the right price.
Victorino is ready
Manuel said that Shane Victorino (strained right thumb) would come off the disabled list on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how the Phils make room on the roster for him. John Mayberry Jr. has swung the bat well and may have earned more time with the big club. Pete Orr could be a candidate to be sent down, but the team could opt to keep him around as depth as third baseman Placido Polanco continues to recover from a bulging disc in his back. Outfielder Ben Francisco and Domonic Brown both have minor-league options.