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Phils Trade Winds Starting to Blow?

Phils Trade Winds Starting to Blow?

The Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline is a mere 16 days away. For a team with the best record in baseball the Phillies certainly have a few areas of need.

Separate tweets by ESPN writers Buster Olney and Jerry Crasnick seem to indicate that a) the Phils may be narrowing their focus and b) opposing teams are headed to the Phils Class A affiliate in Clearwater to scout the arms of the "Baby Aces".

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Lots of scouts flocking to Clearwater, Fla., to check out #Phillies pitching prospects Cosart, May, Pettibone and Colvin, I'm hearingless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyJerry Crasnick
jcrasnick

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Rival evaluators beginning to believe PHI's current priority is in going for bullpen help,rather than for a right-handed hitting outfielder.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyBuster Olney
Buster_ESPN

To date they've lost three closers (Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras, and Ryan Madson). Madson is now off the DL, Lidge may be activated in the next week or so (it remains to be seen how effective he'll be), and Contreras just flew to California for a second opinion on his ailing forearm.

Mike Stutes and Antonio Bastardo have been revelations in the bullpen, but I don't think I am going out on a limb by saying that the Phils could certainly use some relief help.

Similarly, I am not telling you anything you don't already know, but the lineup has been screaming for a right handed bat. To date the prevailing wisdom has been that Ruben Amaro Jr. would look fill that need via the corner outfield spot. I am not sure whether Placido Polanco's trip to the DL changes that analysis at all, but I think we can all agree that they need a stick from the right side.

Further complicating matters is the fact that the Phils are right up against the MLB luxury tax threshold. They do not have a whole lot of wiggle room as it relates to taking on additional salary.

With that being said, if you were the GM of this team which area of need would you prioritize - bullpen or right handed bat? Or are you content with the state of the roster as is?

UPDATE: Olney added later in the day on Friday that, "Phillies are in play for Heath Bell or Mike Adams or Chad Qualls. They have been considered frontrunner to land a SD reliever."

Photo Credit: Howard Smith, US PRESSWIRE

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Best of MLB: Cubs take control in NL Central with win over Brewers

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Best of MLB: Cubs take control in NL Central with win over Brewers

MILWAUKEE -- Pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella drew a bases-loaded walk off All-Star closer Corey Knebel with one out in the 10th inning, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 on Friday night to tighten their grip on the NL Central.

The Cubs hold a five-game lead with nine days left in the regular season after winning their second straight tense game over the Brewers. Milwaukee dropped into third in the division, 5 1/2 games behind Chicago, after St. Louis beat Pittsburgh earlier Friday.

The Brewers had the tying run at first with one out in the bottom of the 10th, but Eric Sogard was called out at second trying to advance on a ball in the dirt. Shortstop Addison Russell appeared to hold the tag as Sogard's foot lifted off second for a split-second, and the call was confirmed on review (see full recap).

Ryan Goins' hidden-ball trick, grand slam lead Blue Jays over Yankees
TORONTO -- Ryan Goins successfully pulled off a hidden ball trick and hit his second career grand slam, leading the Toronto Blue Jays over Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees 8-1 Friday night and ensuring New York had to wait at least one more day to clinch a playoff berth.

With Todd Frazier on base following a leadoff double in the third, Jose Bautista made a running catch just in front of the right field warning track on Jacoby Ellsbury's one-out drive. Goins caught Bautista's throw while standing near second base, then pretended to toss the ball to pitcher Marco Estrada while slipping in into his glove.

Goins turned his back to Frazier, who had returned to the base, and when Frazier briefly lifted his left foot off the base, Goins tagged him on the left thigh. Frazier insisted he had maintained contact with the base, but umpire Mark Carlson called him out to end the inning (see full recap).

Red Sox rally for win over Reds, extend AL East lead
CINCINNATI -- Rafael Devers hit a three-run homer Friday night, and the Boston Red Sox extended their AL East lead to four games by overcoming Scooter Gennett's fourth grand slam of the season for a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Boston added to its lead with the help of the Yankees' 8-1 loss at Toronto. The Red Sox have won 12 of 15, keeping the Yankees at bay while moving a season-high 25 games over .500 (89-64).

Their AL Cy Young Award winner is still struggling heading into playoff time.

Rick Porcello gave up Gennett's fourth grand slam -- a Reds' season record -- in the first inning. He lasted a season-low four innings, turning a 5-4 lead over to the bullpen. Porcello has lost 17 games -- most in the majors -- after winning 22 last year along with the Cy Young (see full recap).

Cardinals rally past Pirates in 9th
PITTSBURGH -- Randal Grichuk scored after an error by Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer, capping a frantic ninth-rally that lifted the surging St. Louis Cardinals over Pittsburgh 4-3 on Friday night.

The playoff-chasing Cardinals won their fifth straight, despite trailing by a run entering the ninth.

Stephen Piscotty led off with a double to right against closer Felipe Rivero (5-3), and Jedd Gyorko followed with a pinch-hit RBI single. After Tommy Pham's single, Grichuk pinch-ran for Gyorko at third. He scored when Mercer misplayed Dexter Fowler's sharp groundball.

Former Pirates reliever Juan Nicasio (4-5) got the win after working the eighth and ninth. Fowler and Piscotty had two hits each.

David Freese had an RBI double for the Pirates, who have dropped eight of nine. Rivero blew a save for only the second time in 20 chances this season (see full recap).

Twins stay on track in postseason race with win over Tigers
DETROIT -- Max Kepler and Brian Dozier homered, Byron Buxton had three hits and the playoff-chasing Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 7-3 on Friday night.

Buxton's two-run double in the fourth put the Twins ahead to stay against a Detroit team that announced before the game that manager Brad Ausmus will not be back in 2018.

Minnesota came into the night leading the race for the American League's second wild card by 2 games over Texas and the Los Angeles Angels.

Kyle Gibson (12-10) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings for the Twins. He struck out six and walked two.

Daniel Norris (4-8) allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Nicholas Castellanos and Ian Kinsler homered for Detroit, but the Tigers dropped to 4-18 in September (see full recap).