Matt Klentak plays coy about Phillies' interest in Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich

Matt Klentak plays coy about Phillies' interest in Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak, speaking before Saturday’s game against Milwaukee, chose his words carefully when asked about speculation that the Phils are interested in trading for Miami outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich.

“We have talked to each of the other 29 teams at least once sometime in the last three weeks, Miami being one of them,” he said. “But I hope in my career that you will never get me to comment on a specific player.”

He added that the Phillies, while expected to be sellers at the July 31 trade deadline, are “open-minded to the idea of adding, particularly controllable players (that) make sense for us.”

Someone then asked, at least partially tongue in cheek, if they would be OK inheriting a 10-year contract, a reference to the amount of time left after this season on the 13-year, $325 million contract Stanton signed before the 2015 season.

“Depends on the player,” Klentak said. “Never say never.”

The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo speculated on June 17 the Phillies have the money and prospects to deal for Stanton and Yelich, and Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported Thursday the Phillies, Giants and Cardinals “are among teams showing strong interest in multiple Miami Marlins outfielders.”

Marcell Ozuna is the other Miami outfielder attracting attention.

Heyman added, however, that there is “almost no chance” Stanton will be dealt before July 31, citing the stumbling blocks as his no-trade clause and the pending sale of the Marlins — i.e., that a new owner might want to have a megastar like Stanton on hand to build around.

As for the Phillies, Klentak said, “We are open, and we have had conversations with certain teams about players where we would, if you’re looking at it in a binary way, be acting as the buyer. But … you understand that it doesn’t make sense for us to do that for a short-term asset.”

But there would be interest, he added, if it’s “a player that we believe would be with us for a long enough period of time to impact the long-term fate of this franchise.”

In general, Klentak said that “the dialogue has been pretty consistent” with other teams, and that while other clubs have consummated a handful of deals already, the activity should pick up as the deadline nears.

The Phillies did not make a deal before the July 31 deadline in 2016 but shipped Carlos Ruiz to the Dodgers before the waiver deadline at the end of August. This year, they have a handful of veterans on expiring contracts – starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, relievers Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit, utilityman Howie Kendrick and outfielder Daniel Nava — who might be appealing to a contender.

“Whether it’s now, whether it’s August, whether it’s the winter meetings, whether it’s spring training, no matter what, it’s generally still the same calculus: Does this potential transaction make sense for this franchise at this time?” Klentak said when asked about the likelihood of an August deal. “And there are a variety of factors that play into that. Whether a player is likely to get through trade waivers in August is a factor.”

He also stopped short of saying that any of the team’s minor league prospects — prospects who would presumably be involved in a potential deal with Miami — is untouchable.

“For any general manager to say they wouldn’t do anything, just doesn't make sense,” he said. “You really and truthfully don’t know what opportunity will present itself later down the road. There’s definitely players in our system that we’re more protective of than others.”

Giancarlo Stanton embarrassed after Phillies take series from Marlins

Giancarlo Stanton embarrassed after Phillies take series from Marlins

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MIAMI — The Phillies don’t get much respect, certainly not from the best home run slugger in the National League.

The Phillies defeated the Miami Marlins, 10-3, on Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park (see Instant Replay). The Phillies set a season high with 20 hits and took just their third road series of the season.

Seven Phillies hitters had multiple hits. Leftfielder Daniel Nava went 4 for 5 with two RBIs. And rookie rightfielder Nick Williams continued to rake, producing the first two triples of his career.

“It was a lot of fun,” Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph, who went 3 for 6, said. “Double-digit runs, 20 hits — that’s good for every offensive player here.”

Marlins rightfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who went deep again and tied Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees for the major-league home run lead with 30, was clearly frustrated that his team dropped two of three games to the 32-61 Phillies.

“If you can’t win a series against the worst team in the league, then there’s not much going for you,” Stanton said after his Marlins dropped to 42-51.

Stanton hit four homers in this series, three of them that went longer than 435 feet. But the Phillies were able to neutralize most of the rest of the Miami lineup.

“If [my homers] aren’t enough to help us win, then personal stuff doesn’t matter,” Stanton said. “I’ve had enough personal stuff. If we don’t win, it’s not that fun.”

One series is not enough to totally change a team’s outlook, but the Phillies leave Miami feeling encouraged.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said third baseman Maikel Franco changed his approach this week, starting with batting practice before Tuesday’s game, leveling off his swing.

The results, in two subsequent games, were impressive as Franco went 5 for 9 with two doubles, one game-winning homer and four RBIs.

“I’m real excited about Franco’s approach,” Mackanin said. “The past couple days, he has really got a great swing. You can see the results he got today. I think he will stick with it. I foresee a big second half for him.”

The Phillies' surge this weekend coincided with the return of leadoff batter Cesar Hernandez.

Mackanin compared Hernandez’s impact on his team to what Matt Kemp did for the Atlanta Braves last year.

“It’s nice to have a prototypical leadoff hitter,” Mackanin said of Hernandez, who went 3 for 6 on Wednesday. “If you insert one hitter in a lineup, it can change the whole complexion.”

Williams, inserted into the three-hole of the batting order on Tuesday and kept there on Wednesday, is also making an impact.

He has 11 RBIs in his past six games. He has four consecutive multi-hit games, and he hit .440 on this road trip.

In addition, he is the first Phillies rookie to hit two triples in a game since Jimmy Rollins in 2001.

Mackanin said he didn’t want to say much more about Williams, who has received hype of late.

“I don’t want to jinx it,” Mackanin said.

Williams, meanwhile, comes across as very humble and quiet.

He said after Wednesday’s game that hitting third is not even something he was doing in the minors this season.

Getting mentioned in the same sentence with Rollins left Williams nearly at a loss for words.

“He’s a legend,” Williams said of Rollins. “He’s an amazing player. … That’s awesome. It’s crazy.”

The same can be said about the turnaround by the Phillies' offense this week, much to the disgust of Giancarlo Stanton.

Instant Replay: Phillies 10, Marlins 3

Instant Replay: Phillies 10, Marlins 3

BOX SCORE

MIAMI — The Phillies recorded a season-high 20 hits as they earned a series victory with a 10-3 win over the Marlins on Wednesday at Marlins Park.

The victory capped a series that was surprising on a couple of fronts.

First, the suddenly hot Phillies offense scored 17 runs in the series. That’s the most runs for the Phillies this year in any road three-game series.

Overall, the only three-game series in which they scored more runs this year occurred at home against the Washington Nationals on April 7-9.

In addition, this was just the third time this year that the Phillies have won a road series. They swept a two-game series from the Seattle Mariners June 27-28 and took two of three form the New York Mets April 18-20.

The 20 hits were the most for the Phillies in a game since 2013.

At the plate
Rookie Nick Williams continues to impress. He hit the first two triples of his career and has 11 RBIs in his past six games. He has four consecutive multi-hit games, and he hit .440 on this road trip.

Daniel Nava was also impressive, going 4 for 5 with one walk and 2 RBIs.

Starting pitching report
Rookie Nick Pivetta (3-5) allowed a first-inning homer to Giancarlo Stanton. OK, every other Phillies pitcher in this series made the same mistake.

But three consecutive throws by Pivetta in the third inning were more maddening. With the Phillies leading 2-1 and runners on first and second, Pivetta threw two straight wild pitches – one high and one low. The next pitch was right down the middle, striking out Justin Bour to end the inning.

In the end, though, thanks to the Phillies’ revived offense, Pivetta did enough to earn the win, allowing five hits, one walk and three runs.

Bullpen report
The Phillies’ bullpen pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings. They also pitched three scoreless innings on Tuesday evening.

For the entire series, the bullpen allowed just one run in 10 1/3 innings. The only run surrendered came off Mark Leiter, Jr. in the 10th inning of Miami’s 6-5 walk-off win on Monday.

Leiter was demoted to the minors after that game.

Injury report
Right fielder Aaron Altherr (right hamstring) is reportedly more seriously hurt than it first appeared. Altherr, who has been out since July 14, was having a breakout season with an .898 OPS.

Infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick (hamstring) will go to Double A Reading on Thursday to start a rehab assignment.

Up next
The Phillies return home for a 10-game homestand that begins Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Phillies will go with right-hander Aaron Nola (6-6, 3.54 ERA). The Brewers will counter with right-hander Matt Garza (4-4, 3.84).

In three career starts against the Brewers, Nola is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 19 innings.