But the Phillies remain busy, regardless of their phone situation. A source told MLB.com on Friday they had agreed with Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez on a six-year, $48 million contract, which includes an $11 million option for 2019. The team also is trying to sign second baseman Chase Utley to an extension.
"I'm not going to discuss that," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said about Gonzalez.
There could be many reasons for that, one of them being they want Gonzalez to pass a physical first. He has had bone spurs removed from his right elbow.
The Phillies entered Saturday's game against the Tigers at Comerica Park riding a six-game losing streak, five games under .500, nine games behind the Braves in the National League East and 9 1/2 games behind the Reds for the second NL Wild Card. There seems to be little reason to buy before Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, considering the current state of the team and injuries to Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, Roy Halladay and others.
Asked how one could make a case for the Phillies to buy, Proefrock said:
"Smart as I am, I read today that the Mets think they have a chance. They're right where we are. Again, you get on a run like they have, they've played better of late and you can find yourself right back in it. We've got a tremendous amount of games at home still. We've played better at home. We go back and all the things we've said in the past ... we play better at home and we play better in the second half of the year. Now, obviously, we don't have Ryan. Domonic's out now. Ben's out now. We have some significant issues offensively. But so does everybody else. We played these guys [the Tigers] last night and they didn't have [Miguel] Cabrera or [Omar] Infante or [Torii] Hunter in the lineup. Everybody's going through kind of the same things. It's a matter of hopefully getting on a roll and who knows what can happen?"
While Proefrock would not touch the contract agreement with Gonzalez with a 10-foot pole, he said the team's discussions leading to the Trade Deadline have centered on the team remaining competitive beyond this season.
So even if Philadelphia sells, it will not be going into a complete rebuilding mode. The agreement with Gonzalez and the possible extension with Utley seem to indicate that.
"I think our plan is to be competitive and in the mix on an annual basis," Proefrock said. "I think all the different options that we've considered or talked about internally that I've been a part of have been geared toward just that, remaining competitive and being in the mix continually. We owe that to our fans and we certainly have the wherewithal to be in the mix to do that.
"I think it's going to get busier as we get closer [to the Deadline]. We're going to get together in Philly early in the week and review things and, as Ruben said yesterday, we're going to listen. I don't think it's a decision that's been made whether we're necessarily buyers or sellers yet. I think we'll consider all things that are proposed or we propose."