The Phillies improved their team as much as anybody this week when they acquired Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco from the Indians for prospects Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson and Jason Knapp. They bolstered their rotation with Lee, who won the 2008 American League Cy Young Award. They added a much-needed right-handed bat to their bench with Francisco.
"We're pretty happy with how it went," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Friday.But not completely satisfied, either. The Phillies still have room to improve, and Amaro said they were close to another trade before the 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline. Amaro wouldn't say what it was, but a good guess is another bench player like Francisco because the Phillies seem to have a plethora of arms in the rotation and bullpen. The Phillies can continue to try to make trades through Aug. 31 and still have those players eligible for postseason play. But players traded from the 40-man roster through the end of the season must clear waivers first. That means the player must be offered to teams in reverse order of standings. If he is claimed, he cannot be traded. If he clears waivers, he can. The Phillies have had success in recent seasons in making waiver trades. There was Matt Stairs and Scott Eyre in 2008, and Jamie Moyer, Jeff Conine and Jose Hernandez in 2006. "It's possible," Amaro said of a waiver trade. "But you never know which guys will get through the waiver process. But we'll certainly keep an eye on the waiver wire and see if there are ways to improve. Our needs might change as we go through the next month." Looking on the bench, Francisco and Stairs solidify the outfield, Greg Dobbs is one of the team's most potent pinch-hitters and the Phillies like Paul Bako as Carlos Ruiz's backup. Phillies utility player Eric Bruntlett has struggled. He is hitting .123 (10-for-81) with six RBIs in 55 games this season. "Unfortunately for Brunt and fortunately for us, everybody has stayed healthy in the infield," Amaro said. "He's not serving the same role as he was last year when he was being used in the outfield for Pat [Burrell]. Basically, he hasn't had a chance to be on the field as much, so it's been very difficult to get into any type of offensive rhythm. But he still has a lot of versatility, which is probably his strong suit. He hasn't produced offensively, and I'm sure he'll be the first to admit that. But right now there's nobody who can do that job in our system." Triple-A Lehigh Valley infielder Miguel Cairo is hitting .296 (69-for-233) with four homers and 26 RBIs, but the Phillies don't feel he can play shortstop as well as Bruntlett.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less