July 23, 2019
By: Sean Fritz
 The trade deadline is just one week away and the question that surrounds the Phillies is what should they do at the July 31 MLB trade deadline. The team has began the second half with a 5-5 record in the first 10 games and has really had their fair share of ups and downs. Beginning with the series defeat at the hands of the Washington Nationals and then a trouncing by the NL's top team in the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Phils were able to rebound from that 16-2 drubbing and managed to split the four-game set with the Dodgers. Following that, they made their way to the western part of the state where they were able to manage a series victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, despite a lackluster output from their offense in two of the three games. The question now is, where do they go from here and what does that mean for the looming trade deadline?
     One thing for sure is that the Phillies need to figure out quickly if their going to be buyers or stand pat, (I doubt they would be sellers). The reason for the urgency this year compared to in year's past is the fact that there is only one deadline now. The past season's saw teams able to acquire pieces through the waiver deadline in August, so there was more time to add value pieces for contending clubs. This year, MLB has done away with that, so that means the Phils have about a week to decide what they will do. If you ask me, I feel like a lot will depend on what they're able to do within this week as far as their schedule goes. They begin it with a quick two-game series on the road with one of the AL's worst in the Detroit Tigers and then, following a travel day Thursday, will begin a three-game set with the division-leading Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. These two series will definitely have an impact on what the Phillies will do at the deadline. Make no mistake about it, I am a believer that the Phillies will do something at the deadline, regardless of how the next five games go heading into next week. The question is how much are the Phillies willing to go in for and who are they willing to go in for. 
    Heading into this week the Phils are 7.5 games back of the Braves in the NL East and only find themselves a half-game back of the NL's second wild card spot. So either way you look at the rest of the season ahead, the Phillies will be in a hunt of some sort, whether that's for the division lead or, more likely, a wild card spot. However the difference between the two will definitely play a role in what the Phillies do at the deadline and how aggressive they are. I'll get more into potential trade targets early next week before Wednesday's deadline. There are certainly a lot of spots that the Phillies can use help in and that's something they'll be monitoring throughout the next five games, games that, quite frankly, this group needs to have not just from a win-loss standpoint, but also from an evaluation standpoint.