With 13 days remaining until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and his front office are scouring the majors for two primary needs: a big-armed reliever who can provide depth to the back of an injury-ravaged bullpen, and a right-handed bat who would provide some consistent pop in the middle of the order.
Monday afternoon, manager Charlie Manuel was asked which need is more pressing.
"I think we can definitely use a reliever, I think without a doubt. But also I think we could use a good bat," Manuel said. "And when I say a reliever or a bat, I'm talking about a good one. If we can find a good bat and we don't get a good reliever, well then we'll take the good bat, if that makes sense. I want somebody good. If we are going to get somebody, I'll tell you guys like I would tell them, I want somebody good. Somebody that is going to help us. I don't want what we've already got."
Recent reports that the Mets would be willing to eat a majority of the salary remaining on outfielder Carlos Beltran's contract mean the Phillies will at least have the financial ability to swing a deal for the veteran switch-hitter. The only other potential every day players who are likely to be available, at least as far as right-handed hitting outfielders go, are the Padres' Ryan Ludwick and the Athletics' Josh Willingham. Ludwick, Willingham and Beltran will all be free agents at the end of the season. Oakland and San Diego both have relievers who could also help the Phillies, including the Padres' Mike Adams, a 33-year-old with electric stuff who does not become a free agent until after next season.