PITTSBURGH — The rumors will continue to swirl as the trade deadline inches closer and the Phillies play their best baseball of the season.
The Phillies may decide against paying the price to trade for Baltimore's Manny Machado, but they will try to address their bullpen and could add a bat to come off the bench. And Jake Arrieta, who thought this team could reach the postseason when he signed before the season, said he would not be surprised if the Phillies made a trade this month.
"If you make a really big move, you probably have to give up some prospects or maybe a major-league-ready guy that you don't necessarily want to give up for a chance to maybe have that guy only for a couple of months, and then you don't know if you can sign them in free agency," said Arrieta, seeming to reference the team's pursuit of Machado. "So it's a tough decision, and that's why Matt Klentak and Ned Rice and the rest of the guys in the front office have to really decide what the priority is.
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"There's some areas of need. But having said that, the team that we have right now is capable of winning the division, there's no doubt in my mind. We've shown flashes of it – a well-rounded starting rotation, a lineup that will scratch and claw for runs, and every once in a while we'll put up 10 or 11 runs. We're capable of doing it with the group we have here. It wouldn't surprise me if we did make a move, but how big of a move remains to be seen.
Manager Gabe Kapler does not have a closer, but he has some late-inning weapons at his disposal. And those weapons proved on Saturday to be more than just Seranthony Dominguez.
Victor Arano pitched the ninth inning the 3-2 win after Dominguez handled the eighth and was lifted for a pinch-hitter. Arano gave up a leadoff double and responded by retiring the next three batters. He fooled the Pirates with his slider and challenged them with his fastball. He was excellent.
"I'm a confident guy. I have belief in my stuff," Arano said. "When I get ahead in the count or when I throw that first strike, my confidence level gets even higher. Because I know I have real good pitches, real good stuff. I've got movement on my pitches. I can strike guys out with the slider or the high fastball. I have good velocity."
Drew Anderson will be promoted from triple A to start Sunday's series finale. The Phillies will use Zach Eflin and Aaron Nola for Monday's doubleheader against the Mets and could promote prospect Enyel De Los Santos to start Tuesday. De Los Santos is scheduled to start Wednesday in the triple-A All-Star Game. Anderson, 24, pitched in two games last season for the Phillies. He has a 4.15 ERA this season in 10 starts with the IronPigs.