By Danny Knobler
Yes, the Phillies made an effort for Carlos Beltran, before backing down and allowing him to go to the Giants. Yes, the Phillies talked to the Astros about Hunter Pence, although it appears now that nothing will happen, and the Astros will look to deal Pence in the winter, instead.
And as usual, the Phillies' biggest acquisition this month might well be a pitcher.
The Phillies remain among the teams most interested in Padres relievers Heath Bell and Mike Adams, although like others they continue to complain about the high prices. The Phils have looked at the Orioles and other teams, as well, in hopes of finding bullpen help.
I know, the Phillies bullpen has been among the most successful in the game this year. Their three blown saves are the fewest in the majors, and only one of the three came in the ninth inning. And after playing much of the year with three closers (Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras) on the disabled list, the Phillies now have Madson and Lidge back on the active roster.
Fine. But fast-forward to October, because the Phillies are all about October.
Do you feel comfortable with Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo pitching late in games in the playoffs? Are you sure about Madson as your playoff closer? Will Lidge be healthy and strong enough to help?
People who talk to the Phillies say they're asking all of those questions themselves, and that the answer can be seen in their efforts on the trade market.
The Phillies will likely still look to acquire a right-handed hitter, but it may well be more of a platoon bat off the bench. That could change, obviously, depending on who is available, and it would be interesting to see if the Phillies went after Carlos Quentin, if the White Sox really make him available.
The Phillies didn't get Beltran, and they almost certainly won't get Pence. Don't be surprised if they end up with a reliever.
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