By Sam Bush
The major league trade deadline is only 16 days away, and the Phillies’ two likeliest trade prospects were on display last night.
And they played roles in a 5-3 loss to the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.
Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (above) allowed one run through the first five innings before Neil Walker’s three-run homer in the sixth. Phillies right fielder Peter Bourjos had an RBI triple in a three-run sixth inning.
Both are free agents after the season. Both could be had at the right price before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline.
“On most teams, everybody plays GM,” Bourjos said. “Everyone is like, ‘Oh, I’d do this, this and this.’ Here we haven’t been doing it. We’ve really been focusing on just playing and not worrying about it, which has been nice. But I know on some teams I’ve been on it seems like everybody is a GM and everybody sits around at dinner and tries to make trades. We should get this guy and whatnot, but here we’ve been focused and I think that’s probably for the best.”
Hellickson and Bourjos could help contending teams, although returns for them might be relatively modest. Hellickson is 6-7 with a 4.03 ERA. But his experience, particularly his years pitching in the American League East, could interest a team looking to improve its rotation.
“Yeah, it’s on my mind,” Hellickson said, “just when I see it on Twitter or talk to [the media] about it. But other than that, I’m focused every day doing what I have to do to get ready for my next start. Like I’ve said all along, I love it here. I’d love to be here the rest of the year, but obviously I’ve been through it before and know that side of the game.”
Bourjos has been one of the hottest hitters since the middle of June, hitting .404 (36-for-89) with seven doubles, four triples, three home runs, 10 RBIs and a 1.122 OPS in his last 26 games. Combine his hot bat with his Gold Glove-caliber defense and he could be attractive to a contender.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Bourjos said. “You don’t know what your trade value is. I’ve been swinging the bat well over the last month-and-a-half. Who knows what other GMs are thinking and what other teams need?”
But while the Phillies are under no pressure to make trades like last year, they might have incentive to move a player or two, particularly in the outfield and on the mound.
Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr could be activated from the disabled list in the next few weeks. He opened spring training projected to be an everyday player before he tore a tendon in his left wrist.
Triple-A Lehigh Valley outfielder Nick Williams could earn a promotion. He is the Phillies’ No. 3 prospect and No. 56 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. If he is promoted before September, they certainly do not want him sitting on the bench.
Triple-A right-hander Jake Thompson is angling for a promotion, too. He pitched seven scoreless innings Friday against Buffalo to make him 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in his last eight starts. He is the Phillies’ No. 2 prospect and the No. 48 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com.
“I don’t even follow it anymore,” Bourjos said of the trade speculation. “When I was younger I used to read probably every article. Since 2010, my name has been thrown in probably 100 different trade scenarios and I’ve only been traded one time. It’s not even worth it to read them. I’m happy here. Hopefully I stay here and I continue to play well and if something does happen, obviously it’s a good thing.”