PHILLIES NEED HITTING, NOT PITCHING, NOT EVEN COLE HAMELS!

“We’re hoping to stay out of the starting pitcher trade market, that’s one you would like to stay out of,” Phillies GM Matt Klentak said yesterday.

By Sam Bush

The Phillies whiffed on trading for Manny Machado, who went from the O’s to the Dodgers, but they have other fish to try for before the July 31 trade deadline.

And they need hitting, not pitching.

Even though Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP who spent 10 seasons in Philly before he was traded to the Texas Rangers in 2015, is available.

Hamels has a 5-8 record and 4.36 ERA this season and was 11-6 with a 4.20 ERA last year. He has a $20-million team option for 2019 with a $6-million buyout.

Still, he has a postseason pedigree and his splits – as well as a return to the city he still considers home – might be encouraging signs. He is 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA away from home and 1-6, 5.83 in Arlington.

J. A. Happ, a free agent at the end of the year, was an All-Star for the Blue Jays this season. A Phillie from 2008-2010, Happ is 10-6 with a 4.29 ERA.

“I often talk about balance in everything,” said Klentak. “As far as creating a balanced rotation, I’d love to include a lefty. When you have five righties giving you a chance to win, who are continuing to get better and are under team control for a long time (it’s a good situation). …. Ideally, we’d like to draft and develop (a left-handed starter). But if we have to opportunity to sign a lefty or trade for one, we’ll look into it, but we won’t force it.”

Outside of Jake Arrieta, the rest of the Phillies starters – All-Star Aaron Nola, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta – are young and haven’t thrown a lot of innings in a season.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape with all of our guys,” said Klentak. “I’m not especially worried, unless we play to Nov. 1. ….But we’ll take that.”

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