Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies reached the halfway point of the 2024 season with a substantial lead over the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. They entered the season with World Series expectations despite a relatively slow offseason.

Dave Dombrowski showed confidence in the current makeup of the group by keeping his core pieces together with no major additions to the starting lineup.

What does the relatively slow strategy and the high demands from Philadelphia fans mean for the Phillies ahead of the MLB Trade Deadline on July 30?

This is a big market team operating on a hefty budget trying to take advantage of a window for World Series contention. Expect Dombrowski to make some deals.

Phillies Have 2 Key Needs

Dombrowski will explore opportunities to land another outfielder.

Johan Rojas began the season in the lineup because of his glove. He didn’t flash enough leather to stay in the majors through June.

Nick Castellanos didn’t meet expectations during the first half of the season. Brandon Marsh struggled against left-handers with a .159 batting average at the midway point.

Will the Phillies look to add a slugger like Luis Robert Jr. or Kyle Tucker for a postseason run? Would they shop lower on the market for Lane Thomas?

Dombrowski has aggressively pursued bullpen help for his past World Series contenders. Phillies relievers delivered excellent performances early in 2024, but will the front office look to load up even more before Red October?

*All stats through the midway point of the Phillies season (June 28)

  • Pitchers

  • Ryan Pressly

    Ryan Pressly stood on the mound and watched Kyle Tucker squeeze a weak pop-up off the bat of Nick Castellanos in foul territory. Phillies fans watched helplessly as the Houston Astros clinched the 2022 World Series and ended one of the most memorable runs in Philadelphia sports history. 

    Could they cheer Pressly just two years later at Citizens Bank Park?

    The 35-year-old former All-Star saved 90 games from 2021-23. He posted a WHIP under one and a modest 2.94 ERA during the three-year span. However, the Astros signed Josh Hader to push their long-time closer into a set-up role.

    The Astros got off to a slow start in 2024. Although they still have a chance to climb back to the top of a wide-open AL West, they also have some incentive to sell veterans like Pressly, Justin Verlander, or Alex Bregman.

    The Phillies have been confident in the closer by committee approach with Jose Alvarado and Jeff Hoffman at the back end. However, would they push both into set-up roles to land a full-time closer?

    “I think it would depend on who’s out there. If there’s a guy out there who they think, ‘Hey, this guy is a closer with a capital C and we think he can help our team and we think we have the pieces to go get him,’ I don’t think that would stop them. It’s not like they’re not going to go after a guy because… (they) don’t want to give the ninth inning to one specific guy. I think they would.” -Matt Gelb on Philly Sports Tonight

    FULL TRADE PROFILE: Ryan Pressly

    Ryan Pressly #55 of the Houston Astros reacts after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 to win the 2022 World Series in Game Six of the 2022 World Series at Minute Maid Park on November 05, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

    Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

  • Ryan Helsley

    The St. Louis Cardinals have dipped from the peak of their franchise height. The conversation at the beginning of the 2024 season shifted to the possibility of the Red Birds selling veteran players.

    Ryan Helsley looked like a prime trade candidate after injuries had disrupted his rhythm as one of the best closers in the game.

    The sixth-year reliever saved 28 games in 28 opportunities during the first half of the season. The Cardinals have stayed in the NL Central race, and they’re in even better position to earn an NL Wild Card berth.

    Helsley looked like a good fit for the Phillies closer to the beginning of the season. However, Seranthony Dominguez might fill the need for a right-handed bullpen option internally.

    The Cardinals also don’t look like they’re planning on selling. Helsley is slipping off Dave Dombrowski’s list.

    Ryan Helsley #56 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on May 27, 2022 in St. Louis, Missouri.

    Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images

  • Zach Eflin

    Why not bring back an old friend? 

    The Phillies traded Jimmy Rollins for Zach Eflin in 2014. The right-hander pitched seven seasons in red pinstripes. He filled a role at the back end of the rotation early in his career and slid toward the front in the final seasons of his tenure.

    Eflin also pitched valuable relief innings during the run to the World Series in 2022.

    The 30-year-old finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting in 2023. He posted a 4.20 ERA in the first half of 2024.

    Destiny Lugardo made a compelling case for Eflin, even if a move doesn’t seem likely.

    Destiny Lugardo on X (formerly Twitter): "Not sure if this will happen, but he checks some boxes: ✅Starter ✅Righty reliever in October ✅Natural Phillie✅Can replace Turnbull and protect Painter next year if you let go of Walker✅The Braves will trade for him if you don't Just don't look at his ERA right now. / X"

    Not sure if this will happen, but he checks some boxes: ✅Starter ✅Righty reliever in October ✅Natural Phillie✅Can replace Turnbull and protect Painter next year if you let go of Walker✅The Braves will trade for him if you don't Just don't look at his ERA right now.

    The MLB Trade Deadline market won’t include too many sellers. The Tampa Bay Rays could be one of them. The Phillies need immediate starting pitching depth with injuries to Taijuan Walker and Spencer Turnbull and right-handed relief options.

    Crazier things than a reunion with Zach Eflin have happened.

    Zach Eflin #24 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during a game against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field on April 02, 2024 in St Petersburg, Florida.

    Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

  • Mason Miller

    Bob Nightengale of USA Today floated the idea in May of the Oakland Athletics trading their star closer Mason Miller. However, he acknowledged the challenges that most teams would have putting together an adequate trade package.

    The Phillies will wrestle with their willingness to trade top prospects. If they decide to move Andrew Painter, Justin Crawford, or Aidan Miller, they’re more likely to pursue an outfielder like Luis Robert Jr. to fill their biggest need.

    If the Phillies decide to pursue bullpen help, Dombrowski will probably look for a cheaper option.

    Mason Miller #57 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the first inning in his Major League Baseball debut against the Chicago Cubs at RingCentral Coliseum on April 19, 2023 in Oakland, California.

    Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

  • Michael Kopech

    The Chicago White Sox might be the most obvious seller approaching July 30. They’ll probably look to move any and all veterans that can bring a return to reshape their latest rebuild.

    The Phillies could look for bullpen help, and Michael Kopech looks like he’ll be available.

    The 6-foot-4 reliever pitched in Chicago’s starting rotation in 2022 and 2023. He made 33 relief appearances during the first half of the 2024 season. He saved six games and blew four more opportunities on his way to a 4.59 ERA.

    Seranthony Dominguez struggled out of the gates in 2024. However, he actually reached the midway point of the season with a better ERA than Kopech.

    All contenders should look to add bullpen depth heading into October. Dombrowski could look to land Kopech for a small price. However, he won’t solve any major needs for the Phillies.

    Michael Kopech #34 of the Chicago White Sox pitches during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 19, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

    Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

  • Hitters

  • Luis Robert Jr.

    When Luis Robert Jr. is healthy, he’s one of the best center fielders in the majors.

    Robert won a Gold Glove after a pandemic-shortened rookie season in 2020. He broke out offensively during the 2021 season with a .338 batting average and a .946 OPS (MLB Average: .728) in 68 games. He missed over three months with a hip injury, however.

    The Cuban outfielder also inspired some confidence for the lowly White Sox with an excellent season in 2023. He hit 38 home runs in a career high 145 games, which landed him 12th in AL MVP voting.

    FanGraphs ranked him the best fielder on the White Sox from 2021-2023 with 14 defensive runs saved (DRS). Johan Rojas is the only Phillies position player who recorded more during that span (in significantly fewer innings.)

    Robert has also averaged over 20 stolen bases per 162 game pace during his MLB career.

    The 26-year-old played only 311 of 486 regular-season games (roughly 64%) from 2021-2023. He played only seven games in 2024 before a hip injury sent him to the IL for two months.

    An underwhelming on-base percentage and batting average last season might also cause concerns with a player who will command big money and a considerable trade package.

    The White Sox will look for a package comparable to the Juan Soto deal if they trade Robert. They won’t get it for a player with his injury concerns, but the question is whether that price comes down enough to allow Dave Dombrowski land the crown jewel of the market.

    Expect the Phillies to come up in all rumors surrounding Robert before July 30. The debates will include plenty of intrigue about the value of top prospects Andrew Painter, Justin Crawford, or Aidan Miller in a potential deal.

    FULL TRADE PROFILE: Luis Robert Jr.

    MLB Trade Deadline Candidate Luis Robert Jr. #88 of the Chicago White Sox hits a RBI double in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 20, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois.

    Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

  • Brent Rooker

    Brent Rooker caused a stir with a stunning performance at Citizens Bank Park from July 12-14 in a series victory for the A’s. He slugged three home runs during a 7-12 stretch with seven RBI. His two home runs in the Sunday finale traveled over 450 feet apiece into Ashburn Alley.

    It was quite a showcase for an available player on a last-place team, but can the Phillies bring the blossoming right-handed slugger to Philadelphia?

    The 29-year-old struggled to meet his draft pedigree before joining his fourth MLB team in 2023. Rooker finally broke out for the Athletics with 30 home runs and an .817 OPS in 137 games.

    He’s followed it up with an even better pace in 2024. Rooker reached the All-Star Break with 22 home runs, 62 RBI, and a .291/.369/.573 slash line. He ranked eighth in OPS among qualified MLB hitters at .942.

    Rooker has played exclusively as a designated hitter since May 30. He played 58 games in the outfield and spent 79 as a DH in 2023. He had a -2 rating in the FanGraphs Defensive Runs Saved metric in both right and left field last season. He followed it up with another -2 rating in fewer games in left this season.

    He’d also command a substantial trade package. The Athletics would likely ask the Phillies to give up Miller, Painter, or Crawford.

    Brent Rooker showcased an alluring prize at Citizens Bank Park, but a blockbuster trade would come with plenty of question marks for Dave Dombrowski.

    FULL TRADE PROFILE: Brent Rooker

    Brent Rooker #25 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates with teammate JJ Bleday #33 after hitting a two-run home run in the sixth inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on July 14, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Oakland won 18-3

    Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

  • Lane Thomas

    The Washington Nationals signed Lane Thomas to a one-year contract worth $5.45 million to play somewhat of a stopgap role with top prospects Dylan Crews and James Wood waiting in the wings.

    The right-handed outfielder has slashed .256/.315/.444 in parts of four seasons since Washington acquired him at the MLB Trade Deadline in 2021. He shattered his career high with 28 home runs in 2023, helped out by a career high in plate appearances.

    Thomas’ numbers dipped to .243/.302/.431 in 51 games during the first half of 2024. However, his hard hit rate has increased while his average exit velocity remained steady, indicating the likelihood that his numbers will progress back toward his career norms through the rest of the season.

    Thomas also brings good speed on the basepaths. He stole 20 bags in 2023, and he’s on pace to surpass that career best in 2024.

    His arm strength from the outfield is one of his best tools. He ranked second in the majors with 18 outfield assists in 2023, and he’s tied for fourth this season.

    The sixth-year MLB veteran has played right field most commonly, but he’s shuffled to center and left at different points during his career. He will turn 29 in August.

    The Nationals don’t have to sell before the MLB Trade Deadline. They held their own during the first half of the season to stay in the mix in a crowded group of middling NL teams. The new playoff structure keeps teams like the Nats in contention later into the season.

    However, Lane Thomas makes sense if Dombrowski shops below the market for Luis Robert Jr. to find a platoon starter who allows Rob Thomson to sit Marsh against left-handed pitchers in the playoffs.

    The Phillies would likely use Thomas mostly in left field, however. He played 73 games in left in 2022, but the Nationals have used him as a full-time right fielder the past two seasons. Dombrowski might have to limit one of his trade target’s skills because of the fit in the Phillies lineup.


    Lane Thomas #28 of the Washington Nationals hits a RBI single against the Colorado Rockies in the seventh inning at Coors Field on June 22, 2024 in Denver, Colorado.

    Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

  • Kyle Tucker

    The Astros built a powerhouse with high draft picks that developed into big league stars. Their core has led them to seven consecutive ALCS appearances and World Series titles in 2017 and 2022.

    Tucker joined the loaded group of sluggers with a breakout effort in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He’s followed it up with impressive home run totals of 30, 30, and 29 in the past three seasons, respectively.

    Tucker is the most attractive of the outfielders named in trade rumors. He’ll also be the most difficult for a contending team to land ahead of the MLB Trade Deadline.

    Phillies fans remember him most for his part in ending their miracle ride to the World Series in 2022. He slugged two home runs in the Fall Classic and squeezed a foul ball off the bat of Nick Castellanos for the final out of the Game 6 clincher.

    The 27-year-old has hit a new level in a contract season in 2024. He ranked ninth in the majors in home runs, fourth in SLG%, and sixth in OPS through June 9.

    After Tucker finished tied for 18th among all major leaguers in WAR in 2023, the stellar power numbers resulted in a surge up the Baseball Reference leaderboard into the top tier of MLB superstars.

    Tucker will only earn $12 million in 2024, a salary that doesn’t accommodate his production, and he’s set to enter unrestricted free agency after the season.

    Five things that need to fall into place for Dombrowski to execute the hypothetical trade.

    • The Astros must be willing to sell their best hitter this season because of their underwhelming start.
    • The Phillies must be willing to trade top prospects they ideally don’t want to part with.
    • The Phillies must have a plan to re-sign Tucker at a number he sees fit on a team that he sees fit.
    • Tucker must move back to left field after executing a successful transition to right the past three seasons.
    • Dombrowski must outbid the Dodgers in search of an outfield bat.


    The Phillies won’t leave any stones unturned on the trade market, and it never hurts to dream. However, a trade sending Kyle Tucker to the Phillies at the MLB Trade Deadline seems unlikely.


    Kyle Tucker #30 of the Houston Astros hits a base hit against Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Texas Rangers during the sixth inning in Game Six of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2023 in Houston, Texas.

    Photo by Carmen Mandatory/Getty Images

  • Randy Arozarena

    A trade for Randy Arozarena would’ve looked somewhat like a blockbuster to Phillies fans before the 2024 season began.

    He ruined any excitement with a brutal two-month stretch to begin the season. However, the 2021 Rookie of the Year hit above his career averages in a refreshing month of June.

    Colin Newby on X (formerly Twitter): "Randy Arozarena Monthly Batting Average:March/April .142May .178June .279 (through the 27th) / X"

    Randy Arozarena Monthly Batting Average:March/April .142May .178June .279 (through the 27th)

    Jeff Passan named Arozarena as a potential target for teams looking to add an outfield bat. Could the Phillies strike? The Rays might be one of the only sellers on the market by July 30. 

    Arozarena remains in play for Dave Dombrowski despite the slow start.

    FULL TRADE PROFILE: Randy Arozarena

    Randy Arozarena #56 of the Tampa Bay Rays watches his home run against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a baseball game at Tropicana Field on June 3, 2022 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

    Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

  • Jazz Chisholm

    When rumors started to spread about Jazz Chisholm, Phillies fans started to listen intently. The former top prospect has shown off some impressive tools in parts of five MLB seasons to become one of the best players on the Miami Marlins.

    He’s bounced around the diamond, but the Phillies could use his glove in center field if they aren’t satisfied with the offense they’ve gotten from Johan Rojas.

    It was a good idea in theory. However, Bob Nightengale poured cold water on the idea. It doesn’t look like Dombrowski has interest in pursuing this talented young player.

    Jazz Chisholm Jr. #2 of the Miami Marlins catches the ball for an out against the New York Mets during the fourth inning of the game at loanDepot park on July 19, 2024 in Miami, Florida.

    Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

  • Tommy Pham

    Tommy Pham made the Chicago White Sox his eighth MLB team in 11 seasons on April 16.

    Pham hit 16 home runs and stole 22 bases with the New York Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2023. He finished the regular season with a .774 OPS, and he earned himself a spot in the lineup during Arizona’s run to the National League pennant.

    The veteran righty hit .279 in 16 postseason games. His home run in Game 6 of the NLCS played a part in one of the most stunning two-day periods in Phillies history.

    The White Sox won’t send Pham to become a key slugger for a World Series contender. However, he could be useful as a veteran journeyman looking for a playoff push late in his career.

    Bob Nightengale pointed out on Philly Sports Tonight that the Phillies have passed on multiple opportunities to acquire Tommy Pham in recent seasons. They probably won’t change their outlook for an underwhelming addition at the 2024 MLB Trade Deadline.

    Praising the current makeup of the Phillies clubhouse has become a point of emphasis internally and externally. They’re more likely to bring in a player who can help the lineup, not add a veteran presence that isn’t lacking on a first-place team.


    Tommy Pham #28 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates in the dugout after scoring a run in the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 9, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois.

  • Taylor Ward

    Dombrowski has built a reputation as one of the most aggressive MLB executives over decades of experience. Landing Taylor Ward wouldn’t be his biggest splash.

    However, like the possibility of trading for Lane Thomas, Ward might make sense for the Phillies.

    The 30-year-old left fielder has hit .368 against left-handed pitchers in the first half. He could provide the right-handed platoon option to supplement Marsh.

    First glance at a .242/.326/.442 slash line won’t excite the Phillies fans looking for a Luis Robert Jr. deal. However, consider that his .763 OPS halfway through 2024 actually sits well above the plummeting MLB average.

    Phillies Outfielders’ OPS Halfway Through 2024

    • Brandon Marsh- .767
    • Nick Castellanos- .662
    • Johan Rojas- .566
    • Cristian Pache- .565
    • Whit Merrifield- .564


    MLB teams can do worse than Taylor Ward in a platoon role, and the 2024 Phillies already have.

    The Angels sat 12 games under .500 at the halfway point. They’re likely to sell at the MLB Trade Deadline.

    Consider Ward in the same tier as Lane Thomas on the list of Dombrowski’s options.

    Taylor Ward #3 of the Los Angeles Angels comes up short on this ball off the bat of Martin Maldonado of the Houston Astros for a double in the fifth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 13, 2022 in Anaheim, California.

    Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

  • 97.5 The Fanatic

    97.5 The Fanatic will evaluate potential trade options for the Philadelphia Phillies ahead of the 2024 MLB Trade Deadline on July 30.


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