How the Phillies can improve the bullpen, outfield and rotation at the trade deadline

Richard Rodriguez
Richard Rodriguez is one of numerous potential Phillies trade targets. Photo from Rum Bunter.

To be brutally honest, this hasn’t been a good year for any team in the NL East. All five teams entered the season hoping to contend for the division title, and it’s not a stretch to say that all five teams have failed to reach expectations. But in a weird way, that’s been good news for the Philadelphia Phillies, who remain in the playoff race despite having a losing record. Even with a losing record, the Phillies can approach the trade deadline as buyers, hoping that a few moves could make them serious NL East contenders. But amidst plenty of Phillies trade rumors 2021, what does Philadelphia need to do at the deadline?

Phillies trade rumors 2021

Phillies needs at the MLB trade deadline appear to be on several fronts, which you’d expect for a team with more losses than wins at this point in the season.

Pitching-wise, the Phillies need to shore up the back end of their rotation, which has been a problem for them all year. The pitchers they have there aren’t working and there’s only so much that Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler can do.

Of course, the bullpen might be the bigger issue, as the Phillies haven’t settled on a closer and have lost more games after taking a lead than any other team in the majors.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia offense also needs some work. Third baseman Alec Bohm has struggled to find consistency offensively and has also been a defensive liability. The Philadelphia outfield could also use some reinforcements, especially with Andrew McCutchen starting to show his age and struggling with injuries. 

Phillies trade targets

With so many needs, it’s tough to know the Phillies’ trade targets and what areas they will prioritize over others.

However, there’s a good chance they will be most aggressive when it comes to helping the bullpen. Pittsburgh reliever Richard Rodriguez is likely at the top of their wish list. However, Ian Kennedy could be an option, as he’s been surprisingly effective in the Texas bullpen. Former Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer could also be an intriguing bullpen addition for the Phillies if the Tigers make him available.

On the position player front, Joey Gallo could be the perfect option. He has incredible power, which means he could do serious damage while hitting at a band-box like Citizens Bank Park.


He would likely play outfield most days because that’s where the Phillies have a big need. But he’s played enough third base in his career to occasionally spell Bohm at the hot corner or play there permanently if the Phillies find answers elsewhere in the outfield.

Finally, there should be no shortage of options with the Phillies trying to boost their starting rotation.

Remember that they have Wheeler and Nola at the top of the rotation, so they just need to find some more reliable back-end starters. That should make the job a little easier with Pittsburgh’s Tyler Anderson, Minnesota’s Michael Pineda, and Detroit’s Matthew Boyd all being viable mid-rotation starters who could give the entire Philadelphia pitching staff a much-needed boost.

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About Bryan Zarpentine 42 Articles
Bryan Zarpentine is a freelance writer and editor with most of his work focusing on the world of sports. He is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and still resides in upstate New York.

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