Philadelphia Phillies: Heath Bell and 5 Potential Trade Candidates

Justin WeltonAnalyst IIJuly 15, 2011

Philadelphia Phillies: Heath Bell and 5 Potential Trade Candidates

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    The Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves look to be the only teams contending for the National League East crown in 2011. The New York Mets are 11 games back of the Phillies, who are 57-34.

    With the trade deadline looming on July 31, should the Phillies pick up another bullpen arm, or possibly a right-handed bat?

    Deadline deals can really put a team over the top, but they can also mess up the team's chemistry. That is a risk you must deal with.

    The Phillies should be shopping for a player or two in the coming weeks. Here are five players that they should strongly consider.

No 5: Chad Qualls

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    When talking about key players to deal for at the deadline Chad Qualls doesn't really come to mind. Bullpen help is an area that all teams can look to improve upon come deadline time.

    San Diego is 40-52, last in the National League West. They will be looking to deal some of their players, including veteran pitchers from their bullpen.

    Pitching, in general, is the most important aspect to a competitive team. That is why several teams will be looking to claim pitching, especially bullpen pitching, in the next few weeks.

    Qualls is 4-3 in 2011, posting a 2.70 ERA. He could definitely sure up the back-end of the Phillies bullpen.

    Qualls may not be the most desired back-end pitcher in the Padres' bullpen, but he could help in the seventh and eighth innings. He does, however, have 51 career saves, making him a candidate to close in the ninth.

No 4: Melky Cabrera

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    Melky Cabrera is on pace to have his best statistical year of his professional career.

    Career highs: 13 HR, 68 RBI, 13 SB and a .280 batting average.

    This season: 11 HR, 51 RBI, 12 SB and a .297 batting average.

    Raul Ibanez and Ben Francisco are hitting .241 and .230, respectively. They need outfield help, preferably a right-handed stick. Cabrera is a switch-hitting outfielder who can play all three outfield positions if need be.

    His playoff experience should help any team he gets traded to. He has played in 22 postseason games, including winning the World Series in 2009 with the New York Yankees.

    If the Phillies are looking to upgrade without giving up too much, Cabrera could be their man.

No 3: Ryan Ludwick

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    A possible right-handed bat to solidify a corner outfield position could be Ryan Ludwick.

    Ludwick leads the Padres in home runs with 11 and RBI with 55. He is batting .242, which is currently better than Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez.

    He is a career .264 hitter with 115 HR and 430 RBI. Ludwick has hit more than 20 HR twice in his eight-year career, including 37 in 2008.

    Ludwick could be that right-handed outfield bat the Phillies have been looking for.

No 2: Luke Gregerson

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    Philadelphia could get the "other" guy in San Diego for the back-end of their bullpen. We have all heard about Heath Bell, but what about Luke Gregerson?

    Gregerson has posted a sub-3.25 ERA in his first two years as a professional. In 2011, he has been much better, posting a 2.61 ERA.

    He pitched 31 innings in 2011, allowing nine runs on 34 hits. Batters are hitting .221 against Gregerson.

    He has three strikeouts for every walk this season, showing great control. Gregerson is a player that won't cost the Phillies as much as Bell would. They won't need to give up a top prospect for Gregerson, but they will need to do that for Bell.

    Gregerson looks like a serious candidate to be in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform come August.

No 1: Heath Bell

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    Another Padre? Yes. The Padres will be looking to ship away players to gain future pieces. Heath Bell will most likely be in another uniform come August.

    Destination Philadelphia? Possibly.

    It depends on how much the Phillies are willing to give up. Will they be able to keep Bell in the future? That is another question to ponder before making the trade.

    Bell has recorded 26 saves in 27 chances in 2011. He is posting a 2.61 ERA in 38 appearances.

    It seems like Bell and the city of Philadelphia would get along pretty well. If, for some reason, he would struggle, we already know that the boo-birds will be out in the City of Brotherly Love.

    Bell is undoubtedly one of the best closers in the game. With Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge and now Jose Contreras all on the shelf, the Phillies are in need of a healthy closer. Will they trade for Bell? Or, will they look for another back-end guy that would cost much less, like a Luke Gregerson?

    Major League Baseball: The best trade deadline in sports.