Last night, the Philadelphia Phillies made a big yet somewhat expected splash when they received All-Star right fielder Hunter Pence and $1 million from the Houston Astros in exchange for four minor-league players, including their top two prospects—starting pitcher Jarred Cosart and first baseman/outfielder Jonathan Singleton.
Despite the ridiculous comment made by Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. earlier this season that the Phillies "would not make a major move this year" at the trade deadline, Amaro has gotten the job done again for the Phillies.
This is the third major move he's made at the trade deadline in as many years as the Phillies general manager—two years ago, he traded four prospects to the Cleveland Indians for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco, and last year he traded pitcher J.A. Happ and two prospects to the Astros for Roy Oswalt. This year, he got the Phillies the right-handed bat they needed since Jayson Werth signed his mega-deal with the Washington Nationals. And us Phillies fans are happy about that.
However, just because Amaro has made this big trade with Houston doesn't necessarily mean that he's done for the year. While most reports indicate that he's done dealing for the year—he's even stated that he's "very comfortable with the ballclub"—but as we've come to know with Ruben Amaro (as mentioned above), most things he says should be taken with a grain of salt.
The Phillies are now the team to beat in the National League. With a major league-best 66-39 record, not only are they the team to beat in the NL, but they very well could be in all of baseball.
Sure, the San Francisco Giants just got New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran in a trade, who was arguably the best all-around bat on the trade market this year, but he's only with the team for the remainder of the season. And with the Phillies' acquisition of Pence, he's not only with the team this year, but also the next and the year after that.
In short, the Phillies have basically one-upped the Giants.
But does that mean the Phillies will stop here?
Earlier in the season, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel asked for both a right-handed bat and a relief pitcher. While Ruben Amaro has granted one of those two wishes (and the more important one as well), could he potentially look to get a deal done for a bullpen arm?
In the past when Ruben Amaro has made his trade deadline splashes, he has stood pat for the last few days following his deals. But could this year be a change to his status quo?
Prior to the completion of the Pence trade, Amaro had released a list of his top three priority players to acquire at the deadline this year. That list, from top to least priority, was Pence, White Sox right fielder Carlos Quentin and Padres setup man Mike Adams. Now that the Phillies have Pence, Quentin isn't needed anymore, so Adams technically becomes the Phillies' top priority should they continue to pursue other players. But will Adams be theirs for the taking?
Even if the Phillies decide not to go the Adams route, they could trade for a smaller-market reliever like Chad Qualls of the Padres or Jon Rauch of the Blue Jays. It could be very interesting to see which reliever the Phillies get if they choose to go hunting for one.
And while the Phillies' other primary target is a bullpen arm, they are also supposedly looking for a power bat off the bench. They inquired about Jason Giambi of the Rockies prior to his injury and they even asked the Minnesota Twins about the availability of their former first baseman Jim Thome, who is just four home runs away from reaching the 600 home run milestone for his career. Wouldn't it be something if he did it in a Phillies uniform?
Yes, the Phillies have done something special in acquiring Hunter Pence. They've got the right-handed bat they have coveted and they'll have it for two and a half years. But there's still one lingering question: with just over 24 hours before the trade deadline (as of 1:35 p.m. EDT), will the Phillies make another move?
Only time will tell.