MLB Trade Rumors: Phillies, Nationals ‘Acting Like Buyers’ Amid NL East Race

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The Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals are “acting like buyers” ahead of the July 30 MLB trade deadline, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Six games separate the top four teams in the National League East right now, with Passan adding the division’s top contenders believe they can chase down the first-place New York Mets.

The Atlanta Braves announced Thursday they acquired Joc Pederson from the Chicago Cubs. Passan cast doubt on them doing anything major, though, reporting they’re unlikely “to be in the mix for any big names.”

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Atlanta’s postseason hopes took a big hit when Ronald Acuna Jr. suffered a season-ending torn right ACL. Passan also noted how the team has 18 straight games against opponents that are .500 or better, so the playoff window could shut in short order to start the second half.

FanGraphs gives the Mets a 76.2 percent chance of winning the division, but it’s not hard to see why the Phillies and Nationals would feel they still have a shot. The complexion of either team’s season could shift based on a few hot series.

Surveying some of the top players who could be on the market, any one of Adam Frazier, Josh Donaldson, Joey Gallo or Starling Marte could help Washington’s offense. Marte and Donaldson would likewise be upgrades for Philadelphia.

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For both teams, pitching is a clear area of concern as well. The Nationals don’t have a ton of depth behind Max Scherzer, and the Phillies bullpen is collectively 23rd in FIP (4.49), per FanGraphs.

The dilemma for their front offices is that they don’t want to throw good money after bad. Swinging big ahead of the trade deadline carries plenty of downside risk if a team surrenders long-term assets and doesn’t improve its position in the standings too much.

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