The Phillies have been active in trade discussions, according to many reports so far. The top needs of the club have often been identified as relief pitching, starting pitching, and center field. The Phillies were linked on Saturday morning to a starting pitcher.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Phillies are in "hot pursuit" of starter Merrill Kelly:
Arizona #Dbacks starter Merrill Kelly, who is 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA in his last six starts, is drawing a ton of interest on the trade market, with the #Phillies among the teams in hot pursuit. He is under team control through 2024. He pitches today vs. #Cubs.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 24, 2021
For the season, Kelly is 6-7 with a 4.56 ERA.
Kelly has been performing better and going deeper into games as the season has gone on. His last start, against the Chicago Cubs, Kelly went eight innings, allowing four earned runs. Kelly has gone five or more innings in all but two of his starts, and since his third start, he has given up four earned runs twice, and three or fewer runs the other 15 starts.
The Phillies are currently without starter Zach Eflin, and have gotten inconsistent starts from Matt Moore and Vince Velasquez, both of whom were in the rotation even with Eflin healthy. The Phillies used Spencer Howard on short rest for Eflin's start, for what was called a "bullpen game". Howard has also struggled to find length in his is his starts. To make matters worse, the Phillies are also without long man/potential starter Bailey Falter.
So the Phillies will need to add some pitching. At the very least, the Phillies seem active trying to add it.