Aug 312011
New Phillies OF John Bowker

The Phillies traded for Pirates OF John Bowker (photo: J. Meric/Getty Images)

In need of a left-handed bat for the bench and the August 31 trade deadline looming, the Phillies have traded for Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder John Bowkin.  As a Jim Thome consolation prize, this is a bit underwhelming. 

To make room on the roster the team optioned reliever Michael Schwimer back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

It’s safe to say that if the Phillies go on to win the World Series no one will point back at this deal as the turning point to greatness.  Bowker has a career average of .237 in 561 at bats, though he does have 17 home runs in the big leagues.  Another plus is that Bowker has a .301 average in 73 at bats as a pinch hitter.  And since pinch hitting is the only role he’ll play on this team hopefully he can keep that up.

The Phillies obligation to the Pirates is a Player To Be Named Later or cash so it’s obviously a low risk move.  Really, the Phillies are hamstrung by the nature of waiver-trade deadline so it was very unlikely they could have made a move for an impact player anyway. 

Being the best team in baseball puts them at the bottom of the waiver claim priority order, meaning if a National League player is waived he would be available to every other NL team before the Phillies.  It’s even tougher for them if it’s an American League player — the player has to pass through every other team in both leagues before getting to the Phillies.  It’s why Thome was never going to make it through to them.  Hell, he didn’t even make it through the AL.

Once the non-waiver trade deadline passed it was pretty much a given that the Phillies wouldn’t be making any more big moves.  As it stands now the team is still a near-lock for the playoffs and a true World Series contender.  If the Aces can stay healthy and lineup continues to produce it’s not going to be much fun for other teams to see red pinstripes come October.

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