Fan’s perspective: Can Phillies pull off big trade without Beltran?

The Philadelphia Phillies have four days left to make one of their customary big trade deadline deals. However, although all of us Phillies fans expect a major move, the chances for that both decreased and increased on Wednesday. Now that Carlos Beltran(notes) is going to none other than the San Francisco Giants, one of our closest NL rivals has another weapon to use against us—starting in Philly on Thursday night—at that. Therefore, Philadelphia almost has to get a noteworthy player of its own in response—but can it?

The biggest need for the Phillies is to get another bat, and Beltran was their best chance to get one. If anything, they had to get him if only so the Giants, Atlanta Braves, or some other contender couldn't, but it didn't work that way. As such, the new goal is likely to get the Houston Astros' Hunter Pence(notes), who is younger, has a better batting average, and could actually stay here for more than a few months.

Of course, getting him at right field would create more questions about Dominic Brown's future. In addition, Pence isn't likely to come cheap, especially since he would be more valuable to the Phillies now. The Astros need prospects to help start over, and they have a history of deals with Philadelphia since Ed Wade became Houston's GM. Therefore, the team with the worst record in baseball may have the advantage in a potential deal with the team with the best record.

How much more of our farm system can we part with—and should that be the overriding concern in trying to win it all now? Now that Pence is the Phillies' best shot left at getting a new bat this season, it may be even less of a concern. But since others are after him, and may also be extra motivated after losing out on Beltran, we might need a contingency plan for the contingency plan.

The harsh reality is that if the Phillies do make a major move before July 31, it could be for yet another arm. We have an overload of pitchers, and even the bullpen is crowded now that Brad Lidge(notes) and Ryan Madson(notes) have returned. However, although the multiple closers have been practically perfect all year, getting the likes of Heath Bell(notes) will definitely make protecting leads easier. Yet if we don't have the offense, we won't have as many leads to protect.

Dealing for Bell would be a coup, but not to the extent that Beltran or Pence would be. After two straight trade deadlines of getting a major arm, it would be nice for Philadelphia to get a bat this time around, yet the odds have now decreased. Still, the reason Phillies fans aren't despondent is that Ruben Amaro Jr. has always had a fast one up his sleeve, as he did when he got Roy Halladay(notes) and Cliff Lee(notes) twice.

If anyone can pull a maneuver that we aren't seeing yet, it's Amaro—and he will need to pull one soon. The Giants already got one up on us with Beltran, and if the Phillies want to strike back, they'll need to get a bit more creative than they had to before Wednesday afternoon.

Other stories from this contributor:

Phillies get early breaks against Giants

Phillies vs Giants, one year later

Is Carlos Beltran a necessary gamble for Phillies?

Phillies still enduring some second-half struggles

Phillies get everything they want from All-Star game

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Updated Thursday, Jul 28, 2011