Mackanin on 2nd half: 'Set our sights high'

Despite possibility of trades, manager wants Phillies to aim for strong finish

Mackanin on 2nd half: 'Set our sights high'

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin relaxed at the Jersey Shore over the All-Star break, but when he returned to Citizens Bank Park on Friday he took a look at the National League standings. He found the Phillies, while six games under .500, only six games behind the Mets and Marlins for the second Wild Card.

"Why not?" Mackanin said about chasing a Wild Card. "Let's set our sights high. Wild Card? I mean, might as well."

Of course, the Phillies are still a rebuilding team, which means they remain focused on 2017 and beyond. And that means they could trade players who could help them in their Wild Card pursuit. Possibilities include Jeremy Hellickson, Peter Bourjos, Jeanmar Gomez, David Hernandez, Cody Asche, Carlos Ruiz, Andrew Bailey and Andres Blanco.

"I don't know how much interest, if there is any, in any of our guys," Mackanin said. "I would assume there would be. Teams need pitchers. Teams need players. I don't know what they would bring. If there is a deal to be made, I have confidence that [general manager] Matt [Klentak] will do it because it's a good deal, not just to make a deal.

"There's no reason just to make a deal, because we still have a bunch of guys in the Minor Leagues that we're high on. It's different in that respect. You kind of knew that something was going to happen last year. This year, I don't know."

Bourjos' running grab

It will be interesting to see how the Phillies handle the outfield moving forward. Odubel Herrera is going to play every day in center field. Bourjos has earned regular playing time in right field. Asche is trying to make his case in left.

Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Goeddel needs to play, too.

"We see an upside [in Goeddel]," Mackanin said. "And he's going to play enough to stay here the whole year and we'll have rights to him."

Goeddel's spectacular catch

Asked if the same holds true for fellow Rule 5 Draft pick Daniel Stumpf, who just returned from an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, Mackanin said he did not know.

But outfielder Aaron Altherr could be back in the next few weeks. He has been on the disabled list since March because of a torn tendon in his left wrist. Triple-A Lehigh Valley outfielder Nick Williams could see a promotion soon, too.

Something will have to give to get Altherr and Williams on the field.

"There already is a logjam because Williams is having a good year and [Double-A Reading outfielder Dylan] Cozens is on the radar, and a few other people and the guys we have here," Mackanin said. "That's a nice situation to be in. That's why it's important for all these guys, like an Asche, to have a big year this year, so he stays in that mix.

"We still have to let guys play and find out about them. But we might as well play for something, have the target. But I still have to play guys and see what they are going to do. We still have to find out as much as we can so that next year we're closer."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.