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The Phillies just traded for all the pitchers

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The Phillies are going to get better next season, and they're going to do it by collecting all of the pitchers MLB has to offer. On Saturday, the club acquired right-hander Charlie Morton from the Pirates and five pitching prospects from the Astros, including No. 1 draft pick Mark Appel. The biggest pieces of the Phillies' trades were Morton and 23-year-old right-hander Vincent Velasquez, who could round out the rotation heading into 2016.

Morton is due $8 million next season, which prompted Pirates general manager Neal Huntington to offload the hurler's contract. The 32-year-old hasn't exactly been the picture of health over the last few years. He underwent hip surgery in the fall of 2014 and was forced to begin the 2015 season on the disabled list, limiting him to 129 innings and a 4.81 ERA. Despite the risks, Morton comes at relatively little cost and is capable of bolstering the rotation while the Phillies develop a cadre of pitching prospects.

Velasquez turned out a 4.37 ERA for the Astros in his first major league performance last year, and depending on how he adjusts in 2016, may be used to fill out the rotation or pad the bullpen. However, the Phillies got more than a well-rounded pitching staff in this week's trades. Minor leaguers Thomas Eshelman, Brett Oberholtzer, Harold Arauz and Appel could provide a nice stack of trading chips by the 2016 trade deadline, especially if Appel turns things around in Triple A. It would be foolish to assume that the Phillies have closed the door on further upgrades this season, but at this rate, they might not be stuck at the bottom of the NL East for much longer.

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