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Phillies’ decision not to trade Alec Bohm paying off

Alec Bohm is proof that sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

PITTSBURGH — It’s that time of the baseball season. All you hear about are trades. Trade talks. Trade rumours. Trades that make sense. Trades that don’t. Trades that are made. Trades that are unmade.

As Tuesday’s 6 pm trade deadline steams towards us, it’s good to remember that sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make.

Back in March, Alec Bohm was available for a trade and everyone in baseball knew it. He was coming off a difficult 2021 season and struggled offensively and defensively in spring training. Bryson Stott had a big spring and actually beat out Bohm for the starting third base job on opening day.

Nobody bit on a deal for Bohm, and four months later, the Phillies are sure glad about that.

Bohm finished a sensational month of July in Sunday afternoon’s 8-2 win over the Pirates with a four-hit performance that pushed his season batting average to .299. He singled twice, doubled and homered, all while holding down the No. 3 spot in the batting order.

For the month, Bohm hit .434 (33 for 76). Overall, he has hit safely in 24 of his last 26 games at a .420 clip.

And he’s played strong defense.

Bohm has played so well that sometimes it’s hard to believe he’s the same guy who back in March was skittish, tentative and very much available for a trade.

“Incredible,” manager Rob Thomson said of Bohm’s improvement. “On both sides of the ball. So, credit to Bohm and credit to the coaching staff, Bobby Dickerson, Kevin Long, Jason Camilli. They put a lot of hours in with this guy. And not only have the physical aspects of his game really improved, but the mental and emotional side of it, as well. He’s grown up and right now he’s a heck of a player.”

Bohm credits improved confidence and an improved ability to be on time for the fastball for his recent success at the plate. He’s keeping things simple and not missing pitches he should be hitting.

“You’re only as good as the pitches you swing at,” he said. “So, keeping it simple and being on time are the two keys for me.”

Bohm turns 26 on Wednesday. After Sunday’s win, he was asked if he ever thought back to March and how far he’s come.

“All the time,” he said.

“I believe if there was no bad there wouldn’t be any good, so that’s just the polarity of the baseball season. You’re going to have bad stretches. You’re going to have good stretches. I think you take the most that you can from those bad stretches and that’s what makes the good ones worth it.

“I think I’m growing, getting comfortable, getting more experienced. I think I just need to continue to find what works for me, how to bounce back from a bad game, a bad week, a bad month and put that behind me and not let it affect the rest of the season.”

Bohm showed an outstanding ability to bounce back after a three-error game on April 11. Veteran teammates supported him. Infield coach Dickerson went to work on him. The product is not finished, but it’s a good one, it’s getting better and it’s a Phillie. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.

“Jeez,” Aaron Nola, Sunday’s winning pitcher, said of Bohm. “He’s absolutely raking the ball right now. He’s improved a lot. Just watching him on the field, in the box, at third base, the plays he’s making. He’s looser. He’s a fun guy to watch right now.”