With 24 hours to go ahead of the MLB Trade Deadline, the Phillies remain without a major addition. Now 50-50, they headed into today’s doubleheader against the Nationals in desperate need for additional arms both in the starting rotation and the bullpen. Not to mention the needs for a consistent center fielder and better defense on the left side of the infield. Long story short: there is a lot to be desired ahead of the trade deadline and time is running out.
And while the Phillies attempted to get the ball rolling on Tuesday, it inevitably backfired in their faces. The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed on Tuesday to trade starting pitcher Tyler Anderson to the Phillies. Hours later, they reneged on their agreement due to medical concerns regarding Cristian Hernandez. Soon enough, Anderson found himself being traded to the Seattle Mariners instead.
Moves Around the League
Maria Torres was first on the news this morning that the Nationals moved Max Scherzer’s start against the Phillies today. The move comes after rumors that Scherzer would be traded prior to facing off against the Phillies today.
At 11:14 AM this morning, Jeff Passan broke that the Chicago White Sox acquired second basemen Cesar Hernandez from the Cleveland Indians. In exchange for the former-Phillie, the soon-to-be Guardians will receive left-handed pitcher Konnor Pilkington.
Not even a half-hour later, Jesse Dougherty reported that the Nationals agreed to a trade to send reliever Brad Hand to the Toronto Blue Jays. In exchange, the Blue Jays sent 25-year-old catcher Riley Adams to Washington.
At noon, the New York Yankees made their trade with the Texas Rangers for Joey Gallo and Joely Rodriguez official. In return, the Yankees received four prospects: Glenn Otto, Ezequiel Duran, Trevor Hauver, and Josh Smith.
Later, at 2:46 PM, Robert Murray reported that Ryan Tepera is moving from the north side to the south side of Chicago. The Cubs traded the reliever to the White Sox in exchange for minor league lefty Bailey Horn.
Checking in on Phillies Trade Deadline Targets
Kris Bryant – 3B/OF
The former Rookie of the Year and MVP has been discussed by just about everyone so far this season. The Rays and Giants have both recently checked in on Bryant while it appears unlikely the Astros or A’s make another big splash.
Bryant, along with fellow Cub Anthony Rizzo, were both absent from the Cubs’ starting lineup today against the Reds. While days off occur, it’s unlikely the Cubs are sitting two of their top bats for a day of rest ahead of a scheduled off day tomorrow.
Craig Kimbrel – RP
Speaking of the Cubs, closer Criag Kimbrel is still available on the market. Relief pitchers are always a hot commodity come the Trade Deadline, especially closers. With Yimi Garcia, Brad Hand, and now Tepera all having been traded in the last 24 hours, it is only a matter of time until Kimbrel joins them.
While Kimbrel is certain to be traded before the deadline, it is likely that the Cubs are waiting to move him until the Max Scherzer trade market has settled. Once the Nationals’ ace is moved, Kimbrel will be the top dog on the market, certain to rake in a large payday.
Jon Gray – SP
The Phillies are among teams who have contacted the Rockies in regards to Jon Gray. The Giants and Padres have also expressed interest in the 29-year-old right-handed pitcher. With a 126 ERA+ on the year, Gray would be a great fit for a nonexistent Phillies rotation.
Richard Rodriguez – RP
The Phillies and Blue Jays have been thought of as the frontrunners for Richard Rodriguez for a few days now. After the Blue Jays’ trade for Hand, however, the Phillies may be the last team with interest in Rodriguez. With 14 saves and a 2.82 ERA on the season, Rodriguez would be a great addition to the Phillies’ bullpen.
There’s just one issue. The Phillies aren’t exactly pleased with the Pirates after backing out of the Anderson trade. While we may not know the exact issue ithe Pirates saw in Cristian Hernandez, the Phillies did not agree. This puts the Phillies-Pirates relationship in a delicate position, one that may not facilitate another deal being accomplished.
In a piece yesterday for The Athletic, Jim Bowden proposed a pretty large trade that could prove advantageous for the Phillies. He proposes the Phillies send Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard to the Minnesota Twins for RHP Jose Berrios, CF Byron Buxton, and 3B Josh Donaldson.
The Phillies are unlikely to accept such a trade, however. The three players are owed a combined $33 million on the year, placing the well above the luxury tax threshold. If the Phillies went through with the trade however, it would automatically place them as favorites to win the NL East in my book. Berrios would be the Phillies’ fourth reliable starting pitcher and Buxton would end the Phillies’ center field struggles. Donaldson is getting up there in age (age 35) and is not what he once was, but he is still hitting for an OPS+ of 134 on the year.
The Final Countdown
While the Phillies’ performance against the Nationals today proves otherwise, the Phillies are still very much in the playoff race in the NL East. The worst thing the Phillies can do now, however, is settle for mediocrity with the current roster. This team is not currently good enough to win the division, let alone the World Series. If the Phillies want to win this year, it is time to go all-in. Otherwise, the team might as well begin selling pieces in an attempt to retool for next year.
Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire