The Phillies spent the week patiently waiting for the right time to pounce. With the trade deadline on the horizon, Dave Dombrowski leapt up and made an aggressive move ready for the 60-game sprint that lies ahead. Like it or not, the Phillies GM did what he thought was best to put the team in a position to win now.
Kyle Gibson is in the heart of his ninth MLB season and one that saw him earn an All-star nod. He’s become the Ace of the Rangers bullpen, much to the pleasure of Texas fans who originally watched him struggle in 2020. He’s posted a stunning 2.87 ERA, a career-best, going 6-3 in the process having made 19 starts. He’s allowed just 92 hits in 113 innings and has a WHIP of 1.177.
It should be no coincidence that the Phillies are chasing someone who has drawn comparisons to Aaron Nola.
Gibson now ranks in the 93rd percentile per Baseball Savant in barrel percentage allotted while his fastball velocity scores in the 28th and both his fastball and curveball spin score in the 45th. When it comes to someone like Gibson this year, I liken his style to that of Aaron Nola, another highly successful pitcher who does not have great metrics on his pitches.
The 33-year-old does have some health concerns, having previously battled ulcerative colitis, but those concerns look to have been very much nullified this season.
Over his first eight seasons, he averaged a 4.57 ERA. This contextualizes just how good his breakout has been, but also paints a very valid question – how sustainable is it? On the back of his worst ever season, he’s bounced back in tremendous fashion, but the Phillies are betting big that his form will continue.
Another RHP from the Rangers, Kennedy has been excellent thus far, posting a 2.51 ERA. Adding him to the back end of the bullpen is a great way to reinforce the efforts of players like Nola and Wheeler.
He’s 36-years-old, so another veteran to add into the equation, but like Gibson, another name who has been flying this season, racking up 16 saves. There’s no doubting that he could help the bullpen in tight situations and take some much needed pressure off of the younger guys, but is it worth giving up valuable prospects for? Time will tell.
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