The Phillies are down their best player for the next two months. In a season where the club has no choice but to make the playoffs, Dave Dombrowski needs to work some magic to get the Phillies to the post-season.
With the trade deadline on its way and teams beginning to fall out of the contention, the Phillies need to be aggressive in adding talent. One of those teams that Philadelphia and Dombrowski can make a deal with is the Kansas City Royals.
Heading into this season, the Kansas City Royals had the potential of a sneaky playoff team. While many factors had to go in their direction, Kansas City featured a unique roster.
Catcher Salvador Perez was coming off an MVP-caliber year in 2021, where he hit 48 homeruns and drove in 121 RBIs. Bobby Witt Jr, one of the top prospects in all of baseball, was named an Opening Day starter and was going to be given a chance to play. Veterans such as Carlos Santana, Andrew Benintendi, and Whit Merrifield were a core group of veterans with the potential to have strong seasons with the Royals.
Even with the potential to improve, the Royals have gone nowhere fast. The club sits at a record of 26-47 and has less than a 1% chance of making the playoffs.
The team has begun to sell as the Royals have already moved former Phillies’ first basemen, Carlos Santana, to the Mariners in a deal. This deal was not only to move Santana for prospects but to give their third-ranked prospect Vinnie Pasquantino a chance to start.
This will not be the last deal that the Royals make between now and the trade deadline, which has been moved to August 2nd. Connections between the Phillies and the Royals are natural given the Bryce Harper injury and the Phillies’ quest to make the post-season. With both sides looking to make a deal, what could a trade between the two franchises look like?
Benintendi or Bust for the Phillies?
The veteran outfielder is hitting .303 on the season and provides years of playoff experience. Andrew is familiar with Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski from their time together in Boston.
“Benny” is a high-contact lefty who gets on base at an above-average clip. He can play all three outfield positions, but his defensive ability would drop off if he had to play centerfield. His left-handed bat would replace Harper’s in the Phillies lineup for the time being, and he can move around the outfield once Bryce returns.
He is a perfect complement to the Phillies lineup. The Phils are full of homerun or bust hitters. Guys like Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, and Didi Gregorius are notorious power hitters that do not hit for a high average. Andrew Benintendi would be a natural fit, as he can get on base for the Phillies’ sluggers.
The Perfect Rental?
Andrew is in the final year of his contract in Kansas City. Therefore he would be considered a rental player for the remainder of 2022. Benintendi’s price would be lowered due to the lack of control going forward. Benintendi shares the same agency as Didi Gregorious, which is a minor note but could provide motivation for Andrew to want to come to Philly.
Depending on the quality of prospects the Phillies are looking to dish, the Royals can also provide other needs in a trade. Closer Scott Barlow has 9 saves on the season with a 2.20 earned run average, paired with 32 strikeouts.
Veteran starter Zack Grienke could find himself on the move and headed to Philly in a deal as well. The Phillies could use another starter, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Zach Eflin’s knee. Grienke has pitched in big games for what feels like his entire career and could provide veteran leadership to guys like Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler who have never pitched in the playoffs.
With roughly five weeks to go before the trade deadline, things are going to get interesting around the MLB. The Phillies are expected to be involved in some deals as the club looks to snap their 11-year playoff drought. It remains to be seen if the Phillies and Royals make a deal in 2022, but the Phillies’ needs and Kansas City’s rebuild could prove to be a promising partnership.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ashley Landis