The Philadelphia Phillies have turned their season around and have played outstanding baseball over the last month and a half. If the club can continue its play through the end of the season, we might finally see playoff baseball back in Philadelphia.
While the team has performed well, some moves still need to be made. The Phillies can take advantage of struggling teams and build their roster to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
One of the teams that the Phillies can potentially make a deal with would be the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have often been compared to the Phillies, as in years past, both teams have featured MVP-caliber talent, with a high payroll, and yet no post-season appearances.
The Angels have quickly collapsed, and things have worsened for the team since the Phillies saw them in June. The club currently sits with a 38-49 record, and have fallen out of the playoff race altogether. Los Angeles might want to stay on the hunt as long as they can, but there may become a time when they decide to sell.
The Phillies will be an intriguing trade partner if that becomes the case.
Do the Phillies add the ultimate utility player?
The Phillies have done a solid job of converting center fielder Matt Vierling into a utility player. Despite never playing those positions in the big leagues, Vierling has started games at second and third base for the Phillies this season. Matt has done well for the team in a pinch, but relying on him to be a jack of all trades player is likely not in the cards. However, in a deal with the Angels, the Phillies could add a player who can do it all.
Taylor Ward is having a breakout season in California this year, and his presence has been a welcoming addition to the Angels. Towards the beginning of 2022, Taylor Ward was considered for the All-Star game.
Ward has experience in the corner outfield spots and third base. While he hasn’t played second base in the MLB, there is little reason to doubt he would be serviceable. Ward is a right-handed player, and his flexibility could be an excellent addition for the Phillies.
Reasons for the Angels to trade
The Angels have one of the bigger payrolls in baseball. The team’s signing of Anthony Rendon has so far proven to be a bust and waste of payroll. The team is on the books for $38.6 million dollars of Rendon’s deal in 2023.
Reigning American League MVP Shohei Ohtani is coming to the end of his initial deal with LA. The Angels will most likely pay Shohei and his contract might be one of the biggest in baseball history. Selling while his value is at its highest could be a smart deal. When it comes to building the rest of the roster, the Angels need to find cheaper deals to help round out the roster. This is where the Phillies come into play.
The cost for Taylor Ward is a little hard to predict. While he is having his best career season, he doesn’t have the track record of someone who has proven what he has in the big leagues. Ward has shined this season for the Angels, but with the team most likely missing out on the playoffs yet again, it might be wise for the team to move Taylor.
If the Phillies can find a fair and honest deal for Taylor Ward, it might end up being one of the biggest steals of the trade deadline. Ward’s name has not been featured in any trade discussion, so his market has still become unrealized.
If the Phillies approach Los Angeles with a worthy deal, it will make all the sense in the world to send Ward to Philadelphia. Major League talents like Bailey Falter, Connor Brogdon, and Nick Maton, paired with minor league prospects such as Francisco Morales, James McArthur, and Casey Martin, could prove a little valuable combination for the Angels’ right fielder.
These young and cheap players would give Los Angeles more depth at the big league level. Each of the players listed has the potential to be something in the MLB and could benefit from more consistent play. It could be worth the gamble to move on from Taylor, who might be looking to receive a raise this off-season.
It would also give prospect Jo Adell, previously one of the top prospects in baseball, to play every day for the remainder of 2022. The Angels would get younger, add some depth to the team and not have to worry about their financials. For a team that is 11 games below .500, it could be the right move.
Phillies could be adding a missing piece
For the Phillies, adding Taylor Ward gives them an all-around upgrade. For the time being, Ward can play the corner outfield spots for Kyle Schwarber and a struggling Nick Castellanos. He can play the infield when Bohm needs a day off, and the lineup wouldn’t suffer because of it.
He is a bench upgrade over Odubel Herrera, Mickey Moniak, and Yairo Munoz and has shown this season to be more of a complete player. When Bryce Harper and Jean Segura return, Ward’s value may prove worthy, as he can be plugged in when needed. And now with Alec Bohm expected to miss some time, Ward will be an incredibly valuable piece for the infield.
The 2008 Phillies had Eric Bruntlett to be their utility player. Taylor Ward can be a far better version for the 2022 Phillies. While he might not get dealt at the trade deadline, it could be an interesting idea to throw out to the Angels’ front office.
If the Phillies are serious about making the post-season in 2022, they should not leave any stone unturned. With 22 days until the trade deadline, things are going to start to pick up. What deals the Phillies will make, remain to be seen.
Photo By: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong