The Phillies disappointed fans by coming out of the break and immediately dropping three to the lowly Cubs. They rebounded by winning 2/3 against their division rival Atlanta Braves.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants have lost seven straight since the All-Star Game. They dropped four to the Dodgers and three to the Diamondbacks. They sit three games behind the Phillies and Cardinals in the Wild Card standings and are currently one game under .500.
If the Giants decide to sell, the Phillies should be on the phone immediately. The Giants not only have starting pitchers that could be available but centerfielders too!
Here are the names the Phillies should look at if San Francisco went into sell mode.
Let’s start with the starter that ended the Giants’ 7-game skid. Alex Wood pitched 6.2 IP against the Cubs while allowing 2 ER. His 4.11 ERA isn’t sexy but he’s been fantastic in the month of July.
In 5 starts this month, Wood has allowed a total of 5 ER in 27.1 IP. At the end of June, Wood’s ERA sat at 5.03. The 31-year-old lefty is signed through next season on a 2 year/ $25 million contract.
He’s more of a 4 starter than a 3 as he was in years past but he wouldn’t cost a limb if he were to be available.
Same first name, 4 lettered last name, and can also go through the Green Glass Door, Alex Cobb is essentially the righty Alex Wood.
Cobb’s ERA currently is a bit higher at 4.06 but, like Wood, that number has come down since June. On June 19th, Cobb had a 5.62 ERA. In his 6 starts since, he’s through 40.1 IP to the tune of a 2.45 ERA. This includes an absolute gem he pitched on July 29th, where he went six innings of one earned run ball.
For the last two years, Cobb’s ERA has been just a hair under four at 3.99. What’s more encouraging is his FIP. In the past two years, his FIP has been 2.92. He’d also be considered a number 4 starter at this stage of his career.
With another similarity, Cobb is signed through next season with a 2-year/$20 million contract.
Oh, look! Someone that can play centerfield with a useful hit tool!
Just look at the slashline and you’ll see Austin Slater would be an instant improvement for the Phillies up the middle. This season he’s slashed .291/.396/.446. His OBP of .396 stands out the most as it’s 11 points higher than Bryce Harper’s before he broke his thumb.
He’d be the perfect man to slot in at the top of the order and start the game off with a baserunner (almost 40% of the time!).
Defensively, Slater is a middling centerfielder. He sits in the 63rd percentile in Outs Above Average. He’s committed one error in 106 chances in centerfield.
He is controllable through 2024 so he won’t come cheap. If the Phillies want to land him, they’ll have to part with one of their top prospects. It might be worth it for a centerfielder with a 121 OPS+ in the last 3 seasons.
LaMonte Wade Jr.
Here comes the stretch of this list as LaMonte Wade Jr. has not been good this season. The outfielder and part-time first baseman is hitting just .179 with a .627 OPS. He can play centerfield but has been mostly a corner outfielder.
Why would the Phillies want a guy like that?
Well, he showed something in 2021 that contributed widely to the Giants’ success. He posted an .808 OPS (cue Kanye West) with 18 homers in 109 games. Perhaps a change in scenery could reignite him as a valuable bench bat.
Best of all, he’d cost next to nothing. He might be worth a low-risk bet.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez