The Phillies‘ bullpen was surprisingly one of their strengths in 2022. In the second half of the regular season and in the playoffs, Philadelphia’s relievers balled out and were one of the reasons for their National League championship run.
Even though the Phillies ‘pen is coming off a strong year in 2022, the unit as a whole still needs to be tinkered with. The Phils will retain Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Alvarado in the back end of the bullpen but are losing guys like Brad Hand, Corey Knebel, and David Robertson to free agency. They cannot afford to lose a step next season, and they have to be aggressive this off-season in regrouping some talent.
When assessing their options, President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski cannot leave any stone unturned. While the team has plenty of money to spend in free agency, a trade with a rebuilding team is another good solution for adding pieces. I suggest Dombrowski looks out west to add some All-Star caliber players.
Call up the Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks are a club going nowhere fast. The club finished 74-88 and in fourth place in the National League West. The D-Backs are a team with a lot of older talent and sit in a division with the Dodgers and Padres, two juggernauts of the National League.
The chances of Arizona making the playoffs will be very slim. They have to overcome their tough division and navigate a Wild Card space that teams like the Phillies, Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Brewers, Giants, and Padres will look to occupy.
Selling some of their older players for prospects seems like the right call for the Diamondbacks. Luckily for the Phillies, they have a player of interest if they look to shop.
The Phillies case for Joe Mantiply
Joe Mantiply would be the perfect addition to the Phillies’ bullpen.
Mantiply was an All-Star in 2022, and in his two full seasons in the big leagues, he has pitched to a 3.07 earned run average in 126 appearances. In 99.2 innings pitched, Joe has struck out 99 batters and walked only 23.
Joe Mantiply is more Brad Hand than he is Jose Alvarado. He doesn’t contain an overpowering velocity, but his break on pitches and control constantly confuses batters.
He is not a closer, or at the very least, hasn’t gotten the opportunity in the big leagues. He won’t need to shut the door in the ninth for the Phillies unless things go wrong elsewhere during the season.
The Diamondbacks would have to be getting good value back for Joe Mantiply. Giving away an all-star reliever who is on a team-friendly deal won’t be at the top of the priority list. If the Phillies can offer a solid package back for Mantiply, there is reason to believe the Diamondbacks would make a deal.
Nick Maton was a huge part of the Phillies’ 2022 season. Maton’s depth coming off the bench to play infield and even outfield when needed was crucial for the Phillies. He hit .250 with a .885 OPS on the year, with 5 home runs and 17 runs batted in. Nick was a really good role player for the Phils, but has flashed potential to be an everyday player if given the chance. Arizona could give Maton that opportunity.
The Diamondbacks aren’t going to ship a good relief pitcher for a bench bat, however, and will need more. The Phillies will also send their 20th-ranked prospect in this potential deal. Right-handed pitcher Christian McGowan would head back to the D-Backs.
McGowan has an electric arm and tops 99 with his fastball. The potential is there, but after just 12 innings in 2022, Christian had to get Tommy John surgery and will need time to rehab. This is not uncommon for pitchers these days, especially in the minor leagues.
The Diamondbacks can sell high on their late-bloomer reliever and add some talent for the future. The Phillies can add to their bullpen in their quest to make another World Series run. These two teams can be natural trade partners, and I expect Dave Dombrowski to make some moves coming soon.
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