Should the Phillies Pursue a 2-Time All-Star?

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Phillies Devin Williams
FILE – In this Aug. 6, 2021, file photo, Milwaukee Brewers’ Devin Williams reacts during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in Milwaukee. Williams fractured his throwing hand Sunday night, Sept. 26, 2021, when he punched a wall after his team celebrated its NL Central title, likely knocking him out for the entire postseason. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash, FIle)

Many fans are upset with the lack of moves made by the Philadelphia Phillies this off-season.

After several years of adding big-name talents, fans are accustomed to seeing the team involved in big headlines and splash signings. Trea Turner and Taijuan Walker are two recent examples of an aggressive mindset when it comes to approaching the Free Agency period.

I believe the Phillies are following a sound strategy with their off-season approach. Re-signing Aaron Nola was the top priority and they were able to accomplish that fairly early on. The team does not need to out and sign Cody Bellinger or Blake Snell. They are full of top-level talent that has proven to be one of the best rosters in baseball over the last two seasons.

Now, if the Phillies wish to explore a booming trade market, this philosophy could prove to be wise. There is one player that they can pursue, who very well could be a game changer in 2024.

Devin Williams

One of the best relievers in baseball today, Devin Williams would be a grand slam trade candidate for the Phillies.

With back-to-back All-Star caliber seasons, Williams has proven his value. He was so good that a contending Brewers’ front office felt they could trade Josh Hader and not miss a beat.

In 219 appearances across his 5 seasons at the Major League level, Williams has an era of 1.89, with 337 strikeouts. His K/9 rate is 14.2 which means he is averaging more than a strikeout per inning.

Devin has 54 saves with 36 coming from his 2023 season. Being stuck behind Josh Hader decreased his potential to accumulate saves, but his success rate after his promotion to the closer role has proven to be a winning formula. Williams has an 86% save rate in his career and for reference, Mariano Rivera had a career rate of 89%.

Trade Package

After trading Corbin Burnes to the Orioles, the Brewers seem open to dealing with their top players for good value.

It is safe to say they are looking for prospects in a potential deal and not Major League-caliber talent. If that is the case, the Phillies can make an offer to the Brewers that makes sense for both clubs.

Phillies Receive: Devin Williams RHP, Owen Miller UTL

For the Phillies, they would be receiving a world-class closer, who can plug right into the back end of their bullpen. Williams and Alvarado would be the best 1-2 punch in all of baseball. This would also allow for Rob Thomson to use Jose in high-leverage situations, rather than trying to save him for the 9th inning.

In this deal, I included utility player Owen Miller. Miller has spent time with the Brewers and Guardians, playing all around the diamond. He is a right-handed hitter, who can come off the bench and provide serviceable offense, with a strong defense.

The Phillies could use some improvement on their bench and Miller has minor league options, allowing the Phillies to stach him in Lehigh Valley if he does not make the Opening Day roster.

Brewers Receive: Griff McGarry RHP, Andrew Baker RHP, Símon Muzziotti OF

If Milwaukee is going to move off Devin Williams, they are going to want something strong in return. Griff McGarry was the Phillies’ 5th-ranked prospect at the end of the 2023 season.

McGarry is a starting pitcher who many believe will work out of the bullpen by the time he reaches the Major Leagues. The Phillies have used him in both roles in the minors, where he has gotten mixed results. The biggest flaw in his game is command, but his dynamic arm talent could be something that the Brewers would value.

McGarry would be similar to D.L Hall, the pitcher Milwaukee got in return in the Burnes’ deal. Hall was a highly-ranked prospect who somewhat fell out of the limelight. Griff fits in that mold but is young enough that the Brewers could take a chance.

Andrew Baker was another player that I included in this deal. Baker is an up-and-coming prospect who flashes a rocket for an arm. Andrew is soon to be 24 years old and is likely to be featured in Triple-A this season. He has room to grow but again, features tools that a team would be likely to take a chance on.

The last player in the deal would be Símon Muzziotti. The young outfielder was swinging the bat at an elite level to start the 2023 season in Triple-A. He finished the season hitting .296 with a .761 OPS. He can play all three outfield positions and is a solid depth player.

Símon still has minor-league options, which increases his value. Sending him to the Brewers would give him a chance to earn an Opening Day spot on their bench, as the team has a lack of Major League-ready talent behind their starters.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)