3 Potential Phillies Trade Targets

Phillies Angels Kevin Pillar
Los Angeles Angels center fielder Kevin Pillar catches a fly ball hit by Oakland Athletics’ JJ Bleday during the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

We are 21 days away from the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline shaking up professional baseball.

Contending clubs look to add a piece or two that will help them bring home a championship. Basement dwellers will try and trade their major league-ready talent in an effort to rebuild their farm systems. Some in-between franchises will have to make the difficult decision to buy or sell depending on their belief in their team. There of course are the teams who will stand pat and do absolutely nothing as well.

The Philadelphia Phillies are one of the teams that are expected to buy at this year’s trade deadline.

Phillies Trade Targets

Phillies, Dombrowski
Philadelphia Phillies baseball team President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski takes questions from the media after signing Aaron Nola to a new seven-year contract, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

3. Brent Rooker

A name that has been garnering a lot of attention recently is Brent Rooker, the DH/OF of the Oakland Athletics.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Phillies have checked in on Rooker and have expressed interest. The outfielder has 18 home runs for the Athletics’ this season, after hitting 30 for the club in 2023. Last season Brent was an All-Star and many believe he was deserving of making the team again this season.

Rooker might be the best bat available at this season’s trade deadline. This could mean that the Phillies will have to part with better prospects to outbid other teams. Brent is certainly a great player and his bat would play well in Philly.

If the Phillies were to acquire him, he would start every day in left field. This would not be a move for a platoon player like other potential deals for the Phillies. A downside to this is that he is not a great outfielder according to defensive metrics. He is an upgrade over Kyle Schwarber and better than what Rhys Hoskins was in 2017. However, he would be a step down from Brandon Marsh.

This would mean Brandon Marsh would become a platoon with Johan Rojas in centerfield and likely be the first hitter off the bench in a key scenario late in games. The Phillies will have to weigh their options if they choose to go after Rooker.

2. Kevin Pillar

Kevin Pillar is an interesting name to watch for the Phillies at this season’s deadline. Having a career resurgence, Pillar is thriving in his role with the Angels.

While many have linked the Phillies to Angels’ outfielder Taylor Ward, Pillar would likely come at a lesser cost. He is hitting for a .281 average this season with an OPS+ of 132. He can play all three outfield positions if needed but is likely reserved to left-field for the Phillies. Kevin Pillar was on the Braves last season and knows what to expect from a playoff atmosphere in Philadelphia.

He recently reached 10 years of service in Major League Baseball. Kevin has put together quite the career and a World Series championship could certainly put a bow on a fantastic career. The Angels are likely to move him at the Trade Deadline and the Phillies could certainly be a suitor.

He could in essence replace Whit Merrifield’s starts in left field for the Phillies. Brandon Marsh would start against right-handed pitching, with Pillar starting against left-handers. He again would be an option off the bench late in games if needed and his veteran experience leads you to believe he would fit in this locker room.

This might not be the first place the Phillies look in terms of finding an addition at the Trade Deadline but could end up being the right move for the team. Many expect Dave Dombrowski to swing for a major move this year but I expect a move similar to this to occur instead. Kevin Pillar could be a valuable addition to the Phillies this season.

Phillies Nationals Lane Thomas
Washington Nationals’ Lane Thomas, right, collides with St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Masyn Winn, left, while stealing second base during the first inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Saturday, July 6, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

1. Lane Thomas

Reportedly the Phillies were interested in the Washington Nationals’ Lane Thomas during the 2023 Trade Deadline.

While Washington held onto their right-handed outfield bat, his name is once again in the rumor mill as we inch closer to the deadline. The NL East rival recently called top prospect James Woods to the club and he has shined so far in his young career. The team has other young talented outfielders who are expected to work their way up the system in due time.

Thomas is an unrestricted free agent after the conclusion of the 2025 season. This means that any team trading for him with gain a year and a half of control over the player. He will be in his third arbitration year heading into next season.

The veteran outfield is having a down season compared to his previous two years in D.C. In 2023, Thomas slugged 28 homeruns and had an OPS+ of 115. He paired his homeruns with 36 doubles and 86 runs batted in. This year Lane is hitting just .245 with an OPS+ of 106.

Where Lane Thomas thrives is against left-handed pitching. On the season he is slashing .338 with an OPS of .971 against lefties. This is an area of need for the Phillies who have struggled against lefty pitching. Thomas instantly becomes the best option amongst Brandon Marsh, Cristian Pache, David Dahl, and Whit Merrifield. He could platoon with Marsh in left field and be a pinch-hitting option for Rob Thomson off the bench.

Another factor in the Lane Thomas sweepstakes is his agency. Lane is represented by Wasserman, the same agency that negotiated the Zack Wheeler’s recent extension. The familiarity between the club and agency could help push for Washington to send Thomas to Philadelphia. While the agency impact in Major League Baseball is not as dynamic as in the NBA per se, it still is a factor to consider.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)