Ethan Witte: Zach Eflin.
Now, I should preface this by saying I don’t think they should actually trade Eflin. He’s not going to be expensive next year, is still reliably average and with an ownership that doesn’t actually seem keen on spending money for the periphery pieces, he’d be a valuable asset for the Phillies if they plan on contending in 2022. However, those are the exact reasons why he’d be the most valuable trade asset should they decide to sell. You can make a case that he would allow the team to get at least a top 75-85 prospect in addition to other pieces, giving them some more assets in their farm system. Imagine a desperate team like the Yankees and what they’d give for someone like Eflin to stabilize a shaky rotation.
If we’re talking players who actually seem like they will reasonably be dealt, I’ll go with Archie Bradley. He hasn’t been horrendous this season and does have some postseason experience, so you might be able to fleece a team in a deal for him.
Leo Morgenstern: I don’t think it makes sense to trade Eflin if the Phillies are planning to compete in 2022. He’s a 4-win pitcher and he’s only going to make about $9 million next year. That kind of value is hard to replace. That’s why Jean Segura seems like the right answer to me. He’s also looked like a 4-win player this year, but he makes more money than Eflin and he can be replaced with one of the many shortstops on the free agent market in the offseason.
Allie Foster: I think there are two good options here, but both require a buyer who is looking for something specific. The first, as Leo said, is Jean Segura. For a bubble-playoff team with a hole to plug in the middle of the infield, he could be a very valuable addition, and only has one year left on his contract after this one (plus a club option). A team in the playoff hunt like San Diego, who has a weak spot in the infield that could be patched up by adding someone like Segura, may be interested. The other option for me is Andrew McCutchen. Cutch is on the last year of his contract and, especially as of late, is having one hell of a season and can easily fill in as a third or fourth outfielder for a team looking to get better just for this year. After last week’s scary injury to Josh Naylor, Cleveland could be a team that fits that bill.
LM: After Segura and Cutch, Brad Miller is the only other position player who fits the bill here. He’s a strong role player who could be the final piece for a contending team’s offense, and the Phillies can survive without him. On the pitching side of things, I’m really not sure who they could deal. Any ideas?
AF: If I’m DD, I’d shop Neris around a bit and see what kind of market there is for him. He’s not going to get back a massive return, but I think to the right buyer he could get something of worth. After all, the Red Sox got a usable starter and a quality prospect (Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold) in exchange for two absolute duds (Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree). Although, his market definitely is not what it was even a month ago.
I also had Didi Gregorius in mind as that type of player, since we now know that Nick Maton is capable of handling the position. He has one more year on his contract, which could be appealing in the same way that Segura is.
Smarty: Eflin would be an attractive trade piece, but I’m not sure what you accomplish by trading him. One of the main problems is a dearth of players like Eflin: Relatively cheap, mid-level performers. It could be a seller’s market, so maybe some team gives you a haul for Eflin, but isn’t Eflin a near-best-case scenario for most prospects who get traded? So then what have you accomplished other than saving money?
LM: I see your point Allie, but I don’t think it’s worth trading Neris right now, since his value would be so low. It sounds hard to believe, but Brandon Workman was a much more valuable commodity last year, considering his 2019 success. Didi Gregorius is in a similar situation, considering his long stint on the IL this season and his poor performance before that. If the Phillies really want to trade Gregorius, they should wait and see if he can build up some more value and then trade him in the offseason.
As to your point Smarty, all I have to say is this: #extendeflin.
Smarty: Regarding Didi, it felt like nobody besides the Phillies was all that interested in him this offseason, and I can’t imagine that his 2021 season has made anyone more interested. So you could trade him for a lottery ticket, and then you’re either plugging in a Nick Maton or playing the short-term free agent game again for 2022.
As for Nick Maton: Full time shortstop, I’m not convinced that’s a viable option. Joe Girardi’s decisions should be taken with a grain of salt, but he clearly thought that Ronald Torreyes was a superior option. (And for once, he might have been right about something!)
AF: I think if you’re going to sell anyone, you have to accept that you’re going to be left with a less-than-ideal option at whatever position for the rest of this season. The point of selling is to re-stock a system that doesn’t have much appeal right now after a few top-end guys. Of course guys like Maton or Torreyes are a step down from Gregorius, but that’s the price you have to pay. That also frees up money to go after a replacement in free agency this winter. The problem, as many people have pointed out, is that the market for some of these players just isn’t that great. Didi’s time on the IL and Neris’ recent implosions are going to decrease the potential returns for them. However, short of a fire-sale of the top stars (which would be a huge mistake), there aren’t really any better options on this roster.
Also, I’m all in on team #extendeflin.