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Phillies Trade Deadline Buyers Guide: Starting Pitching

The Phillies are going to need some help behind Nola, Wheeler and Eflin.

Kansas City Royals v Cleveland Indians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Starting Pitching

Danny Duffy (LHP)

2021 Stats: 12 G, 11 GS, 57 IP, 2.53 ERA, 26.1 K%, 8.8 BB%, 2.1 rWAR

It no secret outside of the Phillies Top 3 in the rotation, things can get a bit dicey. Matt Moore and Chase Anderson have been disasters. You still (surprise!) never know what you are going to get out of Vince Velasquez. Spencer Howard also struggled with the big club after getting yanked around by the org between roles. Why not build off of that very good top 3 with a veteran who is having very close to a career-season? Duffy has been spectacular for a very, very bad Royals club. Kansas City sits 18 games out of first and 14.5 out of the wildcard. Duffy is a pending free agent so KC might as well get something for him before you risk losing him for nothing?

Suggested Trade Package:

Phillies: Danny Duffy
Royals: Simon Muzziotti, Logan O’Hoppe, Adonis Medina, Ethan Lindow, Kendall Simmons

Would The Good Phight do this trade?

Jay Polinsky: I’m not sure if this will be enough to get a trade done and I’d be hesitant to include any of our Top 10 prospect in a deal for him. Maybe?

Ethan Witte: I’m a solid “meh” on Duffy. His numbers are great, but I’m super wary of trading for someone like him. I think this package is a little too much for a rental, but we all know pitching is going to be at a premium this year, so it might be justified. Still, I just don’t know.

Smarty Jones: Duffy has a long enough track record of mediocrity-at-best that makes me think that 2.53 ERA isn’t going to last all season. He also hasn’t pitched into the sixth inning since May, so it feels like we’d be trading for the honor of watching his ERA rise back towards its traditional level.

Allie Foster: Similar to Ethan, I’m just “meh” on Duffy. In theory, this is a good trade that has a lot of merit on both ends. KC isn’t even in consideration for contention and a free agent like Duffy easily could leave without the team getting anything in return. I just think there are better options out there.

Leo Morgenstern: I’m a no on this one. Danny Duffy has a 4.27 xFIP, a 4.25 xERA, and he's only averaging 5 innings per start. That’s still better than Velasquez and Moore, but it’s not worth this prospect package, especially for a rental player who already missed time this season with an arm injury.

Kyle Gibson (RHP)

2021 Stats: 17 G, 17 GS, 102 IP, 2.29 ERA, 21.7 K%, 7.6 BB%, 4.1 rWAR

Another vet having a career season at age 33 is certainly something to be wary of. Regardless, Gibson is absolutely killing it despite not overwhelming stuff. Texas is not in a great position in turning around the team into a contender anytime soon. Gibson isn’t a pending a free agent and is signed for another year after this. Is he the dud he was in 2020 (5.35 ERA) or continues to flourish as he has in 2021? If you lean towards the latter, that 7.6 mil salary in 2022 will be a steal.

Suggested Trade Package:

Phillies: Kyle Gibson
Rangers: Nick Maton, Erik Miller, Marcus Lee Sang

Would The Good Phight do this trade?

Jay Polinsky: Nick Maton obviously has turned some heads this year, but is he what we are seeing or more of a Jason Donald flash in the pan type player? Selling high to get a starter who is having a monster season might be worth it in this instance.

Ethan Witte: Getting Gibson is a good idea. Something has clicked with him and he has been one of the best starters in the AL. Trading Maton to do so is less good. Maton isn’t a guy that will stand in the way of getting a deal done, but at the same time, he and Luke Williams have proven this year how valuable it is to have young depth that is cheap on the team, especially with players up the middle that may not be injury prone, but are subject to more than the occasional nicks and bruises.

Smarty Jones: Another guy who feels due for some regression, although I will concede that sometimes players can have oddball career years at his age. Unfortunately, these resurgences tend not to last into the following season, so I’d actually prefer him as a rental than also being on the hook next year.

Allie Foster: The prospect hugger in me is screaming absolutely not. But if Gibson really is who he’s been this season, it’s an outstanding deal. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know which season is truly indicative of who he is as a player. Additionally, you’re giving up a young talent who very well could turn into a valuable regular player in Maton. Does he go to Texas and become the next “one that got away” a-la J.P. Crawford? If so, was Gibson worth losing that? I think I’m on the “no” side of this, strictly because I still haven’t mentally recovered from the Workman/Hembree and Crawford trades.

Leo Morgenstern: I’m all for this trade. Gibson’s underlying numbers look much better than Danny Duffy’s, and despite his age, Gibson has managed to stay healthy over the past several seasons. He’s also averaging six innings per start, which means that acquiring Gibson will indirectly help the bullpen too.

Jon Gray (RHP)

2021 Stats: G 16, GS 16, 86 IP, 3.77 ERA, 22 K%, 9.6 BB%, 1.2 rWAR

A former top prospect who hasn’t found that stardom yet. At 29 its unlikely to be unlocked, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a solid contributor moving forward. One of his biggest keys is keeping the ball in the ballpark, which he has done moderately well this season. Gray is a pending free agent on a Colorado team that is most definitely going to sell before the deadline.

Suggested Trade Package:

Phillies: Jon Gray
Rockies: Adonis Medina, Erik Miller, Jhailyn Ortiz

Would The Good Phight do this trade?

Jay Polinsky: Yep, I would not hesitate. I’m a huge fan of Erik Miller, but he should be incentive enough to get it done.

Ethan Witte: Easy yes. This is the type of deal someone like Gray should command. A touch of upside, but still noting he isn’t in the top tier of pitchers, thus not commanding a huge return package. Nothing the Phillies would be giving up would be missed.

Smarty Jones: I think Jon Gray is a cool sounding name, so I’d be in favor just for that alone. I’m always wary of getting guys who started their careers in Colorado, as I suspect that pitching there can lead to bad habits that can’t always be broken, but Gray’s career home/road splits are rather even. I would do this deal.

Allie Foster: Yeah, I’m in on this one. There’s not much more to say that everyone else hasn’t said already.

Leo Morgenstern: I’ve mostly been ignoring money for the sake of this exercise, but if the Phillies are operating on a tight budget then Jon Gray’s $6 million salary is quite appealing. He makes me a little nervous considering how poorly he pitched in 2020 (6.69 ERA, 5.06 FIP), but he’s been very solid in 2021 and the Phillies won’t be able to find anyone better at such a low salary.

Tyler Anderson (LHP)

2021 Stats: 17 G, 17 GS, 97.1 IP, 4.35 ERA, 19.8 K%, 5.9 BB%, 1.1 rWAR

Anderson is having is most steady season to date and this wouldn’t be the most flashy addition, but could be that “what you hoped Matt Moore could have been” type move. Pittsburgh is probably already itching to offload $$$ and Anderson is a pending free agent.

Suggested Trade Package:

Phillies: Tyler Anderson
Pirates: Matt Vierling, Adonis Medina

Would The Good Phight do this trade?

Jay Polinsky: Another one of those deals where you are potentially selling high on a young hitter in Vierling, but Pittsburgh is going to want some almost ready talent and he/Medina should be that.

Ethan Witte: See, I’m in the opposite camp. I think Pittsburgh will want pieces further away, more in line with their perceived window of contention. I’m not sure Vierling and Medina would be enough. Pittsburgh might want something a little lottery ticket-ish, where if he hits, he’ll be much better than Anderson. That’s something the Phillies have more of, thus would be more willing to give up.

Smarty Jones: As mentioned, Anderson seems to be what they hoped Matt Moore (or Chase Anderson) would be: Unspectacular, but gives you decent enough innings at the back of the rotation. Do Vierling or Medina fit into the Phillies’ future plans? It doesn’t seem like it, so that seems like a fair price to pay.

Allie Foster: I think Smarty put it perfectly. Vierling and Medina don’t seem to fit into the Phillies’ future plans, so trading them isn’t the end of the world. If the two of them can net an upgrade for the back of the rotation, I’m in.

Leo Morgenstern: If the Phillies are going to pursue a mediocre starting pitcher, I’d prefer if it was someone with a higher strikeout rate. That being said, Tyler Anderson is a lot better than nothing, and this prospect package is fair. If Dombrowski can’t find a better option, then he should definitely pursue a trade like this.

Michael Pineda (RHP)

2021 Stats: 12 G, 12 GS, 61.1 IP, 4.11 ERA, 21.5 K%, 5.9 BB%, 0.5 rWAR

Pineda would clearly only be a modest upgrade and that is okay! He’d hopefully provide some sense of stability and depth for the homestretch of the 2nd half of the season. He is a pending free agent and Minnesota is currently the equivalent of a tire fire this season after dreams of contending for a division title.

Suggested Trade Package:

Phillies: Michael Pineda
Twins: Logan O’Hoppe, James McArthur

Would The Good Phight do this trade?

Jay Polinsky: The price isn’t going to be high and depending on how you feel about O’Hoppe and the likelihood that he will always be behind JTR or Rafael Marchan on the depth chart anyway.

Ethan Witte: Never been a Pineda fan, so I’d pass on this one. Don’t see him as much more than what Anderson or Velasquez offer right now.

Smarty Jones: Another guy who has made a career out of being okay at the back of a rotation. It would be nice if the Phillies could develop one of these guys on their own, but if they could, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Anyway, both O’Hoppe and McArthur sound like made up names, so I’m guessing they don’t really exist and this is a trick question. I’d gladly take a competent fourth starter in exchange for two fictional characters.

Allie Foster: As much as I like O’Hoppe, Jay is right in saying he’s always going to be low on the depth chart. For that reason, I don’t mind including him in any trade. However, Pineda really is just another Vince Velasquez and I don’t see the point in trading for someone who isn’t an upgrade.

Leo Morgenstern: Michael Pineda is better than Matt Moore and Chase Anderson. I know that’s not saying much, but Pineda is enough of an upgrade that he could genuinely be the difference-maker in a close NL East race. He wouldn’t be my first choice (or even my tenth choice) but he would make the Phillies a better team and he’s worth the prospects. The only issue is his $10 million salary, which might be too steep a cost for a pitcher who only represents a marginal upgrade.