The Phillies are teetering on whether or not they should buy or sell at the trade deadline. If you were to ask someone in the front office right now, they’d probably classify themselves as buyers at this point seeing as how the Mets just refuse to run away with the division and the team has suddenly been hot. A losing streak or a run of poor play can change those plans right quick and suddenly shift the team into trading off pieces in hopes of getting some help for future Phillies teams. With that idea in mind, here are some possible ideas for players who could be on the move.
*all stats through games on Sunday
2021 stats: .229/.351/.441, 16 HR, 51 RBI, 118 OPS+. 1.0 bWAR
McCutchen has turned his game up lately. His slash line might have a batting average that some would find fault with, but consider that since May 31, he has a robust .274/.401/.556 line in 147 plate appearances. In short, he’s been fantastic and has kept it up, proving it’s not just a two week hot streak. He has been a very productive cleanup hitter, giving Bryce Harper some protection and allowing the lineup to start humming along now that everyone is healthy and in the right spot in the batting order. With only a team option for 2022, he doesn’t have much team control, so if someone were to acquire his services, they’d really only be using him as a rental.
Defensively, he’s still not the greatest with the leather, but he’s also not a liability. He makes the plays he’s supposed to make and adds a presence to a team that is infectious. No, not that one.
Possible return: With McCutchen still owed a decent amount of money this year plus a guaranteed $1 million next year, teams might be hesitant to give up a lot for him. The Yankees might be the most desperate since they’re collective leftfielders have a .656 OPS (tied with Oakland for 27th) plus they have the financial clout to cover a deal. If money isn’t involved, prospects in a team’s 10-15 range would be a good starting point, but if the Phillies were to pick up some of it, the return would be more attractive.
2021 stats: 37 1⁄3 IP, 4.34 ERA (4.40 FIP), 28.6 K%, 9.9 BB%, 0.0 bWAR
Neris continues to frustrate the team, blowing up in several appearances in a row before ending this past weekend against the Marlins with two solid outings in a row. It’s the same old story with him where you are in essence playing Russian roulette with him every time he gets the ball. Whenever he moves on, we’ll have to examine more in depth how good he actually was when considering how he was acquired, how much he cost the team, etc., but if team is ready to move on, he can help a contender if need be.
Possible teams in need: I mean, who doesn’t need relief help?
Possible return: Neris is an interesting case. Can he be trusted with a save situation? He has in the past, but the reliability factor is almost zero. You just never know what you’ll be getting from him night in and night out. There’s a chance some team might be desperate enough to part with a solid prospect in a team’s 15-20 range, but it’s more likely that low minors lottery tickets would be the best possible outcome.
2021 stats: 24 2⁄3 IP, 3.28 ERA (5.44 FIP), 13.3 K%, 13.3 BB%, 0.4 bWAR
Of all the relievers on the staff, Bradley has arguable seen his stock rise the most. Ranger Suarez has been good all year, so his stock can’t go much higher, but consider where Bradley was before injuring himself. He was barely hitting 91-93 on the radar gun and had an ERA near 7. Now, since his return from the IL, he’s got an ERA of 2.91 (though the peripherals suggest luck), but has also seen his stuff coming back.
If he can continue this upward ascent, more teams will come sniffing around.
Possible teams in need: see above
Possible return: again, see above. With Bradley, you’re banking on some team recognizing he’s been a closer in the past, his velocity is ticking upwards and that the whole “veteran reliever” angle would play well. He might be more likely to get the team something found on a top 25 list, but it would be towards the back end of that list.
2021 stats: .247/.333/.451, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 115 OPS+, 0.2 bWAR
Brad Miller is a valuable piece for contenders to have. He provides power off the bench, can play multiple positions and seems like a swell guy. Were the Phillies to fall out of contention, he’s one that the team would peddle and probably find it pretty easy to move.
Possible teams in need: most contenders need a bench bat, especially the lefty kind
Possible return: Yeah, you aren’t getting more than a lottery ticket arm for Bamboo Brad.
2021 stats: .233/.314/.481, 20 HR, 56 RBI, 116 OPS+, 1.2 bWAR
Now we start getting into the “why move him?” section. When a team sees Hoskins, they see power and patience. He hasn’t shown as much patience this year, but he has shown the power that he regularly gives. According to certain parts of the fanbase, a trade of Hoskins would open up first base for a potential defensive switch for Alec Bohm. Watching social media during a Phillies game, you see alternately how bad Hoskins is, followed by how good he is. He’s young-ish, still cheap and has a few years of control left. It adds up to a player that teams would like to have.
Possible teams in need: Tampa Bay, Seattle, Milwaukee
Possible return: Let’s theoretically think that the Phillies move Hoskins. The teams that are listed have some of the bottom third OPS numbers in the game and are looking to get to the playoffs this year and next. Anything the Phillies get back would need to help supplant Hoskins at first, or if Bohm is moved there, a third baseman. That player would have to be major league ready (think Evan White from Seattle) since the Phillies don’t have much to bring up in place of Hoskins that would replace his production.
That brings about another point: how would they be replacing what Hoskins brings to the table? He shouldn’t cost more than $8-9 million next year and can almost be guaranteed to provide 30/80 each year. At that price, there isn’t much that will be helping replace Hoskins’ production. It’s trading a player to fill a hole only to create another, different kind of hole. This is a longshot.
2021 stats: .315/.367/.442, 4 HR, 27 RBI, 123 OPS+, 2.9 bWAR
Should the Phillies fall out of contention, this might be their best trade piece they have that has a realistic shot at moving. His trade value will never be higher since this is his best season in three years. He’s been consistently their best hitter this year, not missing much of a beat since his own return from injury. His salary, though a bit steep, isn’t so much in 2022 that teams would shy away. His defense is reliable; not spectacular, but solid and dependable. Can he be a knucklehead every now and then? Yes, without a doubt. But teams in a pennant chase can use a player like Segura
Possible teams in need: San Francisco, Seattle, New York (AL)
Possible return: Even with the team expecting to contend next year, I’d think very long and hard about moving Segura. They will likely never find a better time to move him if they wanted to get someone different at the keystone, so if they fall out of it, moving him might be the prudent move. San Francisco is in the middle of a playoff chase and has lots of money coming off of the books. Their second baseman have a collective .662 OPS. Gabe Kapler is familiar with Segura, so there’s that. Might they try and capitalize on a race this year, knowing they’ll easily be able to afford him next season? Seattle (.613 OPS) and the Yankees (.701) also have struggled to get production from the keystone. Would they want an upgrade at the position as well?
As far as what they might expect in return, a reasonable ask would be at least a player in a team’s 10-15 range plus a few lower minors players. Segura has been that good that a price tag set at that level would not be too exorbitant to ask. Again, as with Hoskins, what would replace him? Nick Maton might be able to hold the position, but does he bring what Segura does with the bat?