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Mailbag time! Mailbag time!

It’s time to take stock of the team’s real needs

Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Let’s dive right in.

The All-Star break is over, the draft has been completed, so now all of the off field attention now shifts to the trading deadline. Fortunately for Phillies fans, the team isn’t going to be in sell mode, what with them being in a playoff spot right now. Instead of having to deal with rumors of which players are on their way out, we have to deal with which players the team might buy. So naturally, with the call for questions for the mailbag, the most common theme was who should the team be looking to grab.

Our own John Stolnis touched on this a bit ago, naming ten offensive players that the team should be interested in. Most of these guys are the ones that I would probably name as the ones the team should be going after, but I wanted to focus on two in particular since they’ll be the ones most discussed.

First, Andrew Benintendi. His numbers are really good (.317/.386/.401, 127 wRC+), but for me, the fit overall just isn’t as good as people want it to be. The obvious place that he would play would be center field and while it’s not the worst idea (remember, some were talking about playing Kris Bryant there last year at the deadline), it’s still not going to make this team a defensive juggernaut. Does it improve the lineup? Of course. It would force the team to move Nick Castellanos from the third spot in the lineup (more on that in a bit) since Kyle Schwarber would be leading off, followed by Rhys Hoskins. If Rob Thomson wanted to bad Schwarber in a more power friendly spot where he could drive in runs, Benintendi could himself leadoff the game. That opens up a lot of options. So, offensively, it would help the team. Defensively....that’s a really bad outfield. Benintendi is not a center fielder. It might expose this team more out in the grass than they might be comfortable with.

We haven’t even mentioned the cost for acquiring him.

Kansas City doesn’t have much else worth trading for (unless you like Brad Keller), so they need to get this one right in order to further their rebuild. With so many teams in need of offensive help this deadline, do the Phillies have enough in their arsenal to make a deal happen?

The other name is one that might fly under the radar a bit. Ramon Laureano has perked up a bit offensively (.236/.320/.413, 115 wRC+) to go with his stellar def....

Oh wait.

Laureano has a reputation for good defense that probably isn’t all that earned. You probably remember him for his throws from the outfield, but what if I told you that Laureano has registered negative outs above average in three of the past four seasons, the only positive season in 2020. I believe the word you’re looking for is “overrated” and the Athletics will probably want a return package that displays that overrated moniker.

When it comes to offensive targets at the trade deadline, my gut feeling says that what offensive piece they do trade for, we’re going to be disappointed by it.

Nick Castellanos currently has a .376 slugging percentage. Had I written that in March, would you have believed it?

Having Castellanos bat in the third position this long has been an issue since Bryce Harper got injured. Since moving to that spot on June 26, Castellanos has 22 hits, only four of which have gone for extra bases. For a run producing spot, watching Castellanos consistently fail to produce power numbers has been a source of frustration for the fanbase.

Should we readjust our thinking on this topic though? One could be a bit more positive with the fact that over that same stretch since the Harper injury, Castellanos has hit .286, a good stretch for a player that was hitting only .242 when Harper went down. He’s been able to raise his average a few points since then to .251 overall. So, if you’re one to look on the bright side of life, you can be happy with that.

Instead of being angry with the lack of power Castellanos has shown, I’d argue it’s more frustrating that he has been so impatient this season. Never one to be happy taking a walk, Castellanos is currently below .300 with his on base percentage (.297), the first time he would do that in his career during a full season. That same stretch that Harper has been out? He has drawn exactly one walk. Forget the lack of power. His inability to control the strike zone is something that should be far more concerning. Should be move down in the order? Maybe, but who would go there in his stead? J.T. Realmuto has been much better of late (8 for his last 15) and might be the best option there. Perhaps Rhys Hoskins might move to the third spot, his vacated second spot occupied by someone like Bryson Stott.

Whatever the lineup becomes, it is vital to this team’s sustained success for Castellanos to get something going. It’s not too late.

I am pushing 40. I don’t actually remember seeing Mike Schmidt play, though apparently I was at a few of his games, and I never had the pleasure of seeing a Carlton special. I’ve lived though the greatest era in team history, so I don’t have to think back to far to the Rollinses, the Utleys and the Howards, so looking back at the team’s history, there are slim pickens’.

However, based on all the anecdotal evidence that there is available, plus the firsthand accounts from newspaper reports, the player I’d probably name is Dick Allen. If just for the Coke sign story alone, it would be worth the price of admission. I mean, this picture doesn’t do it justice, but if Allen really did a ball over that Coke sign,

Mercy. That’s something to behold.

Wow, I am bad at this stuff.


  • David Bednar has been very good with the Pirates in 2021 and 2022
  • David Bednar is very cheap, not becoming arbitration eligible until 2024, a free agent until 2027
  • David Bednar is Pittsburgh’s best other trade chip outside of Bryan Reynolds
  • David Bednar is going to be very expensive to acquire

It’s a pretty wonky judge of trade value since different teams like different things when acquiring prospects, but Baseball Trade Value’s simulator is a place we can start to see what kind of value it would take to get Bednar onto the Phillies.

As of now, Bednar’s value is 28.7....somethings. They call it millions of dollars, so that’s what we’ll call it (told you it was wonky). So the Phillies need to come up with $28.7 million worth of value to get Bednar. It’s probable that the best trade piece the Phillies have, Logan O’Hoppe, doesn’t match up with what Pittsburgh’s needs are since they just drafted a catcher with the top overall pick last year. We’ll have to add a pitcher in there and if we go with the assumption that Mick Abel, Andrew Painter and likely Griff McGarry aren’t going anywhere soon, let’s move to the next guy in Ben Brown. They’ll probably want top line talent in return for Bednar and if none of the pitchers are getting moved, nor is O’Hoppe, that probably means Johan Rojas needs to go as well. Does the team include Bryson Stott right now? Probably not since Jean Segura isn’t coming back for a few weeks and Didi Gregorius is a free agent after this year, so maybe we have to move to the team’s next best hitting prospect.

Who is that though? Luis Garcia? Ethan Wilson? The dearth of hitting prospects really comes back to haunt this team around trade deadline time, and the Phillies probably wont’ want to lose that many bats from an already thin system, so we’ll put in another pitcher. That brings us to this offer:

Ben Brown, Luis Garcia, Johan Rojas and Erik Miller for David Bednar. Final verdict:

That’s about half of the value Bednar theoretically brings. Would you do that if you were Pittsburgh?

Unless the team is willing to part with one of their big three pitching prospects, there is not really much of a chance they’re going to acquire someone of any real impact. With Bednar, maybe they think about McGarry since Bednar does come with a lot of team control. Including McGarry in that above package would bring the overall value to $24.5 million worth of value, still not enough but more palatable for Pittsburgh.

Again though, if the team is dead set against adding one of those pitching prospects, moving for someone of great impact probably isn’t in the cards.

Rob Thomson has done an excellent job so far this season.

There is also no reason to give him an extension any time soon.

This team has to make the playoffs. They’ve spent like the have that goal, so anything short of it would be a disappointment. While the team’s poor play prior to the firing of Joe Girardi cannot be blamed on Thomson, they still need to do a lot more to make that final push. Thomson has more than earned the right to be the leading contender for the permanent job when all is said and done. The trend of teams hiring older managers to help provide some kind of steadying influence has worked in some cases (Houston) and not worked in others (White Sox). There might be some middle ground candidate out there somewhere that can work with this team in the future. Maybe that candidate is Thomson after all. There’s no reason to rush into naming him the permanent manager just yet, but his prospects look much better than they did before.