Trade season is coming.
You know it.
I know it.
Everyone knows it. Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, executives around the game are texting each other in anticipation of laying groundwork for possible trade deals to be made. The Phillies are not unlike other teams, especially with someone as active on the trade market as Dave Dombrowski has shown himself to be over time. By this point, with the team still in quasi-contention, some of their needs are quite clear, while others might be a little more subtle. With that in mind, here are some areas they might consider to upgrade as the days tick towards July.
Likely the most obvious spot for a trade, the team is going to face a decisions about this roster spot. When spring training began, it was clear that Andrew Painter was somewhat being counted on as a member of the pitching rotation to begin the season. They’d like watch his innings as the season progressed, but so long as the medical data held steady, Painter would be in the starting five. In their minds, they had a viable backup plan too in Bailey Falter, someone who could at least keep them in games for four to five innings per outing.
Then Painter for hurt.
Then Falter faltered.
Then Ranger Suarez got hurt.
Then starters started to lose effectiveness.
It all create a maelstrom of uncertainty in which the team could not get dependable, consistent starting pitching even still. Zack Wheeler has rounded into form a bit (Friday night notwithstanding), but the rest of the rotation has been all over the place in terms of what they give the team with each outing. While Wheeler seems to have figured it out and Suarez’s latest outing offered more encouragement, there are still the cases of Aaron Nola and Taijuan Walker, two pitchers the team hasn’t been able to totally rely on yet.
That’s what makes trading for a starter who can give the team consistent outings a priority once the market starts to heat up. No longer can they rely on Painter to come riding in to save the day, nor can they look to other top prospect arms to carry the day either. Bullpen games are fine once in a while, but at some point, the team needs to figure out what they’re doing with the fifth starter’s spot.
An infield bat
Rob Thomson like to play matchups, but for the most part, the quartet of Alec Bohm, Trea Turner, Bryson Stott and Edmundo Sosa are going to man third base, shortstop and second base with regularity. However, Thomson has not been shy about giving days off lately, especially with tough left-handed pitching on the mound. That means we’ve seen a fair amount of Josh Harrison.
Who has been terrible.
A wRC+ of 41 to go with a .206/.250/.270 slash line isn’t going to be a viable option to get spot starts against those tough lefties or anyone else for that matter. With the team needing to gain a lot of ground rather quickly, matchups could be used to gain advantages late in games or when starting lineups are created. Having to write in Harrison’s name as often as it has been isn’t going to help with those matchups. Adding depth like this may not even be that expensive when it comes to the return the team would have to give up either, but there are always surprises.
So Bryce Harper is going to first base, huh? Once this new reality sets in, there will be other dominoes to fall.
- Alec Bohm likely shifts back to full time third base, relegating Edmundo Sosa to the bench
- Kyle Schwarber heads to the DH spot, where his glove will no longer cause an issue
- Left field will open up for someone to get more playing time
Which is where the team could look to pursue an upgrade as well.
In 2021, the Braves completely re-did their outfield alignment, trading for three outfielders at a relatively cheap cost, saw almost all of them catch fire long enough to send them to the World Series championship that season. While the Phillies wouldn’t have to do something that drastic thanks to Brandon Marsh and Nick Castellanos being somewhat competent so far, trading for a left fielder could give them another bat/upgrade at defense that would provide yet another small victory around the margins.
The wild card, of course, is the return of Christian Pache. When the team acquired him, it looked like one of those “throw it against a wall” reclamation projects where the team was seeing what magic Kevin Long could conjure that other hitting coaches couldn’t. Prior to his injury, it did look like whatever tweaks Long was doing were starting to take root as Pache had a .360/.360/.600 line in a limited number of plate appearances, but the time off could be an issue. He’s a talented defender at whatever position the team chooses to use him and his return would not require the team part with anyone in the minor league system. However, if Pache returning demotes Dalton Guthrie to Lehigh Valley, that would still leave the team with some wiggle room to add an outfielder. Again, that’s why in this case, Pache is a wild card to this avenue of trade talk.
If you think about it, the team has some strengths on the roster already. Their bullpen, once complete with Jose Alvarado, is actually pretty good. It’s also pretty deep, all things considered. Bullpen, though, is probably the one thing that is always in demand at the trade deadline. Teams want to make sure they have as many viable options as possible from August, September and beyond to shorten games and make their weaker rotation options a little less necessary. Could the team add yet another reliever to their bullpen in the hopes of creating some kind of five-headed monster to pair with Alvarado, Seranthony Dominguez, Gregory Soto and Craig Kimbrel? That wouldn’t be the worst idea of all.
Maybe there is something else we aren’t thinking of. Prospect swaps, dealing from a “position of strength” to shore up another spot in the system. Who knows?
So what is your choice? Where should the team look to acquire someone when the trade deadline rolls around?
What is the team’s biggest need during the trade season?
This poll is closed
Better infield bench bat