clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What minor league player is this team’s most realistic trade piece?

Trying to think who is the most attractive brings up “eye of the beholder” stuff

MLB: All Star-Futures Game Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Friend of the website Matt Winkelman dropped his midseason prospect rankings, a list that is of importance to any Phillies fan worth his/her salt. No one knows the system quite like Matt does, but what is different about this one is that he’s including notes about each player in terms of how they fit as the deadline approaches. Reading through it, you see notes like this:

Depending on the org they are either going to view [Mick] Abel as a young impact starting pitcher or they are going to see an arm already showing major warts against just ok competition. Abel is the biggest prospect trade piece the Phillies can put on the board, and he lacks the sure impact upside to be untouchable. I don’t get the sense the Phillies are looking to move Abel or shopping where the cost is Abel, so if he is moved it will be because something big and unexpected shakes free and Dombrowski bounces.

It’s a reasonable take about how the team could be viewing the situation as it pertains to Mick Abel, someone that could be on the market, but could not be. The piece is well worth your time as a quasi-primer to the deadline for the Phillies.

It does make you wonder. What is the team’s most realistic trade piece as the deadline draws ever nearer? That is where the eye of the beholder will come into play.

Let’s say the team is looking at an outfielder. The logical place to look these days is St. Louis, a team clearly hammering a “For Sale” sign onto their front lawn that also possesses a glut of players the position the Phillies have a particular need for. The Cardinals also have a stated need for starting pitching as they have only two starters for 2024 in place. What would the Cardinals want - someone close to majors but still needing refinement (Abel, Griff McGarry), or would they want to look a little deeper into the Phillies’ system? That would shift those two arms toward the front of their perceived ranking of the Phillies’ prospects, sending players like Justin Crawford or Hao-Yu Lee tumbling down the list.

Perhaps the Phillies are looking to add a starting pitcher themselves. Whether they are looking to add someone that would be a more logical fit at the top of the rotation or more of a LAIM (league average innings muncher) would affect what kind of trade package they would look to send in return. Lance Lynn has been most often mentioned as perhaps the most available starting pitcher for trade the moment, but the White Sox would be silly to come asking for someone in the top section of the prospect list, knowing full well that Lynn’s poor season, bloated contract and sizeable team option for 2024 would drive down the price. Pitching, though, is always in demand and this being a seller’s market this year could put someone in the 12-15 range on the table for negotiations. Like I stated previously, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Each team will have their personal picks as the ones they want to acquire from the Phillies, tastes that will vary from team to team.

For me, the two biggest names are going to be Griff McGarry and Carlos de la Cruz.

McGarry is going to be a good pitcher in the major leagues. His stuff is simply too good for him to not be successful. Will control always be an issue? It’s possible, enough to make the team wonder what role he is ultimately destined for. For me, that’s enough to capitalize on his current value while it’s still high. If there is someone who would be willing to give the team a solid piece that they would still control for a while, McGarry would be the lead player in the deal if someone thinks he can be a starter long term.

For de la Cruz, there just doesn’t seem to be a fit here in the near term. His positions are going to be occupied for at least two more years, so he will struggle to break in with the team at the major league level. Plus, he’ll need to be put on the 40-man roster this year, lest the team lose him to minor league free agency. If they don’t see a place for him on the team in 2024, they might as well get something for him now while he also has trade value. A rebuilding team would probably be a perfect landing spot, a team that is a little talent deficient and can afford to wait on him a little while longer.

There is going to be a prospect traded this deadline that we don’t want to see go. However, which one that will be depends on the team. It makes for an interesting couple of days in Philadelphia, one that will shape how this team proceeds in 2023 while also seeing how they will move forward once the curtain drops on their season.