The Philadelphia Phillies enter the 2019 All-Star Break with a record of 47-43, a 24.6% chance to make the postseason, and a 0.3% chance to win the World Series. For a team that spent close to half a BILLION dollars this offseason, that ain’t good. Our Phils have massively underachieved so far in 2019, that much is obvious. Today I am going to break down the 5 “MUST DO” trades that the Phils need to pull off before the deadline, moves that would propel us firmly back into the National League playoff race.
Trevor Bauer: Starting Pitcher, Cleveland Indians
The Phillies current pitching staff sucks. Like really, really sucks. Among the 15 teams in the National League, the Phillies rank 12th in total team ERA, 14th in opponent batting average, 14th in strikeouts, and lead the entire NL in homers allowed. Of the eight starting pitchers we’ve used this season, SIX have an ERA above 4.00 at the moment. Most fans seem to agree that our lack of true quality in the starting rotation is the number one reason our squad has performed so poorly recently.
This leads me to 28 year old righty Trevor Bauer. With the Cleveland Indians looking to sell at the deadline, Bauer makes perfect sense as our top target. Bauer is sitting at an ERA of 3.61 (which would already be the best on our team) and a WHIP of 1.17. With a record of 4-1 and an ERA of 3.35 in his last 5 starts, Trevor is seemingly only improving this season.
The Indians are reportedly interested in a “major league outfielder” per Ken Rosenthal, and while we don’t have to much to offer there (outside of maybe Roman Quinn), minor league guys like Nick Williams, Adam Haseley, and Mickey Moniak shouldn’t be off limits here. With the Yankees rumored to be interested as well, the Phils might have to send over quite a bit of talent to land the Indians’ ace.
Kyle Farmer vs. Trevor Bauer's breaking balls. 😂 pic.twitter.com/Hr57frWx4m
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 8, 2019
Starling Marte: Center Fielder, Pittsburgh Pirates
So hypothetically speaking we just traded away a good chunk of our outfielder depth to land Bauer, now what? Easy, let’s go get Starling Marte. The Pirates are sitting just 2.5 games back in the NL Central, but seeing as they’re in a division with both the Brewers and the Reds, the general thought is that they will be looking to offload at the deadline. Throw in the fact that Marte’s 2020 and 2021 option holds a $11.5 and $12.5 million cap hit, it’s reasonable to assume they want to ship the 30 year old out ASAP.
Grabbing Marte does a few really good things for the Phillies. First, it adds a true, veteran center fielder to the team. With the loss of Odubel Herrera to suspension, the Phillies have been at a serious disadvantage when it comes to the CF position (Kingery is an infielder everyone). Marte has played in the outfield for 8 solid years now (with CF being his primary position the last few seasons), having him in on the field drastically improves our defense. Second, it adds another extremely solid bat to the lineup. Starling is a career .285 hitter who currently has 45 RBIs and 12 homers, instant boost to the offense. Finally, it opens up even more trade pieces around the club. The addition of Marte means we could drop Scott Kingery back to his natural position (2nd base), which would free up Cesar Hernandez to be moved at the deadline, while he still has value.
Marcus Stroman: Starting Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays
Aaron Nola, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman. Tell me that isn’t a deadly trio of pitchers right there. I personally LOVE Marcus Stroman, he’s got nasty stuff and a fiery attitude, and with Jake Arrieta possibly done for the year with a bone spur, this team needs to add at least two starters to the rotation. We all know the Blue Jays are going to be massive sellers at the deadline (24.5 games back in the AL East) and seeing as Stroman just made the All-Star Game AND is in the final year of his contract, it’s almost certain he will be moved. Both the Yankees and Twins are reportedly interested, so this won’t be a cheap deal.
Stroman is currently sitting at an ERA of 3.18, which again would easily rank the best on our roster. Seeing as he’s just 28 and would most likely be open to a contract extension (given the money is right), this one’s a no-brainer. The biggest challenge will be fending off teams with more to offer.
— Kent (@RealKentMurphy) August 29, 2017
Ken Giles: Relief Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays
Now this is where things get really interesting. As we all know, not only is the Phillies starting rotation a mess, but so is their bullpen. Adding a strong “late-inning guy” is an absolute must for Matt Klentak and the front office. Given that we’re already doing business with the Blue Jays, why not just have them throw in another guy?
Ken Giles is a right handed reliever for Toronto who’s sitting at an ERA of 1.45 and a WHIP of 1.00. Yes, you read those numbers correctly, the 28 year old is absolutely lighting it up at the moment. Now according to Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors, both the Twins and the Yankees themselves have already inquired about a potential Stroman/Giles package. Despite those teams maybe having more to offer, it makes WAY more sense for the Blue Jays to send him our way for three reasons: a) we’re in the National League, b) Ken Giles started his career with the Phillies and would probably be open to the idea of coming home, and c) given that we acquired Marte, we can throw in a proven guy like Cesar Hernandez to really sweeten up the deal.
Giles could come in and pitch 7th/8th innings for us, or he could take over the closer role for Hector (Giles is 13/14 on saves this season). The combination of David Robertson, Hector Neris and Ken Giles come playoff time could really do some damage in the National League.
Anthony Rendon: Third Base, Washington Nationals
This trade makes no sense for a lot of reasons, and makes sense for very few reasons. The Nationals are currently in 2nd place in the NL East and without a doubt are not looking to trade their best batter to a division rival. Rendon is slashing a ridiculous .302 with 20 HRs and 62 RBIs. Washington shipping off one of their All-Stars to Philly would all but concede the 2nd place spot in the division. On top of all that, the Phillies #1 prospect in the minor leagues (Alec Bohm) also plays the hot corner.
However, Anthony Rendon’s agent is Scott Boras. Yup, THAT Scott Boras. The same exact agent who ghosted the Nationals during the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. And seeing as Boras has given zero inclination that a contract extension is in the works between Rendon and the Nats, we could very well see another Harper 2.0 situation in the spring. The Nats got stung hard in the Harper negotiations. Their front office was labeled cheap and their city deemed “undesirable”. The Nationals front office would be wise to not let that happen again, and might have to move Rendon before it’s too late. If our Fightin’ Phils truly want to “win now”, this is the move to make.
Realistically it would take a miracle for a “Rendon to the Phillies” move to formulate, and I wouldn’t even consider giving up Bohm in the deal. I mainly included this due to the heavy links/rumors that have circulated around Anthony and his future with the Nats, if he’s on the market we better look into it.
— Strand Sport Stats (@StrandStats) July 4, 2019
Well there ya have it, the 5 moves the Phillies need to make to salvage their 2019 campaign. Now given our GM Matt Klentak’s track record, we’d be lucky to see even one of these trades happen. Regardless, moves will 100% be made in the coming weeks, whether they align with my vision or not, only time will tell.
-David Esser via Philly Sports Insider