By Connor Thomas
Yesterday we took a look at some affordable trade targets for the Phillies that they could target if they end up being buyers ahead of the July 30th trade deadline. The fact is, and we saw an example of it last night in the team’s 8-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs, there’s an equally good chance Dave Dombrowski will be selling at the end of this month. There’s an interesting balance to be found with this Phillies team, which sometimes seems significantly closer to competing than others, but there are a few players that could potentially be traded before the month is over. If the Phils hit a slide, these names very well may be on the backs of some other jerseys in August.
Segura is the first name mentioned in this conversation by just about anyone who covers the Phillies, and for good reason. Segura is having a career year, slashing .330/.383/.456, and would absolutely draw attention from contenders who are looking for some middle infield help. He has also had issues with Manager Joe Girardi at points this season, which lends to the belief that the team would be ok with dealing him. The draw back for a contender looking to target Segura, though, is that the veteran 2nd baseman is owed nearly $15m next year in what will be his age 32 season. If a team wants to come get Segura, they’ll have to be willing to hang on to him for another year as well. If the Phillies are any bit in contention it will be hard to part with their best hitter, but his value will probably never be higher than it is right now. If Segura is willing to waive his full no-trade clause, he’s probably the best chance to get something valuable back.
Neris has had a nightmare year in Philadelphia, and has fallen out of the closer role as a result. He may still have a future in the Phillies bullpen if he is able to work out some kinks, but right now it seems like he is on the outside looking in. He has drawn much ire from the fan base, but the reality is that Neris is considered a proven MLB reliever with a good amount of experience in high leverage situations on the mound. The draw where Neris is concerned is that a contender in need of bullpen help would be buying very low on a player with some upside. Neris currently boasts a 5.12 ERA and has blown 6 saves, good for a tie with Seattle’s Rafael Montero for the MLB lead, which makes him a clear target to move on from if you’re Dave Dombrowski. In the last year of an affordable contract, Neris could absolutely be on the move later this month.
The good news is Cutch is getting really hot at the dish right now. The bad news for Phillies fans is that this could ultimately just be more of a reason to move on from the veteran outfielder at the trade deadline. McCutchen is owed $20m this season, but is not signed past 2021, which makes him an attractive rental for a contender who needs a veteran outfielder or a solid bat off the bench. There’s a very good chance that the Phillies would be moving on from their left fielder anyway after this season when his contract expires, so unless they’re in the mix in about 3 weeks, it would make sense to get something back from McCutchen before you would have to release or re-sign him. Over McCutchen’s last 5 games, he has batted .300, hit 2 home runs, and drove in 7 runs. If he has a hot July, he gives Dombrowski and Co. even more reason to look to move him at or before the 7/30 deadline.
Vinny Velo has shown some great flashes this year, enough to create some buzz about what he might fetch if the Phils decide to ship him out of town at the trade deadline. He has been inconsistent at times, which has proven to be the only consistent thing about him in his pitching career, but his highs have been clearly more prominent than his lows this season. Velasquez has a 4.50 ERA and a 3-3 record since getting brought back into a starting role about a month into the season, which is attractive enough for a playoff team to consider adding him to the back end of their rotation. He’s on an expiring deal, so his volatility isn’t much of an issue either because any team that is willing to look into Velasquez could cut bait after the 2021 season. Maybe a change of scenery for Vince would make him even better than he’s been this year, similar to what has happened to Nick Pivetta in Boston this year. It’s an interesting thought that a GM or two are no doubt having when they look at the Phillies roster for potential trade targets.
Herrera has put together a solid season considering his return from a long absence from baseball following his domestic violence suspension. After not playing professional baseball for such a long time, the Phillies center fielder has shown flashes of his old all-star self at points this season. The numbers overall aren’t eye popping; he’s slashing .242/.294/.395 with 6 homers. But he has put together hot stretches, and is a relatively dangerous bat if he was used in a pinch hitting role or a late inning defensive replacement. Herrera’s contract isn’t cheap at $10m this year, but 2022 and 2023 are both team options on his deal meaning any contender who wants him has a cheap out after this season. Herrera most likely will not be on the move due to his off the field issues and his recent slump, but as another player who will most likely not be on the Phillies next year either way, he may be a cheap sale just for the sake of getting something for what would end up being nothing in the offseason.