ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 29: Joe Kelly #17 of the Chicago White Sox in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 29, 2023 in Anaheim, California.

The Phillies’ biggest need at the deadline is another power bat. Between Harper’s power drought, and the absence of Rhys Hoskins, HRs haven’t been the most common sight for the Phillies. But there is another need. A need that every contending team shares every single season. Bullpen help. 

The Phillies bullpen has for once actually been really good. Craig Kimbrel has refound his old Braves form, staying perfect to this point in the season. Gregory Soto has been near perfect as well, with just a few blips inflating his ERA. Jose Alvarado when healthy has been as good as any lefty reliever in the game. And even the guys on the edge like Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm have got the job done. But Seranthony Dominguez has injury issues, and Alvardo just went on the IL for the second time. 

As good as the bullpen is, they could always use more good arms. We saw how valuable having a deep bullpen was when the Astros beat the Phillies last season in the World Series. They could have Kimbrel, Soto, Alvarado, Dominguez, and someone else, as the backend of their bullpen, to go with middle inning guys like Hoffman, Marte, and Strahm. 

A great bullpen is often to the key to postseason success. And the Phillies have a chance to make an already great bullpen even better. So with the trade deadline coming up on August 1st, let’s look at some of the Phillies options in the bullpen. Could they add another high-powered arm? Who are the names we should be watching? Let’s find out.  

 Here are 9 names to keep an eye on at the deadline:  

  • Daniel Bard- RHP- Rockies

    Bard is one of the most interesting names at the deadline. He has one more year left on his deal after this, so he is not the most obvious trade candidate. But he is also 38 and is playing for the Rockies. They are guaranteed to be sellers at the deadline and may not want to hand onto an aging reliever due to make $9.5 million next season.  

    The aging righty has found new life these past two seasons. He joined the Rockies in 2020 after not pitching since 2013. His first couple of seasons were a little rocky. But in 2022 he put up a 1.79 ERA and this year it is 2.2 so far in a tough ballpark to pitch in.  

    He left the MLB for control issues about 10 seasons ago. And there has been some of that this year too. So, it is not without risk. But he has pitched very well the past two seasons. And when he controls his stuff, it can be pretty deadly. 

  • Scott Barlow- RHP, Royals 

    Like several of the Phillies bullpen guys, a slow start has his ERA a bit inflated. But since May he has been pretty deadly. Barlow has shut teams out in 18 of his 23 outings since May 1st. And his ERA was under 3 in each of the past two seasons. He is arbitration eligible for one more season and then will be a free agent in 2025. The Royals are way out of contention. So it could make sense to move their closer at the deadline.  

    He obviously would not be closing here, or even be in the setup role. But he would be a solid addition as a middle-inning guy. And then would have him for at least one more season.  

    KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JULY 01: Scott Barlow #58 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the eighth inning at Kauffman Stadium on July 01, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri.

    (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

  • Jose Cisnero- RHP- Tigers

    Outside of one disastrous outing recently, Cisnero has given up just 8 earned runs all season. If it wasn’t for that 5 run outing vs the Blue Jays where he got no outs, his ERA would be sitting at 2.06. He made it through June without giving up a single run.  

    The Tigers are not winning anything this year. He is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. And is due just $1 million for the rest of the season. He is the perfect candidate to be traded. And kind of perfect for the Phillies’ needs. Cisnero is already in a non-closer role, so you know he will be comfortable in whatever role the Phillies have in store for him. And there is no long-term commitment or large monetary commitment.  

  • Joe Kelly- RHP- White Sox 

    Outside of Aroldis Chapman, who has already been traded, Joe Kelly has been one of the most popular bullpen pieces in trade conversations. The 4.82 ERA would scare some people away, but it is misleading. He struggled in April, but pitched well in May and June. And the stuff is there. His fastball still hits 99, and his curveball is up there in terms of spin rate. 

    He did go onto the IL in June. But he should be off of it soon. And once he is, should be a prime candidate to be traded. The White Sox are way out of the playoff race. Kelly has one club option left after this season and is due 9.5 million next year if it is picked up. 

    ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 29: Joe Kelly #17 of the Chicago White Sox in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 29, 2023 in

    (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

  • Brent Suter- LHP- Rockies

    We have talked about 4 righties, so what about a lefty option? Brent Suter would certainly be an interesting candidate. He has a 2.82 ERA at this point in the season. He is not a power pitcher like much of the Phillies pen. Instead, he relies on deception which could be an interesting change of pace from the flamethrowers elsewhere in the pen. 

    Lefties are not a particular need for the Phillies. Soto, Strahm, Alvarado, and Vasquez already pitch from that side. 

    The one holdup for Suter is his injury. He is currently on the IL with an oblique injury. So, the Phillies would need assurances he is ready to go before acquiring him. But if he is healthy, he makes for an interesting option. He is a free agent after this season, making him a prime candidate to be traded by the Rockies. 

  • David Robertson- RHP- Mets

    Third time is the charm? We have been down the David Robertson road before. The first time they signed him away from the Yankees, he barely played any games in the massive 3-year deal due to injuries. Last year they added him at the deadline, and it went better than the first time… I guess. He pitched well in the regular season but then hurt himself in the playoffs celebrating a Bryce Harper HR and missed the next series.  

    After that, he mostly pitched well, and he did get a save in the World Series. There are some wounds there with him and the Phillies, but Robertson is a professional pitcher. And past history shouldn’t prevent the Phillies from acquiring him again. 

    The Mets may be sellers at the deadline. But Robertson has pitched great for them this season. His ERA is 1.96. And he is on a 1-year deal, so if they do sell, he is a guy they should sell. Would they trade him to the Phillies? Maybe, maybe not. But it is at least worth asking.  

  • Brad Hand- LHP- Rockies

    Speaking of reunions, Brad Hand is also available. He is not quite as enticing of a reunion though. He did not perform that well in the playoffs last season. He had his moments, and his regular season stats were impressive, but in the playoffs, it was often an adventure with him on the mound. 

    Still, he is having a solid season even pitching in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field. His ERA was 3.62 before a recent awful outing blew it up. And he will likely be cheap. If the Phillies blow most of their trade assets bringing in another star hitter and want to go cheap with bullpen help, there are worse options. But there are also many better options.  

    SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 08: Brad Hand #55 of the Colorado Rockies pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the fifth inning at Oracle Park on July 08, 2023 in San Francisco, California.

    (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

  • Liam Hendricks- RHP- White Sox

    Given the buzz around his name, you can’t leave Hendricks off this list. But even if the White Sox do trade him, I don’t know if Hendricks makes sense for the Phillies. 1) He is injured. 2) He is very expensive. 

    Some team desperate for Bullpen help will surely be willing to give up what it costs to get him. His pedigree is hard to argue with. He has been a dominant closer for years now. But the Phillies don’t really need a closer. Kimbrel has that locked up, and even after that Soto, and Alvarado when healthy are great setup guys. 

    Once Hendricks is traded for, his $15 million option next season is guaranteed. So, beyond what you give up in a trade, you will also have to shell out some decent cash. As tempting as Hendricks is, it feels like there are better fits. But if Middleton is willing to pay, no one will be complaining if they add another arm of his caliber.  

    This part isn’t relevant to whether or not they should trade for him, but he is also one of the cooler stories in baseball this season.

  • Kendall Graveman- RHP- White Sox

    Graveman might be a more attainable White Sox pitcher. He has one more year left on his deal after this for $8 million. Being 32, it’s unlikely he is part of the White Sox rebuild plans. He also has about a strikeout per inning and a 3.07 ERA. Graveman has been a solid pitcher across 3 teams since 2021. He is a cheaper, and perhaps safer option than Hendricks, albeit with a lower ceiling.  

  • For a look at who they could target in left field

    6 Left-Field Options For The Phillies At The Trade Deadline

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