Phillies

Phillies

Phillies

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The MLB trade Deadline is almost upon us. It is August 1st this year. meaning we are just over a month away. The moves should start to pick up shortly. And the Phillies should probably be involved in some of those.

This season has not gone as everyone hoped it would. The bats are struggling to drive in runs. Their starting rotation has at times been great, but Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler have not looked like aces. The top of the bullpen has been great, but there have been some untimely blowups by the back-end guys. Not to mention the fielding and baserunning have been atrocious. All of that has the Phillies still out of the playoffs at nearly the halfway point of the season. As of June 26th, they are 3 games out of a Wild Card spot and 10 back from the Braves.

And with the Trade Deadline about a month away, it is about that time to start looking at what the Phillies need to add to make sure they are competitive come October.

The Phillies need to do something. There is too much talent on this team, and too much money invested, for them not to be competitive. But what exactly do they need to do? To add another starter? Another Bat? Bullpen help? To be honest, they could use help with all of the above. The 5th spot in the rotation is underperforming. Their lineup is great on paper, but not living up to expectations. And while the back of the bullpen is great, it is hard to trust some of the guys deeper in the bullpen. But what do they most need to address?

Let’s take a look at all 3 of those needs, and rank which ones are the most important for them to address at the trade deadline:

  • 1) Another Bat Who Can Play Everyday At Either First or in Left Field

    This is kind of in limbo until we know if Bryce Harper is really a viable option at First base. If he can play first, then Kyle Schwarber can thankfully move to DH. That would open up Left Field to add another bat. But if Harper can’t make the switch in the middle of this season, then it would need to be First Base where they make the move. 

    Regardless, the lineup could use a boost. The name everyone loves to mention is Paul Goldschmidt. And if they could pull that off, it would be amazing. Even if that meant Harper had to keep DHing for now and Schwarber had to stay in Left. If you can add a bat like that, you do it. How realistic that move remains to be seen though. The Phillies should absolutely be in on him if the Cardinals try to move him. But it’s not something you can bank on happening. 

    WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Paul Goldschmidt #46 of the St. Louis Cardinals flies out in the eight inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 19, 2023 in Washington, DC.

    (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

    The lineup needs more pop though. The Phillies are regularly playing guys who are not everyday players. Whether it be Edmundo Sosas, Kody Clemens, etc. Both have had moments where they looked good, but overall have not been productive enough. Which is what a bench bat does. They need someone who can be productive enough to play every day though for that 9th spot in the lineup.  Some like the idea of playing Christian Pache in Left. And while that would be great for their defense, I have not seen enough from his bat to trust he can be an everyday guy yet. The best thing for Pache may be platooning in Center, and replacing Schwarber in Left late in games for defense. 

    The Leftfield options are not as pretty as the idea of trading for Paul Goldschmidt. Wil Myers is a free agent, but that is for a reason. Joc Pederson would be intriguing, but the Giants are playing well enough they may not be sellers. Jurickson Profar is barely productive at Coors Field. So if the Phillies look to go that way, they may need to get creative and acquire someone not being talked about much right now. 

  • 2) Bullpen Help

    The Phillies have a very good backend of the bullpen. Jose Alvarado, Gregory Soto, and Craig Kimbrel have all been tremendous for them. Seranthony Dominguez is hurt, but after a slow start, he was pitching well too before he went on the IL.  

    It is when you go outside those 4 that you can get into trouble. Yunior Marte and Jeff Hoffman have been hard to trust of late. Both Connor Brogdon and Andrew Bellatii are currently in the minors after struggling at this level to start the season. Also, they may have broken Matt Strahm by using him too much early in the season as a starter.  

    They need more guys they can trust in the middle innings. Aroldis Chapman, who is having a bounce-back season, would have made sense, but he was traded to the Rangers. The White Sox could move Kendall Graveman for the right price. Joe Kelly is another name to watch. And of course, there are a lot of middle-tier relief pitchers we haven’t actually heard of that could be decent targets as well.  

    Texas Rangers v Chicago White Sox

    (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    They don’t need to make a splash here. But they definitely need some help when it comes to the middle of their bullpen. I also think they need to bring Brogdon and Bellatti back up because we know they have stuff that plays at this level, and they deserve another chance. 

  • 3) A 5th Starter

    The hope is that this will be Andrew Painter. And if he can come up and live up to even half of the hype this season, that would fix the issue. But whatever the plan is, the Phillies need another starter. Christopher Sanchez has given them two decent starts in a row out of that 5th spot. And for now, he makes for a decent band-aid. But we have seen enough of him to know he is not a long-term solution. They will eventually need to have someone more reliable there.   

    Obviously, the first thing everyone thinks about is Shohei Ohtani. He would even kill two birds with one stone by giving them that extra bat too. That just seems unlikely. It would take a lot to get him and runs the risk that he leaves in the off-season, and you gave it all up for nothing.  

    If the Phillies add a starter, it will be a more realistic option. Like Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez technically has a few years left on his deal. But he has an opt-out after this season. Given that he is having a career season, with a 2.13 ERA in 11 starts, he will likely exercise that option for a big payday this offseason. And that makes him pretty much a rental, and a prime trade candidate with the Tigers not likely to compete.  Rodriguez has been a dependable MLB starter for years now. Even if there is a regression coming, his overall career numbers suggest he would be a good 5th starter for the Phillies.

    KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MAY 23: Eduardo Rodriguez #57 of the Detroit Tigers throws in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on May 23, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri

    (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

    Again, ideally, this gets filled by young of their young arms down in the minors. But the Phillies may want someone with more experience. And even if they do bring Painter up eventually, it could still serve them well to have another starter.

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