Phillies Being “Sneaky”; May Add Controllable Starter
Phillies fans are well aware that the team could make some deals prior to the July 31 trade deadline. Reliever Pat Neshek seems all but dealt already. Veterans like starter Jeremy Hellickson and Howie Kendrick could be moved as well, and possibly some younger players like Tommy Joseph. But could the Phillies look to actually add some talent that contenders are after?
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports penned an interesting piece this morning that says that the "sneaky-aggressive" Phillies might actually add:
At 32-61, the Philadelphia Phillies are the worst team in baseball by 3½ games. They still have poked around on controllable starting pitchers, according to sources, even as they look to deal pending free agents Hellickson, relievers Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit, and second baseman Howie Kendrick.
Who might fit the bill of a "controllable" starting pitcher?
Oakland Athletics starter Sonny Gray is one rumored to be potentially dealt this trade deadline season. Gray had a tough 2016, but has been one of the more consistent young starters in the game. Gray would come with full team control for 2018 and 2019, meaning the Phillies could have him in place when they are ready to contend.
One team who was interested in acquiring Gray was the New York Yankees. While the two teams have talked about Gray and about first baseman Yonder Alonso (who likely is not heading to New York now that the club acquired infielder Todd Frazier). With the Yankees out of the mix, the Phillies could swoop in.
Pitcher Gerritt Cole might be on the move for the cash-strapped Pittsburgh Pirates. The ace of the Pirates staff, he could command a nice return for the Pirates, who could possibly trade outfielder Andrew McCutchen, too. Pittsburgh's situation is somewhat complicated by their most recent series where they swept the first place Milwaukee Brewers in four games.
The Pirates jumped from seven games out of first place and four games below .500 to an even .500 and just three games behind first place Milwaukee. Instead of looking to trade pieces, the Pirates may end up looking to add. The team's performance these 10 days up to the trade deadline could determine which direction the team goes.
One more name that sometimes gets trade attention is Rays starter Chris Archer. It remains unclear how willing the Rays are willing to move Archer, as the Rays now sit just 2.5 games behind the first place Boston Red Sox. The Rays have jumped over the New York Yankees in the standings. The next ten days could determine how willing the Rays are to trade Archer.
Passan says that other teams view the Phillies as a "leviathan-in-training". The Phillies, though frustrating fans with their performance in 2017, have amassed a large number of prospects and a large amount of financial flexibility. The team is almost at the point where they will begin to take advantage of both. If they are able to strike now, they appear ready to do so if the deal is right.