Phillies Mailbag: Klentak, Trade Deadline, Trading Realmuto?
We are back once again with the Phillies mailbag. Ask your questions at any time on Twitter to @FrankKlose. We'll respond in-season on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill on Tuesdays.
How can Matt Klentak keep his job after putting together this bullpen?
I am not the type to arbitrarily state that the general manager should lose his job. Many years of "Fire Ruben Amaro. Jr." I often did not take the side of those who wanted to send the son of a Phillies alumnus packing after each and every move. But despite all of my good will towards the Phillies general manager, I feel I must be unequivocally clear: this bullpen is enough to cost general manager Matt Klentak his job.
Those who read sportstalkphilly.com and 973 ESPN know that I have been very kind to the young general manager. Before he was named, I stated on-air that the "young general manager from Anaheim (briefly forgetting his name) should be the next Phillies general manager. The young one who worked for Phillies president Andy MacPhail in Baltimore was probably the one to lead the team.
But this bullpen is too much.
For the most part, I was okay with new manager Gabe Kapler's tactics to manage a team. For the non-stop pitching changes, the constant left/right changes in the lineup, and the starters leaving the game arbitrarily before their time was up if a lefty or right was batting, I was on board. But Kapler did not survive the second year. That means all eyes are on the general manager.
The Phillies brought in a world-class manager, under the direction of representative owner John Middleton. The Phillies did not shop in the "let's see what a young, innovative manager can do" aisle. They went for one of the best. They shopped in the "won a World Series" aisle, and one whose strength was managing a bullpen.
But then, Klentak cared so little to put together a bullpen for that manager to manage. I think it is very fair to say that should the Phillies fail to make the playoffs this year, which could directly correlate to this bullpen, I think Klentak is in real danger of losing his job.
Will the Phillies do anything at the trade deadline?
The MLB trade deadline this year is Monday. Yes, even though it feels like the season already has begun, the Phillies and the rest of MLB are just days away from the trade deadline, which this year is Monday, August 31 at 4:00 p.m. There are probably few moves the Phillies could make, though.
The Phillies have added three relief arms already. Could they go one more? One name out there that has been near-dominant is Trevor Rosenthal. For his first 12 games in 2020, he is not the pitcher he was last year, when after 12 appearances he was released by the Washington Nationals:
2020: 1.59 ERA, 6 saves, 15 K
2012: 22.74 ERA, 0 saves, 5 K
After his release from the Nationals, Rosenthal pitched to a 7.00 ERA with the Tigers in nine more games before being released again.
What will he cost the Phillies or any other team? That's hard to say. Last year could give some doubt, but he looks really good. Would the Phillies dare add a fourth bullpen arm? Hector Neris has been sketchy and Jose Alvarez is out.
The Phillies are mostly set with their offense and they can get by with their starting pitching. Any trade for a starting pitcher would need to include Vince Velasquez and the money he is owed to balance salaries. That may be hard to do, but I would not completely rule it out.
Would the Phillies trade J.T. Realmuto if they don't believe they can sign him?
While I think the Phillies could struggle to sign catcher J.T. Realmuto ahead of the offseason, I do not think that the Phillies will trade him. There are two reasons for this: 1) It's hard to make a deal like that with such a top player under the current climate, and 2) The Phillies are still in contention.
Sure, the Phillies had a rough week. However, I don't believe that it was enough to make the team feel like they were out of it. They just added three new relievers in Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, and David Hale, and they have not even had a chance to really get going.
I would think that the Phillies will have an easier time this week against the Nationals and Braves than they did this past week with the Blue Jays and the Braves. Nothing short of the Phillies going 0-6 between now and the deadline I think would let them consider trading anyone.
The free agents to be are Realmuto, Workman, Didi Gregorius and Jake Arrieta.
But I think the Phillies will be in contention and that if the Phillies can find a playoff spot, they have a shot to win with an Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler-led rotation and the Phillies offense being what it is. So they'll try to even sneak in before they trade anyone.