With the non-waiver trade deadline almost two weeks away, speculation continues to intensify regarding who general manager Matt Klentak and the Philadelphia Phillies will acquire to bolster their postseason-contending roster.
In the latest edition of "Phillies Roundtable," SportsTalkPhilly.com writers Jesse Larch, Matt Albertson, Matt Noskow and Paul Bowman speculate potential trade targets the Phillies could consider this July.
- Phillies get: LHP Blake Snell, INF Matt Duffy
- Tampa Bay Rays get: Nick Pivetta, RHP Adonis Medina (No. 2), OF Jhailyn Ortiz (No. 5), RHP Franklyn Kilome (No. 7), 2B Daniel Brito (No. 10), LHP Jhordany Mezquita (No. 30)
It's clear that the Phillies are looking for infield help and possibly a bench bat. The Twins' Eduardo Escobar might fit the bill as a versatile infielder who has experience at second, short and third. The 29 year old Venezuelan is currently slashing .272/.328/.517 with 14 home runs and 54 RBI. Additionally, he currently leads the majors with 35 doubles. Better yet, he’s slashing .357/.424/.690 with runners in scoring position and .295/.380/.545 RISP with runners in scoring position with two outs. This season, he's played 67 games at third, 21 at short, and one at second. He can platoon with Franco at third and Kingery/Crawford at short. It would also allow Kingery to get time at his natural position at second if Hernandez is traded. (The Twins are likely to trade second baseman Brian Dozier by the non-waiver deadline as well, opening a spot for Hernandez).
Matt Noskow: Jedd Lowrie, Blake Treinen
This would be a perfect move for the Phillies. Lowrie is an All-Star this year and a veteran bat that can give the Phillies reps at third base. Lowrie will likely not solve the defensive woes the Phillies suffer from this year but, his bat production should suffice for that. Adding Lowrie’s bat here would help the Phillies drive in more runs. The Phillies are among the best teams in baseball at drawing walks. Batting Lowrie third or fifth behind either Santana or Hoskins who have some of the best plate discipline on the team could do wonders for the middle of that order.
Treinen would be the bigger piece of this deal. Treinen, is having a fantastic year at the back end of the bullpen and has fantastic stuff (see any of Pitching Ninja gifs on twitter). This year he has a 5-2 record with 23 saves and a .98 ERA with a FIP below 2. Besides his great stats on the season, he is under contract for the next three years and would be relatively cheap. Adding a long-term piece like this could help solidify the backend of the bullpen as well as designate current bullpen piece to better roles.
The Phillies would likely have to give up a package of prospects to get these two. The package wouldn’t be tremendously deep but would likely cost starting pitching such as Enyel De Los Santos. A similar trade to compare this to would be the trade that took place last year between the White Sox and Yankees. The Yankees acquired Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle for a combination of prospects. Look for the A’s to look to acquire starting pitching prospects in any deal from the Phillies.
I’d like to start out by saying that I am not opposed to the Phillies standing pat at the deadline. I think it would be beneficial to get as many of the young guys playoff experience as possible, not to mention the team should be getting back Jerad Eickhoff (career 3.87 ERA) to sure up the back end of the rotation and may yet get Pedro Florimon back, who can play nearly every position and has a .301/.351/.485 slash line since joining the Phillies last year.
That said, the Phillies have too many upper level minor leaguers to protect from the Rule 5 draft next year, so it would make sense to move some of those guys before the farm is pillaged for nothing. Particularly they have a lot of starters to move – they have a full rotation now with Eickhoff and Lively on the DL and De Los Santos, Irvin, Eshelman, and Anderson in Lehigh Valley. I would probably look to move the struggling Eshelman or Anderson along with some lower level prospects not named Sixto Sanchez.
I would turn my attention to Baltimore. If the Orioles price comes down, Manny Machado would obviously be a good pickup, but I think the Phillies should swing a deal for Zach Britton. Britton has converted 137 of 148 save opportunities over the past five seasons and would give the Phillies a true closer. It could also allow them to groom younger players by making someone like Victor Arano the seventh inning guy and Seranthony Dominguez the setup man.
Other than Machado, the Phillies have been connected to a lot of third basemen. The only other player has been Whit Merrifield, who is under team control for four more years and could cost too much. Now, what I am about to say may be a hot take, but I wouldn’t take Maikel Franco out of the lineup. He is second on the team in average (.274), fourth on the team in home runs (12) and fourth in RBIs (45) despite batting in the eighth spot. Even if you plan to trade him, he is increasing his trade value for this offseason. I would look for bench players who could play shortstop – the Phillies least productive position. Among those available are Jordy Mercer of the Pirates and Asdrubal Cabrera of the Mets. Mercer would provide a slight upgrade over Kingery/Crawford slashing .246/.307/.387. Cabrera is on the midst of another productive season, slashing .280/.328/.485 with 16 home runs (one of which was a walk-off to beat the Phillies in Game one of Monday’s double-header) and 51 RBIs. The trick there is that you never want to give the Mets too much that it will come back to bite you.