Sunday Night Baseball did not go off as planned for the Phillies. With the nation watching on ESPN, starter Jake Arrieta pitched what could have been the worst start of career. Length-wise it was. Before the Phillies knew, it they were down 10-0. Remarkably, the Phillies made it a close game, scoring ultimately 10 runs of their own, but fell 12-0.
The loss underscored a potential need for the Phillies: Starting pitching.
So will the Phillies add a starter before the trade deadline hits at 4:00 p.m.? Will they add any additional bullpen help? In a trade deadline like no other, here are some things the Phillies could consider.
The Phillies have used six starters so far this season. Vince Velasquez, who despite saying he "earned" a spot in the starting rotation, was unable to hold the spot in the rotation. Spencer Howard is a rookie and despite having immense talent, it is totally unclear what he can do for a rotation. Add Arrieta's inconsistency, and perhaps there is reason to worry.
Making matters worse, the Phillies have four more doubleheaders. With little wiggle room, could the Phillies trade for a starting pitcher?
Interestingly, two names that the Phillies were often connected to in the past may be available, in Robbie Ray and Mike Minor. They would represent the only left-handed starter in the Phillies rotation should they join the Phillies. The Diamondbacks and Rangers could be open to trading either pitcher, both of whom have underwhelmed in 2020 and both of whom are free agents to be.
The Phillies added three relief arms already in David Hale, Brandon Workman, and Heath Hembree. Would they add more?
The Phillies since the additions lost Jose Alvarez for a period of time still not known. Ranger Suarez could re-join the Phillies any day now, but what he will give them is somewhat unknown after a possible (we don't know for sure) battle with COVID.
The top relief arm on the market, Trevor Rosenthal, went to the very aggressive San Diego Padres who seem locked in and are getting extra loaded with talent. It is unclear what other relief arms might be out there and available, with so few teams out of playoff contention.
Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes comes up a lot in baseball circles as someone who might be traded. But would the Red Sox trade a third arm to the Phillies? That might be difficult to pull off after the prospects that interested the Red Sox might have been moved.
Some have suggested the Phillies might add a bat. Trying to find a place to put the bat might be difficult. Right now the Phillies likely have used all their position player spots, and upon the return of Jay Bruce might have to subtract one (a Scott Kingery option to the minor leagues?) or subtract a pitcher.
Bruce is currently on the injured list with a sore quad. It is unclear when he will return. If he is in doubt and the injury is more serious than otherwise thought, maybe the Phillies would consider adding a left-handed bat.
However, the Phillies offense has been pretty good to this point.
Will The Team Trade?
Nothing specific has been really rumored for the Phillies, but with a playoff appearance within the sights of the Phillies, will it be a good idea? With limited supply of options, there probably will not be too many deals. But the Phillies likely will try.
My best projection: The Phillies find a starting pitcher somewhere. Who? We shall see.