Phillies Should Target Starting Pitching at the Trade Deadline

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Editor

That's right, it is only gonna get “funner” around here.

It hasn’t been fun in a while but the Phillies are heading towards next week’s All-Star break with a 46-40 record and a one-game lead for the last NL Wild Card spot. Every game the Phillies play feels like a post season game, there's a certain excitement that hasn't been felt in a while.  It feels like 2007-2011 all over again.  That means the expecations have changed heading into the final week of July/first week of August.  

We ain't selling this year! 

For the first time in a decade, the MLB trade deadline will be meaningful for a potential Fightin’s playoff run.  While most fans will scream for the team to make a huge trade to acquire a power hitting bat or a center fielder, but that’s not what this team needs.  I know, I’m sorry Odubel haters but this team needs to focus on starting pitching at the upcoming trade deadline. 

Again, sorry but we’re not talking about acquiring Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt either.  That type of pitcher isn’t necessarily out in the open market.  Think more along the lines of Joe Blanton or Jamie Moyer. You remember big Joe don't you?!

Here are five pitchers that fit what the Phillies could and should be looking for heading into the MLB trade deadline. 

RHP Noah Syndergaard | Los Angeles Angels

Why It Works: The Phillies know Noah Syndergaard really well, the former Mets’ starter is 5-7 with a 3.84 ERA, 55 Ks, and a 1.166 WHIP in 13 starts for the Halos.  It’s been a nice bounce back year for “Thor” after he lost the all of the 2020 and most of the 2021 seasons due to Tommy John surgery.  This version of Syndergaard is different from the one most Phils’ fans will remember.  His fastball is clocked at 94 MPH, down from 99 MPH, thus lowering his strikeout numbers but he’s still frugal with the walks, 2.0/BB9.  Obviously, Syndergaard knows what it’s like to compete in the meat grinder that is the NL East race. He's only 29-years-old and he has a chip on his shoulder.  That's a nice combo. 

Why It Doesn’t Work: The Angels gave Syndergaard a whopping 1-year/$21 million “prove it deal” prior to the season.  That’s A LOT of money to take on for any ballclub even when it’s prorated for the last few months of the season. This might make Syndergaard an unfavorable trade candidate unless the Halos pick up some of the bill. 

 

LHP Martin Perez | Texas Rangers

Why It Works: The 31-year-old is having the best year of his career notching a 7-2 record with a 2.72 ERA, 86 Ks, 1 CG, 1 SHO, in 17 starts for the floundering Texas Rangers.  The Phillies saw him twice this season and weren’t able to register a run in the 13 innings Perez threw.  Like Quintana, Perez is also relatively cheap.  He’s only making $4 million this season and is set to become a free agent at the end of the year. 

Why It Doesn’t Work: One, the Rangers are rumored to be interested in extending Perez.  This could drive up his value in the minds of the Rangers’ front office.  Two, is this who he is or is this a blip on the radar?  Perez hasn’t had a season like this since 2013 when he finished 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA.  In fact, that’s the only time Perez has finished a season with a sub-4.00 ERA.  

 

RHP Chad Kuhl | Colorado Rockies 

Why It Works: A local product from Middletown, Delaware and the University of Delaware, Kuhl has quietly had himself a nice season for the Rockies.  The 29-year-old is 6-5 with a 4.02 ERA, 63 Ks, 1 CG, 1 SHO, a 1.3 WHIP in 16 starts for Colorado.  His numbers are slightly skewed thanks to playing in Colorado.  He had a sub-.400 ERA going into his last outing against Arizona where he was knocked around a bit.  He’s making $3 million this season and is a free agent at the end of the year. 


Why It Doesn’t Work: Colorado doesn’t have the best history of making trades which could severely inflate Kuhl’s worth in the minds of the Rockies front office.  Like Perez, the Rockies are reportedly kicking the tires on an extension for the right-hander. 

 

LHP Jose Quintana | Pittsburgh Pirates

Why It Works: Jose Quintana is having a bit of a resurgence this season in Pittsburgh.  The 33-year-old is 3-4 with a 3.53 ERA, 78 Ks, and a 1.3 WHIP in 17 starts for the Buccos.  Don’t worry about the win/loss record, Pittsburgh is 14-games under .500, but do take notice of Quintana's ERA and WHIP.  He’s having his best season since 2016 when he was an All-Star with the White Sox.  He’s also cheap, Quintana is only on the books for $2 million and is a free agent at the end of the season.

Why It Doesn’t Work: Quintana only has four quality starts this season and has only gone more than six innings once.  He’s not getting deep into ball games which is something the Phillies need moving forward. 

 

RHP Michael Pineda | Detroit Tigers

Why it Works: Michael Pineda has only started seven games this season for the hapless Detroit Tigers due to a broken finger, but he has been effective when available.  The former All-Star (2011, Seattle) has a 3.62 ERA, 17 Ks, and a 1.175 WHIP in 32.1 IP.  He’s only pitched in two games since returning from the injury. Pineda spent four seasons with the New York Yankees and understands playing in a pressure cooker type environment.  He signed a 1-year/$5.75 million contract with Detroit in the offseason.

Why It Doesn’t Work: Pineda has been inconsistent throughout his career and that’s something the Phillies will need to avoid during the trade deadline.  The risk/reward for a pitcher like him just might not be worth it. 

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