Photo: Arturo Pardavila III/Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use
Trade season is quickly approaching as the Phillies are tied for the last wild card spot with the St. Louis Cardinals. President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski is likely to be aggressive given the circumstances that have consistently been mentioned.
The Phillies haven’t made the playoffs since 2011 and have the highest payroll in franchise history so the pressure is on everyone to finally get themselves back to the post-season.
The last article is what I would try and do at the trade deadline but this time here are three things the Phillies will actually do at the deadline. There will be one “easy” prediction, one “medium”, and one “hard” made.
Easy Prediction: Logan O’Hoppe is a centerpiece
While to say O’Hoppe will certainly be moved isn’t exactly bold, the player(s) they will look to get back in a trade will be. My mock had him traded for Tyler Mahle and there may not be many more names after that.
O’Hoppe won’t be able to headline different Reds starter Luis Castillo or Athletics pitcher Frankie Montas but definitely too much for rentals like Chad Kuhl or José Quintana. So it is quite possible they hang onto him but it just doesn’t make much sense at this point.
Since the Phillies already have JT Realmuto locked up for three more seasons, O’Hoppe has no future with the Phillies and this is likely his highest selling point in trades. Dombrowski has a pretty good reputation for selling high on prospects like in the Chris Sale trade back in Boston, which makes this prediction even safer.
It wouldn’t be some failure to keep one of your best prospects but when you have a team that wants to win now, you have no desire to trade any of your top three pitching prospects, and Realmuto’s large contract, it is likely O’Hoppe is with a different organization in August.
Medium Prediction: Dombrowski acquires a Center Fielder
One of the few strengths of this year’s trade deadline is the number of outfielders available. Starting with Royals veteran Michael A. Taylor, who would provide defense the Phillies desperately need in center.
Ramón Laureano of the Athletics would be at a much higher price but also provides the needed defense and a more competitive bat. Nationals Victor Robles is certainly worse than both but is another plus defender.
Many others have suggested the idea of Joey Gallo but he’s currently hitting .161 with just 11 home runs. His defense certainly doesn’t match the others as he’s only played seven center field innings in the last three seasons. He has a career total of 416.2 innings with four defensive runs saved but that’s a really low sample size to bank on.
There is also Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi who has a 124 OPS+ but hasn’t played center field since 2019.
If they acquire any of these players it will be to play center field whether they can or not. Bryce Harper is going to return at some point as the DH and Nick Castellanos isn’t going to the bench so whoever they get has to play center.
The current situation the Phillies have in center field is dire. Odúbel Herrera has played seven games this month because of performance and Matt Vierling might be more of a utility player than an everyday center fielder.
The Phillies will have options even if not all of them are ideal, the only one that makes any real sense is Taylor given the price but there are enough options and the need is certainly there.
Hard Prediction: Alec Bohm will be a Kansas City Royal
While Bohm has been one of their better players in the month of July with a .382 average and a 1.068 OPS, as was mentioned in my mock trade deadline there is just no real fit for Bohm on the roster.
Bohm can be a really special player one day, his potential as a hitter is as high as it can be but he might just need a change of scenery to capture his upside.
Phillies insider Jim Salisbury said he doesn’t think one of Andrew Painter, Mick Abel, or Griff McGarry will be traded this deadline so there will have to be other assets included for trades, one of which could be Bohm due to his age and potential.
Why the Royals exactly? They rank 23rd in wRC+ and are about to trade their best hitter at the deadline. Their 36-56 record shows they still are a couple of years away from competing so they can afford to take a chance on someone like Bohm.
There are also a few decent players the Phillies could be intrigued by, the aforementioned Taylor is one. Brad Keller has had an average year and has another year left of team control. Relievers Scott Barlow and Josh Staumont also make sense as back-end options for the bullpen.
Are all of these players each worth Bohm? Probably not but getting two of these names should help the Phillies compete for a wild card spot.
The Royals sort of feel like a team that would really like Bohm even as a slap hitter. They rank 14th in batting average even if they don’t get very impactful hits.
There’s lots of anticipation for the Phillies at this year’s trade deadline. Unlike last season the Phillies have a better shot at a playoff run and have a better roster than in years past.