The Major League Baseball trade deadline rapidly approaches and while it — at least right now — looks like it’ll be a relatively slow one, there will still be plenty of tinkering from contenders.
The Phillies are absolutely a buyer, that’s for sure. The defending NL champs are right now in the thick of a large-scale battle for all three wild-card spots. We know club president Dave Dombrowski and owner John Middleton want to be aggressive, so the Phillies are a team to watch in the coming days.
The Phillies have been among the worst teams in baseball, at least among relevant teams, in terms of getting good work from the top two spots in the order. Given that those are the spots getting the most plate appearances, it’s sure difficult to have a productive offense with low production from the top. They might not approach the deadline specifically to grab someone to hit toward the top of the order, as there’s in-house personnel who can fill the role. Trea Turner’s career history says he should be much better than he’s been this season and maybe the Phillies reconfigure things, eventually, to hit Kyle Schwarber fourth or fifth with his low-average, high-strikeout, huge-power ways.
Something the Phillies could use from outside the organization is a right-handed impact bat to help balance the relatively lefty-heavy order. Call it the Rhys Hoskins replacement. This bat could be a player who fits in a corner outfield spot (now that Bryce Harper is playing some first base), a third baseman or a first baseman. Power is a plus, though I suppose a bona fide leadoff man would fit well, too.
It seems like Cristopher Sánchez might be a quality arm for the Phillies, which would alleviate their need to go bigger for a rotation arm. The other four starters are set with Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Taijuan Walker and Ranger Suárez. Still, depth couldn’t hurt and if they add an impact starter, it wouldn’t be that bad to move Sánchez into a sixth-starter/swing-man role.
Bench depth and bullpen depth is something every team could use and it’s always possible the Phillies grab spare parts, but that’s tougher to nail down and we’ll just ignore that moving forward in this spot.
I don’t believe he’s going anywhere and even if he did, it’s unlikely the Phillies would win the bidding via a huge prospect package, but consider this the obligatory mention that landing Shohei Ohtani would be an utter coup for any team. The Phillies are in included there. It’s just incredibly, off-the-charts unlikely to happen.
Moving on …
He checks some boxes here, including that he’s a corner infielder who hits free agency after the season and has several good offensive seasons under his belt. He’s a switch hitter, which is a nice bonus.
The 31-year-old Grichuk is pretty inconsistent, but he’s got big power from the right side and can handle either corner outfield spot.
Assuming the Mets sell, a lot of people will latch onto huge names like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, but the corner outfielders make a lot more sense for the Phils’ short-term needs here. Pham is likely the more attractive option in terms of production, as he’s a nice OPS guy and his hot streaks are scorching hot. Canha could work, especially if the Phillies wanted to bet his bat would play more like 2019-22 than 2023.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Coors Field numbers and all that. Cron hit 30 bombs as a member of the Rays not too long ago, though. He has big power. He provides that power from the right side and he’s a first baseman. There could be a fit here.
If the Phillies do look for an impact arm, Lucas Giolito makes sense. He’s a free agent after the season and the White Sox are a no-doubt seller. Giolito was a Cy Young contender for three straight seasons recently, too, so there’s ace upside in there for the 28-year-old. He’s battled consistency issues this season, but maybe the silver lining there is the price to acquire him isn’t so high.
Or they could just go with a lottery ticket. Lynn was injured and then not great last season. This season he’s been a disaster, leading the majors in home runs and earned runs allowed. He also finished third in AL Cy Young voting in 2021 and he has so much playoff pedigree, having played for seven different playoff squads.
Here’s the dream trade candidate. The Cardinals are clearly sellers this season for the first time in a long time. Goldschmidt is a right-handed hitting first baseman. He was MVP last season. He’s only signed through 2024. It’s not clear the Cardinals will even entertain dealing Goldschmidt and it might signal a bigger rebuild than they are willing to sell to their fans, but if there’s any chance he goes, the Phillies should be aggressive here. What a perfect fit Goldy would be. Envision something like Turner-Harper-Goldschmidt-Schwarber-Castellanos-Stott-Realmuto-Marsh-Bohm as a playoff lineup and it becomes clear.
There might be some discussion about Andrew Painter, as he’s now undergoing Tommy John surgery at age 20, but it seems unlikely he’d be on the move. It would also seem fellow top pitching prospect Mick Abel would be off limits, as would 2022 first-rounder Justin Crawford and a handful of others.
The way that trades these days go down, when they aren’t for superstars like Juan Soto, Manny Machado or the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner combo, though, organizational depth is usually dealt and the Phillies have that. They might have to consider sending multiple pitchers (Alex McFarlane, Andrew Baker, McKinley Moore, etc.) in a Goldschmidt package if that moves itself into realistic territory, but otherwise expect low-ish organizational prospects to go.
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