What the Phillies Should Do Next
The MLB trade deadline is one of the more exciting days on the calendar (as well as the weeks leading up to it). First, it’s just fun to speculate what a team may or may not do, who’s staying, who’s leaving. Of course, when your team is in contention and they are looking for a player to put them over the edge or solidify their standing, it can be very exciting. It wasn’t long ago that the Phillies were that team getting players such as Cliff Lee (most notably), Roy Oswalt, and….yes, Larry Anderson! But they have also been on the other side when they traded Curt Schilling and later Scott Rolen (Hall of Famer?) away.
This year, the Phillies will be sellers again, but not in the depressing trade-away-a-talented-veteran-player-because-our-team-has-no-future kind of deal like Schilling and Rolen. Yes, the Phillies have been horrible, but they do have a lot of young players that still show promise, with more in the upper minors. Point-of-fact, some of these trades may open the door for some of those players to get to Philadelphia. Let’s take a look at some of the moves the Phillies might or should make:
Trade Tommy Joseph– This one has been written about for a few weeks in the media and I totally agree. Joseph hasn’t under performed or been a problem in the clubhouse. In fact, he’s been one of their better players, which will give him some value. He has a .796 career OPS and has been steady as his numbers this year are very similar to last year. He probably won’t ever be an all-star, but he will probably hit between 25-30 home runs a year for the next few years and will get on-base enough to not be an issue. He’s not a free agent until 2023, so that’s a lot of team control. There will be a market for Joseph as either a first baseman or a DH. This is probably the most essential trade the Phillies can make, so they can make room for Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins has had an excellent minor league career and has nothing left to prove there. While Joseph has proven himself to a degree in the Majors, and Hoskins hasn’t which involves some risk, but Hoskins has a higher ceiling and the Phillies need the offense which he can provide.
Trade Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick, Jeremy Hellickson, and any other veteran on a one-year deal- This one is pretty obvious and is mostly why you pick up these guys. It hasn’t always worked out well for the Phillies (Charlie Morton, Clay Bucholz), but they will be able to get something for them. They won’t get great prospects, but it makes no sense to hang on to them as most of them are in their 30s. More importantly, you will be opening up room for younger players to play more often or get called up. Aaron Altherr has impressed so far, and now Nick Williams will get more time to show his abilities, or lack thereof. Roman Quinn would be another one, but he has yet to come off the DL after an elbow sprain back in June. Once he does and gets some time in at AAA, he will be back in Philadelphia.
Look into trading Maikel Franco– There have been reports that the Phillies have made Franco available but the price is very high. At first I wondered why the price would be that high, but looking at the advanced stats there may be a reasonable answer. It could be that his BABIP is quite low at .215, suggesting a good amount of bad luck. He’s actually swinging at less pitches out of the strike zone and is making a little more contact than the past two years, but the hits just aren’t falling for him. However, the bottom line is that the results aren’t there. One issue with trading Franco is that the Phillies don’t have any third base prospects. There has been talk of Scott Kingery, top second base prospect, switching to third, but that doesn’t appear to be too serious.
Shop Odubel Herrera Too- As for Herrera, he has taken a pretty big step back this year, losing focus at times as well as almost 100 points in OPS. Herrera has always had a very high BABIP which is interesting. Part of that may be his speed and being able to beat out more hits. Unlike Franco, Herrera’s problem is more obvious: his strikeout rate is up and his walk rate is down. He’s also swinging at more pitches outside of the strike zone and making contact with fewer of those pitches as well. Because of this, and the fact Roman Quinn plays center field, Herrera might be more of a trade candidate, or a candidate to go back to AAA.
Figure out what to do at shortstop and second base- This is a pretty intriguing story line because there isn’t a clear answer yet. Cesar Hernandez has had a solid career and is one of the few Phillies who can get on base at a respectable rate. However, Scott Kingery is an excellent prospect and plays the same position. Over at shortstop, Freddy Galvis has always played great defense and has developed into an average hitter with some pop, but a questionable ability to get on-base. He has also become a leader in the clubhouse. The Phillies also have a prospect at AAA that plays shortstop, and that would be JP Crawford who we’ve heard so much about. Crawford has always been able to get on base, but brings little power to the plate. He has struggled mightily this year, but has improved lately. The Phillies don’t have to do anything quite yet as Kingery just got to Lehigh Valley and Crawford needs more seasoning there. Galvis becomes a free agent after next year, so a lot of it will depend on how Crawford plays the rest of this year and the next. The Phillies need to also figure out if anyone can switch a position in the infield in case of a trade. We also can’t forget Jesmuel Valentin who got noticed in spring training this year and where he could fit in.
September call-ups- In September I would call up the aforementioned Rhys Hoskins (if Joseph hasn’t been traded by that point) as well as pitcher Tom Eshelman and possibly outfielder Dylan Cozens. Eshelman has pitched great since his call-up and Cozens has played better since a very rough start. It would be great to start seeing the power Hoskins and Cozens have displayed in Philadelphia.