When Jeremy Hellickson pitched an eight-inning, one-run gem against the Marlins on Wednesday night, the performance was celebrated as potentially his last in Philadelphia. The veteran hurler had been solid, but saved his finest outing of the season for a game right around the trade deadline, and the general consensus was that he had sealed his fate as a trade chip for some willing outside party (whether he wanted to be one or not).
But GM Matt Klentak informed reporters that Hellickson was not the only asset on which he’s fielded phone calls.
"There's been quite a lot of action on a number of players," Klentak said. "… Some of them are one phone call and then there's no follow-up. I take it as a very positive sign that other clubs have interest in a lot of our players. And it's not just the pending free agents. This time of year there are plenty of teams fishing on our younger, more controllable players, too — who I don't have any great desire to trade."
It doesn’t take too hard of a squint at the fourth place Phillies’ roster to determine who would be desired by a contender looking for loose parts. Hellickson could slide into and solidify a rotation, but names like Peter Bourjos, Carlos Ruiz, and Andres Blanco have come up as well.
Bourjos, after a putrid start to the year, blew up around late June, logging 34 hits, five doubles, and three triples since June 21. In the past four weeks, the 29-year-old outfielder has slashed .325/.367/.506, as opposed to the .164/.188/.269 line he put up in April. As long as he’s getting on base, he has the potential to do more damage, and a playoff team can always use speed off the bench.
Speaking of the bench, Blanco has spent most of his career there. His value comes in the fact that he can play any infield position and also won’t stop hitting doubles. The 32-year-old has faded since the All-Star break, but hit .267 with 13 doubles in the season’s first half. He only has five hits in his last 29 AB, but he undoubtedly gets those precious “veteran presence” points we hear about this time of year.
And you can’t get much more veteran on the Phillies than Carlos Ruiz, the 37-year-old catcher who has spent his entire 11-year career in Philadelphia. Chooch has been celebrated for years as one of the game’s best pitching staff handlers, having caught for Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Pedro Martinez, among others, all of whom had nothing but glowing praise for him. Ruiz has lost his starting job due to natural wear and tear to Cameron Rupp, but that hasn’t stopped him from being considered a potential answer to a catching need like the one they have in Cleveland. Hitting .248 on the season thus far with a .704 OPS isn’t too bad for a backstop in his late thirties whose knees have be at least partially full of bone dust by now—he’s started the second half white hot, though (relatively speaking), with ten hits in his last eight games.
There are plenty of players Klentak is likely discussing, albeit briefly, with teams just poking around to see who is available. Guys like Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco probably aren’t, and most of the young pitching arms are in the middle of developing. But it’s clear that even a 44-53 team like the Phillies can house a couple of pieces that, at the very least, can prove useful enough to a contender to make a trade.