With the Phillies rebuild having hit a major snag thanks to their 20-35 record, it's only natural to expect them to have something of a fire sale leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal laid out some options in the Around the Horn section of his daily column on Tuesday.
The likeliest players to move, according to Rosenthal, are reliever Pat Neshek and left fielder (and former infielder) Howie Kendrick. Rosenthal also posits that reliever Joaquin Benoit could also be sought out by teams once his sprain knee is fully healed--an injury that landed him on the DL June 1.
Neshek has been the best of the bunch, and he's also the only one who's been healthy all season. He's pitched to a sterling 0.84 ERA with 20 strikeouts and just four walks issued in 21 1/3 innings, continuing a string of great work that has seen him produce a 2.59 ERA dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season, spent with the Athletics.
Kendrick's season began late, being activated from the DL after recovering from a right right abdominal strain that kept him out since April 18th. He's been solid since returning, with seven hits in 23 at-bats, including a homer. Being a 33 year-old with only 16 games to his name on the season definitely depresses his value, and it sure doesn't help that he's a poor outfielder and an average-at-best second baseman. However, many contenders could use a righty bench bat, and his versatility, flawed as it may be, would be useful to many in the dog days of summer.
Benoit is the wild-card: he was one of the best relievers in the game from 2010 to 2015 (a 2.35 ERA backed up pretty well by a 3.15 FIP), but stumbled to a 5.18 ERA with the Mariners last season before being traded to the Blue Jays. There, he regained his old for, giving up just one run in 23 1/3 innings down the stretch. He's been inconsistent in the City of Brotherly Love, though, allowing 9 runs in 22 innings. He's given up only 11 hits, but has issued a troubling and uncharacteristic 12 walks. He wouldn't be as sure of a thing as Neshek at this juncture, but he'd cost less and could have some more post-trade magic in him.
With Kendrick actually being the youngest of the three players, and with all three set to hit free agency following the season, the Phillies won't get much of a return for any of the trio. Neshek could get a decent prospect, but despite his ability to prevent runs and strike batters out, he profiles as more of a middle-reliever than closer due to his advanced age and unconventional delivery. Trading any or all of the three would be more about opening up plate appearances or at-bats for prospects currently working their way up from AAA.
If the Phillies really want to blow it up, I'd think they'd be willing to explore offers for just about anyone, with Odubel Herrera the only player likely to be off-limits in conversations with other front offices. It's definitely something worth watching, as nothing short of a miracle will push the Phillies into contention at this point.