As we approach July 31, we will preview what each team is projected to do in advance the non-waiver trade deadline. For a complete listing of our previews, click here.
Philadelphia Phillies: 29-58, 5th place in NL East
The Phillies are unsurprisingly bad this year as they continue their rebuild, but maybe they weren’t expected to be THIS bad. Nonetheless, it’s not hard to predict what the team will be doing at the deadline.
Some young talent has already cracked the big league roster during the Phillies’ swoon, and more are waiting in the wings. For now, the team continues to lose for a higher purpose. Luckily for GM Matt Klentak, the Phillies still have some veterans that will be of value to contending teams.
What moves have they made so far?
Veterans Michael Saunders and Jeanmar Gomez were both released at the end of June after disappointing performances. Both looked solid in 2016, but fell off mightily this season so a trade didn’t seem likely.
In terms of prospects, the team called up outfielder Nick Williams shortly before the All-Star break, and he got off to a hot start in his first big league action. We’ll see how many other youngsters get the call once rosters expand.
Are they buyers or sellers?
This isn’t a tough one. The Phillies’ motives are obvious: they want to get younger and set themselves up for some big signings after next season. They’re going nowhere fast in 2017, so expect Klentak to dangle his veterans in front of the faces of every team looking for immediate upgrades.
Who could they trade?
Their main commodity is reliever Pat Neshek. The team’s only All-Star entered the break with an ERA of 1.30, and showcased himself nicely in his All-Star Game appearance. The sidearmer is bound to draw serious interest from numerous teams in need of bullpen help (Yankees, Red Sox and Nationals to name a few), so expect him to bring back the largest load for the Phillies, who will want prospects and young talent instead of veteran rentals.
Also keep an eye on first baseman Tommy Joseph, who has 15 home runs as of the All-Star break. Sure, he’s only 25, but the Phillies have top prospect Rhys Hoskins waiting in the wings, so it makes sense to deal Joseph now and get more prospects to build around Hopkins.
Howie Kendrick is another movable piece if he can just stay healthy. He was put on the DL twice in three months, but was hitting like his old self when healthy, so he could still have value. He also has postseason experience, which is attractive to any contending team looking for a veteran presence who can still contribute.
Only a few guys (Odubel Herrera and top prospects) will be off-limits for the Phillies in talks, so we’ll likely see rumors involving Jeremy Hellickson, Maikel Franco, Daniel Nava and Joaquin Benoit as well. After years of trading most of their veterans, the Phils have a limited stock of talent to deal from but will surely be creative in trying to move older parts.
It would hardly be a surprise if all three veterans mentioned above are moved by the deadline. Neshek seems like a no-brainer given how many contending teams have holes in the bullpen, so he’s likely gone. A team like the Yankees might try for Joseph given their first base troubles, but with Brian Cashman saying they are still set on Greg Bird being their first baseman of the future, a deal isn’t a given.
Klentak has said the team is open-minded to anything, so expect plenty of rumors to swirl around the city of brotherly love in the coming weeks. The Phillies are open for business, and any veteran is for sale.