Phillies Trade Rumor Roundup

We’re officially one week out from the non-waiver trade deadline. All deals must be completed by 4pm EDT next Monday, August 1st. (They pushed the deadline back one day from the typical July 31st because the 31st is a Sunday.) I must admit, I’m finding the pace leading up to this deadline to be much more relaxing and enjoyable than the hectic, unsettled pace of the past few Julys in Philadelphia. The high profile pieces are all gone and all that’s left are a few middling trade candidates, none of whom will make or break the Phillies future. Let’s check in on where thing stand on the rumor mill.

The Biggest Buzz – Jeremy Hellickson

The trade candidate getting the most buzz for the Phillies right now is Hellickson. The starting pitching market is startling weak in part because the upcoming free agent starting pitching market will be among the worst in years. Hellickson has been slightly better than league average this year thanks to a 3.84 ERA and strong strikeout/walk numbers: 21.6 K%, 5.5 BB%. He’s struggled with home runs, but just his modest success this year is enough to make him one of the better pitchers in line for the free agent market this winter. By extension, he is one of the most attractive starting pitcher rentals on the trade market right now — maybe even the second best rental available after Rich Hill.

As a result, rumors containing Hellickson’s name have been swirling and the most oft repeated one is that the Marlins are working to acquire him. Although Miami moved the fences in, they still have a large park and the team has elite defensive outfielder which could help negate some of Hellickson’s home run woes.

Here’s the most recent update to the Hellickson/Marlins courtship:

The Marlins farm system lacks for impact talent in the upper minors, so it makes sense that the Phillies would be scouting their lower levels for more lottery ticket type players. As Eric Longenhagen noted, one player who could potentially be of interest is their 2015 first-round pick, Josh Naylor, who the Phillies were said to have scouted heavily prior to last summer’s draft. Naylor is currently batting .265/.315/.433 for Miami’s Low-A affiliate in Greensboro.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe also reported that the left-handed relief pitching veteran Mike Dunn has been rumored to be part of a package going from Miami to Philadelphia. Dunn will be a free agent at the end of the season, but has a $3.45M salary this year (Hellickson’s salary is $7M) so bringing in Dunn could be a way for the Phillies to make the deal more financially palatable for the Marlins. Given the Phillies’ financial flexibility, if taking a veteran with even a moderately bloated salary helps them get the prospects they want, it’s a no-brainer.

Other teams said to have expressed interest in Hellickson include: Toronto, Baltimore, and Kansas City (link) as well as Pittsburgh and Boston (link).

The Quiet Buzz – Jeanmar Gomez, Peter Bourjos, David Hernandez

Rumors have been few and far between for the Phillies other primary candidates. The Giants are said to be searching for bullpen upgrades and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that they were looking at both Gomez and Hernandez. Now that Aroldis Chapman is off the market, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the relief pitching market pick up steam.

It’s worth noting that the monstrous prospect packages being exchanged for elite relievers (Craig Kimbrel, Ken Giles, Chapman) shouldn’t be expected to have much impact on the price for Gomez or Hernandez. Don’t expect a trickle down effect here. Teams are valuing elite relievers extraordinarily highly, but middle-of-the-road relievers are still just middle-of-the-road relievers.

As for Bourjos, if any team has been reported to have interest, I’ve missed it. However, Altherr’s return to the major league roster is fast approaching. His rehab assignment ends in two days which means he will need to be either added to the Phillies roster or optioned to Triple-A prior to Thursday’s game. That could provide incentive to clear Bourjos from the roster if there are any unreported offers for Bourjos currently on the table.

The Surprise Candidate – Vince Velasquez?!

Then there’s this:

Velasquez has been phenomenal for the Phillies, but his spotty injury history and his difficulties commanding the zone still make it more than conceivable that his ultimate major league future lies in the bullpen. If I were the Phillies, I wouldn’t entertain trade offers for a guy like Aaron Nola too seriously, but for Velasquez? Well, I’d be listening.

Velasquez has demonstrated his extraordinary potential at times this season, most notably with his 16 strikeout performance against the Padres. He also has five remaining years of team control. These are outstanding reasons for the Phillies to hold onto him for dear life, but if the Rangers offer up a strong enough package, there could be a match here as crazy as it seems on first glance. Even after giving up three Top 100 prospects for Cole Hamels a year ago, the Rangers farm system is still among the best in the league and could generate an offer the Phillies can’t refuse.

Predictions

I will be shocked if Hellickson is still on the Phillies at 4:01 on August 1st and I still think it’s quite likely that Gomez is also traded. For now, I’ll stick with just those two being dealt over the next week.

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12 comments

  1. Romus

    July 25, 2016 06:32 PM

    If Hellickson goes south to Miami….I hope one of LHPs Lilek, Jacome or Mader come back , along with Dunn. Phillies could stand to use more starting LHP depth in the system.

  2. Eric D

    July 25, 2016 07:44 PM

    So you’d listen on VV but not AN? I def think it should be the opposite (unless blown away w an offer for VV – think Brinson/Profar/Gallo/Martin. Profar would be my future 2B and I’d have Gallo in the OF bc of his arm). Let’s say I got the exact same package (not the one above but in general) for Nola and VV . . . I’m pulling it on Nola only. I get that he has elite control but he’s only averaging a tick over 90mph on his fastball, is what he is stuff wise (obviously could always learn a new pitch) and HAS to live on the down and on the corners, if not he gets hit HARD. VV can always be converted to the back of a bullpen (don’t think he will nor should he, IMO) but there’s always that option. Nola not so much. I like Nola as a P but he’s not more then a solid 3 who flashes a 2 (which is perfectly fine).

    • Andrew R.

      July 25, 2016 07:57 PM

      I disagree. Velasquez is an elbow injury waiting to happen. Now is the perfect time to sell high if we can get the right package. Texas does not want to give up Gallo OR Profar, so we have to make it worth our while.

      Tex gets:
      Nick Williams
      Vince Vekasquez

      Phil’s get:
      Joey Gallo
      Jurickson Profar
      Prince Fielder, plus $12M, reducing our commitment to $15M a year

      Fielder would be a pure salary dump. We know Texas is willing to give up a bad contract and include good prospects. Maybe we can flip Fielder to a team who needs a DH in the future and eat some of the contract.

      Our infield would have Franco, Crawford, Profar and Gallo. That would be a young, awesome infield. We give back Nick Williams, but I’m ok with it. We can sign Josh Reddick to play left, keep Odubel in center, and wait for Cozens and Alfaro to come up in 2017.

    • Corinne Landrey

      July 25, 2016 08:05 PM

      The biggest difference between Nola and Velasquez is floor — and it’s massive. There is no question that Nola’s future is as a starting pitcher, but the same cannot be said for Velasquez until he becomes more effective with his secondaries. Additionally, any difference in ceiling between the two is all but indistinguishable. Is it conceivable that VV is better than Nola over the next five years? Sure, it’s conceivable, but it’s not the outcome I’d bet on.

      • Eric D

        July 25, 2016 10:00 PM

        Well that depends on what you value more . . I’d say VV floor is a high leverage RP while Nola’s floor is a 5th starter/AAAA guy . . I say that bc once his command goes he’s done (yes he has a good CB but at this level if you can’t command a fastball your secondary doesn’t matter much) . . And this is because of his FB velocity from the right side. I’d actually be interested to see how many MLB pitchers are successful w a avg FB velocity equal to or less then Nola’s (not more then a 1mph difference tho). We just have a differing option. I’d be interested to know who GMs would rather have . . . I really think it would be VV.

      • Eric D

        July 25, 2016 10:18 PM

        Not to mention that his average fastball velocity has dropped basically each month since he’s been drafted.

  3. MplsPhilsFan

    July 26, 2016 11:00 AM

    Eric, that is far too much to give up. If the Rangers wanted to offer Joey Gallo and Elvis Andrus (assuming he could transition to 2nd base) for Vinnie that seems like a fair deal. The Rangers want out of that contract for Andrus and, again if he can play second, he could fill a need for the Phils. Taking on that contract allows them to obtain a prospect like Gallo who otherwise would not be available for someone even as good as Vinnie

    • Romus

      July 26, 2016 12:46 PM

      I would avoid gallo…seems to be the next Adam Dunn…….34% MiLB career K arte and 30% this year at Round rock and it is his second season there.
      As fansgraph Eric Long. said yesterday…but for Derek Norris….no one with over a 25% MiLB career Krate has done anything significant in the majors as he evaluated Dylan Cozens.
      .——————————————————————————————————-
      RP: Is Dylan Cozens an everyday player? I’ve thrown a Ryan Klesko comp on him.
      Eric A Longenhagen: Been working on writing up the slew of Phillies prospects I’ve seen lately and started digging into Cozens. He’s striking out at a 29% clip this year. Over the last six+ years, I can’t find anyone other than Derek Norris who has had a K% above 25% and done anything in the Majors. Nobody.

      • MplsPhilsFan

        July 26, 2016 01:37 PM

        Interesting, I did not know Gallo’s K rate was that high. I was aware of it for Cozens, which is why I doubt he will ever be a major league regular (power guy off the bench is the best scenario for him). It really is a moot point, as I seriously doubt that even taking on Andrus’ salary would be enough to entice the Rangers to part with Gallo.

        With power being at a premium in baseball, a potential opening at first for the Rangers, plus defensively at 3rd Gallo is adequate (and Beltre is going to start slowing down at some point), I am thinking it would take more than Vinnie for the Rangers to make that trade

    • Kurdt Kobeyn

      July 26, 2016 01:48 PM

      have to agree with Romus that I don’t want Gallo too. Phils right now have good options on both corner OF and INF that are close to the majors. I’m not high on Endrus as well especially with the salary – if TEX wants to send him to the Phils they need to eat at least half of the $$ and/or take Harrison back. I still see Kingery as the future 2B, unless TEX will offer Andy Ibanez in a trade.

      if TEX will push for VV – I rather have pitching (assuming Mazara, Profar, Brinson are unavailable) back like Tate, Ortiz and Matuella or/with some position players like Taveras.

      • MplsPhilsFan

        July 26, 2016 02:29 PM

        I think if we could obtain a 3b option from a team, that might be preferable as Franco’s defensive numbers this year per Fangraphs and B-R are terrible and there has long been a concern that he may need to transition to first. Gallo has premium power, albeit with a very high strikeout rate in the minors, and is generally considered a grade A prospect.

        Andrus has a $15 million salary, so for him to be cost effective, he would need to be about a 2 win player going forward. I think that is a safe assumption, especially if his baserunning returns to where it was earlier in his career (speed is not the driving force behind being an effective baserunner)

        Kingery looks good, but he has not even spent any time at AA yet. He will need at least a full year there before we have a sense on if he will be able to become a pro player.

      • Romus

        July 26, 2016 04:04 PM

        MplsPhilsFan……if it is a defensive third basemen , that show some pop, then the A’s Matt Chapman may be the guy that may interest you. A quality defender, with lots of power…..but does K a bit high. Will he be the all-around hitting player like Nolan Arenado….probably not, but he does have some long ball skills.

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