Monday Morning Roundtable: Trade Talk
Each week I interrogate the writers here with some questions on some subjects that may relate to the Phillies. This week we all take our stab at the hot stove and try not to look like fools with our opinions.
Question 1: Who are your untouchable* players at the deadline?
*Well untouchable for non-Mike Trout players
Adam: Nola, Kingery, Crawford, Sixto.
I know it’s fashionable currently to be anti-Crawford, but to me it doesn’t seem possible for a (mostly) healthy guy to go from global top 10 prospect to no-hit, all glove bust in the span of a year. You could slay me with my own sword on Kingery, but I don’t see why that would be very nice. I also think that while Maikel Franco isn’t untouchable, he’s practically untradeable.
Tim: Aaron Nola is the only untouchable. But I’d have to be really blown away to consider moving Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera, or Jerad Eickhoff. The Phillies should be in the business of collecting good major league players. All of these names fit that description. I know some people are anxious to jettison Odubel. He had a horrific month of May. But the other three months? 96 wRC+ in April. 126 wRC+ in June. 133 wRC+ in July. And there’s the well rated CF defense and two straight years averaging an offensive line 10% better than the league average. Maybe we shouldn’t rush to throw that to the curb based on one month of baseball.
Matt: Aaron Nola and Sixto Sanchez top the list. I just don’t think there is a deal for Aaron Nola that makes sense for the Phillies. There aren’t really any elite young pitchers available, and those in that tier below are both older and on shorter term deals. Moving him for a hitter is a sideways deal, and a deal for prospects just moves you backwards (I probably would be looking to sign him to a longer term deal instead). As for Sanchez, he is super risky, but he is only just starting to have big time trade value. Give him another half season or more and he could get you a lot more on the trade market, or you could just hang on to him as an ace level pitcher. I would need pre-slump value to move Herrera, Franco, Crawford, or Alfaro in a deal.
Question 2: If you were Matt Klentak which 1 player (prospect or major leaguer) would you be targeting in trade?
Adam: I really want to say Chris Archer, but for some reason the Rays are kinda good I guess, so they seem unlikely to be dealing their ace when they hold a wild card spot. Toronto may think they can sneak back into that race, but they’re not likely to do so. Josh Donaldson will be a free agent after next season, and his value on the trade market will never be higher than it is now. Maybe for Toronto to retool they need to move the Bringer of Rain. While seeing Donaldson in red pinstripes (or maroon!) would be pretty cool, I can’t see the Phillies breaking the system to get 1.5 years of JD, and it seems far-fetched that JD would sign an extension here without being able to test the market. So I wonder if there’s a way to get Corey Ray or Lewis Brinson from Milwaukee, which has a 5.5-game lead over the Cubs and might just swing big while the champs are down.
Tim: I’m going off the board with this selection. Joe Biagini. Yes, this is a baseball player. He’s a 2015 Rule 5 pick by Toronto with a huge curveball. He’s a ground ball machine that keeps the ball in the park. He’s been used as a reliever but made eleven starts with the Blue Jays this year. The fastball is solid, the changeup is good, and the big curveball is probably underused. This isn’t a world breaker, but I see an unpolished gem here.
Matt: I love Christian Yelich as a baseball player, but given the Phillies’ biggest need is starting pitching, I would see what it would take to pry Kevin Gausman away from the Orioles. He is in the middle of a horrendous season, but is still only 26 years old. I don’t exactly trust the Phillies to fix him, but if they could turn a couple of non-elite prospects into a chance to fix him, I think it would be a gamble well worth taking. Worst case you move him to the bullpen and see if he can just air it out as a shut down arm.
Question 3: What is your boldest trade deadline prediction?
Adam: It’s been fun talking about all the guys the Phillies should trade, but I actually think this trade deadline will be relatively quiet for them. This winter will be a different story. However, right now it’s hard to envision how to trade Cesar Hernandez or Howie Kendrick considering their injuries. I’m not even sure the Phillies want to trade Cesar (or Freddy Galvis). Joaquin Benoit hasn’t been particularly good. It may be that Pat Neshek is the only Phillie traded, with perhaps Jeremy Hellickson and Daniel Nava moving on as well. On the non-Phillies front, I think J.D. Martinez and Andrew McCutchen both end up in the NL West. The Dodgers have a humongous lead and don’t *need* to trade for an outfielder, but then again, they are starting Chris Taylor in left. Now he can hit, but…he probably shouldn’t be the starting left fielder for a World Series team. Seeing Cutch in the Dodgers home whites would be fantastic.
Tim: The Phillies will acquire a major league player at the deadline, and he will come from Anaheim. The Angels are getting a collective 62 wRC+ out of their first basemen this year. They are getting a 47 wRC+ out of their second basemen. There’s an obvious fit with the Phillies. Suffering a weak farm system, the Angels could part with the presently injured but talented starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs to fill either massive hole in their lineup.
Matt: The Phillies trade Cesar Hernandez to the Los Angeles Angels. Hernandez only has 2 weeks to prove he is healthy, but he has the pedigree now to prove he is ready to go very quickly. The Angels are 4 games out of the Wild Card and now have Mike Trout back. Hernandez gives them the opportunity to buy a player that fits a need now and for the next few years. The Angels don’t have the pieces to be buying big expensive things, but they have a couple of chips that could convince the Phillies to part with Hernandez. They also seem like a prime buyer for a Hellickson or Neshek rental.