Monday (Tuesday) Morning (Afternoon) Roundtable: Trade Deadline Recap
In case you were under a rock, the Phillies did this over the past week or so.
- Traded Joaquin Benoit to Pittsburgh
- Traded Pat Neshek to Colorado
- Traded Jeremy Hellickson to Baltimore
- Traded Howie Kendrick to Washington
- Received RHP Alejandro Requena, RHP J.D. Hammer, IF Jose Gomez, LHP McKenzie Mills, LHP Garrett Cleavinger, OF Hyun Soo Kim, RHP Seth McGarry, and a pile of international spending pool money
After waiting to see if Matt Klentak did anything crazy I asked the writers here to weigh in.
The Phillies traded Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick, Jeremy Hellickson, and Joaquin Benoit. What is your gut reaction to how the Phillies did?
Adam: I’m actually surprised the Phillies were able to move all four of those guys. Neshek was a slam dunk, but considering Kendrick’s injuries this year, and the underwhelming performances of Hellickson and Benoit, it’s got to be considered an A+ deadline for Klentak & Co. It’s been clear for weeks that there was no market for Tommy Joseph, whose 99 wRC+ is an unappealing 24th among all qualified first basemen. This offseason, there could certainly be a chance to deal him, probably in a package, but first base is so deep and power is cheaper now that everyone seems capable of hitting 20+ homers. Considering the leaguewide trends we saw at this deadline — tons of relievers and rentals moving, essentially no hitters moving, and low prices being paid compared to expectations — Joseph staying put is not a failure.
Tim: They did well for themselves. For the players they traded, the return was never going to blow you away. But they did collect a nice quantity of fringe prospects. And with the rate at which the scouting department is able to uncover Latin pitching gems, the international bonus money is a solid get. When you consider they only parted with Darnell Sweeney, Darin Ruf, and a big pile of cash to acquire these players over the winter, the net gain in talent looks even better.
Matt: I think they did well given what they had to sell and what they needed to acquire. Could they have gotten some slightly better prospects if they were willing to expose themselves to some Rule 5 risk? Yes. But they didn’t and now should be able to protect all of the players they need to. It does leave them a bit thin in the majors, but not terribly so. It is a bummer they weren’t able to open up more time for prospects.
The obvious guy still around that everyone wanted traded was Joseph, who else are you wishing had found a way out of town?
Adam: Up until this past week or so, when I realized it wasn’t going to happen, I was really hoping for a Freddy Galvis trade. As with Joseph, perhaps the offseason will be the right time to make that move, but after Carlos Correa went down it seemed like the perfect opportunity to move El Falcon. The Phillies are historically deliberate with prospect promotions, and I don’t necessarily disagree with the approach. As well as J.P. Crawford is hitting right now, it seems like the right move is to let him stay in Lehigh Valley until September, when he can get a small taste of what his life will be like next spring. Having said that, as much as I want him out of the way, I’ll miss Freddy whenever he leaves. He’s become a real leader on a team that hasn’t had much in that department since the trades of Utley and Ruiz.
Tim: The only reason to want Joseph out of town was to get an uninterrupted look at Rhys Hoskins over the rest of the season. But I don’t see another position on the team where there’s a prospect hammering down the door, or even gently tapping on it. I’d almost say Cameron Rupp because he’s doing the pitching staff no favors with his inability to frame a pitch. But I just don’t see the able-bodied replacement for it to make sense right now.
Matt: It would have been nice to find Freddy or Cesar a home. I thought there were a couple of teams that could have used middle infield help, especially in non-rental form. However, it is hard for a team to give up a lot for a non-elite long term hitter at the deadline and most of the really good teams had lineups that were set. It leaves Kingery and Crawford in AAA, where it won’t hurt their development to stay, but it would have been nice to push into the build part of rebuild a bit more.
What player are you most looking forward to getting their chance after these trades?
Adam: Ummmm…the clown car of minor league arms they’ll roll out there for the next two months, I guess. None of these trades really cleared space for anyone exciting, in my opinion, as the young pitchers (Pivetta, Lively, etc.) were already getting a shot. Nick Williams wasn’t blocked by Kendrick. There’s a bigger stage for guys like Luis Garcia now, but he’s already 30, so it’s not as if a young gun has been unleashed.
Tim: I’m interested to see what the Phillies have in the relief combination of Jesen Therrien and Yacksel Rios. If one or both shows the stuff to get major league hitters out, that shortens the offseason shopping list. The price of good relievers is considerable these days. Pulling one out of the farm system is a big win.
Matt: They could have done it without the trades, but seeing Nick Williams, Odubel Herrera, and Aaron Altherr every day in the outfield will make this team much more enjoyable. I do look forward to seeing what Jesen Therrien and possibly Yacksel Rios can do to build on their good AAA seasons.
What non-Phillies team do you think had the best trade deadline?
Adam: Probably the Dodgers, and yeah I’m biased. I want to go to a World Series game in Dodger Stadium. After Clayton Kershaw went down (again) with a back injury, it was clear the Dodgers needed some stability in their rotation. For all the great performances they’ve received this year, particularly from Alex Wood, every arm in their rotation comes with significant question marks. Aside from Tommy John surgery (which is still a big deal!) Yu Darvish has basically been healthy throughout his career. Yes he’s a rental, and yes the Dodgers have next to no chance of losing the division at this point, but this trade was all about October. The Dodgers get one of the best strikeout machines in baseball, and held onto Walker Buehler and Alex Verdugo in the process. That’s a win. I have to give an honorable mention to the Yankees, who somehow got Sonny Gray from Oakland without having to part with Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier.
Tim: The Nationals quietly had a very good deadline. Their bullpen was a wreck. The worst in the league. They fixed it by adding Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson two weeks ago. Then yesterday they added Brandon Kintzler. That’s a nice trio of relievers that didn’t cost much to acquire. And for good measure they added Howie Kendrick as a nice bench piece and outfield insurance policy. They didn’t land the big names that the Cubs and Dodgers did, but they may have filled the biggest hole among all the serious contenders. And they did it without making much of a dent in their system.
Matt: The Dodgers had a great last scramble, but it is hard to see them doing anything that really changes their trajectory, just makes them greater favorites in the playoffs. I really like what the Diamondbacks did this year. They got a resurgent David Hernandez for cheap, spent nothing to get some middle infield depth, and then fleeced the Tigers for J.D. Martinez. They managed to do all of this without giving up any of their prospects (and they didn’t have many to begin with). They are going to be a wild card team, but with Grienke on the mound they have the chance to get past the play in game. They are going to be outmatched vs the Nationals, Cubs, or Dodgers, but not many teams can match a Pollock/Lamb/Goldschmidt/Martinez fueled lineup, especially if Chris Owings can get back for the playoffs