For the first time in a few years, the Phillies will be buyers at the July 31st trade deadline. The Phillies already missed out on the big fish, Manny Machado, who got moved to the Dodgers. Instead, the Phillies will now look to add some smaller pieces. The deadline is rapidly approaching, and the Phillies need both bench and bullpen help. Some names mentioned by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic were Blue Jays outfielder Curtis Granderson, Marlins outfielder Derek Dietrich, Mets infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and Twins infielder Eduardo Escobar. I’ll take a look at the three I believe to be the most likely trade targets for the Phillies: Eduardo Escobar, Curtis Granderson, and JA Happ.
Escobar is currently in his 8th MLB season, 7th with the Twins. Many thought the Twins would be a contender this season, but as things currently look, they will be sellers at the deadline. Escobar is arguably one of their biggest trade assets, as he’s in the middle of a career year. He is on pace for career highs in home runs, runs batted in, doubles, and walks. Escobar also leads the entire MLB in doubles. The 29-year-old has mainly played third base for the Twins this season but has also played 21 games at shortstop, the position he would most likely play on the Phillies. Escobar would come to the Phillies as a two-month rental, meaning the price for him would not be overwhelming.
Happ, 35, is a familiar face in Philadelphia, as he was drafted by the Phillies in 2004 and spent 2008-2010 with the Phillies. Happ has been on 4 different teams since leaving the Phillies but has spent the most time with the Blue Jays, his current team. Happ had a career year in 2016, where he went 20-4 with a 3.18 ERA, helping the Blue Jays get to the ALCS. So far this season he has a 4.18 ERA in 114 innings pitched. The stats don’t stand out, but the Phillies would be acquiring him for playoff experience more than anything else. Speaking of former Phils’ pitchers, another potential starting pitching option for the Phillies is Cole Hamels. Hamels has struggled ever since he got traded to Texas but would provide similar qualities that Happ would. While many think the Phillies should acquire a bullpen piece if they trade for a pitcher, that may not be needed. The Phillies bullpen has a 2.54 ERA in July, which is the best mark in the MLB.
This trade would most likely cost less than the other two targets. Granderson is in his 15th year in the major leagues and would likely be used as a platoon outfielder, should he be traded to the Phillies. The Phillies current bench consists of Jesmuel Valentin, Andrew Knapp, Trevor Plouffe, and Mitch Walding. So bench help is definitely needed. Granderson was also traded at the deadline last year to the Dodgers for their playoff run. He is hitting a modest .226 with 9 home runs and 29 RBIs with the Blue Jays this year. Hopefully, the move to an actual contender would help Granderson. There are some other options for the Phillies to acquire another bat, but Granderson seems like he may the cheapest option.
Time To Buy
The Phillies will definitely make a move at the deadline, and for the first time in years they will not be selling. Their top priority should be to go out and get another bat. The bench right now is very weak, and that could hurt them come playoffs. There are a few rentals on the market that will not cost the Phillies any high-end prospects. Their next priority should be to get a pitcher. Earlier in the season, a bullpen pitcher would’ve been a must, but the bullpen has picked it up recently. There is less than a week until the trade deadline, and Matt Klentak, for really the first in his career as GM, better be looking to add some talent to the big league squad!