We’re more than a third of the way through the regular season and the Phillies remain in a tight race in the NL East. As we slowly approach the trade deadline, the Phillies will most likely look to be buyers. There are 3 key areas that the team will look to improve prior to the second half of the season: The bullpen, rotation, and bench. Recently, teams have been able to expose these weaknesses of the Phils. Lucky for the Phillies, there seems to be plenty of players available that would fill these needs. Let’s take a look at a few names that could be in a Phillies uniform in the near future. Here are 15 trade targets the Phillies could go after:
Will Smith, Giants
Although he was not “born and raised” in Philly, this Will Smith would be a huge addition to the bullpen. According to Fangraphs, Smith ranks 5th in saves (18), 10th in FIP (2.35), and 13th in WAR (0.9) among relief pitchers. Since Smith is a rental and is on a team that is almost certainly going to be a seller, he will most likely be traded by the trade deadline. The Phillies will definitely be among his potential suitors. Maybe it’s time to bring the Fresh Prince back to Philadelphia!
Shane Greene, Tigers
The Tigers have recently made it known that they are willing to trade their closer. Much like Will Smith, Greene has also had a stellar season in the closer role. Greene currently ranks 3rd in both saves (20) and ERA (0.96) among relief pitchers. The Phillies might not need a closer since Hector Neris has been solid in that role for most of this season. Nonetheless, Shane Greene would be a much welcomed addition to a bullpen that could use all the help they can get.
Greg Holland, Diamondbacks
Holland is one of the more intriguing and under the radar relief pitchers on this list. Although his numbers this season may not be as eye-popping as some other names on this list, it’s what Holland has done in the past that should make the Phillies interested. Holland would provide the Phillies bullpen with some much needed playoff experience. During his time with the Royals and Rockies, Holland recorded 7 saves in the postseason and had an ERA just over 2.00. Although Holland would also be a rental, acquiring him may be less likely than guys like Smith and Greene. The Diamondbacks are still within striking distance of a playoff spot and may decide not to sell at the deadline. If they do fall off a bit, expect Greg Holland to be one of the players made available.
Alex Colome, White Sox
Although Colome might not have the strongest numbers in terms of ERA and WAR, he’s definitely a guy that could be in a Phillies uniform in the near future. The Phillies have reportedly been one of several teams to have recently scouted Colome. The main appeal to the 30 year old is the fact that he ranks first among all relievers in batting average on balls in play, or BABIP (.117). This strong statistic could be enough to land him in the Phillies bullpen by the end of July.
Ken Giles, Blue Jays
Back in 2015 when the Phillies traded him to the Astros, Giles was regarded as one of the top young relievers in baseball. However, he struggled during his time in Houston and now finds himself in Toronto, where he’s beginning to get back on track. This season, Giles ranks for 4th in both WAR (1.3) and ERA (1.08) among all relief pitchers. He also has the best FIP among all relief pitchers in baseball at 1.18. Although a reunion with Giles is possible, it seems unlikely at this point. Giles still has multiple years left on his contract in Toronto, meaning it will likely cost more to acquire him opposed to a rental like Will Smith and Shane Greene. Also, Giles was recently placed on the injured list with elbow inflammation. This injury could ultimately keep the Phillies away or even keep him off the market altogether. If Giles is healthy, expect the Phillies to explore a possible reunion with the 28 year old.
Other Notable Names: Mychal Givens, Sean Doolittle, Cody Allen, David Hernandez, Liam Hendriks, Jake Diekman
Madison Bumgarner, Giants
Since the beginning of the season it’s seemed as though Madison Bumgarner has been on the trade block. With the Giants seemingly already out of contention, it seems very likely the rumors surrounding him will turn into reality. Could the Phillies make a push for the costly rental? It’s definitely a possibility, although it seems unlikely. Even though he will be a rental, trading for Bumgarner will be costly. The Phillies would most likely have to give up one of their top tier prospects such as Adonis Medina. Bumgarner also has a no trade clause in his contract that allows him to decline a trade to the Phillies. I don’t believe this will be much of an issue, but it’s still important to note. I’d definitely expect to see Madison Bumgarner in a different uniform at some point this season. Maybe even in Phillies pinstripes!
Mike Minor, Rangers
The Phillies and Mike Minor have been linked to each other for quite a while now. Last offseason, it was reported that the Phillies and Rangers had discussed a trade that would have sent the left-handed pitcher to Philly. While nothing came out of these offseason talks, it’s still possible a trade could come to fruition in the near future. Adding Minor would be an ideal move for the Phillies. He would provide the Phillies with a left-handed starter in their rotation, something they have lacked in recent years. Minor’s early success this year could also bode well for the Phillies if they were to acquire him. Among starting pitchers, Minor currently ranks in the top 10 in ERA (2.63) and in the top 15 in WAR (2.3). Despite the offseason connection between the two sides, it might be difficult to acquire Minor. Much like Diamondbacks, the Rangers are currently still in playoff contention and could decide to be buyers at the trade deadline. It’s also worth noting that Mike Minor would not be a rental and would likely require a higher end prospect like the previously mentioned Adonis Medina. Mike Minor to the Phillies seems like a perfect fit, but will the cards align to make it happen? Only time will tell.
Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks
Acquiring Robbie Ray is a similar option to that of Mike Minor. Although he has not put up as great of numbers this season as Minor, Ray should still be highly regarded as a trade candidate. Ray is an experienced left-handed arm that would fill a major hole in the Phillies rotation. He also has multiple years remaining on his contract, which would help bring some stability to the team’s pitching staff. Again the issue with acquiring Ray is the fact that the Diamondbacks might not be willing to sell. If that’s the case, the Phils will need to look elsewhere for starting pitching. If Diamondbacks do decide to sell, a possible blockbuster trade including Ray and reliever Greg Holland seems like a possibility.
Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays
Stroman is a guy that is commonly viewed as overrated. In recent years, his numbers have deteriorated. However, this season has been a bit different. Stroman currently ranks in the top 25 among all starting pitchers in both ERA (3.18) and WAR (1.9). These numbers, along with his rental status, make him an intriguing trade target at the deadline. I definitely wouldn’t rule out the Phillies as a suitor for Stroman, but there seems to be several better options available. At the end of the day, having Marcus Stroman in a Phillies uniform would benefit the starting rotation in the second half of the season.
Matthew Boyd, Tigers
Boyd might not be one of the more noteworthy names on this list, but the Phillies should definitely be keeping an eye on him. Or maybe even two! In addition to reliever Shane Greene, the Tigers have made it known that they are open to moving Boyd. Boyd should draw interest by the Phillies, along with several other teams, as a result of his numbers this season. Despite only having a 5-5 record, Boyd is 5th among all starters in WAR (2.8) and ranks in the top 25 in ERA (3.35). In addition to his numbers, the fact that he is left-handed makes him even more of a fit for the Phillies. All in all, Boyd seems like a perfect under-the-radar trade target for the Phils!
Other Notable Names: Zack Greinke, Trevor Bauer, Zack Wheeler, Tanner Roark, Mike Leake, Brett Anderson, Aaron Sanchez
Nicholas Castellanos, Tigers
Castellanos is a name that not many people are talking about right now. His offensive numbers this season have been worse than in previous years and his defensive numbers in the outfield continue to be atrocious, even worse than when Rhys Hoskins was in left field! With all that said, Castellanos is the perfect fit for the Phillies. In recent years he’s proven to have a powerful offensive bat, as he’s had at least 20 home runs in each of the past two seasons. Although his power numbers aren’t really there this season, playing in Citizens Bank Park on a frequent basis could definitely get him back on track. As for his defensive numbers, the Phillies could move Castellanos back to third base, which is his natural position. This would help to improve his defensive numbers while improving the Phillies production at third base offensively at the same time! The Tigers have recently indicated that Castellanos is available, the question now is will the Phillies land him!
Hunter Pence, Rangers
Here’s another scenario in which we could see a reunion with a former Phillie. Pence has had an absolutely unbelievable season. Prior to this season, Pence had to prove that he was still capable of contributing at the major league level. The Rangers gave him an opportunity and he’s proven many doubters wrong. Pence is currently batting .294 and already has 15 home runs on the season. Adding Pence would give the Phillies some outfield help while also providing the team with a positive veteran presence. Pairing the hustle of Pence and Harper in the outfield could pay dividends down the stretch if the Phillies were to acquire the outfielder. Again, much of this depends on if the Rangers are willing to sell at the deadline. If they are, a reunion with Pence seems like a real possibility.
Alex Gordon, Royals
Gordon has continued to be a productive player even in the later stages of his career. Although these numbers might not jump out at you, he’d be a great addition to the Phillies lineup. Gordon is capable of playing both third base and the outfield. The ability to play both of these positions would be key for the Phillies as these positions are currently where the Phillies seem to be the weakest offensively. His postseason experience and veteran leadership would also mean a lot to this relatively young Phillies team. The difficulty surrounding this potential acquisition is that Gordon has a full no trade clause. To make things worse, Gordon has previously stated that he’d like to play these last few years with the Royals since he’s been there his entire career. All of this makes a deal highly unlikely, however the Phillies should jump on the opportunity to acquire Gordon if he were to change his mind.
Whit Merrifield, Royals
Last year at this time, Merrifield was considered to be a potential trade candidate at the deadline. The Royals chose to hold on to him and signed him to an extension. Despite the extension, his name continues to be brought up in trade rumors. Merrifield is a versatile defender and offensively is capable of consistently hitting over .300. At first glance, you might think the Phillies already have a guy similar to this in Scott Kingery. However, adding someone like Merrifield would make the Phillies lineup even more dominant. The Phillies offense has lacked consistency this season. Merrifield would help to change that with his above .300 batting average. Adding Merrifield would also likely improve the Phillies bench as Cesar Hernandez would likely be moved there. If the Royals do decide to move Merrifield, the Phillies should definitely be interested, even if he is costly.
Matt Adams, Nationals
Matt Adams would seemingly resemble a Matt Stairs from the 2008 Phillies. Adams would not be a guy that would get many starts in the field. Instead, Adams would likely serve as one of the team’s primary pinch hitters. Right now pinch hitting options are limited for the Phillies. Guys like Sean Rodriguez and Andrew Knapp are not going to cut it down the stretch. Adding someone like Adams, who has over 200 plate appearances as a pinch hitter in his career, would definitely be beneficial. Maybe he could even hit a monumental home run in the playoffs like his fellow pinch hitting Matt!
Other Notable Names: Adam Jones, Billy Hamilton, Anthony Rendon, Howie Kendrick, Yasiel Puig, Corey Dickerson
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