July 19, 2019
UPDATE [4 P.M.] — The Phillies will be starting lefty Drew Smyly Sunday in Pittsburgh, and will be moving Nick Pivetta to the bullpen. according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Breen:
If Drew Smyly passes his physical, he’ll start Sunday for the Phillies. Nick Pivetta is moving to the bullpen and is available tonight.— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) July 19, 2019
It is an interesting decision, to see the team trying Pivetta out in a relief role and, presumably keeping Vince Velasquez in the starting rotation. The exact opposite arrangement was made a few months ago when the two returned to the active roster from the minors/injuries.
For more on the move, read below and follow our live stream/open thread:
The Phillies are tied for a Wild Card spot right now, and are feeling the breath of every single NL team — aside from the Marlins and the three division leaders — within five games of a playoff spot behind them.
They also suffer from a well documented need of pitching help. According to Phillies insider Jim Salisbury, they have been talking. And talking a lot.
To start, they signed 30-year-old Drew Smyly late Thursday night.
Drew Smyly agrees to Phillies deal. They could use lefty in rotation. @JSalisburyNBCS on it— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 19, 2019
With the Rangers, following Tommy John surgery, the lefty was dreadful. He had an 8.42 ERA in nine starts with a 1-5 record before he was released and picked up by the Brewers last month. He made three average starts in Triple-A for the Brewers before he renounced the minor league deal and decided to try with the Phillies.
He had a 3.74 ERA prior to his surgery with a 31-27 record over his prior five MLB seasons. It seems likely he has been picked up by Philadelphia because the team intends to throw him into the rotation, which could allow Vince Velasquez to return to the bullpen.
Smyly would become the Phillies only left-handed starter, if he did make an appearance. He would also only cost the front office the pro-rated veteran minimum salary.
There still could be a lot more to come by way of new pitchers coming to South Philly.
In an article posted Thursday night about Smyly, Salisbury casually dropped the following:
It is well known that the Phillies are in the market for starting pitching. They have spoken to the Texas Rangers about Mike Minor, the Detroit Tigers about Matthew Boyd and the San Francisco Giants about Madison Bumgarner. They have also investigated the possibility of trading for Zack Greinke, Arizona’s high-priced right-hander. [NBC Sports]
Any of the aforementioned pitchers would be welcome additions to the Phillies makeshift starting pitching staff, which includes Aaron Nola, 85 percent of Jake Arrieta as he deals with bone spurs, and a revolving door of three mediocre arms.
The Phillies are so desperate, Salisbury reports that "the Phils have also considered marginal upgrades like Andrew Cashner, who was traded from Baltimore to Boston, and Homer Bailey, who went from Kansas City to Oakland."
Clearly things are happening, and more could be on the horizon. Follow along with everything the Phillies — and every other MLB contending team — do with our MLB trade tracker/open thread below:
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