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July 15, 2019

MLB trade rumors: Phillies scouting Blue Jays' RHP Marcus Stroman

The Phillies have their issues, that's blatantly clear. But despite their recent woes, they remain firmly in the NL Wild Card race amid a slew of teams just above the .500 mark.

The MLB trade deadline is a few weeks away, and should the team remain footed in the company of teams like the Nationals and Brewers vying for access to a one-game playoff come October, an upgrade may be in the cards.

Or maybe not.

“Hard for us to make the judgment now that we're one trade away from the World Series,” team president Andy MacPhail said Friday, via's Todd Zolecki. “We don't believe that. I don't believe that. So, as a result, you're going to have to be more judicious with your playing talent. It doesn't mean you can't make a different type of deal, doesn't mean you can't make a deal where a component is taking on somebody's salary.”

Still, the Phils haven't made the playoffs since 2011 and some signs do point toward Philly making a blockbuster move. Like scouting one of the more likely to be moved arms ahead of the July 31 deadline.

The Phillies need for a starting pitcher is pretty desperate. Not only do they not have a fifth starter to begin with, but Jake Arrieta is pitching through bone spurs and is, at best, going at 85 percent. The fact that Stroman is only 28 and is not a rental player strengthens the case for Philly to make the move. He has a 3.25 ERA this season in 110.2  innings pitched. 

Here's what Matt Gelb from The Athletic said about the Phillies' interest:

The Phillies have a plethora of needs, but their failure to find someone to slot behind Aaron Nola in the rotation is one of the more festering problems they face. Maybe Stroman is that pitcher. The Phillies have had trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark, and maybe they would be enticed by the fact that Stroman has not permitted a home run away from Rogers Centre this season. The front office is reluctant to make long-term commitments to pitchers; Stroman would cost something significant because he comes with more than one year of club control. Do the Phillies have the prospects and willingness to do it? [The Athletic]

Of course, with so many teams likely to be kicking the tires on Stroman, the Phillies will have a tough decision to make about that "young talent" MacPhail referenced. 

* Fun fact, Stroman is 5-foot-8, making him just the sixth pitcher under 5-foot-10 to start an MLB game over the last two decades. He still hits the mid-90s with his fastball.

Expect to see reports leak out of other starting pitchers — likely ones under team control for a longer period of time — during the next two weeks. It makes sense why. Regardless of whether Philadelphia makes the playoffs in 2019, they'll need a fifth starter this winter. As has been seen this season, there doesn't seem to be any kind of rotation piece sitting in the high minors.

Might as well get one sooner and help fill a huge need to save a potential playoff season.

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