July 22, 2019
UPDATE [4:27 p.m.] — Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia has reported that the Phillies have already begun conversations with the Tigers regarding some of their available players, specifically starter Matthew Boyd and closer Shane Greene. You can read more about them below, as GM Matt Klentak will join the team in Detroit to get a first-hand look at both players during the Phillies' two-game set against the Tigers.
Here's more from Salisbury:
The Phillies have big needs in the starting rotation and at the back end of the bullpen. Sources say the Phils have had conversations with the Tigers about all of their available players, particularly Boyd and Greene. Both are the type of pitcher the Phillies would like to acquire in that they are talented and under contractual control beyond this season. In other words, they are not rentals. Boyd has three years of control after this season and Greene is under control through next season.
Now, here's the rub: That type of control raises the price tag on these pitchers and by all accounts, the Tigers are looking for a huge score — as they should.
One baseball executive familiar with the Tigers' thinking said the club was looking for four young players for Boyd — "two with star potential and two more with a chance." [nbcsports.com]
Given team president Andy MacPhail's comments in recent weeks, the team may be hesitant to go crazy at the deadline because they likely have too many needs to address all at once. But with Boyd and Greene under team control beyond 2019, those are the types of players that could be the exception to MacPhail's rule.
Unfortunately, as Salisbury points out, this year's pitchers market definitely favors the sellers, and the Phillies will hardly be the only team pursuing these types of players.
Even still, the cost — "two [players] with star potential and two more with a chance" — may be prohibitive to the Phillies, who could opt to go with what they have and instead try to upgrade their pitching through free agency this winner, when it will only cost them money, not prospects.
UPDATE [2:30 p.m.] — According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY, the Phillies are indeed interested in Arizona starter Zack Greinke, as well as fellow starter Robbie Ray, and have been scouting the two ahead of the July 31 MLB trade deadline.
If even half the reports out there are to be believed, the Phillies could be very busy over the next week-plus leading up to the MLB trade deadline.
At this point, the Phillies have been linked to almost every available player out there, especially the pitchers. From Madison Bumgarner to Matt Boyd and from Mike Minor to Marcus Stroman, the Phillies are one of the potential buyers out there that keeps popping up over and over again. Like with Arizona ace Zack Greinke, who should certainly be on the Phillies wishlist this deadline if they truly intend to be buyers.
Recently, MLB.com listed the Phillies as one of the teams that should go out and get Greinke. They also listed the Braves, who currently lead the Phils by 7.5 games in the NL East.
2) Philadelphia Phillies: They are on Greinke’s reported list, but these tend to be put together strategically, and with an eye toward gaining leverage, rather than shutting down the possibility of a trade. And in fact, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reported Thursday that Philly has “investigated the possibility” of a Greinke deal. While the club might have to make some extra concessions to persuade Greinke, the need is obvious. The Phillies are clinging to playoff hopes after an offseason of heavy investment and are desperate enough to patch their rotation to take a shot on Drew Smyly, who posted an 8.42 ERA for Texas earlier this season. [mlb.com]
Of course, the Diamondbacks are right behind the Phillies in the wild card race, so there's a chance he stays put (unless Arizona really throws in the towel.
Additionally, we're not even that sure the team is going to be aggressive buyers. They've already added Drew Smyly, who pitched well in a no-decision on Sunday, and Mike Morin (not to be confused with Mike Minor), but neither of those additions cost the Phillies any prospects. And if they are unsure of their chances at making to the postseason — even with whatever additions they might make between now and July 31 — they might continue making small moves that won't cost too many prospects.
But if, after splitting with the Dodgers and taking two of three from the Pirates, the Phillies feel like they still have a chance at overtaking that second National League wild card spot, they could go on a deadline spending spree — after all, they showed this offseason that money isn't an issue, and going into the luxury tax isn't prohibitive if it gives the team a shot at a postseason run.
The biggest area of need for the Phillies right now is pitching, although they lack depth at pretty much every position right now and an another injury or two could spell the end for the 2019 Phils. In other words, they're in a fragile state right now, and they'll need to decide quickly whether or not to pull the trigger on any of these available players.
Conveniently enough, Matt Klentak and the Phillies will get a first-hand look at several of those players this week as the Phillies head to Detroit to take on the lowly Tigers for a two-game series. And the Tigers are the definition of a trade deadline seller. Here's more from Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer:
The Detroit Tigers have lost 45 of their last 57 games. They are locked in a virtual tie with the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in baseball. And they might be the foremost seller in a decidedly seller-friendly market leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.
It isn’t so much that everything must go in Detroit. It’s that everything probably should go. The Tigers are in the midst of a full-scale rebuilding project. They recently extended general manager Al Avila’s contract, giving him a mandate to keep building for the future. Few, if any, players on the big-league roster will still be under control when the Tigers are ready to contend again, so why not cash them in to keep restocking a revived farm system? [inquirer.com]
Lauber points to three specific players who could interest the Phillies. There is starter Matt Boyd, who will take the hill on Tuesday night and has a few things already going for him. First, he's a lefty, something the Phillies need in their rotation — let's face it, Smyly, while a nice pickup, isn't going to get it done. Boyd is also 28 years old, so he's much younger than some of the other starters the Phillies have been linked to, and he's under team control through 2022. The only problem there is that control will probably come with an added cost for the Phillies when it comes to trade negotiations.
There's also reliever Shane Greene, who would certainly help the Phillies' injury-plagued bullpen but also comes with an extra year of team control that will cost more than perhaps Klentak is willing to pay. And then there's outfielder Nick Castellanos, but he only currently plays right field, and that position is kind of already spoken for.
Whether or not the Phillies make a move for one of these guys remains to be seen, but according to Lauber, Klentak will be joining the team in Detroit, so he won't even have to pick up a phone if he wants to begin negotiations with Al Avila.
In the meantime, follow along with all the latest news and rumors with out live MLB trade deadline tracker:
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