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August 02, 2023

Trade grades roundup: How did the Phillies do in the Michael Lorenzen deal?

A quick sweep of the grades on the Phillies' deadline haul across a few national outlets:

The Phillies bolstered their starting pitching depth for the regular season's home stretch and the playoff run by acquiring right-hander Michael Lorenzen from the Tigers ahead of Tuesday's 6 p.m. ET trade deadline. 

The cost was infield prospect Hao-Yu Lee, who was rated fifth within the Phillies' system, and they also shipped out Bailey Falter to Pittsburgh for utility man Rodolfo Castro in a separate deal. 

So how'd they do? 

Here's a quick sweep of trade grades – mainly on the Lorenzen deal – across a few national outlets:

The Athletic

Tim Britton: B

• Grant Brisbee: B-

• Britt Ghiroli: B-

Lorenzen isn't a gamechanger for The Athletic's panel of baseball writers, but he's a solid starter – who can jump into the bullpen if needed – and more pitching depth, which at the end of the day, a club can never truly get enough of.

Wrote Britton in particular

Even if you don’t buy Lorenzen as an honest-to-goodness All-Star, he’s shown over the last two years he can be no worse than serviceable in your rotation. Over 36 starts since moving to the rotation as a whole, he owns an ERA a bit better than the league average — and that represents help for the Phillies, who have relied on Cristopher Sánchez as their fifth starter of late. It’s not that dissimilar to Philadelphia’s deal last deadline for Noah Syndergaard.

Lorenzen also provides some versatility should Philly get to October with his prior experience out of the pen and, oh just for the heck of it, as a pinch-runner or emergency outfielder. The Phillies could still use one more bat, preferably in the outfield. [The Athletic, $]

Bleacher Report

• Zachary D. Rymer: C

Rymer gave the Phillies a passing grade on the Lorenzen deal over at Bleacher Report because, again, more start pitching depth won't ever hurt. However, he argues that starting pitching wasn't a pressing need for the Phils, and well... agree to disagree on that one.

Wrote Rymer:

It's never a bad thing to have more starting pitching, but another starter didn't seem to be a pressing need for the Phillies. Their starters lead the National League in rWAR and have put up a 3.71 ERA since the All-Star break.

Another starter is nonetheless what the Phillies have acquired here, and an All-Star, at that. But read into Lorenzen's 3.58 ERA at your peril, as his walk rate is really the only one of his peripheral stats that passes muster. Regression is likely to find him eventually, in which case the Phillies would regret having given up their fifth-ranked prospect. [B/R]

CBS Sports

• R.J. Anderson: B

Lorenzen and Castro aren't flashy, headline-grabbing trades, but for team stability, they could end up paying off huge.

Wrote Anderson:

Dave Dombrowski is known for making flashy trades. The two he made this week weren't that, but they could prove to be solid. Michael Lorenzen, for instance, should help stabilize the back of the Phillies rotation. Rodolfo Castro, meanwhile, is an upgrade over Josh Harrison with some surprising raw power. Maybe Kevin Long can unlock more of it on a consistent basis? [CBS Sports]

FOX Sports

• Jordan Shusterman: B+

Shusterman over at FOX Sports thought a bit more highly of the move, as Lorenzen is essentially a more effective version of Noah Syndergaard, who the Phillies acquired for pitching depth at the deadline last year. 

He also feels that the Phillies got off relatively light from giving up only prospect Hao-Yu Lee, considering starting pitchers usually go for a lot more value at this time of year.

Wrote Shusterman:

The Phillies are likely hoping Lorenzen can serve as a more effective version of what they got from Noah Syndergaard at last year's deadline — that is, someone who can stabilize the back of the rotation for now, before transitioning into a swingman role as October nears. This plan should work nicely for Lorenzen, who is approaching a career-high in innings and already has plenty of experience coming out of the bullpen in his career.

Lee is a high-contact infielder who has primarily played second base but has seen time at shortstop and third base, as well. His 5-foot-9 frame doesn't offer a ton of pop but his approach and pure hit tool have been highly-regarded by evaluators since signing out of Taiwan as an 18-year-old in 2021. Lee is certainly a nice player to have, though this return feels a tad light considering the price we've seen paid for starting pitchers at this deadline, even those slated to be free agents this winter. [FOX Sports]

New York Post

• Mark W. Sanchez: B+

The Post also graded the move at a B+. The Phillies got another solid – but again, not game-breaking – starter to put behind Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, but then again, that's the exact kind of move that ends up doing a club wonders on a postseason run.

Wrote Sanchez:

Detroit cashes in on Lorenzen during a breakout All-Star season.

More solid than excellent, the 31-year-old might be the Phillies’ No. 3 starter behind Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The 20-year-old Lee, signed out of Taiwan two years ago, is a promising contact hitter with signs of pop but a long way away. [NY Post]

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