How The Phillies Can Go From Playoff Contender to Title Contender
The Phillies are sitting atop the NL East through the early part of the season, while the rest of the division is struggling. The stars are hot, but the weak spots of this team are holding them back. Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations, has shown in the past that he is willing to go all in for a title. In the coming weeks and months leading up to the trade deadline, the Phillies should look to fill some of these holes. They should do it sooner rather than later. Below are some trade possibilities:
There isn’t a bigger hole on this roster than Center Field. Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley are both disappointments in the field and at the plate. The Phillies could call up former number 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak, but he is also an unknown who hasn’t produced to his expectations in the minor leagues. Odubel Herrera is another option to be called up, but after the electric spring he had, the Phillies seem hesitant to want him on the MLB roster because of his off the field issues in the past. If the Phillies want to compete, CF needs to be their top priority in the trade market.
CF Starling Marte, Marlins
After the strange 2020 season where the Marlins somehow made the playoffs, they seem to have come back to Earth here in 2021. FanGraphs gives the Marlins a 0.2% chance to make the playoffs this season. Marte is 32 years old, and the Marlins need to build for the future. He is posting a stat line of .323 AVG, .389 OBP, .452 SLG, and .840 OPS through 9 games this season, which are all relatively close to his career averages. Unlike McCutchen, Marte doesn’t seem to have lost a step. He would be an immediate help in the field, and he could serve as the lead off hitter the Phillies desperately need.
CF Ramon Laureano, Athletics
Laureano is much younger than Marte at just 26 years old. He has blossomed into one of the better CF in baseball over the past few seasons. He struggled a bit at the plate last season, but he has bounced back so far this year posting a stat line of .296 AVG, .367 OBP, .556 SLG, and .992 OPS. He is one of those tough minded players who would quickly become a fan favorite in Philadelphia. Laureano is a bit of a pipe dream, and a lot less likely than Marte, but if the Phillies could find a way to get the deal done with the struggling Athletics, then they could solidify the CF position for the next 5+ years. Like Marte, he could be an instant plug into the top half of the lineup and provide more base runners for the middle of the order.
The thing that held the Phillies back last season was the inconsistency from the Starting Pitching, and the historically bad bullpen. The bullpen has added some nice pieces, but the starting pitching is missing 1-2 more pieces to set this team over the top.
RHP German Marquez, Rockies
As soon as the Rockies traded Nolan Arenado, they declared they were open for business. They’re in last place in a very tough NL West. They’re likely to move on from Trevor Story, one of the best SS in the game, before the deadline before his contract expires this offseason. He will be a player to keep an eye on as a Free Agent signing for the Phillies. As far as the trade market, German Marquez would be an immediate help to the middle or back end of the rotation for the Phillies. For his career, Marquez has a 4.02 ERA with a 41-33 record. His Fastball lives in the 96-97 mph range and he throws it about 52% of his pitches. He also has a Curveball he loves to throw, with a Slider and Changeup also in his pitch arsenal. The Phillies don’t have a true Ace of the staff, so they need to solidify at least 1 more spot in the rotation. Marquez, at just 26 years old with a contract through 2024, would be a great addition for the Phillies now and into the future.
RHP Jon Gray, Rockies
Gray is another member of the Rockies that the Phillies could take a look at. He is 29 years old with just 1 year on his contract, and he would be a perfect fit for a team ready to make a push like the Phillies. Gray is coming off a bit of a rough 2020 season where he dealt with some shoulder issues. He saw his velocity take a dip last season, but this year he is healthy and his velocity of his Fastball is back up to the 95-96 mph range. He throws his Fastball and Slider a ton, and he sprinkles in a Changeup and Curveball very rarely. He is the perfect vet to add to a playoff team.
LHP Danny Duffy, Royals
Duffy is on this list for me because he is a lefty, which likely is the only reason Matt Moore is on the Phillies roster. At 32 years old, Duffy can step into that 4th pitcher in the rotation. Through his career, he has a 4.0 ERA and a 65-65 record. He is scheduled to be a Free Agent at the end of the season, and is likely to be one of the more sought after pitchers as the deadline approaches. Matt Moore is not going to get the job done for a contending team. Chase Anderson is a bit of a question mark, but even if he can’t be a starter, he can be a guy the Phillies move to the pen. Duffy would be a great replacement for Matt Moore in the rotation.
Andrew McCutchen was one of the best players of this generation when he was in the prime of his career, but he is well beyond that now. He is a below average defender who hasn’t looked the same since the ACL injury. He’s a solid rotational LF, but he cannot be an every day starter, especially if he is going to struggle at the plate.
OF Joey Gallo, Rangers
The Phillies have been linked to Gallo it seems like every season now. This could finally be the year the move gets done. He is a big bat Lefty who could thrive in a ballpark like Citizens Bank Park. He has struggled a little bit with injuries the past few season, but he seems to be healthy this year and playing a lot better. He is on a very bad Rangers team, and he will more likely than not, be traded this season. He is hitting .250 AVG, .329 OBP. .496 SLG, and .825 OPS on the season so far with only 1 Homerun. With a short porch in RF at Citizens Bank Park, adding another power hitting lefty to this lineup could help push the Phillies over the top. Adding Gallo gives the Phillies a lot of flexibility in the OF. He can play all 3 positions because of his big arm, but he is best suited for the corner spots because of his limited athleticism. Adding a guy like Gallo allows the Phillies to use Andrew McCutchen more rotationally, and gives them another bench bat or DH for AL games.