With the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching, Cole Hamels rumors will again come to the fore, and with good reason. Much ink has been spilled over how he is the best chance the team has at acquiring that franchise-altering talent they need to continue with their rebuild, including here at TBOH.
However, with the possibility that Hamels will not be traded until the offseason looming larger and larger, Phillies fans will not be happy with a repeat of last year’s deadline performance, where GM Ruben Amaro essentially did nothing.
More from That Balls Outta Here
- 3 Reasons to get excited for Phillies’ Craig Kimbrel signing
- 11 Free-agent deals the Philadelphia Phillies wish fell through
- Phillies-Mets owners’ rivalry grows after shocking Carlos Correa deal
- Could Rich Hill become ‘Jamie Moyer 2.0’ in Phillies rotation?
- Does Bailey Falter have a future in Phillies’ rotation?
It wouldn’t be the end of the world if Hamels weren’t traded – it just wouldn’t be as fun or exciting when refreshing the MLB Trade Rumors site to see the latest on those possible Hamels trades.
One thing fans seem to often forget is that the team does hold several other attractive chips to push to the middle of the table this month. A Philly sports-centric blog at Fansided, “Section 215“, wrote last week about how someone like Ben Revere could be made available to a team in need of his abilities.
While debating the return a Revere trade could yield, it’s important to note that the speedy outfielder represents one of a number of opportunities the team has to replenish their farm system with quality talent.
No one is expecting anything like what Hamels could bring, but the pieces they could move could be on the level of the Jimmy Rollins trade, where the team picked up a solid starting pitching prospect in Zach Eflin and a potential LOOGY arm in Tom Windle for the bullpen. Let’s look at some of those Phillies trade pieces, and where they might end up going.
Aaron Harang – Orioles, Blue Jays, Yankees
Harang, who currently sits on the DL, could be a pitcher on the move. Sure, his season has been up and down. Through May, the veteran righty had posted 10 out of 11 quality starts, with a 2.02 ERA, only 4 home runs allowed, a 3.5 K/BB ratio and a wonderful 55% GB rate.
May 24, 2015; Washington, DC, USA;
Phillies starting pitcher Harang (34) throws to the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park.
(Photo Credit:Brad Mills
-USA TODAY Sports)
During this stretch, Harang was probably at peak trade value. In 6 starts since, Harang has posted an 8.31 ERA, given up 8 home runs, and posted an ugly 1.7 K/BB rate. His last start was his worst of the season. He allowed 8 earned runs in 5 innings before landing on the DL with a foot problem.
Is the foot the cause of all of these poor starts, or is it just a case of regression to the mean? More than likely a bit of both. However, one thing that should be noted is that Harang has gone at least 5 innings in each start he has made this year. If the foot truly was the problem, then a DL stint will do him some good while preserving some innings on his arm.
Each of the teams I listed are teams that could use some starting pitching. Baltimore has received quality innings out of their pitchers (currently 12th in ERA), yet 34 starts this year have been given to Chris Tillman (72 ERA+), Bud Norris (57 ERA+), and Mike Wright (76 ERA+). Harang’s 93 ERA+, while still below average, would still be a significant upgrade over any of those three.
Toronto is basically in the same boat, though their 4.08 ERA sits them 23rd. Like Baltimore, the Jays have trotted out sub par arms such as R.A. Dickey (80 ERA+) and Drew Hutchison (73 ERA+) a full 36 times this year. The Yankees, same thing. While CC Sabathia (72 ERA+) has gone in the tank, the rest of their arms have not been that bad. Acquiring Harang could bolster their pitching staff if they decide to demote Sabathia to the bullpen for the remainder of the season, or if they wanted to insert a “proven veteran” into their starting rotation.
Harang figures to be dealt. His team-friendly contract for the balance of this year makes him that much more attractive to a potential buyer. Look for him to be on the move as soon as he proves he is healthy again.
Jeff Francoeur – Pirates, Rangers
Frenchy has had an interesting season. He was signed to a minor league contract by the Phillies, with an invitation to spring training and he eventually made it on to the Opening Day roster. That he made it because of his spring numbers, or the fact that he is a great clubhouse guy, it’ll probably never be known.
This year he has surprised many people by hitting reasonably well while serving mainly in a platoon situation. The veteran has produced a .245/.277/.408 slash line with 6 home runs, 26 RBI, and playing competent defense in limited time (I said competent, not stellar). Francoeur could provide that trademarked “veteran presence” (there it is again….), to a team in the thick of the playoff chase.
Jul 7, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA;
Phillies right fielder Francoeur (3) celebrates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium.
(Photo Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)
The Pirates and Rangers have already stated their desire to add bench bats, with the Pittsburgh specifically being named as a team that has asked about Francoeur. Texas just recently were said to be on the lookout for a right-handed bat who wouldn’t cost too much. It makes sense that these teams would be looking for help, and a character locker room guy like Frenchy might be a perfect fit for both.
In the case of the Pirates, they have two outfield spots lined up in Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte. However, Gregory Polanco has experienced a sophomore slump (.237/.315/.338, 83 OPS+) that the team simply cannot continue to run out there every day if they hope to catch the Cardinals. An acquisition of Francoeur would also bolster a bench that has collectively not hit very well.
The Rangers are in the same category. So far this year, their rightfielders have hit a collective .217/.305/.395, mostly from Shin-Soo Choo, who has been a massive disappointment. At 42-46, the Rangers aren’t exactly contending for a playoff spot, but adding a decent right-handed bat to platoon with Choo could give them better offensive production overall. The return for a guy like Francoeur wouldn’t be huge, but adding any kind of talent to the Phils system for a guy coming in on a minor league contract would be considered a plus.
Ken Giles – Dodgers, Yankees, Blue Jays
I know, this is crazy. Giles is the Phillies’ future closer, just as soon as Jonathan Papelbon gets traded. He throws hard, has a shiny 1.86 ERA, is cheap and controllable, and doggone it, people like him.
Then there was this:
Whether or not you agree with Murphy, there is an element of truth here. Giles is probably at his peak value as a major league reliever, mostly for all of those reasons listed above. Should Papelbon get traded, Giles will assume the closer’s role, and begin to rack up those arbitration favorites: Saves.
Once he does become the full-time closer, he will get expensive, which will instantly devalue him to other clubs should he be peddled as a trade chip in the future. Trading him now to a team that already has an established closer makes the most sense for both teams.
May 13, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA;
Phillies relief pitcher Giles (53) against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 3-2.
(Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
The Phillies can demand a solid return because of the cost effectiveness of Giles’ future role with the acquiring team. The team, in turn, would be getting 1) a dominant reliever that almost completely eliminates having to think in the 8th and 9th innings, 2) a proven arm capable of filling in as the closer should injury/ineffectiveness strike.
The Dodgers immediately jump to mind because of health concerns Kenley Jansen has gone through in his young career. Looking at the LA bullpen, J.P. Howell may be their only other reliable option. Pedro Baez, maybe. But nowhere else will you find the kind of production Giles can offer.
The Yankees could have a troika of Giles-Andrew Miller–Dellin Betances shortening games by a third. The Yanks’ AL East rivals in Toronto would be another interesting fit. The Blue Jays are 2nd in baseball with 14 blown save opportunities, and could offer Giles the closer’s spot right away.
Ruben Amaro would have every right to ask for a good return on Giles. Last year, Miller, who was due to be a free agent at the end of the season, was traded from Boston to Baltimore. He netted the Red Sox one of their top pitching prospects, Eduardo Rodriguez, who in 9 starts is already sixth on the team with 1.3 bWAR. Asking a team for something akin to this, if not more, would be reasonable.
The Phillies have a rare chance to accelerate their rebuild by trading anything that holds value to another team. The 2015 season is lost anyway, and most fans would welcome these types of trades if it meant that a clear direction was being established. There are other players that could be had in a trade, such as Ryan Howard, Freddy Galvis, and Domonic Brown. But the three mentioned above are a better bet to get something back, based on the needs of the acquiring team.