As the long-awaited baseball offseason approaches, the Phillies will be looking to add a veteran bat to their line-up. The editors of “That Ball’s Outta Here” and “Yanks Go Yard” made a mock trade that would benefit both teams in their rebuilds.
In the first part of the Phillies Mock Trade series, I spoke with the editors of the FanSided Yankees site “Yanks Go Yard” about a possible trade.
The Yankees are looking for pitching, pitching, and more pitching. I did not feel comfortable giving up guys like Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson, or even Franklyn Kilome. I brought up Alec Asher, who is having a renaissance 2016 season.
With many of the names in next years rotation already penciled in, there is little room for Asher, who is at best a fourth/fifth option in a rotation. While his improvements this year impressed us, we felt like we were able to move one of the pieces in the Cole Hamels trade.
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We asked the Yankees for either pitching or outfielders. We did inquire about their top prospect Clint Frazier, who was acquired from the Cleveland Indians at the traded deadline. The Yankees were smart to hold onto him unless they received a package in return.
Instead we focused on Brett Gardner, a veteran corner outfielder who could be the bat Pete Mackanin desires in his line-up.
With prospects like Frazier the Yankees were willing to move Gardner, even if it mean’t restructuring his contract for Philly.
Asher was not the only piece the Phillies had to move if they wanted Gardner. They opted to move Double-A shortstop Malquin Canelo, the 21st ranked prospect in the farm system. With Freddy Galvis and J.P. Crawford already in place, there was no need for Canelo in the long-term future.
Brett Gardner is 33-years old and carries a career .263 batting average, 63 home runs, and 218 stolen bases in nine seasons. He won’t be the flashiest bat in the line-up, but he manages at-bats very well and can help players such as Odubel Herrera with their plate discipline.
Gardner knows how to work the count and take advantage of the pitcher. When ahead in the count, he has a .301 career batting average. His career batting average with no strikes is above .360.
On a restructured contract that runs one year with a club option for a second year, the Phillies can play Gardner in left field through the summer of 2017. He’ll be an easy player to move with his new contract, and could fetch the Phillies more prospects at the trade deadline.
When Gardner is gone in the summer, that probably means Nick Williams or Dylan Cozens is ready to make their major league debuts. This gives the Phillies a perfect landing spot at either corner outfield spot.
The Phillies would also receive a player to be named later from the Yankees in this deal. Most likely it will be a relief pitcher in the Yankees minor league system who could make an impact next year, and possibly has some major league experience. Names that were discussed include Johnny Barbato, Richard Bleier, Kirby Yates, James Pazos, and Tyler Webb.
The Phillies made out well in this deal by moving an inconsistent Asher for a veteran bat who could add more young talent down the road. Gardner could hit anywhere from lead-off, second, fifth, or sixth in Philadelphia’s young line-up. I’d place him second behind Odubel or Cesar, then follow him with either of the aforementioned players or Maikel Franco in the three-hole.
Special thanks to the Yanks Go Yard editors for joining us in this series. You can visit their site and read their thoughts on the trade here.