As the long-awaited baseball offseason approaches, the Phillies will be looking to add a veteran arm to their starting rotation. The editors of “That Ball’s Outta Here” and “Halo Hangout” made a mock trade that would benefit both teams
In the third edition of our Phillies mock trade series, we approached the Los Angeles Angels with several players in mind. With Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak coming out of the Angels organization, we know there is a good connection.
Of course, the first player we asked about was Philly-area native Mike Trout, but as expected we got nowhere in those talks.
Albert Pujols’ name was brought up by Los Angeles, but the Phillies have no room for another big contract, aging first baseman clogging up the pipeline.
The Angels expressed interest in an outfield bat, as well as second base and young pitching. Second base is not a strength in the Phillies organization, with only Cesar Hernandez and Scott Kingery being true pieces of the future.
We offered up three names to the Angels that could use a change of scenery: Darin Ruf, Cody Asche, and Aaron Altherr. They immediately trended towards Altherr, who is in the middle of a crowded Phillies outfield.
Once a top prospect in a bare Phillies farm system, Altherr has struggled to make the transition to Philadelphia. After missing much of the season with a wrist injury, Altherr hit .202 with four home runs and 69 strikeouts. His potential as a five-tool outfielder did flash when he hit a home run in his first game back, but the bat cooled down dramatically to end the season. He hit .163 with two extra-base hits in September/October, leaving his future in question.
A constant theme in our mock trades has been acquiring a veteran starting pitcher, and we have accomplished that once again. Matt Shoemaker finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 after winning 16 games with a 3.04 ERA. His ERA is now averaging 3.75 through 80 games, but his K/BB ratio is outstanding. His 4.77 K/BB would be sixth best in baseball had he qualified for the stat.
Shoemaker did suffer a small skull fracture after being hit with a line-drive in September, but he is expected to be ready for next season.
Similarly to Altherr, Shoemaker has not reached the end of his arbitration eligible years, In fact, he is just now entering arbitration, giving the Phillies an opportunity to negotiate with him. Financially the Phillies are not strapped for cash, with Freddy Galvis being the highest-paid active player on the roster. Matt Harrison is still recovering from a back injury, and was mostly acquired to relieve the Rangers of the financial burden brought-on by Cole Hamels contract.
Acquiring a veteran with several years experience in the American League set to earn minimal money through arbitration is a win-win for the Phillies. If he dominates they can move him at the deadline for prospects or make him part of their future.
Special thanks to the Halo Hangout editors for joining us in this series. You can visit their site and read their thoughts on the trade here.