It’s the golden rule of stock trading. Buy low, sell high. Same with trades in baseball, and the Phillies should follow that mindset.
Last Hot Stove season, Phillies GM Matt Klentak sold high on the best arm in the system — Ken Giles — yielding a bounty that included Vincent Velasquez.
Odubel Herrera, CF
El Torito’s value skyrocketed with a first-half batting average of .294,10 HR and an All-Star Game appearance. An awful August dinged Herrera’s value, but his sell-high status returned with a September surge.
Why trade him: Two centerfield prospects, Nick Williams and Roman Quinn, are looming, though neither are labeled can’t-miss.
A potential buyer: the Mets, especially if Yoenis Cespedes seems destined to walk in free agency.
Cesar Hernandez, 2B
The hottest name on Philly’s stove may be Hernandez.
When the Phils traded for Howie Kendrick earlier this month, you didn’t have to be Theo Epstein to figure this one out. It’s time to trade 2B Hernandez, although Phils GM Matt Klentak insisted Kendrick was picked up to play leftfield, not second base.
Sure, Matt. Sure.
Kendrick, with more than 1,000 games at second, gives Klentak a sell-high option in Hernandez, who led the league in triples with 11 and cranked out a second-half OPS of .824. That’s 25 points higher than the NL’s starting second baseman at the 2016 All-Star Game, Ben Zobrist.
Why trade him: Hernandez has had three solid months in a big-league career that dates back to 2013. He’s no Sandberg with the glove (12 errors in 2016, second-most in the league). And he’s not deemed a rebuild piece, as he turns 27 next season.
Then there’s Scott Kingery, a 2B prospect whose ceiling got higher last season with 36 doubles and 30 stolen bases between Clearwater and Reading. A 2017 return to Reading is likely for Kingery, who could be a September call-up.
A potential buyer for Hernandez: The Angels, who haven’t had a productive second-basemen since guess who… Kendrick, whom they dealt after 2014.
Cameron Rupp, C
The guy has pop with 16 HR last year, but Rupp’s biggest selling-point is his Die-Hard persona. Just re-watch the best Phillie highlight from 2016 when Rupp got steamrolled at the plate and fist-pumped the ball into the air for the final out of a game.
The Phillies also have, not one, but two catching prospects in the high minors: Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro. Just a matter of time when one of them gets a shot at The Show; most likely Alfaro, who has superior defensive skills to both Knapp and Rupp.
Potential buyer: Any AL team looking for roster flexibility. Perhaps the Indians, who have two light-hitting catchers and will likely lose 1B Mike Napoli to free agency.
Hector Neris, RP
Neris, at this point, is tabbed as Philly’s 2017 closer after The Jeanmar Gomez Experiment ultimately failed last season.
Neris features closer stuff: a filthy splitter with the durability to pitch a ton.
Why trade him: If Klentak shipped out Giles, there’s no need to dillydally on peddling Neris, who has a power-arm any contender would dish out value in return.
Potential buyer: Cubs, Dodgers and Giants.
If the Cubs and Dodgers don’t sign their elite closers — Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen respectively — both teams have value in the majors and minors to swap for Neris, and they’ll save a blizzard of cash. Neris will make about $12 million less than either Chapman or Jansen next season.
The Giants, who led the majors in blown saves with 30, could overpay for Neris instead of paying for one of the top free agents.