Is Phillies general manager Matt Klentak missing out on major trade opportunities this offseason?
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has consistently talked about adding a veteran starting pitcher this offseason. He’s said it since day one, and nothing has come to fruition for more than four months.
Saturday evening the Minnesota Twins made a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for 27-year-old righty Jake Odorizzi. The price for a pitcher coming off his third double-digit win in four years?Jermaine Palacios, Minnesota’s 27th ranked prospect and a 21 year old shortstop who hasn’t played above High-A ball in his career.
Odorizzi is no Chris Archer, Cole Hamels, Aaron Sanchez, or whichever starting pitcher reportedly on the trade block you can name. However, he’s better than what the Phillies have, and he could have easily been on this team.
In many ways Odorizzi doesn’t fit the mold this franchise wants going forward being a righty with average major league success on the final year of his contract. But at this stage of the game a young starting pitcher with relative success at a low-risk high-reward price is better than absolutely nothing.
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It’s better than having to sign Jake Arrieta or Lance Lynn to a deal equivalent to an avalanche over too many years. It’s certainly better than haggling agent Scott Boras for another month and never landing a player.
Yes the Phillies are rebuilding and even their lower-level prospects are worth something at this stage of the process.
Eliezer Alvarez, the Phillies 27th ranked prospect acquired for reliever Juan Nicasio, or 17-year-old infielder Luis Garcia projected to reach the majors in five years couldn’t get a deal done for a pitcher at Odorizzi’s level?
Klentak’s history with trades is relatively strong, especially at the trade deadline last season when he traded Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick, and Joaquin Benoit for seven players and future considerations. Lefty McKenzie Mills, acquired for Kendrick from Washington, is the organization’s 23rd rated prospect, and reliever J.D. Hammer from the Rockies/Neshek deal is drawing eyes.
Arrieta, Lynn, and maybe Alex Cobb could be Klentak’s white whale, but he can’t be at the mercy of Boras forever. Hold strong on the years and maybe throw a vesting fourth season to make Boras happy and give the pitcher as much money as you can. Perhaps the Twins getting a pitcher takes another suitor off the market and Boras can give in.
This organization is ready for the next step in the rebuild; signing Carlos Santana, Tommy Hunter, Fernando Abad, Francisco Rodriguez, and Neshek proves that. Adding Arrieta, Lynn, or Cobb will help mature a young rotation into reliable major league starters.