Could the Phillies pull off a deal that could help both sides of the ball?
While the baseball world descends on Washington D.C. for the All-Star break much of the conversation will surround Manny Machado’s immediate future. It’s no secret the Phillies are interested in adding the 26-year-old power-hitting shortstop, regardless of his pending free agency.
Bundled in the trade discussions and rumors has been Philadelphia’s need to supplement their bullpen. One suggestion is the addition of Orioles closer Zach Britton, a lefty coming off an offseason achillies injury. However, the price to add both Britton and Machado could be overwhelming and out of the Phillies budget.
Long-time league insider Jayson Stark made his first of two weekly appearances on 97.5 The Fanatic Monday morning and said the Orioles will likely move Machado after the All-Star game and before regular season play resumes.
In addition to that news bite, Stark made a comment about a potential addition to the bullpen:
"“The Orioles entire bullpen is available and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were another arm coming back… (the Phillies) have shopped for left-handed bullpen arms”"
Left-handed relief help is a major need for the Phillies after trading Hoby Milner and seeing a lackluster performance from Adam Morgan this year. Britton would certainly be a trade candidate who could solve the lefty specialist job, but could there be someone cheaper than Britton for the Phillies to take on in a Machado+ deal?
There isn’t much in the Orioles bullpen that could excite a fanbase outside of Britton, but quietly, Donnie Hart could be a name to watch if the price is right.
A 27-year-old southpaw drafted in the 27th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, Hart has bounced between Triple-A and the majors over his three-year career. In 83 games he has a 2.89 ERA, with 46 strikeouts and a 1.367 WHIP.
In his 83 appearances, Hart has allowed zero earned runs in 66 games, and given up two runs or more. More importantly, lefties are hitting .230 against him in those appearances, potentially giving the Phillies a cheap specialist considering what they’ll give up for Machado alone.
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Hart remains under team control through next year, and is making just $297,000 this season. He’ll have three years of arbitration that will carry him through the 2022 season when he’s 31-years-old.
He’s a name that won’t blow anyone out of the water, and a friend who’s an avid Orioles fan called him “just an average lefty.” But considering the price the Phillies pay for Machado, the Orioles can afford to throw in a player who they’ve sent to the minors six times this year. He’s essentially been the Jake Thompson of the Phillies bullpen with an express pass to Triple-A anytime a move is needed.
If the Orioles want to shed money, Darren O’Day could be a throw-in while he sits on the disabled list for the remainder of the year with a hamstring injury. O’Day is owed $9 million next season then has $4 million in deferred salary paid out over four years after he becomes a free agent. He also has a limited no-trade clause that blocks moves to all but seven teams.
O’Day is obviously not an immediate impact for the bullpen, but shedding money could help Baltimore and lessen the blow on the Machado price tag.
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