The latest Phillies trade rumor looks at two pitchers on the west coast
With all of Major League Baseball’s general managers confined to one hotel for the annual GM meetings it’s likely teams are talking trades early in the offseason. The first Phillies trade rumor, of likely many, to come out of the winter meetings suggests the Phillies could target a left-handed starting pitcher.
NBCSP’s Jim Salisbury highlighted two names for Phillies fans to watch during the general manager meetings: Robbie Ray and James Paxton.
As Salisbury points out, both lefties are under team control, are relatively young, and the Phillies have a connection with each organization. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak worked with his Seattle counterpart Jerry DiPoto in Los Angeles, and the Phillies have been hot on Ray’s tail since last offseason.
Ray has two more years of arbitration remaining and is a year removed from a seventh-place finish in the Cy Young race. After going 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA in 2017 Ray was just 6-2 with a 3.93 ERA last year for the Diamondbacks. An oblique injury cost him six weeks early in the season and limited him to just 24 starts.
Paxton also has two years of arbitration, but is 30-years-old. Seattle is reportedly considering a full rebuild after winning 89 games last season, so the veteran could be available. He led baseball with two complete games last year and finished with a 11-6 record and a 3.76 ERA. Paxton is prone to wild pitches, throwing 23 over his last two seasons.
Either pitcher would give the Phillies a steady number three pitcher behind Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, and would put a reliable lefty in the rotation. The Phillies went years without starting a lefty pitcher before Ranger Suarez made his major league debut.
Adding either Ray or Paxton will cost the Phillies a prominent prospect, but wouldn’t cost them a big name player like Sixto Sanchez or Mickey Moniak. Either makes sense for the team as long as they are healthy entering 2019.