Phillies trade rumor: Former GM projects Matthew Boyd to Philadelphia

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 28: Matthew Boyd #48 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 28, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 28: Matthew Boyd #48 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 28, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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A new Phillies trade rumor connects them to a young, controllable starting pitcher.

Phillies trade rumor season is back in full swing with about six weeks until the one, and now only, MLB trade deadline.

The Phillies are expected to address their starting pitching this summer, already being linked to veterans Madison Bumgarner and Zack Greinke in trade talks.

A rising name in the league is Detroit Tigers lefty Matthew Boyd, a 28-year-old in his fifth big league season.

Former Reds general manager Jim Bowden, now with The Athletic (subscription required), highlighted Boyd as the “perfect move” for the Phillies this summer.

"He could be a difference-maker and a strong counter to the Braves’ signing of Dallas Keuchel last week."

In 15 starts Boyd has a 3.35 ERA with a league-best 6.59 K/BB with a Fangraphs WAR (fWAR) of 2.8, the fifth-best in baseball. His 5-5 record is a bit deceiving while pitching for a Tigers club 18 games under .500, but 10 of his 15 starts are “quality starts,” meaning he’s pitched at least six innings giving up three or fewer runs.

light. Related Story. Matthew Boyd worth serious consideration

Philadelphia has been searching for an experienced left-handed starter since the last game of the 2018 season. After missing on J.A. Happ and James Paxton during the offseason, the Phillies are paying the price of not addressing the rotation.

The Phillies rotation, which has featured eight starters (including Jose Alvarez as an opener versus a left-handed heavy lineup), has allowed 4.79 runs per game, slightly above the league average. Forty-four percent of their games have been quality starts (also just above league average) and they’re pitching relatively deep into games, averaging 5.6 innings per start, fourth in baseball.

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Boyd would be a solid number two/three starter along with Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, neither of whom has pitched consistently well this season. However, the price tag for Boyd will be high with three seasons of arbitration remaining.

One concern could be whether or not Boyd is a one-hit wonder given his relatively surprising raise to fame. Reports say he made some adjustments to his pitching mechanics, which could be a factor.

There’s also room to question whether he can pitch in a big market for a contending team. He’s only pitched for one team that finished above .500, and a recent example with Sonny Gray going from Oakland to New York shows how some players aren’t prepared for that kind of a jump.

Bowden suggests a move involving the Phillies third-best prospect (per MLBPipeline) Adam Haseley, who is on the major league injured list after appearing in two games this year. The veteran general manager also suggests the deal could involve a pitching prospect not named Adonis Medina or Spencer Howard, the Phillies top-two pitching prospects. He names number eight prospect Francisco Morales, a 19-year-old righty with 66 strikeouts in 42 innings for Single-A Lakewood.

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Clearly, the price tag for Boyd is high given his status as a rising pitcher with a very team-friendly cap situation. Dealing two top-10 prospects would again emphasize that the Phillies are prepared to win now and stabilize a starting rotation devastated by mediocrity this season.

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