A familiar name has emerged in the latest Phillies trade rumor.
Dating back to the offseason a common Phillies trade rumor surrounded Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray. A controllable left-handed starter with experience, Ray would be an ideal fit for the Phillies, who are looking beyond contending this year.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com says that the Phillies and Astros have had “recent interest” in Ray.
Ray’s teammate Zach Greinke has also been mentioned in Phillies trade rumor news in recent months.
Through 20 starts Ray has a 3.81 ERA, but has walked a league-high 56 batters for the D-Backs. Ray would slot in as the Phillies number two or three starter depending on the health of Jake Arrieta. He’s under team control through the 2020 season with a year of arbitration eligibility left.
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Morosi mocked Ray to the Astros in a deal that included two of their top five prospects and outfielder Derek Fisher, a former top prospect. The price felt hefty, but Morosi says that Fisher isn’t living up to expectations and Houston’s top prospect Forrest Whitley has underperformed in the minors this year.
Arizona, who traded away the face of their franchise last offseason, felt like the perfect team for the Phillies to pull a deal together with. While in second place in the National League West, they’re sitting at .500 and more than 14 games behind the Dodgers.
As of the start of play on July 15, Arizona is a game behind Philadelphia and Washington for a Wild Card spot. They still have seven games to play against the league-leading Dodgers and must fight off a tight Wild Card race.
If the Phillies make a trade for a starting pitcher, expect it to be for a controllable one like Ray, not a rental such as Madison Bumgarner. The Phillies would love to get back into the playoffs this year, but not for a one-game playoff as a wild card team or a short series against the best team in baseball.
That’s not worth a top prospect, but a year and a half of control for a quality starter could garner a bigger name.