Phillies: 3 best trade targets from MLBTR’s Top 25 list
Phillies fans, insiders, and national reporters have been talking about Philadelphia wanting to trade for Robbie Ray for 18 months now. Since last season there have been rumblings about Philadelphia making a play for the Diamondbacks lefty, but so far nothing has gotten pushed across the finish line.
Entering his age 28 season, Ray is coming off a career-best 235 strikeouts and the third time in four years he struck out 200 batters. His ERA has gone up every year since 2017 when he finished seventh in the Cy Young, but he remained healthy and walked fewer batters.
Arizona is stuck in the middle right now with very little chance of winning the National League West with the Los Angeles Dodgers holding the crown as a perennial World Series contender. The Diamondbacks did win 85 games last year, but they dumped Zack Greinke’s contract at the deadline and are losing Adam Jones this offseason.
They’ll need to rely on Carson Kelly taking a step forward and Ketel Marte not taking a step back if they’re going to compete for a wild card spot. They do have several young pitchers, including Luke Weaver and Zac Gallen, who could fill in for Ray if a trade is made.
Philadelphia might have to swap a bad contract with Arizona to make room for the nearly $11 million Ray will make in arbitration. Could they neutralize the money by moving Jake Arrieta, who is making $20 million in the final guaranteed year of his contract?
Vince Velasquez is expected to make nearly $4 million in arbitration; Arizona would likely value his upside and controllability over Arrieta, but will the Phillies move two years of Velasquez on an arbitration salary for one year of Ray?
Arizona needs an outfielder, but it’s unlikely they’d take Odubel Herrera and his contract.
However the Phillies can get it done, they should make another push to give themselves a veteran left-handed starter and a solid number three arm to go with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler.