The Phillies have more opportunities to improve in a win-now season
Despite being only 24 games into their season the Phillies have to look for creative ways to improve at the MLB trade deadline.
Already general manager Matt Klentak has shown that this is a win-now season, in large part because his job is on the line. The man tasked with leading the Phillies rebuild after the 2015 season hasn’t had a season better than .500 under his watch despite acquiring Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson, Jean Segura, Zack Wheeler, and Jake Arrieta.
The Phillies need to find every possible way to get better, and they’ve already started by acquiring three relievers to improve what is statistically one of the worst bullpens in baseball history.
Next, the team should, at the very least, look at improving the starting rotation. Their 4.26 ERA is the 11th best in baseball and their 2.30 ERA is the seventh-best, but there is room for improvement with questions still lingering.
With the current set-up, it appears that top pitching prospect Spencer Howard has officially taken the starting job away from Vince Velasquez. With Howard going with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, the Phillies have a fairly competent top of the rotation.
Behind them are Zach Eflin and Jake Arrieta, who have had mixed results early in 2020. Both of their ERAs are around five through four starts each and are averaging about one or more home runs per nine innings.
The biggest concern might be the 34-year-old Arrieta, who is in the final guaranteed year of his contract. He was impressive in his first two games, but lately he hasn’t gotten out of the fifth inning and has allowed four runs in both games.
If the Phillies could swap Arrieta for another arm or potentially move him to the bullpen, there is room to add another starting pitcher.
Even behind Arrieta and Eflin, the Phillies don’t have much when it comes to starting pitcher depth. They just traded Nick Pivetta in the Brandon Workman/Heath Hembree deal, and we’ve seen what kind of Velasquez can do.
Prospect JoJo Romero is currently in the bullpen with only one major league inning under his belt, and Ranger Suarez is still working his way back from COVID-19. The only other potential starter would be 25-year-old Damon Jones, a prospect in the alternate team camp who has never played in the big leagues.
The Phillies need depth, and now’s the time to get it.
Here are five potential trade targets for the Phillies to consider