The Phillies could use one more starting pitcher at the trade deadline
2. A back-end starting pitcher
The Phillies starting rotation has been one of their strongest assets this year with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler driving the top of the rotation. Spencer Howard has come up with promising results and Zach Eflin has been hot and cold, though he was outstanding in his last start against Atlanta.
Jake Arrieta remains the biggest wild card in the Phillies rotation with a 0.7 WAR, 4.32 ERA, and two wins in five starts. He’s had only one “quality start” (six innings with three runs or fewer) but he certainly hasn’t been terrible, just not great.
The Phillies could be hard-pressed to move Arrieta to the bullpen given his status as a former Cy Young winner who would’ve made $20 million this year before the salaries were adjusted.
Arrieta hasn’t appeared in a regular season game as a reliever since 2012 with Baltimore when he made six relief appearances. Since that season he’s made 193 starts, but he’s not the Cy Young arm he once was.
The Phillies don’t need to get a guy like Trevor Bauer for their rotation. Once again, we’d be looking for a depth kind of player. A better version of Vince Velasquez or Nick Pivetta could be a long reliever with starting experience.
Robbie Ray has long been on the Phillies wish list but he’s had a terrible season for Arizona with a 7.84 ERA and a -0.6 WAR in seven starts. He’s a lefty and a free agent after this year, so the Phillies could give him a shot and hope he rebounds under Bryan Price’s tutelage.
Royals starter Danny Duffy is another lefty out there, but he’s slated to make $15 million next year, a financial commitment the Phillies can’t make without J.T. Realmuto signed.
Lance Lynn has been the hottest name among starting pitchers coming up to the trade deadline with a 4-0 record, 1.59 ERA, and a 2.0 WAR. He wouldn’t be the swing-man we talked about earlier given his success this year, plus he’s making $9.3 million next year.
Dylan Bundy and Alex Cobb are two other names to keep an eye on if the Angels and Orioles decide to sell this year.