The Philadelphia Phillies have proven themselves to be worthy of trade deadline upgrades, so now, it’s only a matter of who, when, and what it will cost them.
The most gaping hole Dave Dombrowski needs to fill is undoubtedly the bullpen, which, as of this weekend, has a combined 23 blown saves. They have led MLB in this category for over a month, and no other team has more than 18 (currently a four-way tie between the Dodgers, Brewers, Marlins, and Diamondbacks). At the end of June, their 21 blown saves set a new record for any team in MLB history through their first 76 games.
While Ranger Suarez was blowing the Phillies’ 23rd implosion of the season this weekend, one of the closers Dombrowski should be targeting this month was making history in a more positive way.
Reyes took to Twitter after his record-setting game and kept it short and sweet:
Dating all the way back to his debut season in 2016, Reyes now has a perfect 24 saves in 24 opportunities, including 22 to start this season. He also leads MLB with 38 games finished and has dazzling 1.45 ERA and 55 strikeouts over 43 1/3 innings of work.
Could the Phillies trade for Alex Reyes? Should they want to?
One thing to note about Reyes that would certainly give the Phillies pause is his walk rate this season, an 18.8% that leads qualified relievers. He issued two walks in his history-making appearance on Sunday and has walked at least one batter in four of his five games so far in July, bringing his season total to 35. The Phillies already have a bullpen arm with this problem: José Alvarado’s 29 walks (in just 34 2/3 innings) is the second-most of any pitcher on the Phillies staff. Only starter Vince Velasquez has more, and he’s thrown more than double Alvarado’s innings.
Reyes also wants to transition back to the starting rotation in the future, which means that despite being under club control through 2023, he might not be a long-term bullpen option for the Phillies. That’s certainly something to consider for a team that doesn’t have a robust farm system to offer in return.
With 70 games left in their regular-season schedule, the Phillies setting a new MLB record for most blown saves in a season is a definite possibility. They currently have 23; the MLB record, set in 2004, is 34. If they don’t make some serious changes soon, their names will be in the books for yet another sad stat.
The Cardinals are 46-47, in third place in the NL Central, nine games out of first. Prior to the season, outlets were debating whether it made sense to trade Reyes. But with their closer doing so well that he’s literally just made MLB history, it’s unlikely that the redbirds will be willing to let him switch to red pinstripes now. Besides, even if they are considering parting with Reyes, his value is higher than ever, probably out of the Phillies’ reach.
But on the off-chance St. Louis is willing, you can bet Dombrowski has his eye on Reyes.