Phillies: Biggest Do’s and Don’t’s at the Trade Deadline

The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate their win (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate their win (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Phillies Bryson Stott
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA – MARCH 01: Bryson Stott #73 of the Philadelphia Phillies runs to first after hitting a single in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles during a spring training game at Baycare Ballpark on March 01, 2021 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The hot stove is heating up for the Philadelphia Phillies and there is some real optimism that Dave Dombrowski and company could swing a trade that would set this team up to make a run into the playoffs.

While the Phillies should do what it takes to bring in players who can genuinely help them play well into October, they still need to be careful. With that in mind, here are some dos and don’ts to guide them as they approach this year’s MLB trade deadline.

Don’t: Trade any top prospects

The Phillies should try to preserve their farm system as much as possible at the trade deadline.

The Phillies have a farm system problem. It’s not a new issue, it’s something they’ve dealt with for a while now, but as the years have gone on it’s become even more pronounced. As it stands right now, their minor league system is flat-out bad, and they’ve struggled mightily to develop talent.

When blue-chip prospects like Mickey Moniak (who was selected with the first overall pick in 2016)  and Adam Haseley(the eighth overall pick in 2017) have made their way up to Philadelphia, they’ve largely struggled to meet expectations. Moniak was called up again on Tuesday, but sent back down on Wednesday.

Prior to the start of this season, MLB ranked the Phillies farm system as 23rd in baseball. In their pre-draft rankings, FanGraphs had them ranked as low as 28th.

Mick Abel and Bryson Stott sit atop a depleted Phillies’ farm system

Right now the farm system is extremely top-heavy, led by pitcher Mick Abel and shortstop Bryson Stott. Both players should be off the table in nearly every trade discussion the team has. Abel was drafted 15th overall in 2020 and has ascended the ranks to become the top prospect in the Phillies’ entire system. Selecting a high school pitcher with your first-round pick can always be a bit of a gamble, but it looks like Abel could be the real deal.

Stott, on the other hand, figures to be the shortstop of the future for Philadelphia and was promoted to Double-A earlier this season. As it stands right now, Abel (59) and Stott (100) are both currently ranked among MLB’s Top 100 Prospects, they are also the only two members of the Phillies’ organization to crack the rankings.

The Phillies haven’t made the playoffs since 2011, and they have to hope that their window for contention is finally opening. If they want to make the most of that, then they shouldn’t totally mortgage the future of their top-tier talent.

After their top two prospects, things get a lot murkier for the Phillies. Just as you’d expect from an organization whose farm system grades out amongst the worst in the sport, they have a few players in the minors who could end up being contributors at the major league level, but no one who makes your jaw drop.

When it comes to prospects the Phillies could end up moving, catcher Rafael Marchan springs to mind. He ranks among the Phillies’ best prospects, but with All-Star J.T. Realmuto behind the dish for the next five years, Marchan would probably be better served as a trade piece.

While I don’t see the Phillies giving up on Spencer Howard quite yet, it’ll be interesting to see if they dangle him in any deals. He was called up again on Wednesday and has a 5.82 ERA over nine appearances at the major-league level this season.

Prior to the season, Howard was considered the top prospect in the organization. However, after some major early struggles with stamina, velocity, and command, it’s not unreasonable to wonder what his future in Philadelphia might look like.

Players like Chicago Cubs’ third basemen Kris Bryant or Texas Rangers’ outfielder Joey Gallo are sure to dominate a lot of headlines in the lead up to the deadline this year. Rightfully so, they are both great players who can make a huge impact on their new teams if they are indeed traded.

However, the Phillies shouldn’t further decimate an already-depleted farm system to bring them to the City of Brotherly Love. The temptation to move a top prospect in exchange for a superstar quality player is strong, but Dombrowski needs to resist unless it’s a truly perfect deal. Especially if that player ends up just being a rental. While the organization doesn’t have a ton of depth among their prospect pool, they do still have some quality players they could move.