If the Phillies don’t want to go over the luxury tax threshold, these are 5 relievers to considering trading for at the deadline.
With the most blown saves in baseball and only three consistently played relievers with an ERA+ above 100, it is safe to say the Philadelphia Phillies could use some help in the bullpen.
While everyone wants to talk about Craig Kimbrel or Richard Rodriguez, the Phillies might need to be a bit more financially savvy. They have roughly four million dollars in Competitive Balance Tax Space left, otherwise known as “the tax.” While they could go over the tax, they have never done so before.
Trading for Kimbrel alone would put them over the tax so it is hard to imagine they go that route. However, that does not mean they don’t have trade targets. Let’s examine potential relievers that will fit under the tax.
To be a little more realistic, I am only choosing teams that are almost 100% selling at the deadline, and no one who has more than a season and a half of control left.
The Phillies could trade for Tyler Duffey, Minnesota Twins (2.2 million)
While Duffey is not having the greatest year there is some proven track record for the veteran right-hander.
Since 2019, Duffey has a 2.57 ERA, and 3.23 FIP with a strikeout rate of 11.0 over 119 total innings. While this season is his worst since 2018, it is hard to imagine he couldn’t provide some solid help.
His ERA+ of 134 this season would put him second-highest on the Phillies, behind Ranger Suarez.
A big concern for Duffey is that his fastball velocity has been down. In 2019, he averaged 94.0, in 2020 decreased to 92.7, this season, 92.4. He also isn’t striking out as many batters. In 2019, he struck out over 12 batters per nine innings, and in 2020, it was over 11. This season, he’s down to just 7.7. His walk rate could also use some work, as he has 5.1 walks per 9 this season. The Phillies already have quite a few arms who need to lower their walks rate.
All that said, Duffey would clearly provide the bullpen an upgrade over almost any other arm on the roster. He also comes with another year of club control, as 2022 is his final arbitration season before he becomes a free agent in 2023.
With the Twins being massive sellers, the Phillies should take a look at Duffey.