Which players should the Philadelphia Phillies trade by the All-Star break?
The Philadelphia Phillies are on a roll.
After a dismal 10-18 May, they’re 15-3 to start June, closing the gaps in the NL East, but more realistically, the Wild Card race.
They should capitalize on this momentum by trimming the fat and improving the roster, and they shouldn’t wait until the trade deadline to do so.
Here are three players they can unload by the All-Star break:
After the bullpen disaster of 2021, the Phillies signed Corey Knebel to be their new closer. Barely two months into the 2022 season, he’s been demoted from the role.
Signing Knebel was a risk from the start. He’d been a great closer with Milwaukee in 2017, leading the NL with 76 appearances, including finishing 48 games and collecting 39 saves. But Tommy John surgery in 2019 kept him on the sidelines until late 2020, and he spent 2021 as a part-time setup man for Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, but only made 27 appearances.
The Phillies gambled on a big comeback year from Knebel, and so far, they’re losing that bet. He has a 3.62 ERA over 28 games, with 23 games finished and 11 saves. 21 of his 28 appearances were scoreless, but the Phillies are 1-6 in games in which he’s allowed a run. He’s blown four saves, and the Phillies have lost all of those games; they’re 18-10 when he pitches. In their quest for a wild card berth, that is unacceptable.
On Sunday, Knebel pitched 1 1/3 innings in the middle of the game and surrendered two earned runs. He issued three walks and didn’t strike out a batter.
It’s not hard to see the Phillies cutting their losses and flipping Knebel to another team before the trade deadline.