What will the Phillies do at the 2022 trade deadline?
Over his many years in the executive suite, Dave Dombrowski has developed a pattern:
He handpicks talent and brings players with him from team to team; JD Martinez, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Doug Fister were all Detroit Tigers before Dombrowski took the job with the Red Sox and brought them all to Boston. He drafted Nick Castellanos and Corey Knebel back when he was the Tigers’ GM, and look where they ended up.
The pattern works, too; under his stewardship, the Tigers and the Sox both made multiple postseason runs, with the latter winning a World Series. So, it would make sense for Dombrowski, now the Philadelphia Phillies‘ president of baseball operations, to look at his past successes once again, and consider continuing the pattern that’s worked for him so many times in the past.
There’s no guarantee the Sox will be sellers just yet, but if they are, it’s easy to see Dombrowski targeting Nathan Eovaldi, whom he acquired for the Sox at the 2018 trade deadline. The Phillies’ head honcho announced Monday that they’ll be targeting starting pitching at the deadline, as they’re “not waiting” on an injured Zach Eflin.
Eovaldi will go down in Red Sox history as one of their greatest midseason additions, and he could prove the same for the Phillies. Over 12 regular-season games in Boston that year, he posted a 3.33 ERA over 54 innings, helping the Sox win a franchise-record 108 games and the division. They bulldozed the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers to win their fourth championship in fifteen years.
This season, the 32-year-old righty has struggled to limit runs, most recently, letting the Toronto Blue Jays tee off him over the weekend. He also spent time on the Injured List with lower back inflammation.
But the main reason to target Eovaldi is how he thrives under the pressure of the postseason; on the biggest stage, he is a warrior. In the 2021 American League Wild Card, Eovaldi held the Yankees to one run over 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight batters en route to a resounding victory. But his most memorable postseason moment is undoubtedly Game 3 of the 2018 World Series when he famously threw 97 pitches over six innings in relief. In what became the longest game in MLB postseason history, ‘Nasty Nate’ only allowed three hits and one earned run. Afterward, he asked his manager if he could still make his scheduled start in Game 4. While the Sox lost Game 3, the way he stepped up for his team motivated them to bounce back the following night and win the series.
Eovaldi’s playoff experience could prove to be invaluable to the Phillies, who own the National League’s longest postseason appearance drought. Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto also lead active players in career games played without appearing in the postseason.