Philadelphia Phillies will target starting pitchers at trade deadline
The trade deadline is less than a week away, and the Philadelphia Phillies know what they need.
Starting pitching, a better centerfielder if they can find one, and maybe another bullpen arm.
Earlier this week, president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, confirmed that the Phillies won’t be waiting around for Zach Eflin, whose knee issues have plagued him and the team for years:
"“I’d love for him to come back, but I don’t know when, so I don’t think, from my perspective, that I can just say we’re going to wait for that to happen. I don’t think we can just sit here and wait to see what takes place.”"
Could the Phillies trade for Luis Castillo?
Cincinnati Reds righty Luis Castillo will be the belle of the trade deadline ball, and it will be impossible for the Phillies (or any other team) to get him without giving up top prospects.
Over 13 starts, the second-time All-Star posted a 2.77 ERA with 82 strikeouts and only 27 walks issued. Opposing batters are only managing to hit .199/.276/.303 with a meager .579 OPS against him. He’s pitching with the lowest home-run rate of his career, lowered his walks significantly from last year when he led the National League in them, and upped his strikeout rate by nearly 2%.
An extra year of club control will only drive up the Reds’ asking price for Castillo, who is arbitration-eligible for one more season. This also makes him a perfect target for the Phillies, who need to think short- and long-term about their starting rotation, as Eflin and Kyle Gibson hit free agency this winter.
Unfortunately, Castillo is a reach in more ways than one; reports suggest that the Reds are seeking two elite prospects in order to give him up, and Dombrowski says they’re hesitant to give up any top prospects at the deadline,
"“Well, the premium guys are probably going to cost you your top prospects. I don’t think, as an organization, we’re in that position right now. I just don’t think we’re there.”"
However, the Phillies should be in win-now mode, and one could argue that the organization is more “there” than any season in the last five years. The farm system is finally improving, they have four prospects in the Top 100, and they have a big-league team in the Wild Card hunt. Most importantly, every year they don’t push is another year of Bryce Harper’s prime, Zack Wheeler’s contract, and money down the drain. They’re closer than they’ve been in years, so why not go for gold?