Phillies make stunning trades for outfielder Brandon Marsh, bring back David Robertson

Apr 5, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher David Robertson (30) pitches during the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher David Robertson (30) pitches during the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies acquire Brandon Marsh, David Robertson ahead of trade deadline

Last week, Dave Dombrowski indicated the Philadelphia Phillies were reluctant to part with any of their top prospects.

Two hours before the trade deadline, they agreed to send Logan O’Hoppe, their best catching prospect, to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for outfielder Brandon Marsh.

Marsh is a solid addition and has Dombrowski’s favorite quality: club control. The 23-year-old outfielder debuted in July 2021, won’t reach arbitration eligibility until 2025, and will hit free agency in 2028. He’s hitting .226/.284/.353 with a .637 OPS in 93 games this year, and while he strikes out far too much (36.2%), he’s also hitting for power better than he did last year; he homered twice in 70 games in 2021 and has eight blasts so far this year.

Phillies trade top catching prospect Logan O’Hoppe

For all that control, the Phillies sacrificed O’Hoppe, who won the organization’s Breakout Prospect of the Year in 2021. A stellar catching prospect, he’s on Baseball America’s Top 100. However, the Phillies have J.T. Realmuto under contract through 2025, and Garrett Stubbs under control beyond that. Losing a prospect of O’Hoppe’s caliber hurts, but makes sense.

Minutes after that, they acquired David Robertson from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Ben Brown. Robertson signed a two-year, $23M contract with the Phillies ahead of the 2019 season, but only made seven appearances before requiring season-ending Tommy John surgery. The recovery time caused him to miss the entire 2020 campaign, and the Phillies bought out his option for 2021.

This year, the 37-year-old righty posted a 2.23 ERA over 36 appearances with the Cubs, including 22 games finished and 14 saves. He’s struck out 51 batters and issued 19 walks across 40 1/3 innings.

In exchange for the immediate relief (literally) Robertson can provide out of the pen, the Phillies are sacrificing a future arm in Brown, who was just promoted to Double-A on Monday. A 33rd-round pick in 2017, Brown actually had Tommy John surgery the same year as Robertson. Over 16 games with High-A before his promotion, he posted a 3.08 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .197 AVG.

The Phillies were clear about needing an outfielder and pitching at the deadline. Ideally, they’ll also add another starting pitcher. They’re rumored to be interested in San Francisco Giants southpaw Carlos Rodón, who may or may not be available, as well as Red Sox veterans Nathan Eovaldi and Rich Hill. They also remain interested in Marsh’s Anaheim teammate, Noah Syndergaard.

Update: Phillies DFA Odúbel Herrera

In preparation for Marsh’s arrival, the Phillies have designated Odúbel Herrera for assignment.

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