Framber Valdez, Houston Astros
Phillies fans know Framber Valdez, who won both of his starts in the 2022 World Series, all too well. He has established himself as an ace, but perhaps due to legendary figures like Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander leading the Houston staff for years, he has been curiously underrated.
The Astros, of course, might be hesitant to deal their ace. But rumors have swirled for a year or so now that they might explore the option if they can't sign him to an extension.
Houston is in a virulent division that includes the defending champion Rangers and the improving Seattle Mariners, and nothing is guaranteed this year. It wouldn't be entirely out of character for them to trade Valdez, as they have let several successive stars and ace pitchers walk: Carlos Correa, George Springer, Cole, and Verlander all signed lucrative contracts elsewhere.
With Valdez, 30, they might look to get a little something back for him. Houston has recently tied up quite a bit of money in extending Jose Altuve and signing Josh Hader, so financial flexibility could be limited.
Of course, all that taken into account, the Astros are a big favorite to make the postseason again next year, and it would be a pretty significant stunner if they were out of the race by July. But surprises like that happen every year (a year ago, would you have believed the Mets, Padres, and Yankees would have been sellers at the 2023 Trade Deadline?).
Valdez's asking price would likely be steep, but for a Houston team that would surely quickly pivot to being competitive again in 2025, they could be willing to accept MLB players that no longer have a fit on the Phillies roster, anyway.
For the Phillies and pretty much every other team in baseball, the appeal of a high-end, experienced arm like Valdez heading into the postseason is obvious. You can't get enough great pitching.