After starting the offseason with their huge free agency re-signing of starting pitcher Aaron Nola, the Philadelphia Phillies have been relatively quiet in recent weeks in terms of completing major transactions. With a few holes left to fill in the roster, including the pursuit of a potential flexible outfielder and some bullpen help, the Phillies could turn instead to the trade front to address their remaining needs.
If so, what potential trade candidates could be found from the NL Central division that would help the Phillies fill those needs? Here's one prime candidate from each team that the ballclub should consider acquiring to augment their roster.
Alexis Díaz, RP, Cincinnati Reds
One of the Phillies' main priorities this offseason is to strengthen their bullpen after they lost closer Craig Kimbrel to the Orioles in free agency. What better way to patch that hole than to pursue a flamethrower who’s eight years younger and entering his prime soon, in Cincinnati Reds closer Alexis Díaz?
Díaz had a strong rookie season in 2022, in which he finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting, putting up strong numbers across the board. During his rookie year, Díaz compiled a stellar 7-3 record with a 1.84 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, giving up only 13 earned runs all season with 83 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings in 59 appearances.
In 2023, Díaz followed it up with a solid All-Star season for the Reds, sporting a 9-6 winning record with a 3.07 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, with 86 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings of work. With an ERA+ close to 180 and a strikeout rate floating above 30 percent over the past two years, he has put himself in great company among the best in the league.
With the Reds looking to be headed towards another rebuilding year with a roster full of youngsters, it may be just enough for the Phillies to extract Díaz from their roster and make him one of their own for the 2024 season.