The 2023 season has been a strange one for the Philadelphia Phillies. Yet another slow start has been mostly wiped away with better play recently, but the Phillies still find themselves 12.5 games back in the NL East, sitting on a record of 44-39 entering play on Independence Day.
Despite the sizable division gap, the Phillies being just 1.5 games back in the NL Wild Card race and having a roster as talented as this one makes them obvious buyers at the deadline. Whether this team can win another pennant remains to be seen, but as we learned from last season, anything can happen.
With the Phillies in buying mode, expect prospects to be on the table. We saw Logan O'Hoppe get moved last season, and there's a good chance we see more legitimate prospects moved this time around. While the Phillies should absolutely be selling off prospects, not everyone should be up for grabs.
Phillies prospect Andrew Painter should not be moved at the trade deadline
This feels rather obvious, but Andrew Painter should not be traded at this year's deadline. The prized pitching prospect is working his way back from an injury suffered in Spring Training which has derailed his season, and is finally getting closer to that elusive rehab assignment.
Painter is not only the top prospect in the Phillies system, he's a top-ten prospect overall according to MLB Pipeline. He's the second-best pitching prospect on this list only behind Bobby Miller of the Dodgers who's soon to graduate prospect status.
It felt like the 20-year-old phenom had a legitimate shot at an Opening Day rotation spot before suffering the injury, and if all goes well in his build up, that fifth starter spot that has plagued the Phillies all season could go to Painter.
Whether he's good to go this season or not, he's simply too talented to give away at this point in a trade. The Phillies already have a loaded lineup, they've got two established studs anchoring the rotation even if they haven't pitched like it this season, I don't think there will even be anything out there that the Phillies should move him for.
Keep your stud and watch him lead this rotation for years to come. It could potentially start down the stretch.