The 2023 season has been a strange one for the Philadelphia Phillies. Yet another rough start to the season has Philadelphia sitting at 38-36, third in the NL East and outside of the Wild Card picture as well.
While we've learned to not count this Phillies team out, a 10-game deficit in the division is going to be really hard to overcome, especially when the team they're chasing, the Braves, are one of the best teams in baseball. The Wild Card, however, even with them on the outside looking in right now, is very much in play.
With that in mind, the Phillies will be buyers once again at the end of July barring an epic collapse. They'll be looking to do whatever it takes to get back to the Fall Classic and win it this time. This direction will make the MLB rumor mill buzz. Some mock proposals will be realistic, while others can be shut down pretty early.
1) Phillies trade rumor to squelch: Aaron Nola being traded anywhere
Sure, if the Phillies fall out of playoff contention Aaron Nola could be available at the trade deadline. I just can't see that happening. The Phillies are clicking right now, winners of seven of ten, and right in the postseason picture.
As long as the Phillies are in postseason contention, Aaron Nola isn't going anywhere. I don't care that he's an impending free agent, and I don't care that he's having a down year. He's still the second-best starting pitcher on this staff and will be in Philadelphia for the entirety of this season. His future with the franchise is obviously much more bleak.
Nola's year has not gone the way anyone imagined. After finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young balloting last season, the right-hander has a 4.38 ERA through 16 starts this season. He's still throwing a ton of innings, but they've been nowhere near as quality as we're accustomed to seeing from this former ace.
Hopefully the six scoreless innings he was able to deliver against the Braves is the beginning of a turnaround for Nola. The Phillies obviously need him to be himself for the team to get where they want to go.
With a schedule that does not appear to be very daunting in July, it's hard to see the Phillies falling to a place in the standings where they'd feel like they have to trade a guy like Nola. As long as they're remotely close to a postseason spot, it's a lot easier to see the Phillies keeping him and going for it than it is seeing them give up with all of the talent that's on this roster.