3 trade deadline options for Phillies to replace Taijuan Walker in the rotation

If the Phillies decide to move off Walker in the rotation, here are three possible solutions they could target at the trade deadline.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Erick Fedde
Chicago White Sox pitcher Erick Fedde / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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The Philadelphia Phillies suddenly have a problem with their fifth rotation spot. After a late start to his season, Taijuan Walker has struggled for the most part. With a 5.60 ERA, the overall body of work has been underwhelming.

His most recent issue has been his inability to throw his bread-and-butter splitter this year, thanks to a blister on his right index finger, which landed the right-hander on the 15-day IL. He won’t be back until sometime after the All-Star break.

The Phillies have been able to overlook the veteran's struggles thanks to the other four starters forming the best rotation in baseball. But it's hard to see a team that wants to cruise into the postseason as NL East champions continuing to trot him out there every fifth day for the remaining three months of the season.

What are the Phillies options? They need to get some value out of his absurd-looking $18 million-per-year contract. It's safe to say that most fans are hoping it won't be as a starter. Maybe as a low-leverage, mop-up duty bullpen arm?

Spencer Turnbull was the immediate replacement. Unfortunately, things went sideways on Wednesday. In what was supposed to be his glorious return to the rotation, facing his former team, the Detroit Tigers, Turnbull looked good through three innings but was then pulled with shoulder soreness. He’s now on the IL for six to eight weeks.

Rookie Michael Mercado appears to be the next man up. Although if the Phillies are auditioning for a long-term solution for the firth starter's job, the untested 25-year-old with all of one MLB inning under his belt might be a risky play.

3 trade deadline options for Phillies to replace Taijuan Walker in the rotation

If the Phillies want to look elsewhere for more MLB-proven starting depth, much like they did at last year's deadline by acquiring Michael Lorenzen, there are plenty of options for starters who could slide into the No. 5 role and also be helpful in the postseason.

Here are three options the Phillies could look at as the trade deadline approaches.