An ideal Phillies-Rays trade to land dynamic outfield deadline target

Could the Rays have the answer to the Phillies’ outfield need, and which prospect would need to go back the other way?
Washington Nationals v Tampa Bay Rays
Washington Nationals v Tampa Bay Rays / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages

With the Philadelphia Phillies looking to upgrade their outfield at the trade deadline, one of their potential trade targets is actually hiding over in the AL East. The star player the Phillies should consider is Randy Arozarena of the Tampa Bay Rays. Mark Feinsand of recently listed Philadelphia as one of the best fits for the six-year veteran.

An ideal Phillies-Rays trade to land dynamic outfield deadline target

So what would it take for the Phillies to land the former All-Star and AL Rookie of the Year? Well, it could require one of Philadelphia’s top prospects, right-handed pitcher Mick Abel, at least according to Baseball Trade Values.

Phila Ray

Baseball Trade Values' trade simulator, which uses the concept of surplus value, estimates the Rays outfielder and Phillies pitching prospect to have roughly the same value in trade between the two teams. You can find a full explanation of how the trade values are calculated, if you're interested.

In Arozarena, the Phillies would be getting a big-time playoff performer. After all, he took the MLB world by storm back in 2020 when he became the Rays’ version of Mr. October after joining the team at the end of August for the stretch run.

During the postseason that year, he went into beast mode, registering 10 home runs and 14 RBI in just 20 playoff games. He captured ALCS MVP honors while leading the surprising Rays team to the World Series. For his career, Arozarena has hit .336 with a 1.104 OPS, 23 runs scored, five doubles, 11 home runs and 17 RBI in 33 total playoff games.

But Arorazena can also perform at an elite level during the regular season as well. For his MLB career, he averages close to 89 runs scored, 23 home runs, 80 RBI and 26 stolen bases per season while batting a respectable .255 with a .782 OPS.

This season, he endured quite the slump to start the year, hitting close to .160 over the first two months. However, he has since turned his season around. In his last 31 games, he has compiled a solid .284 batting average and .859 OPS with 12 runs scored, three home runs and 10 RBI. So all signs point to him returning to his usual productive self.

On the defensive side, Arozarena may not be a Gold Glove winner, but he can certainly hold his own as he hasn’t committed a single error since the 2022 season.

Mick Abel still has value despite his struggles

As for Abel, it has been a forgettable 2024 for the 22-year-old pitching phenom. Taken in the first round by the Phillies in 2020, he effortlessly ascended the minor league system with his pitching dominance and strikeout ability.

However, Abel has struggled mightily with his command this year with the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs, posting a disappointing 2-7 record with a 6.58 ERA and 1.80 WHIP with 46 walks and 60 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings pitched in 14 starts. Nevertheless, he is still the Phillies’ top pitching prospect in their system not named Andrew Painter given his potential, at least acccroding to MLB Pipeline.

With the Rays’ starting rotation being decimated by injuries seemingly every season, it makes sense that they would want to restock their organization with another potential front-end of the rotation arm.

Just looking at the numbers, the deal seems to favor the Phillies tremendously. However, one has to remember that the Rays have created a pitching haven and can bring out the best in pitchers to turn them into stars. Abel could find himself flourishing in such an environment.

As a result, it would make the deal more even than expected and could result in a win-win situation for both parties, with the Phillies getting their boost in the outfield and the Rays getting their power arm that could fit into their revamped rotation for the future.

Despite his struggles and underperformance this season, using Abel as a trade chip for Arozarena still seems like a high price to pay. But if Arozarena is the missing piece for the Phillies’ World Series, the gamble will be well worth it.