Phillies Rumors: Connection to Marlins' coveted closer picks up steam

The Phillies are browsing within the division for trade deadline bullpen reinforcements.
Miami Marlins closer Tanner Scott
Miami Marlins closer Tanner Scott / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

It's July, so it's time to turn up the heat on the MLB trade deadline hot stove. The rumor mill is in full swing, and while Philadelphia Phillies fans wait to see what MLB's best team does in the weeks leading up to the July 30 deadline, some dots are already starting to be connected.

The Phillies bullpen has been one of the team's strengths this season, with the fifth-best ERA (3.34) in the majors. But the old baseball adage that you can never have enough pitching only gets more true come the stretch run and into the postseason grind. One injury or ill-timed slump for a key arm can expose a relief corps at the worst time.

How best to plan for those worst-case scenarios than stockpile as many reliable arms as possible? That must be what the Philadelphia front office is thinking, given the recent reconfirmation that they are still in the market for trade deadline bullpen reinforcements.

Phillies Rumors: Connection to Marlins' coveted closer Tanner Scott picks up steam

The target? Miami Marlins closer Tanner Scott.

Scott is turning into one of the most sought-after relievers on the trade market and is sure to be dealt by the 30-53 Marlins before the deadline. Thanks to Ken Rosenthal and company at The Athletic, we have confirmation (subscription required) that the Phillies are still vying for his services after rumors surfaced last month that they were one of a few teams in contact with Miami about the talented lefty.

In the most recent MLB trade deadline watch news dump, The Athletic reporting team indicated that the top teams are all still in on the 29-year-old closer. According to sources familiar with discussions, the Phillies are lumped in with the usual suspects: the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.

With so much time left before the end-of-July deadline, the Marlins are asking a lot for Scott, so we'll have to wait and see if the Phillies are willing to pay a high price for a rental player.

Scott's season 1.50 ERA and 1.14 WHIP are impressive but don't tell the whole story. After a rocky first month, he settled in and has put up stingy stats since May 1, with a 0.77 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. He has 12 saves in 14 chances.

He had a 19.7 percent strikeout rate and a wildly high 21.3 percent walk rate in April before locking in with a 29.9 percent strikeout rate and 11.5 percent walk rate since the beginning of May.

Where would Scott fit in a stacked Phillies bullpen?

The Phillies just saw Scott when the Marlins were in town over the weekend. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and general manager Sam Fuld got a first-hand look and watched him secure two clean saves, striking out three of the six Phillies batters he faced. Maybe that will push them to take a serious run at acquiring Scott and adding another legitimate closer for the postseason.

Manager Rob Thomson has shared save opportunities mostly between José Alvarado (14) and Jeff Hoffman (9) in his closer-by-committee approach this season.

It would be shocking if Thomson changed his strategy if the Phillies managed to land Scott. Most likely, he would slide in as a third high-leverage eighth- or ninth-inning option, depending on matchups, game situations and availability. Whatever the role might end up being, Scott will only strengthen the late-game bullpen.