Phillies Rumors: Front office scouting flame-throwing White Sox closer

Another name has emerged in the Phillies' trade deadline rumor mill.
Chicago White Sox closer Michael Kopech
Chicago White Sox closer Michael Kopech / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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The Philadelphia Phillies and the rest of MLB are about to enter silly season as the trade deadline approaches, and reports of potential deals among buyers and sellers dominate the headlines for the better part of the next month. Separating real talk from the generally absurd takes a lot of work this time of year, and what the Phillies front office ultimately plans to do remains a giant mystery at this stage.

Fans of the team are more than aware of some of the weak spots on the current 40-man roster, and the expectation is that Dave Dombrowski will address some of those flaws in the coming weeks. Could the Phillies be in the market for an everyday outfielder, or are they looking to supplement the current starting outfield with another versatile bench bat that can slide in and out of the lineup?

The bullpen has proved to be elite in some areas, but could the Phillies look to add another right-handed power arm to supplant Seranthony Domínguez, whose struggles on the mound have been well-documented since the beginning of the season? How invested are the Phillies in maintaining the closer-by-committee arrangement that has seen José Alvarado and Jeff Hoffman split ninth-inning duties?

These are all pressing questions that Phillies fans hope will be answered before the trade deadline on July 30.

Phillies Rumors: Front office scouting flame-throwing White Sox closer

Over the last few weeks, the Phillies have been connected to many teams as a trade partner as speculation grows over how the team will address some of its biggest needs. Some reports view the Phillies making a big splash for a closer, with the Oakland Athletics' Mason Miller and Miami Marlins' Tanner Scott rumored to be potential trade targets.

The latest report from Bruce Levine from 690 The Score involves the Phillies scouting Chicago White Sox closer and former starting pitcher Michael Kopech recently. The Phillies were previously linked to the White Sox as a possible trade partner regarding slugging outfielder Luis Robert Jr., and now the focus has seemingly expanded to include the recently converted closer in possible trade discussions.

The former first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox has always had the type of power arm that makes talent evaluators drool. Somehow, his 100 mph fastball hasn't translated to the kind of success the White Sox had hoped for since being one of the centerpieces in a deal that sent Chris Sale to the Red Sox in 2016.

Converted to a full-time reliever ahead of this season, the 28-year-old has seemingly found his niche. He's currently perfect in all five of his save opportunities and has emerged as one of the few bright spots on a White Sox team that is the worst in baseball and going nowhere fast in the AL Central division.

Kopech's 13.05 K/9 rate is impressive, with his dominating fastball resulting in plenty of swing and miss. However, his 4.75 ERA and 5.34 BB/9 present major red flags for teams looking for a closer to lock down the ninth inning without creating a lot of foot traffic on the base paths. According to Levine, the White Sox could be enticed to move Kopech for one specific need.

"Rivals teams believe the White Sox are looking for young pitching under contract control in return as they prepare to trade players ahead of the deadline," wrote Levine.

Could the Phillies swing a deal with the White Sox if they included struggling top prospect Mick Abel? It likely depends on how the Phillies front office views Abel as a potential future rotation piece, considering his ongoing inability to solve Triple-A hitters over the last two seasons.

Injured number one pitching prospect Andrew Painter is certainly a hard pass. Unless the Phillies make the unlikely choice to include breakout pitching prospect George Klassen, Abel seems like the best bet, as he fits the description of the type of young and cost-controlled pitcher the White Sox are said to be looking for.

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