The Philadelphia Phillies are officially on the board! Entering this trade deadline the Phillies had a couple of objectives, but one clear one was to upgrade the back end of the starting rotation. They've done that with the Michael Lorenzen trade.
Per Jayson Stark of The Athletic, the Phillies have landed Lorenzen in exchange for infield prospect Hao-Yu Lee. The deal is just that simple, one-for-one.
Phillies acquire versatile right-hander Michael Lorenzen in deal with the Tigers
The Phillies entered the year with Bailey Falter as their fifth starter. That went just about as poorly as anyone could've imagined after he pitched pretty well for the club last season, and Falter has been in the minors since mid-May. Cristopher Sanchez took over that fifth spot in mid-June and has done just about as well as anyone could've hoped for, posting a 2.66 ERA in nine starts. Sanchez's issue is he's passed five innings just three times.
Lorenzen was an interesting addition due to his versatility. He began his career as a reliever but has spent his last two seasons solely as a starter. He's broken out this season with the Tigers, posting a 3.54 ERA in 18 starts and 105.2 innings pitched and making the AL All-Star team. The innings are very important to point out because Lorenzen is already nearing his career-high in innings. He threw 113.1 innings in his rookie year of 2015.
It's possible due to that workload, we see Lorenzen in some sort of a Matt Strahm type of role which he starts some games while also working in relief. With the right-hander having a ton of experience in both areas, that would make sense.
Where this deal falls apart for some is the fact that Lorenzen is a rental, and the Phillies gave up a pretty solid prospect for him. Hao-Yu Lee is the fifth-ranked prospect on the Phillies list per MLB Pipeline, which seems like a very steep price to pay for a rental having a career year. Lee is an infielder with a really strong hit tool who could be a decent piece for the Tigers in a couple of years.
To me, this was a fine deal. Losing Lee hurts, but he wasn't going to help this year and there's a good chance he wouldn't do anything for the Phillies next year either. This is a team trying to win now. With them being so starved for depth, adding Lorenzen gives them quality depth at the most important position in the sport. There's a good chance the Tigers win the deal long-term, but if the Phillies win a World Series, that's all that really matters.