The MLB trade deadline has come and gone and while the Philadelphia Phillies did not grab a big name off the market, they did improve their club in smaller ways. The Phillies traded their No. 5 prospect Hao-Yu Lee for right-handed starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen. The move should help bolster an already strong Phillies' pitching staff as they prepare to make another run at the postseason.
Tuesday's deadline was not the first time that Lorenzen had drawn interest from the Phillies, however. Dave Dombrowski spoke yesterday after the trade was made official and indicated that the club had reached out to Lorenzen's camp over the offseason in an attempt to sign the right-hander. No deal was made though because the pitcher wanted to be assured that he would be signed as a starter and the Phillies could not make that guarantee. Ultimately, Lorenzen signed an $8.5 million deal with the Detroit Tigers so that he could be a member of their starting staff.
"He was even a guy we inquired about in the wintertime. But he was in a position where he really wanted a commitment to be a starting pitcher at that point. We could not give him that commitment."- Dave Dombrowski via NBCSports Philly
It should also be noted that Lorenzen and Phillies pitching coach Caleb Cotham— who was the pitching coach during Lorenzen's tenure in Cincinnati— already have a solid relationship. In fact, it was Cotham who recommended that the Phillies look at acquiring the 31-year-old pitcher in the first place.
The team's plan for the near future is to use Lorenzen as a starter in what will be part of a six-man rotation. This should help guys like Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Taijuan Walker who have pitched all season and could benefit from an extra day of rest or two going forward. The Phillies have not ruled out using their newly acquired pitcher out of the bullpen as the season comes to a close.
In his first start in a Phillies uniform, Lorenzen impressed. The right-hander went eight strong innings and struck out five Miami Marlins batters while allowing two earned runs on six hits and a walk. The club needed a deep outing from their new pitcher given the toll the bullpen has taken and the lack of off days coming up in the schedule. His debut will be difficult to replicate consistently, but if this start is any indication of what Lorenzen can do in Philadelphia, the front office will feel very good about this trade.
In either role— starting or out of the bullpen— Lorenzen should be an effective addition to the Phillies pitching staff. On the season he has a 3.48 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP over 113 2/3 innings pitched. His experience as both a starter and reliever could pay dividends as the Phillies make their push toward a postseason berth.