According to Deadspin, the Phillies were engaged in discussions with the Houston Astros last year in a deal that would have sent then-22-year old outfielder Aaron Altherr to the Astros for starting pitcher Bud Norris as late as July 22.
In case you didn’t remember, and I certainly didn’t, the Phillies were 49-50 on that date, 6.5 out.
The information comes from a leak from Houston’s internal scouting system, cleverly named “Ground Control”. The state-of-the-art tool apparently had a very easy password to figure out. The report also contains information that suggests the Astros could have acquired Giancarlo Stanton for George Springer and Carlos Correa in what would have been a swap of incredibly talented young players.
Analysis: Barely winning 70 games last season, the Phillies rarely looked like a team in contention. Why was Ruben Amaro even looking to acquire starting pitching that late in the season? Is this another example of a delusion that lives within the Phillies front office that they are always just one piece away?
And would Norris have added any value to the club? Norris was just 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA and wouldn’t have been a huge improvement over Jonathan Pettibone or Ethan Martin, particularly at a pro-rated $3 million salary with guaranteed arbitration raises in 2014 and 2015.
And what does this mean for the Phillies this year? At 6.5 games out, they were fancied by their front office as possible contenders. What is the threshold this year and has it already been met?