For the first time in seven years, the Philadelphia Phillies are in a position to be buyers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Often at this time of the year, the Phillies are connected to certain players, but it’s not entirely clear what it would take to acquire the services of said players. Let’s take a look at what it would take to land some of the Phillies rumored or speculative targets.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room, Orioles shortstop Manny Machado. Machado has been linked to the Phillies for almost a year now, and for good reason. He was drafted by the current Phillies front office and it’s the worst kept secret in the world that they would like to be reunited with the 26-year-old. Machado is having arguably his best year as a pro – he’s hitting .309 with 21 homers and 60 RBI. He was just named to the American League All-Star team for the fourth time in his career.
In the offseason, the Orioles and Phillies had dialogue about a Machado deal, but the Phillies found the asking-price too high. Roch Kuatko of MASN reported that the Orioles were interested in Scott Kingery and No. 1 overall prospect Sixto Sanchez. J.P. Crawford seems to be a hot name in this discussion, and while he’s been banged up for most of the season, he still has lots of upside and would replace Machado at short for Baltimore immediately. The Phillies would add a couple young arms not named Sanchez into the trade as well.
The deal: Phillies get: Manny Machado. Orioles get: J.P. Crawford, No. 9 prospect Ranger Suarez, and No. 11 prospect Enyel De Los Santos.
The Royals third baseman is having a good year after he had to return to Kansas City on a one-year deal. He’s hitting .251 with 17 homers and 56 RBI. Like Machado, Moustakas would be a two-month rental, so the Phillies would drive the price down as much as possible. The Royals are starting a rebuild, getting a few young, projectable arms from the Phillies would be a good place to start.
The deal: Phillies get: Mike Moustakas. Royals get: No. 9 prospect Ranger Suarez, No. 20 prospect McKenzie Mills.
A teammate of Moustakas, the 29-year-old Merrifield was a late-bloomer, as he didn’t break through into the majors until last year when he .288 with 19 homers, 32 doubles, and 78 RBI. This season, Merrifield has been better, and he’s started playing more positions than just second base. He’s started at second, first, right field and center field this season. The Phillies would likely try him at third base as well. He’s hitting .305 with five home runs, 27 doubles and 16 stolen bases. He would be great two-hole hitter for this club, who could play all over the field. Merrifield is also under team control through the 2022 season. He would be great for this team in a Ben Zobrist type role. He will cost the Phillies one top prospect because of his years of control.
The deal: Phillies get: Whit Merrifield. Royals get: No. 6 prospect JoJo Romero and No. 23 prospect Luis Garcia.
The 39-year-old has dealt with injuries this season, but he’s still hitting .294 with four homers and an OBP of .357. The Phillies are interested in Beltre for more than just as offensive upgrade, as Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that the Phillies also like what he would bring to a young clubhouse. Beltre, like Machado and Moustakas, would be a two-month rental. Beltre has said he would like to stay in Texas, and he has 10-and-5 rights, so it’s unclear how realistic a trade would be.
The deal: Phillies get: Adrian Beltre. Rangers get: No. 22 prospect Cole Irvin and No. 27 prospect Connor Seabold.
Could Cole possibly return home? It seems possible, but would the Phillies value a 34-year-old Hamels with a 4.28 ERA over Vince Velasquez or Nick Pivetta? Hamels has had a bad year, with a career-high FIP of 5.14. On the other hand, Hamels is a veteran who knows how to pitch in the postseason and he’s in the American League West, meaning he’s facing offenses like the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, and Oakland Athletics, not to mention the Los Angeles Angels, who have Mike Trout. Hamels also has a career-high in K/9 this season at 9.3. A return to Philly may help settle Hamels down and get him back on track. He would also be a lefty starter, something the Phillies have been missing this year.
The deal: Phillies get: Cole Hamels. Rangers get: No. 11 prospect Enyel De Los Santos and No. 20 prospect McKenzie Mills.
The lefty closer for the Padres has been effective this year with a 2.91 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 43.1 innings. He’s converted 24 of 28 save opportunities. He’s been roughed up lately, giving up five runs in his last seven innings. The Phillies would be making a long-term investment in the three-time All-Star, as Hand is 28 and under control until 2021. The Padres have shown interest in Maikel Franco.
The deal: Phillies get: Brad Hand. Padres get: Maikel Franco, No. 6 prospect JoJo Romero, and No. 22 prospect Cole Irvin.
What about Hand’s set-up man? Yates has been better than Hand in 2018, actually. His ERA is 1.53 in 35.1 innings of work, and he’s struck out 44. Yates has been somewhat of a revelation as his career ERA was 5.38 before joining the Padres last season. Yates can’t be a free-agent until after 2020. Franco seems destined to be included in any trade with San Diego.
The deal: Phillies get: Kirby Yates. Padres get: Maikel Franco, No. 9 prospect Ranger Suarez, and No.22 prospect Cole Irvin.
The closer for Baltimore, Britton recently returned after recovering from an off-season injury. In 12 games, he has an ERA of 4.63 and seven walks compared to nine strikeouts in that time. He’s been better as of late though, as he hasn’t allowed a run in his last four appearances. Britton is a free-agent after the year.
The deal: Phillies get: Zach Britton. Orioles get: No.7 prospect Franklyn Kilome and No. 22 prospect Cole Irvin.
A little under-the-radar, mostly because he plays for the lowly White Sox, Soria has been a solid closer all season. He has a 2.94 ERA and is averaging 11 strikeouts per nine innings. Soria is a free-agent after the year, so the Phillies wouldn’t have to give too much up. Soria probably wouldn’t close for the Phils, but the 34-year-old would give them another trustworthy option out of the bullpen.
The deal: Phillies get: Joakim Soria. White Sox get: No. 22 prospect Cole Irvin.
Similar to Soria, Clippard has seem to found the fountain of youth this year. The 33-year-old has a 3.16 ERA as the part-time closer for the Toronto Blue Jays. He is also a free-agent after the year, meaning this would be another bargain deal for the Phillies. Clippard wouldn’t close in Philadelphia, but he would be a solid seventh or eighth inning option.
The deal: Phillies get: Tyler Clippard. Blue Jays get: No. 20 prospect McKenize Mills.
The Phillies could opt to solve all their problems in one trade, and trading with teams like the Rangers, Orioles and Padres could definitely make that possible.
Manny Machado and Zach Britton
This is the big one, but the question is could the Phillies pull this off without trading Sixto Sanchez? I think they can. Both players are free-agents after the year, but would definitely make the Phillies the favorite to win the National League East from here on out this season.
The deal: Phillies get: Manny Machado, Zach Britton. Orioles get: J.P. Crawford, No. 2 prospect Adonis Medina, No. 11 prospect Enyel De Los Santos and cash considerations.
Adrian Beltre, Cole Hamels, and Jake Diekman
Hamels and Diekman return to the Phillies after being shipped off to Texas three years ago. Sounds crazy, but Diekman is a lefty with good stuff and would be that trusted lefty reliever that Kapler has been longing for this year. Diekman does struggle with command as he’s averaging 5.5 BB/9, but he can’t be worse than the Phillies current left-handed options (Adam Morgan). The Phillies would likely try to deal Franco in this trade as despite his recent success, the front-office doesn’t see him as part of their long term plans. I’m still not sure the Phillies really need Hamels, but with him being a lefty and having tons of playoff experience, it couldn’t hurt.
The deal: Phillies get: Adrian Beltre, Cole Hamels, and Jake Diekaman. Rangers get: Maikel Franco, No. 2 prospect Adonis Medina, No. 16 prospect Jose Gomez and No. 22 prospect Cole Irvin.
Brad Hand and Kirby Yates
This one would give the Phillies one of the best bullpens in baseball for the next two-and-a-half years, with guys like Edubray Ramos, Seranthony Dominguez and Pat Neshek already in the fold. The Padres would most likely get Franco and then a slew of young arms, considering both guys are under contract until 2021. I don’t think the Phillies would seriously consider this deal, because they would be using all their assets on one need while they may feel they still need another bat. They would also have to go acquire a bat because Franco would be in this deal.
The deal: Phillies get: Brad Hand and Kirby Yates. Padres get: Maikel Franco, Victor Arano, No. 6 prospect JoJo Romero, No. 17 prospect Kyle Young and No. 22 prospect Cole Irvin.
The non-waiver trade deadline is now less than three weeks away, we’ll see if the Phillies do make any moves and what the farm system may look like on August 1st.