Let’s make a deal? Few trade options remain

PHOTO: (AP/Chris Szagola)

PHOTO: (AP/Chris Szagola)

Baseball’s general managers are in Orlando this week, hanging at their annual meetings, sort of a prelude to the larger Winter Meetings, which will take place in December. The GMs are talking deals, with most recently Atlanta dangling shortstop Andrelton Simmons. As for the Phillies? There are rumors of an available Ken Giles.

Is trading Giles a good idea? Who else should the Phillies put on the block? Let’s talk trade.

Ken Giles

It’s not often you stumble upon an elite relief pitcher in your own farm system, but the Phillies did with Giles. He’s 9-4 with a 1.56 ERA, 151 strikeouts and 36 walks in 115.2 innings. That’s great – really, really great. He’s also young (age 25) and doesn’t reach arbitration until after 2017. That makes him attractive to plenty of teams, and since the Phillies won’t be contending this year (or probably in 2017), an elite closer like Giles isn’t a necessity.

That said, because they pitch so little, and because their performance can vary wildly from year to year, relievers are a little harder to peg in trades. Giles is more of a sure thing than other relievers, but teams may play cautious when talking with the Phillies about him.

If a team, however, really wants Giles and would surrender a top hitting or starting pitching prospect for him, the Phillies should listen. Otherwise it may be wise to hold onto Giles, at least until the trade deadline, when a contending team may want to raise the ante for the closer.

In short, the Phillies have young and proven value in Giles. They shouldn’t trade him unless the return gives them a workable, everyday future piece.

Freddy Galvis

The reason Atlanta is dangling Simmons is because the shortstop market is paltry this offseason (Ian Desmond represents the cream). Galvis could be an intriguing option for teams seeking a more affordable option without having to resort to an older player like Alexei Ramirez.

Now, Galvis will be 26 and, while he’s facing arbitration this year, should be a very affordable option for anyone. But he’s not Giles, in that he’s not an elite shortstop, and behind him is a possible franchise-altering player in J.P. Crawford. Galvis is, however, a passable starter on a team with higher quality players in other places. Teams potentially seeking shortstops include the Brewers, Angels, Mariners, Rockies, Nationals and Mets. The Dodgers and Padres have been rumored to be interested in Simmons, so it’s possible they’d entertain offers for Galvis.

If the Phillies traded Galvis, they could expect an MLB-ready reliever, back-end starter or utility player. A team-top-10 prospect could be a stretch. That doesn’t seem like much, but frankly, you can’t expect to get much for Galvis, who has pretty much shown himself to be an average-at-best player. A Galvis trade would also mean starting the 2016 season with Andres Blanco at shortstop. Or the Phils could experiment with Darnell Sweeney or Cesar Hernandez. There are options.

Cody Asche

There’s a possibility Asche turns into a solid bench player, and yes, there’s still a chance he can turn into a good starter. That doesn’t seem so likely now, which means his value today could be his highest value.

Who would want Asche? Admittedly teams wouldn’t see him as a starter, so you’re looking at teams wanting low-risk bench bat options. You could expect a mid-level prospect, at best, for Asche.

Truth be told, it may be wiser for the Phils to hold Asche and hope he accumulates some value in 2016. With value, a team seeking a bench bat for the stretch run might give the Phils something juicier.

Ryan Howard

We’ve previously been on the go-round with Howard, who would only be an option for American League teams seeking a platoon partner at designated hitter. That’s not a big group – maybe Detroit and the Yankees. Cleveland seeks a designated hitter, too. The Phillies would have to eat most of the remaining $25 million on Howard’s contract.

Would the Phillies get anything for Howard? Maybe a mid-level prospect. It’s not much. Maybe it’s not necessary to deal Howard and just let the final year play out.

Darin Ruf

American League teams seeking a platoon for a designated hitter may, however, be interested in Ruf, who mashes left-handed pitching (.371/.447/.660 in 114 PA).

The one team that could use a right-handed bat to pair with an existing DH is the White Sox, who currently employ Adam LaRoche from the left side. Ruf would likely be a productive hitter at U.S. Cellular Field.

Like Giles, Galvis and Asche, Ruf has a low salary, making him attractive to potential suitors. But his market is limited. A return for Ruf would – forgive the pun – be roughly the same as the return for Howard or Asche. At this point it may be wise to just stick with Howard and Ruf at first in 2016, giving them a true platoon (which could actually work), while looking to dangle Ruf at the trade deadline.

Other options

There aren’t many clear options for trade bait in the roster. Of course GM Matt Klentak could deal anyone. Hell, nobody can rule out even trading a young player like Maikel Franco or Aaron Nola, however unlikely that would be.

It’s more likely Klentak makes trades involving players in the minor leagues. These are the kinds of depth-building moves that can pay off in the long run.

As for the majors, what is most likely is Klentak entertains a number of deals and sits on what he has, since he’s still very early in his evaluation process. Still, dealing a player like Galvis or Giles shouldn’t be out of the question. There could be some value to be had there.

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