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Phillies trade Luis Garcia to Angels, acquire piece that could spell end of Adam Morgan



The Phillies hope for playoff baseball to return to Citizens Bank Park in 2019. (Matt Veasey/Phillies Nation)

Earlier this week, the Philadelphia Phillies killed two birds with one stone by acquiring All-Star shortstop Jean Segura in a trade from the Seattle Mariners, while also moving the $40 plus million that Carlos Santana – a player probably more geared to be in the American League – was owed over the next two seasons.

It appears it wasn’t the only “killed two birds with one stone” trade that general manager Matt Klentak was prepared to make this week.

The Phillies announced Thursday evening that they traded right-hander Luis Garcia to the Los Angeles, acquiring left-handed reliever Jose Alvarez in return.

Garcia, who will turn 32 in January, was out of minor league options. Given how much Gabe Kapler leaned on his bullpen in 2018, it felt unlikely that Garcia, who has yet to make good consistently on what is elite stuff, would be with the Phillies in 2019. Garcia’s best season came in 2017, when he posted a 2.65 ERA, 3.12 FIP and 1.2 fWAR in 66 games. Unfortunately for Garcia, an ERA of 21.00 in September of 2018, a month in which the Phillies completed a rather drastic collapse, clouded any good that came from his time in Philadelphia. Even if he hadn’t been out of options, he would have been a change-of-scenery candidate.

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The second bird being killed – remember, that expression isn’t meant to be taken literally – is that by acquiring Alvarez, a 29-year-old reliever who left-handers hit just .206 against in 2018, the Phillies may be able to move on from another reliever that is out of options: Adam Morgan. Morgan, still just 28, did find some initial success upon being converted from a starting pitcher to a reliever in 2016. But he posted a 3.83 ERA and 3.79 FIP in 2018, which actually was an improvement on the season he had in 2017. Like Garcia, he could benefit from a change of scenery.

The Phillies trading Morgan, who they tendered a contract to last Friday, isn’t a lock. But tendering a contract to someone doesn’t guarantee they’ll be with the team the following season. The Phillies tendered a contract to Freddy Galvis early last December, only to trade him at the MLB Winter Meetings. The Phillies added Alvarez in this deal, along with James Pazos in the Segura deal. Pazos – who has two remaining minor league options – is a 27-year-old lefty who posted a 2.88 ERA in 60 games in 2018. It’s worth pointing out that left-handed hitters actually have hit slightly better off of Pazos in his career than righties (the same was true for Morgan in 2018), though the Phillies may not be done adding left-handed relievers, with various reports suggesting they have interest in veterans Andrew Miller and Zach Britton.

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