The Philadelphia Phillies needed a Maikel Franco walk-off home run Sunday to avoid being swept by the division-rival Washington Nationals. They’re 48-45, clinging onto their playoff hopes in mid-July, with the National League best Los Angeles Dodgers coming into town for four games starting Monday. Things aren’t exactly trending in the direction of general manager Matt Klentak and the front-office pushing their chips to the center of the table before the July 31 trade deadline.
With that said, the Phillies continue to do their due-diligence in case they go on a tear in the next couple of weeks.
According to Bob Elliott of The Canadian Baseball Network, the Phillies had a scout present Sunday afternoon to see Toronto Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman go six innings, allow seven hits, give up three runs and strike out seven in a loss against the New York Yankees. Per Elliott, the Yankees, San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves also had scouts in attendance.
Stroman, 28, was a first time All-Star in 2019 and entered Sunday with a 3.81 FIP and 2.0 fWAR. He exited his 19th start with a 3.25 ERA.
Earlier this summer, I suggested that Stroman could be an intriguing fit for the Phillies in a potential trade. While the Phillies could probably use a left-handed starter, right now they have one reliable starting pitcher: Aaron Nola. Their biggest need is legitimate starting pitching, a bill that Stroman more than fits. He’s also under team control through the 2020 season, so the Phillies could trade for him, and even if they don’t ultimately reach the postseason this year, he would remain in the fold for next season.
Even with Stroman under team control for another season, it’s fair to wonder if the Phillies will be as motivated as the Yankees, Red Sox and Braves, three teams that could legitimately make World Series runs in 2019. That aside, even if the Phillies are ultimately aggressive in pursuing Stroman or another front-line arm, it’s fair to wonder if they’ll be able to put together an enticing enough trade package if you assume that No. 1 prospect Alec Bohm is probably not going to be dealt.
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