The Philadelphia Phillies will complete the road half of a rather awkward home-and-home with the Detroit Tigers this week at Comerica Park after they split a two-game series with Ron Gardenhire’s squad earlier this season at Citizens Bank Park. The Tigers, of course, aren’t scheduled to return to Philadelphia in 2019, but it’s not impossible that a current Tigers employee steps foot in Citizens Bank Park before the end of the summer.
According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, “the Phils have had conversations with the Tigers about all of their available players, particularity Matthew Boyd and Shane Greene.”
This isn’t the first time that Boyd has been rumored to be on the Phillies radar. He’s a left-handed starter – something the Phillies haven’t consistently had since trading Cole Hamels in July of 2015 – and can’t become a free-agent until after the 2021 season. There’s a lot that should intrigue the Phillies, and other contenders, about Boyd.
At the same time, Boyd will enter his duel with Phillies ace Aaron Nola Tuesday with a 6.08 ERA since the start of June. It’s great that Boyd is under team control for a few more seasons and had a 2.83 ERA prior to June, but there’s still something to be said for the fact that the 28-year-old has a 4.87 career ERA and 4.54 career FIP. His 3.55 FIP and 3.1 fWAR in 2019 suggest that his season has been much better than his 4.13 ERA indicates, but he’s probably more of a middle-of-the-rotation arm on a contender than a No. 2. That’s fine, the Phillies appear to be in a situation where they need to rebuild their entire rotation behind Nola, but in a seller’s market, there’s a good chance Tigers general manager Al Avila will seek a front-line return for Boyd.
Greene, 30, was an All-Star for the first time in 2019 and has been one of the best relievers in baseball in 2019. After a rather disastrous 2018 season that saw him post a -0.1 fWAR and blow six saves, Greene has a 1.25 ERA, 3.80 FIP and has converted 22 of 25 save attempts this season. Greene has one remaining year of arbitration eligibility after 2019, so he wouldn’t be a rental if acquired.
While Hector Neris seized the Phillies closer’s job early in the 2019 season, the 30-year-old righty has an 8.22 ERA in eight appearances in July, a sign that the only steady arm in a bullpen that has been ravished by injuries in 2019 appears to have hit a wall. Would the 2019 and 2020 Phillies be a better team with Neris setting up games for Greene? Probably. But the Phillies have limited prospect capital, so it will be interesting to see if trading for a closer is how general manager Matt Klentak chooses to invest his resources.
Salisbury also mentioned that Tigers outfielder Nicholas Castellanos and LHP Daniel Norris are two other names that fall into the mix of “all of the Tigers available players.” Castellanos, a free-agent at season’s end, would certainly be an offensive upgrade in left field, but he’s graded out as one of the sport’s worst fielders over the last five years. If the Phillies could acquire him as a rental for a minimal return like they did a year ago with Wilson Ramos, perhaps he could be of interest. Norris, meanwhile, is a former top prospect that’s still just 26, but has a 5.03 ERA and a 4.63 FIP. He could be an interesting name to take a flier on.
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