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Phillies reportedly willing to include Spencer Howard in trades


Phillies starter Spencer Howard left Monday’s game with two outs in the top of the fourth with a calloused-over blister on his right middle finger. The initial blister was suffered during a recent outing with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. The Phillies believe he’ll be fine for his next start, whether it is with the Phillies or with another team.

Spencer Howard left with a finger injury Monday. (John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported after the game that the Phillies aren’t completely against the idea of dealing their former top prospect.

“Of course, there’s always the chance that Howard could be gone by Saturday. There have been indications that the Phillies would be willing to use him in a trade, possibly for relief help. The Phils have targeted Chicago Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel, and had targeted his bullpen mate, Andrew Chafin, before he was dealt to Oakland on Monday night. The price is high on Kimbrel and there are several teams in addition to the Phillies pursuing him. The Phillies’ payout could start with Howard.”

Jim Salisbury on Spencer Howard

Matt Gelb of The Athletic offered additional details in his report, writing that at least two teams had scouts on hand to observe Howard.

Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has a reputation for being aggressive at the deadline, but including Howard in a package for a reliever would not make sense considering that the Phillies have an immediate need for an additional starting pitcher or two. Trading Howard means the Phillies will have to replace him in the rotation. Maybe a trade for Kimbrel opens up a spot for either Ranger Suárez or Bailey Falter, who is currently on the COVID-19 IL and is reportedly dealing with symptoms. The only other option on the MLB roster is Chase Anderson, who has been relegated to a low leverage long-relief role.

The Phillies have gone back-and-forth with their plans for Howard all season. He competed for a rotation spot in spring training, was sent down to Triple-A and started for Lehigh Valley, called up as a reliever, sent back down again to stretch out as a starter, called up again once existing options in the back end were deemed ineffective, sent down again with the intention of spending most of the remainder of the season in the minors to simulate a full-season workload and called up again to fill a spot left vacant by players currently on the injured list.

Howard has a 5.72 ERA and 4.00 FIP in 28 1/3 innings with the Phillies this season. He has yet to allow an earned run in the first and second innings of a start this season, but has a 10.80 ERA in innings three and four combined. While his average fastball velocity is around 95 mph in the first inning, it drops down to 93 by the fourth inning of starts, according to Brooks Baseball.

If the Phillies had more MLB ready starting pitching at Triple-A, maybe a Howard trade would be more likely. That is far from the case, so it seems like the safe bet is to expect Howard to make his next start Saturday in Pittsburgh.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. jeff orbach

    July 27, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    +Maybe he’ll be taking his turn on Saturday in Pittsburgh for the Pirates?

  2. KrukNut

    July 27, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    Howard should be converted into a closer. He doesn’t have the stamina to start. It makes too much sense which is probably why they won’t do it.

  3. Courtney Walker

    July 27, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    Really dissapointed with harper. He is injured somewhat. But he’s not a superstar anymore. Wish people would wake up and talk about it .Sad! The money he is getting for 10 more years I believe has and will really hurt this franchise.I love his attitude and compassion for the game. I am afraid Phillies made a mistake!!!

    • jamespearson

      July 29, 2021 at 1:27 am

      what happen to pitching being 90% of the game all that money invested in Harper could’ve bought plenty pitching a rookie GM knows that

  4. Prickly Pete Salmonella

    July 27, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    Good. What kind of high rated MLB SP pitching prospect can’t pitch more than 3 innings at a time? Give him away for anything and include Vinny as a sweetener.

  5. Lou

    July 29, 2021 at 5:40 am

    I clearly agree with Harper assessment above . I have big time buyers remorse with him . The money they spent could have been used to field. a HOF pitching staff. This team is clueless, leaderless and defenseless . An utter embarrassment to this loyal fan base. Ten years of mediocrity is totally unconscionable. Middleton was going after hype and Phanatic socks not wins. Where is my trophy.? That quote is meaningless.
    .

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