Phillies to trade Spencer Howard for Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy from Rangers

The Phillies are getting bullpen and starting pitching help all in one deal. According to multiple reports, the Phillies are on the verge of acquiring starting pitcher Kyle Gibson and reliever Ian Kennedy from the Texas Rangers. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Phillies are sending Spencer Howard and two prospects to Texas.

Spencer Howard is heading to the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

In a shocker, the Phillies are giving up on their former top pitching prospect in Howard. He’s struggled in his first two seasons in the big leagues, pitching to a 5.81 ERA in 52 2/3 innings. He has yet to allow an earned run in the first two innings of his starts this year. As mentioned earlier in the week, the Phillies have had trouble sticking to a plan with Howard this year. Maybe a split will work well for both sides.

Gibson is in the midst of a career year with the Texas Rangers. He’s 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA and 3.75 FIP in 2021. He’s a ground ball heavy pitcher whose hard contact rate is down slightly this year. Gibson has struggled as of late. He has a 6.26 ERA in the month of July and allowed eight earned runs in a previous outing against the the Detroit Tigers. He’s also thrown at least five innings in all but one of his starts this year. Minus his first outing in which he lasted a third of an inning, Gibson is averaging 6 1/3 innings per start.

Gibson is in year two of a three-year, $28 million contract and is owed around $3 million for the remainder of 2021. He’s owed $7 million in 2022.

The Indiana native was originally drafted by the Phillies out of high school in the 36th round of the 2006 MLB draft, but did not sign. The Minnesota Twins selected him three years later in the first round with the 22nd pick.

The 36-year-old Kennedy is also in the middle of a solid season. He has a 2.51 ERA in 32 games. He’s on a one-year, $2.15 million contract for 2021 and is scheduled to become a free agent after this season. Kennedy will surely be called upon in high leverage situations for the Phillies.

The addition of Gibson is an obvious upgrade over the Phillies’ existing options in the rotation. Matt Moore and Vince Velasquez’s the Phillies’ current fourth and fifth starters, have combined for an 8.69 ERA in July.

Update 3:31 pm: According to Jim Salisbury, the Phillies will also get pitching prospect Hans Crouse. Per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the two prospects the Phillies are sending to Texas are pitchers Kevin Gowdy and Josh Gessner. Gowdy was selected by the Phillies in the second round of the 2016 draft.

Update 3:40 pm: Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies are also getting cash in the deal. Jayson Stark reports that its $4 million, which keeps the Phillies under the luxury tax.

We’ll have more on this story as additional details become available.


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