As the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline approaches, we continue to wait to see if Philadelphia Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and general manager Sam Fuld will make any notable moves to improve the team’s postseason chances.
Granted, the Phillies did make one trade Friday morning, acquiring minor-league lefty reliever Braedon Ogle from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league catcher Abrahán Gutiérrez. Still, while it’s possible that Ogle does appear in the bullpen at some point for the Phillies in 2021, that hardly moves the needle for a team that’s 3 1/2 games back of the National League East-leading New York Mets.
Jayson Stark of The Athletic reports that the while the Phillies continue to pursue upgrades in their starting rotation and bullpen, a “lack of premier prospects is keeping them from doing anything big.”
Stark does add that “lots of teams” have inquired about the availability of third baseman Alec Bohm, along with the organization’s top two prospects — Mick Abel and Bryson Stott — but to this point the Phillies have shown more of a willingness to take money off the hands of other teams, rather than parting with the few impact young players in the organization.
Dombrowski has been pretty adamant all along that the team isn’t interested in moving Abel, last year’s first-round pick. When the Phillies announced that Matt Klentak had stepped down as general manager last October, managing partner John Middleton lamented the team’s lack of consistent internal talent development throughout their history. It’s not surprising then that the Phillies don’t want to part with Abel, who they hope develops into a front-line starter.
Sott has slashed .268/.372/.463 with 10 home runs, 27 RBIs, 41 walks and an .835 OPS between High-A Jersey Shore and Double-A Reading in 2021, and the 23-year-old could seemingly make an impact at the major league level in 2022. It’s possible that if the Phillies sign one of the major shortstops that can become free agents this offseason — a class that could include Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Javier Báez and Brandon Crawford — that they’d be more willing to consider using Stott in a trade package. But it’s fair to wonder if the 2021 Phillies have shown enough to make the Phillies front office considering parting with Stott for an immediate upgrade, even if they think at some point he could be used in a trade.
Bohm is the interesting name to consider here.
The former No. 3 overall pick slashed .338/.400/.481 with an .881 OPS in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, allowing him to finish in a tie for second place in National League Rookie of the Year voting.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, Bohm’s first full major league season has been rather disastrous. Even if you set aside the time Bohm missed after testing positive for COVID-19, the 24-year-old has been one of the worst qualified major leaguers in 2021.
Bohm has -12 defensive runs saved at third base, tied for the worst mark among any defender in baseball. As much as Bohm and the Phillies have worked hard to try to make him an adequate defender at the hot corner, it appears increasingly clear that his future isn’t at third base.
More concerning, though, is that Bohm has struggled at the plate as well. Perhaps he’s carried some of his defensive misplays with him to the batter’s box, but there’s no way to sugarcoat it — Bohm having a .656 OPS is massively disappointing considering what he did last year. His power hasn’t developed in a manner that the Phillies hoped it would, as Bohm has just seven home runs in 318 at-bats. He also hasn’t consistently gotten on base like he did a year ago, as he’s hitting only .248 with 26 walks.
Still, the Phillies appear to be too intrigued by Bohm’s offensive profile to seriously consider giving him up at this point, even if his future is likely at another position.