Phillies

Phillies' remaining trade possibilities with heavy lifting out of the way

Phillies' remaining trade possibilities with heavy lifting out of the way

The Phillies have gotten their heaviest pre-trade deadline lifting out of the way early, trading Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick and Jeremy Hellickson over the last 72 hours for two right-handed pitching prospects, two left-handed pitching prospects, a Single A shortstop, a major-league outfielder and some useful international bonus pool money.

The non-waiver trade deadline is Monday at 4 p.m. Should we expect any more activity from Phils GM Matt Klentak?

OF/1B Daniel Nava
A switch-hitter who can play both outfield corners and first base, Nava is one of the most versatile bench pieces in the league. That gives him trade value, even though he's a 34-year-old impending free agent.

Nava has been extremely consistent at the plate this season, hitting .303 with a .400 on-base percentage in 180 plate appearances. He's hit .301 as a starter and .310 as a pinch-hitter.

Nava was placed on the 10-day DL on July 26 and is expected to return the first week of August. The Phillies would be able to trade him while he's on the DL if they wish. If not, Nava would be an August trade candidate, though the Phillies would like to get a deal done in July if possible. Why? Because Nava is the kind of player who is likely to be claimed on waivers in August, meaning the Phillies would be able to negotiate a trade with only one team as opposed to many.

The Phillies' return for Nava wouldn't be significant. They'd likely be looking at a player to be named later or a modest prospect like the Garrett Cleavinger kid they got for Hellickson.

RHP Joaquin Benoit
Benoit has had a strange season — it seems like he's pitched worse than he actually has.

Benoit pitched 1⅓ perfect innings Friday to lower his ERA to 4.07. He's been scored upon in 10 of 44 appearances and allowed multiple runs only four times. It's just that three of those outings were so bad — Benoit allowed a combined 11 runs in 1⅔ innings to the Mariners, Nationals and Pirates.

Benoit has struck out 43 batters in 42 innings this season, and though his control has been erratic at times, he actually has a lower walk rate (3.4 per nine) than his career mark.

But still, Benoit doesn't have much trade value as a 40-year-old rental reliever. The Mariners traded him to Toronto last July 26 for Drew Storen in a change-of-scenery move. Benoit had a 5.18 ERA with Seattle but then allowed just one run in 23 innings for the Blue Jays, so perhaps another team will be convinced that Benoit has a strong second half in him.

Benoit signed a one-year, $7.5 million contract, so he'll be owed approximately $2.5 million after July 31. The Phillies won't care about eating the remaining contract if a team makes an offer that is even somewhat enticing.

1B Tommy Joseph
There's no market for him, and even if another team does decide to trade for a first baseman, there are better options out there. If you want a rental, there's Mike Napoli and Yonder Alonso. If you want a controllable player, there's Justin Bour. 

The Yankees could still be in the market for a first baseman even after acquiring Todd Frazier, but a left-handed bat would make more sense for them.

The Red Sox have a glaring hole in the middle of their order, but if they fill it they'd want to do so with a player better than Joseph.

Joseph, to me, is the first-base equivalent of Detroit Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson. He's a starting player so he puts up numbers, but he's a slightly-below-league-average player at his position. Therefore, he doesn't have a ton of trade value because if a team acquires him, it is locking itself into playing him a lot when it might have better options internally or through free agency.

In 723 plate appearances with the Phillies, Joseph has hit .255/.310/.481 with 37 homers and 98 RBIs. Joseph's OPS over that span is .791, which is about 20 points lower than the league-average OPS from first basemen.

There's a school of thought that clearing Joseph's roster spot for Rhys Hoskins is more important than getting a decent return for him but I don't share that view. Why trade Joseph for 20 cents on the dollar when the alternative could be calling up Hoskins, playing him regularly and using Joseph as a powerful bat off the bench if Hoskins succeeds? The Phillies could do that and shop Joseph again in the winter when more teams would be interested.

2B Cesar Hernandez
Hernandez, like Joseph, could be shopped in the winter. The Phillies listened to offers for him last offseason but found nothing worthwhile. The only reason it could be a consideration again this winter is that Scott Kingery has emerged at the upper levels of the minor leagues. 

Hernandez is a good major-league player, it's just that Kingery's ceiling could be higher. Kingery is equal to or better than Hernandez defensively and on the basepaths, has more pop but is less selective at the plate.

Since the start of 2016, Hernandez has hit .289 with a .362 OBP. He has three years of arbitration eligibility left before becoming a free agent after 2020. An inexpensive leadoff hitter at a premium position has a lot of trade value and the Phillies are right to wait it out unless they get a logical offer.

C Cameron Rupp
Might the Phillies use Rupp's recent hot streak as a way to entice a catching-needy team?

Rupp has been on fire since June 23, hitting .386 in 13 starts with five homers, three doubles and nine RBIs. As a result, his OPS is up to .770, which ranks 12th out of 30 major-league catchers with at least 200 plate appearances.

Rupp will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season, and he isn't slated for free agency until after 2020. He figures to make about $1.5 million to $2.5 million next season with slight raises coming after that.

When looking at potential fits for Rupp, you have to consider more than just contending teams because he's not yet 29 years old and is relatively inexpensive. For example, even a seller like his hometown Texas Rangers could consider him in a trade if they first move Jonathan Lucroy.

For the Phillies, trading Rupp is a consideration only because Andrew Knapp looks like a capable major-league catcher (.366 OBP) and Jorge Alfaro is out of options after this season.

Gabe Kapler and Giants make historic coaching hire with Alyssa Nakken

Gabe Kapler and Giants make historic coaching hire with Alyssa Nakken

With all of the chaos currently consuming the league, it may have been overlooked that the Giants and Gabe Kapler have made a historic coaching hire.

Alyssa Nakken has been named one of Kapler's assistant coaches. She will be the first woman on a major-league coaching staff.

Can anyone say girl power?

Nakken is also a chairperson for the Giants' Employee Resource Group. This group promotes diversity and equality within the organization.

And as a female, with her intelligence and determination and hunger and drive to excel — I understand some of her responsibility is keeping her fingers on the pulse of the culture — it’s invaluable. She’ll broaden the scope and perspective, and I applaud Gabe for doing this.

-Kathy Strahan, Nakken's former coach in an interview for the San Francisco Chronicle

This is a moment that could change the mold of the league in the new decade.

Women belong in sports and are here to stay. And this single hire has the potential to open numerous doors in the future for both the league and anyone who wants to be a part of it.

You can read more about the hire and get to know Nakken at the San Francisco Chronicle.

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After 29 other teams pass, Phillies send Odubel Herrera to minor leagues

After 29 other teams pass, Phillies send Odubel Herrera to minor leagues

As expected, Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera quickly cleared waivers on Thursday. He has been assigned outright to Triple A.

Herrera was designated for assignment on Tuesday. The move immediately removed him from the Phillies’ 40-man roster and cleared a spot for outfielder Nick Martini, who was claimed off waivers from Cincinnati.

Herrera, 28, was involved in a domestic abuse incident in New Jersey in May. Though legal charges were eventually dropped, he served an 85-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s policy against domestic violence. As a matter of procedure, he was reinstated to the 40-man roster in November, but that hardly assured his future with the club, even though he is signed through 2021 and owed $20 million.

When Major League Baseball and the Players Association forged its joint policy on domestic violence, both sides agreed that a player violating the policy could not be punished by being released or having his contract voided.

On Tuesday, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said there were “sound baseball reasons,” for removing Herrera from the roster. He pointed to Herrera’s inconsistency and struggles last season and the fact that the Phillies had added outfielders Jay Bruce and Adam Haseley to the roster after Herrera’s suspension.

“The construction of our outfield now is very different than it was last spring when Odubel was first suspended,” Klentak said.

The Phillies plan to give Haseley a shot to win the starting centerfield job in spring training. He will be pushed by Roman Quinn.

Herrera could very well be on his way out of the organization, but he’s not there yet. He is expected to report to minor-league spring training camp, where he will continue to collect his full salary while working toward regaining a role with the big-league team or trying to catch the eye of a team that might be interested in trading for him. So far, there has been no trade interest. 

Participating in minor-league camp does not ensure that Herrera will be with a Phillies’ minor-league club during the regular season. He can still be released at any time, as long as the Phillies establish that the move is for baseball reasons, as they did earlier this week when they designated him for assignment.

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