MLB trade deadline: Two of Phillies' biggest rivals beef up in bullpen

USA Today Images

MLB trade deadline: Two of Phillies' biggest rivals beef up in bullpen

The Nationals, one of the Phillies' biggest rivals, made two moves on trade deadline day to beef up their bullpen.

Washington reportedly acquired right-handed reliever Daniel Hudson from the Blue Jays and left-handed reliever Roenis Elias from the Mariners. Neither player cost the Nats a top prospect.

Elias had been closing lately for the Mariners, saving 14 games and posting a 4.40 ERA in 44 appearances. He's been a swingman throughout his career, starting games and also appearing at the back-end of the bullpen.

Hudson, too, was converted from starter to reliever midway through his 10-year career and this season he's experienced his most success in that role. Hudson has an even 3.00 ERA in 48 innings with 48 strikeouts and just five home runs allowed.

The Nats also acquired right-handed reliever Hunter Strickland from Seattle.

The Nationals' bullpen was a total disaster the first two months of the season and still has the worst ERA in the majors. The two setup men they signed to be the bridge between their elite rotation and elite closer Sean Doolittle were hard-throwing righties Trevor Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough. 

Rosenthal, who cost the Nationals $7 million, allowed 16 runs and 15 walks in 6⅓ innings before being let go and latching on with the Tigers. 

Barraclough has a 6.66 ERA and was sent to the minors.

Every move the Nationals make is relevant to the Phillies because Washington (57-50) is just a half-game better than the Phillies (56-50). Based on their recent, prolonged surge and the talent level of their roster 1 through 25, the Nationals figure to be one of the two NL wild-card teams. If the Phillies play well enough to claim the other spot, they would likely be facing one of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg or Patrick Corbin in the one-game playoff. Won't be easy.

Braves get better

The Braves reportedly added one of the top available relievers, Tigers closer Shane Greene, along with Mark Melancon from the Giants.

Greene has been excellent this season with a 1.18 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 22 saves in 25 chances.

The Braves have lacked a true lockdown ninth-inning option and Greene is much closer to that than Luke Jackson.

Melancon has a 3.50 ERA this season and 183 career saves.

Roark to the A's

In a separate move, the Athletics reportedly acquired veteran rental starting pitcher Tanner Roark from the Reds. A Roark trade was always seen as likely and became imminent once Cincinnati acquired Trevor Bauer from the Indians late Tuesday night. The Phillies also had some interest in Roark but chose instead to acquire lefty Jason Vargas from the Mets. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies

Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

AP Images

Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

Most of the baseball world agrees that the Phillies are improved with the additions of No. 2 starter Zack Wheeler, shortstop Didi Gregorius, and the new contingent of manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Bryan Price and hitting coach Joe Dillon.

The question is how much improved?

The Phils won 81 games last season, a year after winning 80. Both years, they totally collapsed in September. Both years, a good number of players were simply playing out the string, though the effort level was more questionable in 2018 than in 2019.

Even though the Phillies were quiet this offseason after their two big signings, and even though the NL East is still a beast, they should still exceed 81 wins. If they don't, there's a serious problem. If they don't, the GM probably won't be here to try to rectify things next offseason.

The over/under win totals are out and the Phillies' number is 85.5 at FanDuel and 84.5 at DraftKings.

I'd go over at 84.5. Think about how many injuries the Phillies suffered last season. Think about the talent gap between Wheeler and every Phillies starting pitcher behind Aaron Nola last season. The impact of Girardi, Price and Dillon won't be all that quantifiable, but it is realistic that this revamped coaching staff can conjure a few more wins out of the 2020 Phillies, whether it's in-game decision-making or better instructions given to young players who underperformed last season.

At DraftKings, the Mets' over/under is a game better than the Phillies' at 85.5. The Braves are at 90.5 and the Nationals 88.5. The Marlins are at 64.5, higher than only one team, the Tigers.

Much more surprising are the Phillies' World Series odds. They have the sixth-shortest odds to win it all. Seriously. They're +1800. Here is the Top 10:

Yankees: 3.5/1
Dodgers: 5/1
Astros: 6/1
Braves: 11/1
Nationals: 14/1
Phillies: 18/1
Mets: 20/1
Twins: 20/1
Red Sox: 22/1
Cubs: 22/1

Apparently, the expectation is that the NL Central will be bringing up the rear in 2020. Really, the only NL Central team that improved was the Reds. The Cardinals lost Marcell Ozuna, the Brewers lost Yasmani Grandal and the Cubs didn't spend money on a single major-league free agent.

Four of the top seven teams being NL East teams just shows you how much of a battle these next seven months will be for the Phils.

Subscribe and rate At The Yard:
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19

More on the Phillies

Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Baseball America’s always interesting Top 100 Prospects list landed this week and the Phillies are represented with two players in the top half.

Starting pitcher Spencer Howard ranks 27th on the list and third baseman Alec Bohm 28th. Both players are projected to open the coming season at Triple A and get to the majors at some point in 2020. Both have been invited to major-league spring training camp, which begins in less than three weeks in Clearwater. See the complete list of Phillies’ in-house non-roster invites here.

Howard, a 23-year-old right-hander, was the Phillies’ second-round draft pick in 2017. We profiled him here.

In its story on the Top 100 prospects, Baseball America offered this take on Howard: Triple-digit fastball, swing-and-miss curveball and the ability to work the edges of the strike zone, Howard flashes front-end potential.

Bohm, 23, was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. He hit .305 with 21 homers, 80 RBIs and a .896 OPS at three levels, including Double A in 2019. We profiled him here.

Baseball America offered this take on Bohm: Even with questions about whether he’ll have to move to first base, Bohm has the feel to hit and plus power to hit in the middle of the Phillies’ order, and soon.

Shortstop Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays was ranked No. 1 on Baseball America’s list for the second year in a row. The Rays placed eight players on the list. Because of a loaded farm system, the Rays were unable to protect left-hander Cristopher Sanchez on their 40-man roster and the Phillies traded for him in November. Read about Sanchez here.

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed seven players on the list and the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres had six each.

The Miami Marlins led National League East teams with five players in the Top 100, including former Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, who was traded for J.T. Realmuto a year ago. Sanchez ranks 16th on the list and is projected to arrive in the majors sometime in 2020.

The Atlanta Braves placed four players on the list and the Washington Nationals and New York Mets joined the Phillies with two players.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies