Phillies

Phillies trade rumors: Francisco Lindor, Starling Marte, Whit Merrifield and more

Phillies trade rumors: Francisco Lindor, Starling Marte, Whit Merrifield and more

With so many boxes to check this offseason, the Phillies may have to get creative and make a trade. 

A year ago, GM Matt Klentak orchestrated a deal to acquire Jean Segura from the Mariners for Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford. Nobody saw that move coming from a Phillies front office that moves quietly.

Why might a trade again be necessary for the Phils? There is very little of appeal in the center field market, one of the Phillies' positions of need. The top five free-agent centerfielders are Jarrod Dyson, Brett Gardner, Billy Hamilton, Cameron Maybin and Juan Lagares. Yuck. Maybe a team can convince itself Marcell Ozuna can play center but he hasn't in two years.

One potential trade target to keep in the back of your mind? Pirates centerfielder Starling Marte. The Pirates are rebuilding, will have a new GM and manager in 2020, and could get value for Marte, who has a pair of club options left on his contract in 2020 and 2021 at $24 million total. From a Phillies standpoint, it would be an offensive and defensive upgrade that likely would not cost a tippy-top prospect.

The relief market is also lackluster. Lefty Will Smith is the best name in that market. Dellin Betances is a bounce-back project after a year lost to injury. Drew Pomeranz will attract interest after finding success as a reliever in 2019. Sergio Romo is still getting outs.

But if the Phillies want an upper-tier reliever, the trade market should offer more than free agency. Back-end relievers like Raisel Iglesias and Ken Giles could be had.

The Phillies are not the only team that could make a score in a trade this winter. The Padres and White Sox, who both missed the playoffs the entire decade from 2010-19, stick out as teams ripe for deals. They have promising young cores and the need for a(nother) star. In San Diego's case, it will look to put another piece around Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack. In Chicago's case, the goal is to build around Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada and Dylan Cease, though one or more them may have to be sacrificed to land that big fish.

Marte, mentioned above, isn't the only intriguing potential trade candidate this winter. 

The Indians could move one or both of shortstop Francisco Lindor and former Cy Young-winner Corey Kluber

The Mookie Betts drama persists in Boston. 

What will the Cubs do with Kris Bryant?

Is this the year the Royals deal Whit Merrifield

How about pitchers like Matthew Boyd and Robbie Ray, who were not traded at the deadline?

Surely, some of these conversations are taking place now in Arizona at the GM Meetings.

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

Phillies' pitching plans with Spencer Howard ready to put heat on Vince Velasquez

Phillies' pitching plans with Spencer Howard ready to put heat on Vince Velasquez

The Phillies made a slight adjustment to their pitching rotation after Friday night's rainout.

Jake Arrieta will stay on his regular fifth day and pitch Saturday night in what now is the first game of a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

Vince Velasquez, who had been scheduled to start Friday night, will move back and start one of the games in Sunday afternoon's doubleheader. Top prospect Spencer Howard is expected to make his major-league debut in the other game Sunday.

It wasn't immediately clear why the Phillies flip-flopped Arrieta and Velasquez. The Braves simply moved Friday night's scheduled starter, Kyle Wright, back a day after the rainout. Phillies manager Joe Girardi was not available to reporters after Friday night's rainout.

The game was called 45 minutes before first pitch and it's possible that Velasquez had already started his pre-game stretching in the clubhouse or training room. Maybe the Phillies wanted to give him a day to reboot before he went through the routine again. Maybe it's possible that they wanted to sync up he and Howard and get them on the same day to facilitate the option of having Howard take over that spot in the rotation. Or maybe it's possible that the Phillies simply decided that Velasquez, who would have gone 11 days between starts had he pitched on Friday, could handle a couple more days. Long periods between starts can hurt a pitcher's effectiveness. With Arrieta pitching Saturday night, the Phils now have the chance to get four of their five starters on a five-day schedule.

Arrieta made his first start in nearly a year Monday night at Yankee Stadium. He pitched five innings and allowed three runs, two on a pair of homers. Arrieta walked none and struck out four. The right-hander believed the start was something to build on. Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin also turned in starts that ranged from promising to excellent this week so the rotation is at least showing some signs of coming together.

Velasquez remains a different story. The enigmatic right-hander made a terrific showing in summer camp then blew a 4-0 lead in his first start on July 26 and lasted just three innings in a loss to Miami.

On the surface, especially with Howard coming, the leash does not appear to be very long on Velasquez. But, remember this: After Sunday's doubleheader, the Phillies still have five more doubleheaders to play before the 60-game schedule is complete so they're going to need at least six starters for a good chunk of the rest of the season. It would greatly behoove the Phillies if Velasquez and Howard were capable of delivering quality starts.

Friday night's quick postponement caused consternation with some fans who were looking forward to cracking a brew, lighting a cigar and watching the Phils. In ordinary times, Major League Baseball and the Phillies would have waited out the rain and started the game late. But COVID-19 protocols called for a quick postponement. For reasons of social distancing, MLB does not want large groups of players and staff congregating in clubhouses and dugouts for long periods of time. So the game was postponed quickly and everyone was sent home.

MLB's sensitivity to avoiding long rain delays became heightened last week when Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo took to Twitter to chastise the Cincinnati Reds for having a long delay before a game that was eventually postponed.

Sunday's doubleheader will be seven innings. That's also part of the COVID protocol. At the moment, 14 of the Phillies' 60 games (23 percent) will come in doubleheaders.

Subscribe and rate the Phillies Talk podcast:
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19 / YouTube

   

More on the Phillies

Phillies schedule: Phils-Braves postponed because of inclement weather, doubleheader Sunday

Phillies schedule: Phils-Braves postponed because of inclement weather, doubleheader Sunday

Friday night's series opener between the Phillies and Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park has been rained out.

It was a "quick bang" as they say in the baseball business, no waiting around for the bad weather to clear out. That's part of the health and safety protocol for the COVID-impacted 2020 season. Major League Baseball does not want players and staff sitting around for long periods of time in enclosed areas like a clubhouse.

The postponement will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Game 2 begins 40 minutes after Game 1 ends. The Phillies have 53 games remaining on their schedule and six of them will be played as part of doubleheaders. They already played a doubleheader Wednesday night, splitting with the New York Yankees.

Jake Arrieta will start for the Phillies Saturday against the Braves. Vince Velasquez will start one of the games of the doubleheader Sunday. The starter for the other game is still TBA. The Phils could promote prospect Spencer Howard to make the start. More on that as it becomes available.

Subscribe and rate the Phillies Talk podcast:
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19 / YouTube

   

More on the Phillies