Phillies

Trades of Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman have added interesting wrinkle to MLB trade deadline

Trades of Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman have added interesting wrinkle to MLB trade deadline

Between the trade of Marcus Stroman to the Mets earlier this week and the reported three-team swap Tuesday night sending Trevor Bauer to the Cincinnati Reds, a new wrinkle has been added to the MLB trade deadline.

We're not seeing teams buy or sell. We're seeing some teams do both.

It's not the first time this has happened — the Pirates bought and sold as recently as last season, acquiring Chris Archer and Keone Kela ahead of the deadline despite remote chances of contending — but it's new to see the top available players traded to teams thinking exclusively about the future.

Stroman and Bauer are both under contract for 2020. Both are set for free agency after the 2020 season. The Mets and Reds are putting a lot of faith into them to help lead them to the playoffs. With the amount of money Bauer, in particular, is likely to get, you wonder whether a mid-market franchise like the Reds can keep him long-term.

It's not illogical for the Reds or Mets to be thinking about 2020. Stroman is one of the two best groundball-pitchers in the majors (Dallas Keuchel being the other), and Bauer is perhaps just as good as Gerrit Cole, a pending free agent who could get a $200 million contract this offseason. The Mets and Reds jumped ahead of other teams who wanted to add pitching on July 31 and they jumped ahead of teams who wanted to add pitching this winter. The Mets gave up two pitching prospects, and the Reds gave up Yasiel Puig and top outfield prospect Taylor Trammell.

Now, the Mets and Diamondbacks seem to hold all the cards in the trade market for starting pitching. The Mets have Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler; the D-backs have Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray. Madison Bumgarner and Mike Minor are the two other big names out there.

The Reds have two other starting pitchers, veteran lefty Alex Wood and righty Tanner Roark, who have been connected to the Phillies, could be acquired inexpensively and figure to be moved ahead of the deadline.

The trade deadline is Wednesday at 4 p.m.

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

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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.

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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.

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