Toronto Blue Jays

For trade to really work, Phillies need Wilson Ramos to get healthy quickly

For trade to really work, Phillies need Wilson Ramos to get healthy quickly

BOSTON — The Phillies made a low-risk, potentially high-reward acquisition when they picked up catcher Wilson Ramos from the Tampa Bay Rays at the trade deadline on Tuesday. Ramos is an All-Star and a run producer and he will improve the Phillies' overall catching situation.

When he gets on the field.

Ramos is currently on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring and it is not exactly clear when he’ll be able to play for the Phillies. He might be ready in two weeks. Or he might not be ready until Sept. 1, according to general manager Matt Klentak. Either way, the Phillies, losers of four straight games and clinging to a half-game lead in the NL East entering Tuesday night’s game in Fenway Park, will have to survive for a while before Ramos is even ready.

Ramos’ health situation was “factored into the components of the deal,” according to Klentak. In other words, the Phils didn’t give up much for him. They will send a player to be named later or cash to Tampa Bay to complete the deal. Ramos, who will be a free agent at season’s end, is owed about $2.8 million for the remainder of the season and the Phils will have no trouble swallowing that.

Ramos, 30, is a burly right-handed hitter. He was hitting .297 with 14 homers, 53 RBIs and an .834 OPS when he injured his hamstring just before the All-Star break. Two years ago, he hit .307 with 22 homers, 80 RBIs and an .850 OPS for Washington.

Phillies catchers Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp have combined for a .702 OPS this season and the tandem leads the majors in strikeouts at the position. They are also fourth in the majors with a combined 13 passed balls. Ramos will be a clear upgrade — again, when he gets on the field.

“Wilson Ramos is a proven commodity, both behind the plate and at the plate and then also as a teammate,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “He makes us deep and stronger.”

Ramos was the second hitter acquired by the Phillies in recent days, joining Asdrubal Cabrera.

The Phillies also added lefty reliever Aaron Loup from Toronto on Tuesday. Minor-league pitcher Jake Waguespack went to the Jays. Division rivals Washington and Atlanta both have lineups dotted with big lefty bats and the Phillies believe Loup will help combat them down the stretch.

One area the Phillies did not address was starting pitching. Phillies starters rank fourth in the NL with a 3.84 ERA. Management is banking on that unit continuing to perform and the starters at Triple A providing depth.

“We are really excited about our starting pitching,” Klentak said. “No matter how you measure it, our starting five have been among the better starting fives in all of baseball this year. I recognize that that’s not every single night, but the total body of work puts us at or near the top.

“On top of that, we have players like Enyel De Los Santos and Ranger Suarez and Cole Irvin and others in Triple A to give us a lot of confidence that we have depth to support the five in the big leagues right now.

“If you can stay out of the trade market for starting pitching at the trade deadline, you should do that because it tends to be very expensive. It’s a credit to all of our international, amateur, and professional scouts and their efforts over the last few years that we have starting pitching right now. We don’t take that for granted and we’re happy to not have to play in that market.”

The Phillies’ biggest need leading up to the deadline was offense. The team pursued the biggest bat on the market, infielder Manny Machado, but failed to land him. The club moved on and traded for switch-hitting infielder Cabrera on Friday and he so far has played shortstop, second base and served as the team’s designated hitter in the current two-game series against Boston.

“We identified a few key areas that we felt we could upgrade,” Klentak said. “The first of which was offense in the infield, the second was some more thump behind the plate. And the other was just giving us a third lefty for the bullpen.

“What I am happy about in all three of those cases is that it will not dramatically affect the playing time of our young players. Our young players are principally the reason we are where we are in the standings and we want to continue to let those guys play. But on the other hand, we saw opportunities to add veterans that can help in certain key areas. I’m pleased that we were able to address those areas.”

The Phillies made these additions without tearing through their farm system, which they see as important because, though the team has improved greatly this season and played itself into contention, it is still seen as a team on the rise. Management was committed to balancing the present with the future. They’ve done that. Now the question is: Will it be enough to make the postseason?

Time will tell.

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Phillies acquire left-handed pitcher Aaron Loup from Blue Jays

Phillies acquire left-handed pitcher Aaron Loup from Blue Jays

Shortly after they added All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos from the Tampa Bay Rays, the Phillies reached a deal with the Blue Jays to acquire left-handed reliever Aaron Loup.

The Phillies are trading Jacob Waguespack, a 6-foot-6, 24-year-old right-hander with a 4.68 ERA in a season split between Double A Reading and Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Loup is 30 years old and a free agent after the season. He has a 4.05 ERA the last two seasons and lefties have actually hit him pretty well — .276 batting average, on-base percentage over .340.

His ERA this season is 4.54, largely because he's been crushed by righties (.325/.386/.558). Gabe Kapler won't be using him much in that role.

The Phillies made this move, though, because it obviously doesn't hurt to have another experienced left-handed reliever down the stretch.

Trevor Plouffe was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Loup. 

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Phillies reportedly interested in trade for OF Curtis Granderson

Phillies reportedly interested in trade for OF Curtis Granderson

With the Phillies still in first place in late July, Matt Klentak has said the team is likely to make a move.

The latest rumor has the Phillies improving their bench. The team has reportedly talked to the Blue Jays about veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal

Though the 37-year-old is not the player he once was, he would be an upgrade over what the Phillies currently have. Struggling outfielder Aaron Altherr (.171/.290/.595) was optioned to Triple A and J.P. Crawford is still recovering from a fractured left hand. The team’s current bench consists of Jesmuel Valentin (.182), Mitch Walding (hitless in 12 big league at-bats), Trevor Plouffe and whichever catcher has the night off.

Granderson is a veteran that can give Gabe Kapler a professional at-bat, has some pop and can play all three outfield spots. He’s hitting .230/.337/.417 with nine homers and 29 RBI in 235 at-bats this season with Toronto. He's also a free agent at the end of the season and is owed around $1.7 million. It won't cost the Phils much to acquire the 15-year vet.

It’s been reported by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury that the Blue Jays have already been scouting the Phillies’ farm system in a possible trade for Toronto starter and former Phil J.A. Happ. Perhaps Granderson could be part of a bigger trade including Happ and/or third baseman Josh Donaldson? In either case, the Blue Jays should have a head start in picking out the prospect(s) of their liking.

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