|NL All-Star reliever Neshek will be dealt by end of July|
The Philadelphia Phillies are barreling down streak towards the July 31 MLB trade deadline with numerous rumors beginning to swirl around the team.
Most of the speculation revolves around the obvious players. Anyone 30+ years of age who is a pending free agent is likely to move.
The list includes starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, relievers Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit, and outfielders Howie Kendrick and Daniel Nava.
Another possibility to move is catcher Cameron Rupp, already losing playing time to Andrew Knapp behind the dish. If Rupp is dealt, the Phils could call up Logan Moorefrom AAA Lehigh Valley to serve as the backup while Jorge Alfaro continues to start with the IronPigs.
Can Phillies fans expect their team to receive anything of any substance in exchange for any of these players in any trade? The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding “no” to that question.
POSSIBLE RETURNS IN VETERAN DEALS
It was pointed out to me today that in August of 2014 the Phillies were able to unload then 33-year old reliever Roberto Hernandez on the Los Angeles Dodgers. In that deal, the club received the old “players to be named later” as a return.
When those PTBNL were actually named, they turned out to be infielder Jesmuel Valentin and pitcher Victor Arano. Nearly three years later, neither player has appeared in the big leagues. And neither looks as if they will any time soon, if ever.
Valentin is currently on the DL at AAA Lehigh Valley following May surgery to repair a separated shoulder. The 23-year old is a career .261 hitter with 24 home runs and 49 stolen bases over 1,856 minor league plate appearances.
Arano is a 22-year old currently pitching out of the AA Reading bullpen. The right-hander is having a good season. But he also currently ranks just 21st on the MLB Phillies top prospects list.
That kind of return for Rupp, Kendrick, Nava, or Benoit would have to be considered a jackpot. Hellickson or Neshek could bring back perhaps a decent prospect, but is unlikely to yield anyone who will truly impact the future.
Is there any deal that GM Matt Klentak and the rest of the Phillies brain trust put together that could potentially impact that future? Perhaps.
Would the Phillies move two young, affordable players previously considered part of the future? Could either Maikel Franco or Odubel Herrera be traded away at this point in their careers?
PHILLIES GM NEEDS TO BE BOLD
Frankly, Klentak should be open to anything. I think back to the mid-70’s and the Phillies of my youth, remembering a particular key deal involving a core player in the prime of his career.
On May 4, 1975 the Phillies GM Paul Owens shipped away 27-year old first baseman Willie Montanez to the San Francisco Giants. In exchange, San Francisco sent a 25-year old center fielder to Philly by the name of Garry Maddox.
Maddox would play more than a decade for the Phillies. He would win the first of eight career Gold Glove awards that first year. He was a key player on five NL East champs and the 1980 World Series champions. In 2001, Maddox was honored with a place on the Phillies Wall of Fame.
Those are the types of deals that the best general managers are able to pull off at some point. Klentak should be completely open to dealing Franco or Herrera. Same goes for either Cesar Hernandez, or Freddy Galvis if it brings back real talent.
The Phillies do have pieces to deal as the 2017 MLB trade deadline approaches. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on getting anything of long term value in return. There will be nothing to excite Phillies fans later this month – unless Klentak gets truly bold.