In the wrap up of our 3 part series, we will take a look at possible trade partners for the Philadelphia Phillies in the American League. Once again, we will give each team a grade based on how well they would partner up with the Phillies.
As of today, all 5 teams in the AL East are above .500. In fact all 5 teams have records better than any team in the AL Central. This division looks to be competitive down the stretch.
New York Yankees – Brian Cashman has been quoted as saying he would like the Yankees to stay put at the deadline. Their rotation has been solid thus far and Rafael Soriano has stepped into the closer role nicely, and will continue on as the closer until Mariano Rivera comes back. Cashman has also stated a desire to keep his prospects. Without much of a need for anything, the Yankees are out as trade partners. TRADE GRADE: F
Baltimore Orioles - The Orioles may be buyers for the first time in a long time. They could use a solid DH and a definite top of the rotation guy. Now that Jamie Moyer has been released, they still could be in the hunt for a starting pitcher. In return they have a great 3B prospect in Jonathan Schoop who was the Orioles Minor League Player of the Year. They also have Xavier Avery, an outfielder who has spent some time with the big club. TRADE GRADE: B+
Tampa Bay Rays - The Rays Rotation is full but they could use an outfielder. They have picked up Brooks Conrad off waivers and returned Jeff Keppinger from the DL, so paying for a DH is most likely not an option. The Rays are limited in the amount of money they have, so that could always play a huge factor in dealing with them. If you can work out the cash, you probably won’t get much at the major league level that can help you. Hey could look to Wade Davis or Burke Badenhop out of the bullpen. Most of their top prospects are already in the majors and the ones that aren’t won’t be major league ready until 2014 or so. TRADE GRADE: C-
Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox have already dealt Kevin Youkilis this year since the emergence of Will Middlebrooks. I think the Red Sox will wait a few weeks to decide if they are still in it. If they decide to sell, there is a plethora of players that could be on the move, including outfielder Ryan Sweeney. However with Boston being sellers, that means the Phillies would have to buy something that may not help them. If the Red Sox decide to buy, they will most likely be looking for starting pitching, so a lot will depend where the Phillies fall later in July. TRADE GRADE D
Toronto Blue Jays- Will the Blue Jays be buyers at the deadline? Probably not in a jam packer AL East. Plus their starting pitching is hurting right now. They did claim Jamie Moyer of waivers and a call up could happen. I think it’s already starting to spiral downward on the Blue Jays and they are still rebuilding, so I doubt they will give you something that can help. TRADE GRADE: D-
The AL Central title could be up for grabs. There are three teams in contention right now that could really use a spark to ignite their chances at a division crown.
Detroit Tigers – Detroit’s season has been disappointing thus far. Their pitching has been pretty good, but Rick Porcello is not exactly tearing it up. There is also a need for a solid defensive second baseman in Detroit, which would probably abandon their quest for a pitcher as well. If they should choose pitching Nick Castellanos is a third base prospect who is tearing the hide off the ball in the minors. He earned a promotion to AA ball earlier this season by hitting .405 in 55 games at single-A Lakeland. His OPS over that stretch was a 1.014. Since making the change to AA his averages have dipped a little bit, but is still batting over .300 and has hit 3 homers in 15 games. This guy should be on the radar of every team with a tradeable piece who need a future 3rd baseman TRADE GRADE: A-
Chicago White Sox – The White Sox made a splash already, acquiring Kevin Youlikis from the Red Sox. It is apparent that the White Sox will be looking for help and the Phillies could offer up some help, even though their GM told multiple reporters that the Sox might not be able to aquire anyone due to “low attendance”. The White Sox need some pitching with Phil Humber on the DL and Jon Danks still hurting. If the Phillies sell, the White Sox have s double-A Centerfielder in Jared Mitchell they could offer in return, or a corner outfielder in Trayce Thompson who is currently ranked #5 in the Sox system. He belted 24 Homers last year in the minors. TRADE GRADE: B-
Cleveland Indians – The Indians will most likely be in the hunt for a pitcher. The problem with dealing with the Indians is that we will be getting back most of our old prospects. The only starter who has an ERA below 4.00 is Justin Masterson, and he is just below a 4.00 ERA. The Phillies will be hesitant to trade with the Indians because there is nothing the Indians can give in return that we don’t already know about, but in a jam packed division, the Phillies could sell. TRADE GRADE: D-
Kansas City Royals – The Royals look like they are trying to sell, with making Jeff Francoeur, Jonathan Broxton and Bruce Chen available. Broxton has had a bounceback year after a terrible few years in LA and could bolster the bullpen. While the move wouldn’t be popular with the fans (people don’t seem to like him) you could give up minimal in return off the major league roster. If Broxton is back to his firethrowing ways, the Phillies could choose to use him to set up Papelbon. His salary is at $4 million which presents a small problem, but nothing the Phillies couldn’t work around. TRADE GRADE: B+
Minnesota Twins – The Twins will most likely be looking to move Francisco Liriano at the deadline for a bunch of prospects in return. Its safe to say that they will be sellers, so it is doubtful the Phillies could work out a deal with them. TRADE GRADE: F
Texas Rangers – The Rangers bullpen is just about where they want it and with an injury to Derek Holland (who is returning soon) and the signing of Roy Oswalt, their pitching depth looks all right as well. Their offense is pretty much unfair, so not much improvement is needed. However, the Rangers could go for broke this year as Josh Hamilton becomes a free agent in November. While a trade for a starter is not likely, it’s also not out of the question. TRADE GRADE: D-
Los Angeles Angels – The Angels payroll is pretty high and their GM has told reporters that his most likely moves will come from within to bolster their pitching depth. Their pitching is ranked 1st in the AL in numerous categories and their bats have started to wake up. Will probably watch the deadline come and go quietly. TRADE GRADE: F
Oakland Athletics – Oakland has a solid reliever in Grant Balfour that can really help the Phillies out. Balfour has a 2.68 ERA and has pitched 37 innings in 36 games. He has been closing some games for the A’s but could be better suited in a set-up role. The A’s will probably look for some good pitching prospects in return, so that could come at a price for the Phillies. TRADE GRADE: B
Seattle Mariners – Ken Rosenthal has suggested the Mariners trade Felix Hernandez, but they would be limited with trade partners due to his high salary. With the Marniers looking to build, and a pretty young team as it is, its hard to see them parting with anyone but Hernandez right now. Since they won’t be buyers, you can expect nothing to work out with them. TRADE GRADE: F
With all of these possibilities we have compiled over the past few days, it’s hard to imagine the Phillies getting increasingly better this year or any worse. We have known Ruben Amaro to bring in some incredible talent at the deadline, however so how could this year be any different?
*While this series of articles only represent a microcosm of the talent at the major and minor league levels, I tried to include the most valuable pieces the Phillies can offer and what they could get in return. I recognize that there are many players available and I would like to hear your opinions as well! Please leave your suggestions in the comments and I will try to write back to as many as I can!