The Phillies are looking to add some type of arm to the front of the rotation, with The Athletic’s Jayson Stark (Twitter connections) writing that the Phils want “a starter who can start a playoff game.To this end, the club have been linked with arms such as the Reds Tyler MahleAngels’ Noah Syndergaardand the pirates Jose Quintana — three of the most important starter launchers remaining in the commercial market.
Mahle is controlled throughout the 2023 season, while Syndergaard and Quintana would be pure rentals as players scheduled for free agency this winter. As such, Mahle would surely cost the most in a trade, and Syndergaard takes a small financial hit, with around $7.2 million still owed to him for the rest of the season. By contrast, Quintana only owes around $675,000 for the remainder of 2022, but Quintana also has a shaky balance sheet over the past few seasons before rebounding this year in Pittsburgh.
Dave Dombrowski, president of Philadelphia baseball operations, suggested earlier this week that his team hoped to bolster the rotation, but the Phils were also reluctant to deal with one of their top prospects. Stark backs up that claim, noting that the Phillies didn’t want to move any of the Mick Abel, Andre Painter Where Logan O’Hoppe (the Phils’ consensus top three prospects according to Baseball America and MLB Pipeline), or right-handed pitching prospects Griff McGarry Where Ben Brown. BA ranks McGarry fourth and Brown seventh in their Phillies prospect rankings, while Pipeline is a bit less optimistic, ranking McGarry eighth and Brown 26th.
Given that the Phillies’ system isn’t considered too deep overall, it’s no surprise the front office isn’t keen on parting ways with one of the relatively few premium names available to minors. However, as Stark observes, the Phils will struggle to get a top-tier pitch unless they’re open to trade prospects. Considering the interest Mahle has generated across the league and what the Reds just got from the Mariners in the castle louis agreement, it would seem nearly impossible for the Phillies to land Mahle without at least one of the top-notch prospects.
Syndergaard and Quintana would be priced lower as rental players, but Stark notes that Dombrowski also prefers controllable starters. That was Philadelphia’s strategy when landing Kyle Gibson from the Rangers at last year’s deadline, and landing a starter who is controlled until at least 2023 would give the Phillies some cover from Gibson and Zach Eflin both could be free agents this winter.
Rotation appears to be Philadelphia’s top priority at this point, as Stark says the Phillies aren’t focused on any bullpen moves at this time. It’s a little surprising given the Phils’ long-standing needs in the relief corps, but it could be that Dombrowski first explores his options with the rookie market before turning to the (relatively) easier route. to add lifters. Plus, virtually every suitor in baseball is looking for relievers right now, so Dombrowski could choose to make late hits after the first wave or two bullpen trades from the bullpen.