The Phillies have the worst record in baseball as the All-Star break approaches and in Philadelphia, fans know what that means. It’s time to start trade talks.
Philly will no doubt be sellers as the deadline approaches on July 31, and despite their less than mediocre play (they have 58 losses already, just shy of clinching a 100-loss season) they do have a few trade chips who can, at the very least, bring back some mid-level prospects.
1. Pat Neshek
Named to his second-ever All-Star team, Neshek is a stellar veteran arm and has a 1.31 ERA and a top 10 WHIP and walk ratio. He’ll be a highly-desired piece for any contending team, though a non-closing reliever likely will not net a huge return. He is easily the most likely to be moved. The Royals, Yankees and Red Sox have reportedly been scouting the side-armer.
2. Jeremy Hellickson
The Phillies had a chance to trade Hellickson last season but did not pull the trigger despite his performance as the best starter from the 2016 campaign. This season he is 5-5 with a 4.49 ERA, up from 3.71 last season. He could be a solid fifth arm in a contending rotation and trading him would open a spot for a young farmhand like Tom Eshelman.
3. Hector Neris
Neris, 28, is a little young to be shopped hard as a reliever and could have a bright future but the Phillies could leverage him — a young solid arm — and get a relatively good return from a team in need of bullpen help. The sometimes closer has a 3.38 ERA and seven saves.
4. Tommy Joseph
Joseph is 25-years-old and has 15 home runs and has the second-most extra base hits this month with seven. But he has shown not to be a middle-order average hitter and his power seems to be above average at best. Perhaps it’s time to take a risk and open up the logjam that is blocking minor league All-Star and home run leader Rhys Hoskins from making it to The Show. Phillies GM Matt Klentak said Hoskins and Joseph “cannot exist on the same team,” and officials have seemed resistant to try either in the outfield.
5. Maikel Franco
Franco is another reportedly available player with a high asking price. Franco has been wildly inconsistent, ranging from playing like the future cleanup hitter for a Phillies contender to a sub Mendoza-line hitter at the bottom of the order. Maybe a chance of scenery can help the 24-year-old with a very high ceiling to reach his potential.