As Major League Baseball’s nonwaiver trade deadline inches closer, the Philadelphia Phillies have a variety of appealing assets to deal. What may end up having the most impact on Philadelphia’s future, however, is which young players general manager Matt Klentak decides to promote in the wake of any possible trades.
The Phillies’ most valuable chip is Jeremy Hellickson, who has dealt with trade rumors seemingly since Philadelphia signed him. The veteran right-hander has been a stable presence in the starting rotation, posting a 3.84 ERA in 20 starts, and while MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies, “according to those familiar with their thinking, do not feel compelled to trade Hellickson,” there has been significant interest from other teams.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported Saturday that the Miami Marlins, as well as the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals could be all be suitors for the 29-year-old.
If the Phillies find an offer they like from one of those teams, or any other, for Hellickson’s services, Jake Thompson, who is in Triple-A with Lehigh Valley is one of the leading candidates to fill that spot in the rotation. Thompson was a surprising omission from the Triple-A All-Star Game due to a 7-5 record, and 2.58 ERA at the break —both of which have improved in the second half.
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Another prospect who could soon find himself in red pinstripes is Jorge Alfaro, the young catcher that Philadelphia acquired in the deal for Cole Hamels. MLBNetwork’s Jon Morosi has suggested that due to his defensive value, Carlos Ruiz could be a fit in a trade with the Cleveland Indians, who have lost starting catcher Yan Gomes to injury for the next two months.
If Klentak were to make a deal involving Ruiz, Alfaro certainly seems to have outgrown the minor leagues. In 69 games at Double-A Reading, the 23-year-old has been dominant on both sides of the ball. Alfaro is hitting .290 with 11 homeruns and 49 RBI, and has thrown out 42 percentof the base runners who have tried to steal on him.
Philadelphia may not be acquiring Chris Sale or Aroldis Chapman at the deadline, but what Matt Klentak does —even with the more minor pieces on his roster — will heavily dictate the course of the organization going forward. And while it may not be time for top prospects such as J.P. Crawford and Nick Williams to suit up for Philadelphia just yet, fans should be excited to see players such as Alfaro and Thompson reach the next level.
With contracts like Ruiz’s and Ryan Howard’s coming off the books, and a youth movement rapidly developing in the Phillies’ farm system, the future is bright in Philadelphia and could be materializing far sooner than expected.