The Phillies are attempting to remedy their starting-pitching situation before Major League Baseball’s trade deadline on Jul. 31.
Staying true to form, general manager Matt Klentak is going big-game hunting in the process.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Phillies have had discussions with the Cleveland Indians regarding a deal involving Trevor Bauer.
It’s become expected for the Phillies GM to go after the biggest names available on the market. He’s coming off a winter spending spree that yielded Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, and JT Realmuto, making the Phillies an early NL East favorite.
Bauer is one of the top pitching talents available on the trade market this summer, though he is experiencing a dip in production.
Following an All-Star campaign in 2018 in which he went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA, Bauer is 9-7 with a 3.49 ERA. Still, those are not bad numbers considering he’s applying his trade in the American League.
The 28-year-old provided a glimpse of what he can offer to his potential suitors on Tuesday in Toronto against the Blue Jays where he recorded 7.2 innings of shutout ball while striking out nine.
Bauer is under team control through 2020 — albeit through arbitration — meaning the asking price from the Indians might be somewhat lofty.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic added that the Indians could be looking for immediate MLB talent. That bodes well for a Phillies team whose farm system is thin.
It remains to be seen, however, what the Phillies would be willing to part with to obtain Bauer.
He would immediately slot in at the top end of Philadelphia’s rotation behind Aaron Nola, creating a much-needed, formidable one-two punch.
The Phillies’ starting rotation ERA is at 4.93 around the 100-game mark, which ranks 17th in the majors. While it’s a middle-of-the-pack number, that won’t cut it for a National League East side with playoff aspirations.
Bauer’s presence would also take some pressure off the shoulders — or elbow — of Jake Arrieta, who is pitching with a sizable bone spur as the rotation’s No. 2 arm.
If Arrieta’s injury becomes too much to take, the Phillies would at least have an upgrade in Bauer to fall back on.
The Phillies have also been linked with Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Matthew Boyd and Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke this summer.