Phillies trade deadline: Breaking down potential fits, needs, best targets
The Phillies are contending for the first time in years, so how can they supplement the roster?
After five straight playoff appearances that included a World Series title and two pennants, things went off the rails in Philly and they were forced to rebuild. The rebuild is starting to bear fruit now, with the Phillies hanging toward the top of the NL and looking like a legitimate contender.
The future is bright and shouldn't be messed with, but flags fly forever and the Phillies can't be sure they are going to contend next year or in two or three years. It's a balancing act here for general manager Matt Klentak leading to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
The biggest short-term void right now is shortstop, as J.P. Crawford hasn't yet panned out and is hurt while rookie Scott Kingery has struggled for most of the year. Perhaps the Phillies could add a second baseman and flip Cesar Hernandez to short if the price of a few months of a second baseman is better than a shortstop, but short should be the primary concern.
Also, a right-handed or switch-hitting right fielder to platoon with Nick Williams in right or just take over couldn't hurt.
As with every contender, pitching depth is a concern (Cole Hamels reunion?), but it's not a focus so we'll leave that alone for now.
Possible infield targets
Boom. The top prize. Machado is an elite player who fits right into the middle of the lineup and changes everything. Reports of late indicate the Phillies believe the Orioles' asking price is too high, but things can change. The later in the month it gets, if the Phillies keep playing good baseball while the Orioles aren't getting offers they like, that's how things come back together.
Solarte, 31, can handle second, third or short, meaning he's a really nice fit here. He has several seasons of above-average offensive performance on his player resume and comes with a pretty handy contract. That is, there's a $5.5 million team option for 2019 and an $8 million team option for 2020, so the Phillies could hang onto him for 2 1/2 years or simply let him walk after this season. He's definitely no Machado, but Solarte would be a quality addition for the Phillies.
Grabbing the Reds' second baseman would mean moving Hernandez to short, as already noted, so there's probably some defensive sacrifice here. The Phillies needs life on offense, though, and Gennett is one of the best hitting second basemen in baseball. It's been a year and a half, too, so it's not a fluke. He wouldn't hit free agency until after 2019, either.
Unfortunately, Iglesias doesn't represent a big offensive upgrade at short, though he's better than what they've gotten so far. Plus, he's a dazzling defender. He hits free agency after the season.
Possible right field targets
Jones has 10-and-5 veto rights, so the Phillies would likely have to convince him to move to right field. He's been a center fielder basically his entire career, but has lost significant range the last few years and probably needs to move anyway. He could help the offense, though he's not a star anymore.
Unfortunately, pretty much everyone else who would make sense here (Corey Dickerson, Derek Dietrich, Curtis Granderson) swings the bat left-handed and likely isn't good enough to justify dealing for and then starting every single day over Williams.
Choo might fit the bill and might only cost money. He's having possibly the best year of his career and is due $21 million in each 2019 and 2020. If the Phillies decide they want to take that on in order to grab his bat, he works here.
One has to wonder what impact that would have on Machado or Bryce Harper pursuit this coming offseason.
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