When the Phillies fired Joe Girardi on June 3rd, the team had a dismal 22-29 record. Jean Segura, one of the club’s best hitters the first two months of the season, had just broken his finger a few days earlier. It appeared the club with the longest postseason drought in the National League was well on its way to another finish out of the playoffs. Regardless of injury, with the implementation of the extra wild card spot in each league and the amount of money the front office spent in the offseason (Castellanos, Schwarber, Bullpen, etc.), this would come as a huge disappointment.
One would like to think the wheels would continue to fall off, but the Rob Thomson wagon hasn’t gone off course. The rookie manager and longtime bench coach of Joe Girardi had the team playing winning baseball in no time, and by the end of the first half, the Phillies are 6 games over the .500 mark with a 49-43 record. You heard that right. That’s why I love baseball. Anything can happen in America’s Pastime.
Did I mention Bryce Harper hasn’t played in 3 weeks? Anyway, Bryce is a baseball warrior, and mark my words, he will be back at some point in 2022. The Phillies need to do everything in their power to make sure his return will include a playoff birth. So what can they do to make that happen?
There is this old theory that goes, “You can never have enough pitching”, and the Phillies front office should invest in this style of thinking. The bullpen, for one, could use another late-inning reliever to help lock down the end of ballgames. The rotation should be a point of emphasis as well, especially with Zach Eflin’s injury history, and the in-house depth options lacking.
With that being said, here are five pitchers the Phillies should consider heading into the 2022 trade deadline. Let’s break it down:
Chafin has spent the majority of his career pitching in the National League with the DiamondBacks. After signing with Detroit this past winter, it appears he could be someone the Tigers look to move, should they look to sell at the deadline. They are playing well under the .500 mark, so the southpaw may look to opt out after this year should a better opportunity present itself. The man many baseball fans know as “Big Country”, had put together a very nice season.
Givens is someone I have had an interest in since he pitched in the backend of the Orioles bullpen in the late 2010s. This season he is with the Chicago Cubs, another team that could look to sell come late July, or even sooner. In my opinion, why wait to add another bullpen arm if the opportunity presents itself? Givens would be easier to acquire than Chafin, considering he signed just a 1-year contract. Like Chafin, Givens has had a strong 2022 campaign.
Unlike the previous two names mentioned, Minor is a starting pitcher and is having a disastrous 2022 campaign by his career standards. To put it in perspective, the 11-year veteran has a career ERA of 4.18. This season with the Reds, Minor has an ERA north of 6 and holds a 1-6 record in 8 starts. The lefty could be an arm to buy low on, and I would be open to trying him out in the bullpen. He had great success in the bullpen with Kansas City earlier in his career. He is also a former teammate of Kyle Gibson. A trade could make sense for both parties.
Loup had a brief stint with the Phillies in Gabe Kapler’s first year as Phillies manager in 2018. Rob Thomson, now a first-year skipper in his own right, would sure appreciate having the leverage of another left-handed veteran option out of the back end of the bullpen. Although Loup has regressed in 2022 with the Angles, he performed great last year when called upon with the Mets. His Angels teammate Archie Bradley is also someone I would consider bringing back to pitch in relief, however, his most recent trip to the injured list put an end to that idea.
Perez threw in yesterday’s midsummer classic and is a first-time all-star this season. He returned to Texas where he debuted back in 2012 this past offseason, and his command on the mound looks better than ever before. The Phillies and Rangers have a trade history as well from Michael Young, to Cole Hamels, to Kyle Gibson, so the two organizations have always been able to work something out. This is especially the case since Jon Daniels took over as Rangers GM at the young age of 28 in December of 2005.
To put this all in perspective, before the 2009 season, Daniels helped orchestrate a trade that sent John Mayberry Jr. to the Phillies organization for outfielder Greg Golson. At the time of the trade, then Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. stated he was looking to make a speed for power swap regarding outfielders. 2 years later in 2011, Mayberry hit a career-high 15 home runs to help the Phillies win a franchise-best 102 games. The team has not made the playoffs since.
A huge reason the Phillies have not broken this drought is that their pitching depth, or lack thereof, has come back to haunt them. The pitching staff should be addressed so history does not repeat itself. I still have nightmares thinking about some of the names that made up our Opening Day 2020 bullpen…
Stay tuned for Part 2 in the coming days where we will look at 5 position players the Phillies should consider before August 2nd’s MLB trade deadline.