A 51.9 percent chance. That’s the percentage chance Baseball Reference has given the Philadelphia Phillies at making this year’s postseason. After a 22-29 start under manager Joe Girardi, the Phillies’ front office elected to show the former New York Yankees skipper the door, handing the reins to then-bench coach Rob Thomson.
The team has clearly responded to the move, as Philadelphia has gone 20-9 since. Currently 42-38. the Phillies are just 1.5 games back of a Wild Card spot. In other words, they’re right in it. That means that when the Aug. 2 MLB Trade Deadline rolls around, the front office needs to be in it to win it as well.
Philadelphia has looked the part of a contending team lately, but that doesn’t mean they’re without weaknesses. A powerful lineup has some holes in it still, especially with Bryce Harper injured, while a back-end starting pitcher wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider looking into.
Above all, the Phillies must address a bullpen that, while perhaps improved a bit under Thomson, continues to be the weakness of the team. With those specific areas in mind, here are the top targets the Phillies can deal for at the MLB trade deadline.
*Watch MLB Games LIVE with fuboTV (click for free trial)*
Phillies Top 3 Targets at MLB Trade Deadline
3. Andrew Benintendi
The Phillies have been linked to Kansas City Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi, as MLB Network’s Jon Morosi mentioned the club as a possible suitor for the 27-year-old outfielder after the injury to last year’s National League MVP, Bryce Harper.
While an injury to Harper is a perfectly good reason to pursue Benintendi, who is having an excellent season, there might be a better motivator for Philadelphia: Odubel Herrera is just not cutting it at the moment.
Herrera is batting just .242 with a .685 OPS. Normally a contact-oriented hitter, the center fielder has seen his strikeout rate balloon to 20.5 percent after he made huge strides in that department last year.
Perhaps the one thing keeping him in the lineup is his glove, as he remains an excellent defender. However, there’s no doubt that the Phillies could use more offense out of their center fielder.
Enter Benintendi. The lefty-swinging Royals outfielder is batting .308 this season with a .374 OBP. He has consistently found himself on base for a bad Kansas City team, which has, predictably, failed to drive him in.
However, insert the former Boston Red Sox outfielder into a lineup with the likes of Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, Nick Castellanos and Harper, when healthy, and the results would surely be better.
As Morosi mentioned, Benintendi is connected to Phillies president Dave Dombrowski, who was his general manager with the Boston Red Sox.
A natural corner outfielder, Benintendi did play center earlier in his career. He would be much more productive at the plate than Herrera.
2. David Robertson
The Chicago Cubs appear headed toward another MLB trade deadline as sellers. Perhaps their best trade chip at the moment is closer David Robertson, who has pitched to a 1.72 ERA in 31 1/3 innings.
While it might not be the best idea to add another right-hander to a Phillies bullpen filled with them, Robertson is equally tough on lefties and righties. Along with Corey Knebel, Brad Hand and Seranthony Dominguez, the Cubs reliever would give Thomson another late-inning arm to count on.
With experience as both a setup man and a closer, Robertson could fit in whatever role the Phillies envision for him out of the bullpen. His best quality might just be his experience in the postseason, as he has appeared in 33 playoff games.
For a Phillies team that is looking to play into October, a battle-tested reliever would be a welcome addition to the back end of the bullpen at the MLB trade deadline.
1. Frankie Montas
The MLB trade deadline market figures to focus on Cincinnati Reds ace Luis Castillo. However, Oakland Athletics right-hander Frankie Montas might be a close second. Montas, 29, has one year of arbitration left and then becomes a free agent in 2024, which makes him a desirable trade target.
He’s also an excellent pitcher, having recorded a 3.26 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 96 2/3 innings. However, he has lost nine games for a cellar-dwelling A’s team.
Oakland has to make the tough decision and trade Montas at the deadline. While he won’t come cheap, the Phillies should be one of the first teams to pick up the phone and inquire about a deal for him.
Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler have been brilliant for Philly this year, but after that, the question marks begin. Zach Eflin has been pretty dependable, though he hasn’t been able to get past a sore knee, which has seen him placed on the injured list.
Kyle Gibson and Ranger Suarez have had their moments, both good and bad. It’s clear that the Phillies could use another starter.
Montas would instantly slot in as the third hurler behind Nola and Wheeler, giving the Phillies an impressive trio. The Phillies should trade for him at the deadline.