Philadelphia Phillies: Trade Bait

The Signs Are There for Hellickson: Klentak Will Move Him in July. Photo by Steve Mitchell – USA TODAY Sports.

Before pitchers and catchers even report to Clearwater, speculation for July’s end was already in an article, and it involved the Philadelphia Philles, their recently acquired starter and his former team.

The Deadline Ahead:    

Decisions like bills have a due date, but what happens between the present and the future determines the choices.

Confused by the recent swap for Clay Buchholz, Double D, a poster from another site, expressed uncertainty regarding the move by general manager Matt Klentak. Well, it blocks hurlers called-up during 2016 from making the Opening Day roster. However, the first replacement last season was near the end of April, and the promoted starters showed promise.

With Jeremy Hellickson, Buchholz, Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Nola and Vince Velasquez, the Philadelphia Phillies have their rotation. And you can almost hear an offseason call between Zach Eflin and Jake Thompson. Eflin states unless a starter isn’t healthy enough in late March, they’ll be teammates again with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. And competitors too.


“It’s not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome. That’s what defines your career.” – Carlton E. Fisk 

At Lehigh Valley, Eflin and Thompson will have company: right-handers Alec Asher, Ben Lively and Mark Appel. Additionally, Double D, southpaw Adam Morgan and righty Nick Pivetta will be in the mix, but Pivetta may return to the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils after only five starts last year with the IronPigs. On the other hand, Morgan could end up as a long man in Philly because he has shown improvement. And he’s a lefty.

After Spending the First Half in Allentown, Eflin Will Probably Rejoin the Five-Man Staff in July. Photo by Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY Sports.

Before camp opens next month, manager Pete Mackanin and pitching coach Bob McClure completely discuss Buchholz. The veteran hurler – they verbalize – has had an up-and-down career since 2012 and an injury-riddled history. Then, the conversation revolves around three possible replacements: Eflin, Thompson and Asher. Eflin would benefit from a few months at Triple-A after his knee operations, while the other two could work on their consistency.

Because of the new CBA (collective bargaining agreement), the red pinstripes will deal Hellickson and/or Buchholz. The organization can not extend the former a QO (qualifying offer), and the franchise can not receive a top draft pick for the latter. Ergo, the trading option will be the preferred route.


“There are more teams looking for pitchers than there are pitchers. That’s why it’s pricey.” – Brian Cashman 

To sum up, Double D, in July the Philadelphia Phillies will have available pitching: Hellickson and Buchholz. Also, they’ll soon have two open spots in the rotation for Eflin, Thompson, Asher and/or Lively. In other words, the club will have extra Triple-A pitching and an extra catcher besides the two experienced starters. And if the GM has a price, what will it be? A left-handed bat with power and/or a lefty reliever. So, what does Klentak have for the Phils’ needs? The bait!

Linked to the Success and Trade or the Failure and Poor Health of Buchholz, Thompson Will Probably Return for One Reason or Another. Photo by Eric Hartline – USA TODAY Sports.

The Numerical Bible:

This review is not a sabermetrics article, which means no heavy statistical analysis. But because some readers rely on stats, this is only a reference: no reason to articulate the importance of these numbers.

These numbers do not include any postseason activity. * He had 21 starts.


  • Hellickson, 29.5: 23 Gms., 189 Inn., 12-10, a 3.71 ERA, a 3.98 FIP, a 3.99 xFIP, a 4.15 SIERA, a 3.2 fWAR and a 1.15 WHIP.
  • *Buchholz, 32.5: 37 Gms., 139 1/3 Inn., 8-10, a 4.78 ERA, a 5.06 FIP, a 5.32 xFIP, a 5.09 SIERA, a 0.5 fWAR and a 1.33 WHIP.
  • Eickhoff, 26.5: 33 Gms., 197 1/3 Inn., 11-14, a 3.65 ERA, a 4.19 FIP, a 4.15 xFIP, a 4.05 SIERA, a 2.9 fWAR and a 1.16 WHIP.
  • Nola, 23.5: 20 Gms., 111 Inn., 6-9, a 4.78 ERA, a 3.08 FIP, a 3.08 xFIP, a 3.29 SIERA, a 2.8 fWAR and a 1.31 WHIP.
  • Velasquez, 24.5: 24 Gms., 131 Inn., 8-6, a 4.12 ERA, a 3.96 FIP, a 3.67 xFIP, a 3.62 SIERA, a 2.2 fWAR and a 1.33 WHIP.
  • Eflin, 22.5: 11 Gms., 63 1/3 Inn., 3-5, a 5.54 ERA, a 5.48 FIP, a 5.36 xFIP, a 5.41 SIERA, a 0.1 fWAR and a 1.33 WHIP.
  • Thompson, almost 23: 10 Gms., 53 2/3 Inn., 3-6, a 5.70 ERA, a 6.17 FIP, a 5.64 xFIP, a 5.68 SIERA, a -0.4 fWAR and a 1.51 WHIP.
  • Asher, 25: 5 Gms., 27 2/3 Inn., 2-1, a 2.28 ERA, a 3.33 FIP, a 5.08 xFIP, a 5.12 SIERA, a 0.6 fWAR and a 0.94 WHIP.
  • *Morgan, almost 27: 23 Gms., 113 1/3 Inn., 2-11, a 6.04 ERA, a 4.98 FIP, a 4.42 xFIP, a 4.33 SIERA, a 0.6 WAR and a 1.50 WHIP.

Triple-A Pitching:

  • Lively, almost 25: 19 Gms., 117 2/3 Inn., 11-5, a 3.06 ERA, a 3.51 FIP and a 0.93 WHIP.
  • Appel, 25.5: 8 Gms., 38 1/3 Inn., 3-3, a 4.46 ERA, a 4.06 FIP and a 1.57 WHIP.
  • Piveta, 25: 5 Gms., 24 2/3 Inn., 1-2, a 2.55 ERA, a 3.49 FIP and a 1.22 WHIP.

Double-A Pitching:

  • Piveta, 25: 22 Gms., 124 Inn., 11-6, a 3.41 ERA, a 3.75 FIP and a 1.20 WHIP.

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