Philadelphia Phillies: Trading for Competition

Eickhoff Has Earned His Rotation Spot with Durability, Consistency and All-Out Effort. Photo by Joe Camporeale – USA TODAY Sports.

After the first half of 2017, the front office will reassess their needs and in-house talent to determine the bottom two slots of the rotation for August, September or 2018; and general manager Matt Klentak of the Philadelphia Phillies will promote the top two candidates from the acquired arms in this competition at that time.

Tomorrow’s Rotation:  

Under the umbrella of one major decision, a number of choices, big or little, is not uncommon; but a misfortune or one major miscalculation could sour the overall outcome.

Eventually, the aging stars could no longer produce the magic of 2008, or – for that matter – remain healthy for an entire 162. So the plan was mostly to deal them for pitching prospects at Double-A and Triple-A. Basically, the red and white employed a numbers-game strategy: Management picked up as many arms as they could to increase the odds of finding a few gems.

For the 2014 MLB Draft, the Philadelphia Phillies changed direction by selecting college-level hurlers they could fast-track to the parent club. Aaron Nola joined the red pinstripes 13 months later, and he toed an MLB rubber for the second time the day after Cole Hamels‘ masterpiece against the Chicago Cubs. By that time, however, only three smaller moves had preceded the Hamels trade to the Texas Rangers.

In the lunchroom of a local manufacturing firm, a group of white-collar workers discussed the young pitching on the Phils. One boisterous guy pointed out the success of Jerad Eickhoff, who came from the Texas organization, and the barely tapped potential of Vince Velasquez. The flamethrower – the office worker verbalized – came from the Houston Astros in the Ken Giles swap. What happened to him?


“I think anything is possible if you have the mindset and the will and desire to do it and put the time in.” – Roger W. Clemens

The Best Way to Think About the Hitter for Nola Is to Prepare the Baseball for Battle, While the Defense Gets a Moment As Well. Photo by Jesse Johnson – USA TODAY Sports.

Reminding his coworker of other deals, his friend Joe pointed out that Zach Eflin came here in a three-way trade from the San Diego Padres for Jimmy Rollins, who landed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. And Joe noted that Jake Thompson and Alec Asher joined the Phillies from the Rangers as well. But although Asher will probably be the odd man out of these three, both he and Thompson need improvement to stick in the big leagues. With what, Joe? Consistency.


“He’s turned his life around. He used to be depressed and miserable. Now he’s miserable and depressed.” – Harry Kalas

But while Eickhoff, Velasquez, Eflin, Thompson and Asher were part of the acquisition process, they aren’t the only ones. Additionally, the competition for a rotation spot includes right-handers Ben Lively, Nick Pivetta and Mark Appel: Those three also came from other franchises. Lively was the cost to the Cincinnati Reds for Marlon Byrd, Pivetta was key for the Washington Nationals to secure Jonathan Papelbon‘s freedom from the locals, and Appel was another piece from Houston. Did you notice that the only youngster here who originally signed with the Phils was Nola? Lastly, one remaining question: Pitching-wise, what was the beginning of the end? The no-hitter!

If Velasquez Dials Up More Than His High-Velocity Smoke, He Will Be on His Way to a Successful Career. 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.


  • 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.

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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