The Philadelphia Phillies are in the unenviable position of being caught in the middle. The National League East was supposed to be one of the best divisions in the Majors. Instead, only one team is over .500. With that being said, it is still a tight race for the top spot. The New York Mets lead the East and the Atlanta Braves just traded for Joc Pederson to replace their injured superstar Ronlad Acuna Jr. What will the Phillies do?
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Rank: Third in the NL East, 4 games back
Philadelphia has a solid lineup when healthy. Although they are in the middle of the pack in most offensive categories, Bryce Harper, Didi Gregorius, and Jean Segura have all missed over 20 games this season. They are back to full force now. So, the real dilemma is the Phillies staff. Their bullpen has been particularly bad with a 4.74 ERA and a WHIP of 1.414. The staff as a whole has surrendered 129 home runs, which is tied for the second-most in the NL.
Zack Wheeler has been outstanding and Aaron Nola has been much better than his 4.64 ERA would indicate. Unfortunately, Zach Eflin is on the IL and right now it is unclear when he will be back. He needs to be replaced as the Phillies would like to bring Spencer Howard along slowly. Also, Vince Velazquez and Matt Moore don’t exactly inspire confidence.
The Texas Rangers will obviously be sellers at the deadline and Gibson is having an excellent year. He has a 2.87 ERA and while he isn’t a strikeout artist like some others on the market, the big righty limits hard contact and keeps the ball in the yard. The former first-round pick is also signed through next season at a manageable price ($7.67 million plus incentives). Acquiring Gibson may require the Phillies to part with a top 10 prospect as he will be a sought-after arm leading into Friday.
Davies is another pitcher in the same mold as Gibson. He isn’t going to blow anyone away, but he knows how to pitch. The Cubs right-hander has had control issues this season, leading the NL in walks (54). He has managed to work around them and since May 1, Davies has a solid 3.12 ERA. He is also very affordable making only $8.63 million this year. With the Phillies up against the luxury tax threshold, the Cubs starter is a frugal option.
The arm-dangling veteran has seemingly taken a dip in the Fountain of Youth this year. In 2019-2020, it looked like Kimbrel fell off the proverbial cliff. This year he has been arguably the best closer in baseball. He has allowed only 12 hits and two earned runs in 35.1 innings while striking out 61. While the Phillies need to address their rotation, adding a closer of Kimbrel’s stature will have a ripple effect throughout the team and allow Joe Girardi to use Hector Neris, Jose Alvarado, and the rest of the bullpen more appropriately.
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