The Philadelphia Phillies have left their fans’ heads spinning over the past two weeks playing extremely streaky ball. After the abysmal sweep by the Baltimore Orioles, the Phillies bounced back with four straight wins. It looked as though they had turned the corner before a five-game losing streak hit them head-on. Going into Sunday Night Baseball against the Atlanta Braves on August 23, the Phillies were in desperate need of a win. Luckily they had much-needed bullpen reinforcement on its way in the form of David Hale, Heath Hembree, and Brandon Workman. The Phillies have since rattled off a league-best five-game winning streak leading into another Sunday Night Baseball clash against the Braves.
Phillies Upcoming Schedule
The Philadelphia Phillies currently sit at 14-14 and just two games back of the first-place Braves heading into Sunday’s series finale. After Thursday’s series finale against the Washington Nationals was postponed in protest of racial and social injustice, the Phillies will play four home games in a row against the Nats starting on Monday.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 27, 2020
National League East play will continue for the Philadelphia Phillies without any rest as they will head to Citi Field to take on the New York Mets for four straight starting on Friday, September 4. The Phillies will not have another off day until the following Wednesday after taking on the Boston Red Sox at home in a doubleheader on Tuesday, September 8. It is safe to say this upcoming stretch should determine the Phillies playoff fortunes.
Phillies Next Move
Despite adding Workman and Hembree who bring a wealth of experience to the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen, Matt Klentak should not be done yet. There are a couple of avenues to explore for a Phillies team that is now smack in the middle of the playoff picture. Before the August 31st deadline the Phillies should target back-end starting pitching, one more experienced reliever, and/or a utility bat. Here are some names the Phillies could and should target in order.
RHP Mychal Givens BAL
Mychal Givens has been one of the most talked about names on the relief pitching market for a while now. The Orioles were hanging onto playoff hope, but it seems like their magic has finally worn off. At 14-17 it is likely the Orioles have converted to sellers and Givens offers the most value on the roster with his 1.38 ERA and 13.2 K/9.
LHP Daniel Norris DET
Daniel Norris seems like the perfect fit for the Phillies current needs. At 15-16 the Detroit Tigers are borderline sellers in the new playoff format, but they have to realize they are fighting a very uphill battle. Norris could be just the left-handed swing starter/reliever the Phillies are lacking at the moment. Norris has pitched to a 2.40 ERA in 15 innings mostly out of the bullpen this season.
RHP Johnny Cueto SF
Johnny Cueto would be a major splash for the Phillies if they are willing to make the push in 2020. The starting pitching has been solid for the Phillies this year, but there is a major drop-off at the back-end. Assuming the San Francisco Giants are willing to eat most of his enormous salary, Cueto could make a lot of sense for the Phillies. He has struggled so far in 2020 but is as playoff experienced as anybody on the market.
2B Jonathan Schoop DET
Talk about a splash, acquiring Jonathan Schoop would put the Phillies offense in the category of best in the entire league. Schoop is currently having his best season since his All-Star bid in 2017 where he hit 32 homers and drove in 105. Second base has been the Phillies biggest weakness in the lineup but the question is do they still have faith in Scott Kingery to turn it around this year? After all, he did hit a walk-off home run for his first homer of the season on Friday, August 28.
LHP Tony Watson SF
Tony Watson could be the most attractive left-handed arm on the market if the Giants end up selling at the deadline. Currently, at 16-19 it seems likely they will be unloading veterans. At 35, Watson certainly fits this category pitching phenomenally on the season with a 0.93 ERA in nine and two-thirds innings of work.
2B Hanser Alberto BAL
Here’s a sneaky name as Hanser Alberto has been at the top of the batting title race in the American League all season long. Currently hitting .331 the 27-year-old could be a blockbuster option to target in a package deal with a guy like Givens. Alberto can be controlled until 2022.
LHP Robbie Ray ARI
This is a hesitant one but Robbie Ray could be a cheap option for the Phillies if they are willing to take the chance. With an ERA close to 8.00 and a free agent at the end of the season, the lefty likely would not haul much in return. Maybe a change of teams would be good for Ray and help him get back to his 2017 form. It’s worth a shot if the price is right.
UTIL Wilmer Flores SF
This is another under-the-radar name who could serve as the super-utility bat the Phillies are looking for in a playoff push. Wilmer Flores is a quality contact hitter who has surprisingly hit seven homers this year while floating close to the .300 mark. With Neil Walker struggling of late, Flores could be just the guy to add depth to this lineup.
Embed from Getty Images