It’s only June and the Phillies look to be already out of the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, barring any miracles. The Phillies will be looking to move some players, most of whom they signed to short-term deals to fill spots on the roster in hope of flipping them at the trade deadline for something of value. Let’s take a look at the players who could generate the most value if dealt at the trade deadline.
1. INF/LF Howie Kendrick .333 AVG/2 HR/8 RBI’s/.378 OBP/.522 SLG/.900 OPS:
The Phillies acquired Howie Kendrick in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers this past offseason and he has arguably been the Phillies most consistent bat in the lineup. Kendrick started off the year hitting safely in eight of 10 games in April, including three multi-hit games and four doubles.
The 33-year-old landed on the disabled list for over a month with an oblique injury, but since returning, Kendrick has not missed a beat, maintaining a steady average in the .330’s, and has showcased some power with two home runs. Two things that are attractive about Kendrick is his ability to play multiple positions and his strikeout rate is low. Teams down the stretch are always looking for extra bats so there could be a strong chance to get a prospect or two in exchange for Kendrick.
2. SU Pat Neshek 1-1/0.82 ERA/22 IP/21 K’s:
The Phillies also acquired Pat Neshek via trade during the offseason from the Houston Astros in exchange for a player to be named and he has become an instant fan favorite. His reactions and antics have captivated Phillies fans and his strong start to the season just recently won him the closer job for the Phillies, taking over for Hector Neris.
This funky right-hander boasts an ERA under 1.00 and has struck out 21 batters in 22 innings pitched while only walking four batters. His odd delivery and tremendous slider makes him effective against both righties and lefties, holding each to a below .200 average.
Neshek could generate one of the biggest returns for the Phillies with relief pitching always in high demand and teams in the hunt want to have stout bullpens for October. Neshek will not be surprised if he’s traded at some point, but he has enjoyed his time in Philadelphia.
3. SP Jeremy Hellickson 5-3/4.50 ERA/66 IP/19 BB/28 K’s:
The Phillies couldn’t have asked for a better to start to the 2017 season from Hellickson, who went 4-0 in April with a 1.80 ERA, pitching five innings or more each start and didn’t allow more than two runs in all five April starts.
Since then, Hellickson has one win in his last seven starts and has given up a home run in six of those seven starts. Glaring for Hellickson is the rise of walks from April into May and June. Hellickson only walked three batters in 30 innings pitched in April, but walked 12 batters in 30 2/3 innings pitched in May and walked four in his lone start in June.
If Hellickson can regain half of the stuff he had in April and lower his ERA into the 3.50 range, playoff contenders will have a close eye on him for possible starting pitching depth or someone just to eat up some innings for them. The upside for a deal involving Hellickson could end up being pretty good with some teams being desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to win now.
4. 2B César Hernández .282 AVG/5 HR/14 RBI’s//10 2B/40 R/.341 OBP/.747 OPS:
Hernández would be higher on the list if I was convinced with the Phillies absolutely pulling the trigger on dealing Hernández. However, with Scott Kingery tearing it up in Double-A and only a matter of time before he gets promoted to Triple-A, Hernández is expendable. The switch-hitting second baseman is heading 27-years-old and got off to a torrid start in April, posting a .323 batting average, scoring 20 runs and launched a surprising four home runs, which led the Phillies for some time.
Since then Hernández’s average has dropped all the way down to .282 after only hitting .245 in May and he didn’t have any triples in May. Hernández is starting to find his groove again in June, batting .286 through seven games in the month. The Phillies selling high on Hernández could end up benefiting them a lot if done correctly, but again not sure how much of a chance this has of actually happening.
5. RF Michael Saunders .210 AVG/6 HR/19 RBI’s/.258 OBP/.371 SLG/.629:
Philadelphia signed Michael Saunders to a one-year, eight-million-dollar deal in January of this year with a club option for 2018, immediately penciling him in as their starting right fielder. The hope was the Phillies would get the Michael Saunders who put up all-star numbers for part of the 2016 season, but it seems the Phillies have been stuck with second-half Michael Saunders.
Saunders, behind Clay Buchholz has been the most disappointing offseason addition for the Phillies, barely supplying any production and with the power being just about nonexistent. Saunders’ strikeout rate has been atrocious and he has only generated eleven walks in 186 at-bats. On the bright side, his fielding has remained solid, only committing one error in right field, which is the only one he has committed in 1388 1/3 innings playing the position.
Teams will still be giving him a look because he can play all three outfield positions and could end up being a nice lefty bat off the bench with some pop. If Saunders can catch fire, even just for a little bit, it could up his value significantly for the Phillies.
Guys like Howie Kendrick, Pat Neshek, Jeremy Hellickson, Michael Saunders and Joaquin Benoit (not on the list) should be traded at the trade deadline or at some point during season because there isn’t really going to be a reason to keep any of them. It would be interesting if the Phillies did trade César Hernández and it would say a lot about the confidence the club has in the kids.