After going out last week and getting three relievers, the Phillies are still looking at acquiring some help. According to the Phillies’ guru, Jim Salisbury, at NBC Sports Philadelphia, the team is said to be on the hunt for more reinforcements for what will be a fast sprint to the finish.
With the pandemic throwing a wrench in the year, teams are only allowed to trade players in their 60 man pools at the moment. All other players are still eligible to be traded, however they will be not named and instead be listed as players to be named later, or the infamous PTBNL. To me, the Phillies’ only have three untouchable players in Spencer Howard, Alec Bohm, and Mick Abel. However, players like Francisco Morales, Bryson Stott, and Rafael Marchan are really only going to be moved in the unlikely blockbuster.
On Wednesday, I did a recap of pieces I thought the Phillies could go after. Today, lets look at prospects that could be used to acquire those players.
RHP Adonis Medina
What a frustrating couple of years it has been for Medina. Once upon a time, he was almost as highly thought of as Sixto Sanchez, just without the pure stuff.
In 2019, Medina was a completely different pitcher than he was previously. He had lost almost three mph on his fastball, going from 94-97 to sitting more in the 90-94 range. While the changeup still flashed as plus, he stopped throwing his slider and relied on his curveball, which was average at best.
While he definitely has lost some of the luster that he once had, the potential and talent Medina has is still there. His fastball still has plus movement, as it has become more of a sinker; whereas it was more of a four seamer to start his career. The plus changeup is still there and he added the slider back into the repertoire to begin Spring Training.
While his size won’t allow him hold up with a starter’s workload, he still has the ability to be a productive late inning reliver if he puts it all together.
With the bullpen being relied on more and more in today’s game, a rebuilding team might not be able to pass up the chance a 23 year old with Medina’s potential.
I know most of you reading are probably shaking your head at Moniak being mentioned as a trade chip. I completely understand why you would.
Being judged strictly on being the No. 1 overall pick makes his early career struggles look even more disastrous. Picking players that high makes the expectation levels soar, but after the Phillies drafted him, it didn’t matter. What matters now is how he can help a MLB team at his current state, not what would/could/should have been.
Being drafted as a player with a advanced hit tool, Moniak has still shown glimpses of it in the minor leagues. His swing is still smooth and makes contact at a reasonable clip. However, he swings at far too many pitches out of the zone. Pair that with being a line drive hitter as opposed to a big power guy, and you get weak grounders and flyballs.
This Spring Training, Moniak showed up visibly stronger than in prior seasons, and could project for 15-20 HRs in the future. He will probably never be an every day starter, as he is completely helpless against southpaws, but he should be able to at least contribute as a No. 4 outfielder.
He still has a shot to stick in centerfield due to his above average speed, but he’ll never be the plus defender he was projected to be at 18 (crazy to think about all these projections we put on kids). His age definitely plays in his favor, as he is still only 21 years old and there are still growth years to be had for the kid from California.
Moniak definitely still has a future in the league, regardless of what you hear from the typical cynical Philadelphia sports fan. Whether it’s in Philly, or somewhere else.
RHP Mauricio Llovera
Llovera is part of the upper minors pitching depth that the Phillies have recently seemed to accrue. While primarily being used as a starter for most of his professional career, his stuff will play up in the bullpen. That is, until an injury made him lose some bite off of it. His stocky frame and high effort delivery make it almost a certainty, as well.
When last pitching in a relief role, Llovera’s fastball sat 94 to 97 while topping out at 99. His splitter has always flashed plus potential, and some people believe a consistent role in the bullpen could help give it more nastiness. His slider is more of an average pitch that mixes in with his other pitches, but as Hector Neris has shown us this year, it is very hard to be a consistently effective pitcher in the Majors when your only offspeed pitch is a split.
Have it not been for the craziness of 2020, the Phillies would have again ran him as a starter again, beginning with another turn at Reading. With the lost season, however, the Phillies may be inclined to move him to the bullpen full time since he will be 25 years old come next season.
The arm injury last year is definitely concerning, and Llovera will only be able to reach this type of production if his stuff returns to pre-injury form. I haven’t heard much about his progress from satellite camp, but the stuff he possesses just doesn’t grow on trees. If the Phillies are really intent on upgrading the roster somewhere, Llovera could very well be a piece a team could come calling about.
Aparicio would fall under the PTBNL category of this list. The Phillies might not be deep with talent everywhere in their farm system, but one position they have a lot of depth is catcher.
With the likes of Aparicio, the aforementioned Marchan, Logan O’Hoppe, and Andrick Nava being all within the top-30 prospects in my opinion, there is definitely an excess.
The Phillies have made acquiring young athletic catchers a priority in not only the draft, but also in international free agency. Aparicio, signing for a big bonus of $475,000 in 2016, was signed as a catcher after playing infield for most of his life. He is not a good defender behind the plate, but his hands and arm make it more likely that, with work, he can stay there long term. Where his value really comes through is with this bat.
A thick kid, Aparicio makes a ton of loud contact. He doesn’t walk consistently and will strike out more than you would like, but his makes enough contact to make up for those qualities. He is definitely more of a line drive hitter and will never be a consistent homerun threat, but all he did in Williamsport last year was have a 33% line drive rate. It seemed all he did was hit doubles and triples.
With his defensive limitations, it seems likely he’ll be a major leaguer at either catcher, first base or designated hitter. With the NL going to the DH in 2020, I don’t ever see a return to the pitchers getting at bats. A player with Aparicio’s bat, chances of becoming a major leaguer become a little more viable. A team with a rental piece could look at him as a solid PTBNL.
While the Phillies don’t have many more needs outside of the trades they made last week, it seems like they are, at the very least, keeping their options open. Owner John Middleton has stated he would like to stay under the luxury tax this year, but GM Matt Klentak has recently said that it is more of a guideline as opposed to a hard written rule. I don’t expect the Phillies to make a big move because of that, however, if the right move presents itself, I’m sure it won’t inhibit Klentak and company from making a splash.
The deadline is on Monday. We are sure to have a very interesting weekend on the field, with an important three game series with the Braves, and off it.
This will be a season defining weekend in many ways.