Trade Deadline Recap: Acquiring 4 arms and a bat makes Phillies better, but far from a playoff lock

The trade deadline has come and gone, and Dave Dombrowski was active before the clock struck four o’clock. The first move of the day was a small one, with the Phillies acquiring LHP Braeden Ogle from the Pirates.

This was not a big trade by any means, but it also is not nothing. Ogle, who turns 24 today, has never pitched in the big leagues. Going from A ball to Triple A this year, Ogle has found some real success. Pitching in 24 games, Ogle has a 3.13 ERA in 31.2 innings. While he does walk people (6.5 BB/9 this season), he has good strike out number this year, averaging close to 12 per nine. Gutierrez was rumored to be a piece in the nixed Tyler Anderson deal, so surely the Pirates liked him.

Ogle is a nice depth piece for a Phillies franchise who has been struck with depth issues throughout the organization. They paid an increased price for minor league options and years of control. However, Ogle has a 93-96 mph fastball and has 0.69 in his last 10 outings. Being in Triple A, it’s possible he could see some time in the Phillies bullpen before the season is out.

For his second move of the day, Dombrowski was able to pull off a bigger deal for more arms. The Phillies acquired RHPs Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy, Hans Crouse and $4 million for RHPs Spencer Howard, Kevin Gowdy, and Josh Gessner.

Gibson, who is under control through next season, is in the midst of a career year. Through 19 starts, Gibson is 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 113 innings. His underlying stats are concerning, but he certainly has better numbers than the current backend of our rotation. Gibson is under contract for $7 million next season, which is good. However, a regression looks like it is coming.

Kennedy, who will be a free agent this offseason, has pitched exclusively from the bullpen this season. He has a 2.51 ERA in 32.1 innings, converting 16 out of 17 saves. Crouse, listed as the Rangers’ ninth best prospect according to, has two plus pitches; a power fastball and a slider. Scouts seem to be split whether his future is in the bullpen or rotation, but has the makings of a very interesting late inning reliever.

The key of the deal from the Rangers perspective is Howard. He did not perform up to his prospect status, but the Phillies didn’t do him any favors either. The tools are there to make a good pitcher, however, the team could never put them together. Gowdy was a second round pick who had come back this year following Tommy John surgery. His velocity was up in the mid-90’s again, but still looks the part of a backend starter. Gessner was making some noise down in the FCL. He was unranked by most prospect sites, but was beginning to get some mention in the Top-30.

Right before the 4 p.m. deadline, the Phillies struck a deal to bring back a familiar face. Looking for defensive help, the Phillies acquired SS Freddy Galvis from Baltimore for RHP Tyler Burch.

The Phillies defense has been absolutely porous this season, especially at SS. While Galvis isn’t close to the defender he once was, he still represents an improvement over Didi Gregorius. When you acquire a groundball pitcher like Gibson, you need to make sure you have good infield defense behind him. Galvis should be more than capable of delivering that type of defense when Gibson pitches.

Burch, a 2019 NDFA out of the same school as Connor Brogdon, is a reliever who pitched in Clearwater this year. He definitely has some interesting stuff, but he is the type of pitcher you can trade in this deal.

All in all, the Phillies acquired some much needed reinforcements to the team, but nothing game changing. I worry about giving up Howard for a 33-year-old fourth starter having a career year and a 36-year-old reliever, but the Phillies were stuck. They had no idea how to get Howard back on track, and it showed. While getting Crouse back makes this deal more palatable, it is still a tough fall from grace for a guy who was a Top-50 prospect in all of the MLB.

Sure, the Phillies are a better MLB team than they were yesterday. However, it still doesn’t feel like enough to win the division and end the long playoff drought. With the Braves being active plugging up holes, and the Mets getting Javy Baez and Trevor Williams, the top of the NL East got better.

I hope that Gibson, Kennedy, and Galvis are enough to get over the hump, but it does feel like a dud of a deadline day.

Plus, after weeks of saying they would consider going over the luxury tax line, the Phillies didn’t. That in itself should be an indicator of what the front office thinks the team’s chances are.

Buckle up, Phillies fans. The race to October is just getting started now.

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