On last week’s podcast show, my co-host, Len, and I were discussing the possible Phillies players that might have been traded by the deadline. I had indicated that if no deals were made, I’d be fine with it. Well, the deadline has now passed and there were no moves or trades made by General Manager Matt Klentak. And it’s alright by me.
Teams who buy and sell players before the trade deadline almost always are looking for a short-term payoff to put them over the edge as the postseason nears or they’re looking to build for the future. The Phillies decided not to pull the trigger in any scenario, mainly involving pitchers Jeremy Hellickson and David Hernandez, because there was neither a critical need for the short-term nor the long-term at this point within the team’s rebuild. It’s quite well known that aside from possibly Hellickson the Phillies really don’t have the short-term value to trade away.
In the days prior to the deadline trade talks and reports focused on Hellickson and for good reason. It’s been great watching him pitch for the Phillies this season. Thus far, he’s gone through 131.1 innings pitched and has a 3.70 ERA. While we thought Aaron Nola might command numbers like this or better (and he has not), it’s been Hellickson that has actually kept the intrigue of the pitching rotation. He’s shown this season that he can contribute at the major league level and provide positive consistency. That doesn’t mean, however, that he should have been traded outright.
Klentak, within this new era of Phillies front office management, said, “we had offers out to other teams that, if accepted, we would have done. At the end of the day, there was nothing we felt made sense for the organization at this time.”
Essentially, Klentak has indicated a balance between the present and the future. He knows in due time top prospects J.P. Crawford, Jake Thompson and Nick Williams will make their way up to the big league club. He also knows that mentoring and having good leaders around a ton of young players in the system is a good thing.
Klentak said, “we want to make sure our young players are being mentored by the right veterans.” This is how a responsible general manager behaves. And this decision-making allows us fans to get a glimpse of his foresight and what the future will hold, which is critical in this game of baseball. Something that was a challenge for his predecessor.
Listen, Hellickson isn’t slated to be a tremendous part of the longer-term rebuild. However, as has been reported, he could be the best free agent pitcher in this winter’s class (yes, it’s that’s weak). It’s quite possible the Phillies can pick up a compensatory round pick and added value if Hellickson rejects a qualifying offer when he becomes a free agent. Conventional wisdom says this scenario will likely play out adding value to the Phillies organization. They didn’t need it now, but can play it smart in the future.
The team is still going through the reconstruction phase. There was no rush to make a trade, but the lack of doing nothing highlighted that there is a plan. Stay the course.