With all the Judge-mania (there has to be a better name for it than that), Giancarlo Stanton’s own offensive exploits have been a bit overshadowed, but as of this post he’s tied with Judge for the league lead with a 32 home runs. His strong year has – predictably – resulted in some interesting (albeit pie-in-the-sky unlikely) chatter for a Yelich/Stanton to Philly trade. But what would it take to land Stanton and Yelich?
Stanton’s contract is huge. If the Phillies were to take it all on, it’ll be largely a salary dump by the Marlins, with a minimal return in terms of prospects. Yelich, on the flipside, is a relative bargain – he signed a back loaded 7 yr/$49.57 million deal before the 2015 season. The contract includes a team option for an 8th year at $15 million. Given the rate at which baseball player salaries are exploding, this will likely get picked up. If the two are packaged together, Yelich’s relatively low price tag could help offset Stanton’s high price, so the Marlins could end up getting something decent in return. Think 3-4 prospects from the Phillies top 30, plus some organizational filler.
Since Stanton and Yelich both have a good amount of time left on their contracts, they’d likely be around the next time the Phillies are competitive. This means the “Phillies shouldn’t buy because they suck right now” logic doesn’t apply. The questions left – What prospects would they have to give up in order to acquire these players? Would that push back their competitive window? Would the salaries of Stanton + Yelich prevent the Phillies from making big FA splashes in the future (*cough Trout cough*)? Unanswered questions create uncertainty, and lots of uncertainty means a large amount of risk to the organization’s future. With the risk attached to a move like this (the sometimes-inconsistent play from Stanton/Yelich creates additional concern beyond price to acquire) and the number of outfield prospects the Phillies have (Williams, Herrera, and Altherr all in the majors; Cozens, Moniak, Quinn, and others waiting in the wings), I don’t see this blockbuster ever materializing. Superstars are nice, but patience in a rebuild is nicer.
- Game 91: Loss, 5-6. Add another tally in the one-run loss column, if you can find room. Since 1901, the 2017 Phillies .297 winning percentage in one-run games is the second worst in franchise history. You have to go back to the 1936 Phillies to find a worse one-run game record. Thankfully, this record looks to be out of reach – that 1936 team won only 12 of its 46 one-run matches for a putrid .261 winning percentage.
- Game 92: Win, 5-2. Vinny V is back! He pitched into the 6th, allowed few runs…and only struck out 4 batters. The Velasquez triangle applies once again. Still, it’s nice to have the talented young pitcher back in the fold where hopefully he can learn to harness his gifted stuff into good results. Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless inning, lowering his season ERA to 1.17. Smell that? That’s the smell of good trade value.
There are 343 pitchers with at least 30 IP. Pat Neshek’s 1.17 ERA is the 3rd lowest, behind only Kenley Jansen and Felipe Rivero.
- Game 93: Win, 10-3. Like clockwork, Giancarlo Stanton homered against the Phillies (for the third game in a row). The story here isn’t Stanton. Nor is it the 10 runs the Phillies put together. No – this is a story about hits. The Phillies notched up 20 hits, their most in a game since June 28, 2013. 20 hits is rare. Since 2000, the Phillies have played 2,846 games. This is only the 12th game with 20 or more hits. Remember the Phillies of the late 2000’s? Those offensive juggernauts powered by Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard? They put together 20 hits in a game five times between 2007 and 2009. Incredible.
- Game 94: Win, 6-1. Déjà vu all over again. Continuing his pattern of excellent pitching, Aaron Nola threw 7 innings, struck out 9, and only allowed 1 run. He’s run a super elite 1.80 ERA since June 22. Those that were fretting over his 4.78 ERA last season only had to look at his advanced stats to see that Nola was a much better pitcher than that. This year, his FIP and ERA are much more in line, which is good news for Phillies fans.
- Game 95: Loss, 8-9. What a heartbreaker. The Phillies were down 8-1 in the 7th inning, at which point the Brewers had a 99.1% chance of winning. The Phils then rallied together 7 unanswered runs, improbably tying the game up. The tie would only last another 3 batters, as Eric “God” Thames doubled, reached third on a fielder’s choice, and was knocked in with a single. The offense did a great job, but it all came undone in a matter of minutes. That’s baseball.
- Game 96: Win, 6-3. Nick Williams continues his offensive assault, taking every pitch in or around the zone as a personal insult and punishing it without mercy. His 4th homer in 75 PA puts him on pace for 32 over a full season. I can talk about his lack of plate discipline every time I bring him up, but as long as he’s producing, I’ll look like a wet blanket. Rather than that, let’s just look at his .950 OPS and be happy.
Around the League Round-Up
- It’s never easy to say goodbye – unless it’s to Carlos Beltran’s glove. Beltran has been spending so much time at DH this year that the Astros held a memorial service for his glove.
- Hey, Debra.
- Y’all didn’t think we were gonna get out of this one without me mentioning Aaron Judge, did you? Last Friday, Aaron Judge crushed a home run that didn’t just nearly leave Safeco Field, but also left the jurisdiction of Statcast. First he breaks physics, then he breaks our attempts to measure him. Aaron Judge is a superhero.
- Zack Cozart, All Star for the Cincinnati Reds, is now the proud owner of a donkey courtesy of Joey Votto. Please spread this news far and wide so that we can start using the phrase “got a donkey” in place of “made the All Star team”.