Phillies making their move: Finalizing a deal to get starter Kyle Gibson and reliever Ian Kennedy from the Texas Rangers, sources tell ESPN. First on the scene was @Ken_Rosenthal.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 30, 2021
The team has had an underwhelming season so far, but miraculously, Philly is still firmly in the playoff mix.
Gibson and Kennedy will be two key pieces for the Phillies as they look to make a playoff push over these next few months.
Let’s take a look at the two biggest reasons Philadelphia made a smart decision in adding at the deadline.
2. The NL East Is Still Wide Open
If the Phillies had conceded their season at today’s deadline, the New York Mets would have essentially clinched the National League East.
Just three-and-a-half games separate the Mets and Phillies, and although the Mets traded for Javier Baez, Philadelphia arguably had a better overall trade deadline.
In Kyle Gibson, the Phillies are getting an All-Star starting pitcher who is under club control through the 2022 season.
Kyle Gibson cutter, curve, slider strikeout sequence pic.twitter.com/83jKKMKKek
— Ken Rosenthal dines with a booster seat (@TooMuchMortons_) July 24, 2021
This year, he is working on a 2.87 ERA, 3.75 FIP and 1.18 WHIP over 19 starts.
He even had a 1.98 ERA up until July 7.
In Kennedy, the Phillies are getting a much-needed bullpen piece.
He will arguably become Philadelphia’s top relief option.
He is working on a 2.51 ERA, 3.65 FIP and 1.05 WHIP this season.
Unlike Gibson, Kennedy is a rental, so the Phillies will have to make some noise this season if they want to make that part of the deal worth it.
1. It’s Time To Get Serious About Making The Playoffs With Bryce Harper
The Phillies signed superstar Bryce Harper to a massive deal prior to the 2019 season, and they have yet to make the postseason during his tenure with the team.
Even with the expanded playoff field in 2020, Philly came up short.
In fact, the team hasn’t even had a winning season with Harper.
It’s no fault of the 28-year-old, as he has produced at a high level since coming over from the Washington Nationals.
With Philadelphia, Harper is batting .272 with a .914 OPS and 64 homers in 296 games.
If you’re keeping track at home, that’s a 162-game equivalent of 36 home runs per year.
Harper surely has several great years left in the tank, but with each passing losing campaign, the Phillies are wasting some of his best seasons.
For a $330 million investment, Philly needs to get its money’s worth, and further, the organization needs to show the fans that it’s serious about getting things back on track.
This trade deadline was a step in the right direction.
Now, it’s time to wait and see how the additions of Gibson and Kennedy pan out.
The National League East is the most forgiving division in baseball, and it’s the only reason that the Phillies still have playoff hopes despite their .500 record.
Philadelphia is very wise to take advantage of it.
When the baseball gods give you a gift (like a weak division), you have to capitalize on it.
We’ll see if the team’s deadline additions are enough to propel the Phillies to their first playoff berth since the 2011 season.