It has been 10 long years since the Philadelphia Phillies last made the MLB postseason, and fans are growing restless as the mini drought lingers on.
It was a move that signified to fans that the franchise was serious about becoming a title contender again.
But unfortunately, Harper’s first two seasons with the Phillies were wasted, as the team failed to even finish above .500 in either campaign.
In fact, the Phillies haven’t had a winning season since 2011, which was also the last time they made the playoffs.
This is all a very roundabout way of saying that Philadelphia needs to right the ship in a hurry.
Could 2021 Be The Year To Do So?
By most measures, the Phillies had a very underwhelming first half of the 2021 season, but they currently find themselves firmly in the playoff mix thanks in large part to a very weak National League East division.
At 47-45, Philadelphia is just two games back of the first-place New York Mets right now.
It is entirely possible for the Phillies to come from behind and steal the division crown this season.
If they want to bolster their chances at doing so, they’d be wise to make some moves before the trade deadline.
Let’s take a look at the areas that should be addressed.
The Rotation Needs A Minimum Of One New Arm, Ideally Two
Philadelphia’s rotation situation is certainly suboptimal, but it’s not damaged beyond repair.
Zack Wheeler (2.26 ERA, 2.26 FIP, 0.97 WHIP) is having an outstanding campaign, and he has been the staff ace this season.
Zack Wheeler on the mound for Philadelphia. He’s an ace. He’s an innings pitcher. Stays in the game long, and he gets strikeout after strikeout. Definitely the best pitcher in the Phillies rotation.
— Tommy Benson (@TommyBenson74) July 18, 2021
Zach Eflin (4.17 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 1.25 WHIP) has been serviceable.
Aaron Nola (4.53 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.21 WHIP) has had a disappointing year by his standards, but he is definitely capable of turning things around, and his FIP suggests that his ERA may come down in the near future.
After those three arms, things get messy.
Of those three, Velasquez has the best ERA at 5.00.
It’s obvious that upgrades are needed.
Let’s run through some of the trade candidates who could solve the Phillies’ rotation issues.
Max Scherzer is the most attractive name being thrown around.
It seemed for a while like the Washington Nationals weren’t going to trade away the 36-year-old, but recent reports are suggesting otherwise.
He’d be a massive addition for the Phillies.
Elsewhere, you’ve got Kyle Gibson of the Texas Rangers, who has an American League-best 2.29 ERA this season.
He could very well be on the move.
The Bullpen Needs Some Serious Help
The Phillies have some serious relief pitching woes, and that area desperately needs to be addressed if the team wants to become a legitimate contender.
The Phillies have a bullpen ERA of 4.67 this season, ranking 22nd in all of baseball.
The team also leads the Majors in blown saves with 22.
Of the seven pitchers who have made 20 or more relief appearances for the Phillies this season, just two of them have an ERA below 4.00.
It gets worse the deeper you dig.
When it's Phillies bullpen time. pic.twitter.com/hbBA4lSyxv
— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) June 30, 2021
There are some big bullpen names on the trade block this season, and the Phillies are going to need to get serious about potentially bringing some of them in.
It will be very interesting to see how the Phillies handle the situation.
It can’t be ignored.