Phillies add All-Star Lorenzen, switch-hitting Castro at Deadline

August 2nd, 2023

MIAMI -- is both the starter and the reliever the Phillies wanted before Tuesday’s 6 p.m. ET Trade Deadline.

is the batter they believe will provide pop from the right side of the plate.

The Phillies acquired Lorenzen from the Tigers for High-A prospect Hao-Yu Lee and Castro from the Pirates for Triple-A left-hander on Tuesday. Philly did not acquire a high-impact bat, like many wanted or expected, as president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said he considered those prices too steep. He also said the Phils never engaged in discussions for top pitching prospects like Mick Abel and Griff McGarry.

Phillies receive: RHP Michael Lorenzen
Tigers receive: Minor League INF Hao-Yu Lee

Phillies receive: INF Rodolfo Castro
Pirates receive: Minor League LHP Bailey Falter

Besides, Dombrowski said he believes his superstars will hit.

“We have a lot of stars on our club,” Dombrowski said. “Sometimes, you just need complementary players to help them. You have to be careful. If you acquire guys that are very similar to what you have from an ability perspective, you can be redundant. We just thought in this situation here, to play great defense and have speed, that was something we were not afraid to turn to.

“The pitching was the priority for us. We really wanted to get pitching depth, because we were concerned about the depth of our organization if something would happen over the next couple of months.”

Lorenzen, 31, made his first All-Star team and is 5-7 with a 3.58 ERA in 18 starts this season. He started last season as well, but he spent most of his career as a reliever. Lorenzen, who will be a free agent after the season, will start for the Phillies in Thursday's series finale against the Marlins at loanDepot park.

“We’ll go with a six-man [rotation] for the time being,” manager Rob Thomson said.

The Phillies had reasons to be concerned about their pitching depth. Cristopher Sánchez has pitched well as the No. 5 starter, but the club was not comfortable with what it had behind him. In the bullpen, Philadelphia has leaned heavily on closer Craig Kimbrel, left-hander Gregory Soto and others, while José Alvarado has been on the IL twice and right-hander Seranthony Domínguez has not been as effective as last season.

“[Lorenzen] was one of the few people on our list that we thought could start effectively and relieve, if we got to that point later on,” Dombrowski said. “There are still about 60 games to play. That means guys are going to start a bunch of times. I've always felt that it's not always the best, but the healthiest pitchers when you get to the postseason. Our guys have thrown a lot of innings over the last couple of years. And to me, the depth behind our five guys in the rotation -- Cristopher Sánchez included in that, because he's really stepped up -- we didn't feel was as deep if something happened to someone. Adding someone like Lorenzen really changes that.”

Castro has slashed .290/.368/.538 in 106 plate appearances this season against left-handed pitchers, while slashing .173/.271/.192 against righties.

“Castro can really swing the bat,” Dombrowski said. “We think he gives us again some pop from the right-hand side. … We think he’s going to be a good player in the future. He has a chance to actually be an everyday player. I don’t think that necessarily fits for us where we are right now, but he’s a good player who can contribute right now vs. a tough left-handed pitcher, if you want to sit some of our guys and get another right-handed bat.”

Josh Harrison was designated for assignment to make room for Lorenzen on the 40-man roster. The Phillies have not yet announced how they will make room for Castro on the 26-man roster.

Lee, 20, was the Phillies’ No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline. He hit .283 with five home runs, 26 RBIs and a .773 OPS at High-A Jersey Shore. Falter made some important starts late last season for the Phils. He opened this season as their No. 5 starter, but he struggled, fell out of favor and got optioned to Triple-A.

So now it’s up to the Phillies’ offense. It needs to get going to make these moves matter.

“A lot has to be done,” Dombrowski said. “I think our guys know that too. We have some good offensive names and we like their ability. I guess now we have to go out and do it. We have confidence in them that they’re going to do it. To me, when you looked at who was available there, at the price we would have to pay -- and again, very few guys moved -- we really kept coming down to the offensive improvement we feel we’ll get from within will be good for us. That will help us more than what we would have given to get some outside help."