PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Neshek is the Phillies' only good bet to be traded before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.The Phillies have a host of players they could move, but sources have told MLB.com that Neshek remains the most likely (and perhaps only player) to be traded in the next
PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Neshek is the Phillies' only good bet to be traded before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
The Phillies have a host of players they could move, but sources have told MLB.com that Neshek remains the most likely (and perhaps only player) to be traded in the next 11 days. First, he is 3-2 with a 1.17 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP in 41 appearances, making him a solid addition to any contender's bullpen. Second, Neshek will be a free agent following the season, meaning the Phils have incentive to move him. Third, players like Jeremy Hellickson, Howie Kendrick, Joaquin Benoit and Daniel Nava are more likely to clear waivers and be moved next month before the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline.
Sources said there is no chance the Phillies will acquire Giancarlo Stanton or Christian Yelich (or both) from the Marlins before the end of the month, although the possibility outlined in recent reports is something the Phils could explore in the future -- particularly for a player like Yelich.
Neshek might have been traded already, except he is a two-month rental and most trades to date have been for controllable assets (such as Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle to the Nationals and Player Page for David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees). But teams that strike out on controllable assets might soon turn to Neshek.
It is unclear how much the Phillies are asking for Neshek, but it is believed their preference is for younger talent that does not need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft in December. That can be said for any player the Phils trade between now and the end of August.
The Royals and Rockies are a couple of teams that seem like a good fit, but the Phillies' potential return for Neshek could be limited. The Phils got Nick Pivetta from the Nationals for Jonathan Papelbon in July 2015. Pivetta was the Nats' No. 12 prospect at the time, according to MLBPipeline.com. But Papelbon was a closer and the Nationals had him through 2016 (though Washington had to pay his entire '16 salary). Neshek is a middle reliever.
Some teams have expressed interest in Hellickson and Kendrick. Teams have been told that the Phillies will eat salary to facilitate a deal. That is especially important for a player like Hellickson, who is making $17.2 million.
Kendrick is hitting .349 with two homers, 14 RBIs and an .879 OPS in 139 plate appearances. He can play the infield and outfield. Kendrick could be traded before the end of July, but he has been on the disabled list twice this season and is currently on the DL with a strained left hamstring. He was set to begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Double-A Reading, and he could be activated as early as Friday.
If that happens, the versatile Kendrick might have enough time to showcase himself before the end of the month.
The Phils have been exploring a potential trade for first baseman Tommy Joseph, because they would like to get a look at Triple-A Lehigh Valley first baseman Rhys Hoskins -- the club's No. 12 prospect -- and neither seems like a candidate to play the outfield. But it is difficult to see where Joseph would match up with a contending team. He seems likely to stay, which could delay Hoskins' big league debut until September.
Of course, anybody that has followed past Trade Deadlines knows everything can change with one phone call. The Phillies might end up making multiple deals before the end of the month, but certainly expect Neshek to go.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.