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Inbox: Will Phils make move for Bumgarner?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers questions from Philadelphia fans
@ToddZolecki
April 29, 2019

Is there any chance the Phillies can pull off a move for Madison Bumgarner or a type of pitcher like him for the run? -- Jeremy F., Philadelphia If the need arises, yes, the Phillies have the assets available to make a trade. Giants ace Madison Bumgarner figures to be

Is there any chance the Phillies can pull off a move for Madison Bumgarner or a type of pitcher like him for the run?
-- Jeremy F., Philadelphia

If the need arises, yes, the Phillies have the assets available to make a trade. Giants ace Madison Bumgarner figures to be moved at some point, and MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal said over the weekend that there is already talk about the Phils and Braves taking a run at him. Bumgarner is 1-4 with a 4.30 ERA in six starts. He has a 3.56 FIP. His strikeout rate (22.9 percent) is its highest since 2016 (27.5 percent). His walk rate (3.3 percent) is the lowest of his career. His expected weighted on-base average (.320) is in line with his past two seasons.

Bumgarner could help, no question about it. But teams typically do not make trades for pitchers like him in April. Those swaps usually happen in June and July. It makes sense for the Phillies to see how everybody in the rotation performs over the next several weeks and then make a move. And if Bumgarner is traded in the meantime? Don’t panic. There are always pitchers available at the Trade Deadline. The Phils can find another one.

Everyone's going to ask it, but let's make sure it's covered: Really, is there anything to be done about the bullpen?
-- Tom R., Decatur, Ill.

My answer is similar to the one above: the Phillies need to let this play out before they start wheeling and dealing prospects for pitchers. David Robertson, Tommy Hunter and Victor Arano are expected back at some point. Each should help the bullpen.

Everybody continues to ask about Craig Kimbrel. Yes, Kimbrel would help. No, I would not sign him to a three-year contract. There is a reason why he remains unsigned. Every other team in baseball, like the Phillies, has concerns about giving Kimbrel a multiyear deal based on the way he finished last season.

Is it just me, or has the defense at second base by Cesar Hernandez been horrible this year? It seems like every couple of games, he makes some type of error or gaffe on the field.
-- Dan M.

Cesar Hernandez’s defense has not been good, especially lately. In fact, it probably cost Zach Eflin a shutout on Sunday. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler likened Hernandez’s struggles to a batting slump, meaning he thinks it will not last forever. For Hernandez’s sake, it can’t. Scott Kingery is progressing from his right hamstring injury, and whenever he returns, he will make things interesting at second base. Kingery deserves more playing time, and it is easy to make the argument that because of his bat and defense that he should play more at second base.

When is Cole Irvin getting called up?
-- Rudy M.

Who’s he supposed to replace?

Seriously. Aaron Nola is the ace. Jake Arrieta is the veteran, and other than his last start, he has pitched pretty well. Eflin just threw the team’s first complete game since September 2017. Vince Velasquez has been arguably this team’s biggest surprise. And Jerad Eickhoff has looked very good in his two starts. No. 16 prospect Cole Irvin is not on the 40-man roster, either. If a need arises and he is pitching well at the time, he will get his shot. I’m not sure when, but it will play itself out.

Do you think Arrieta opts out of his deal after this season, and would the Phillies tack on the option years to keep him?
-- @mleif

I have a difficult time picturing Arrieta opting out of his contract because I cannot see him making $25 million elsewhere in 2020, even on a one-year deal. But if he opts out, I would be surprised if the Phillies exercised the two-year club option for '21-22.

Trivia question: Who’s the only reliever on the Phillies with a 0.00 ERA?
-- @adammorganhype

Let me look this up and get back to you.

Best inning to get crab fries?
-- @DidthePhilslose

If I’m going to drop $10 on something, I’m getting the chicken sandwich at Federal Donuts.

What is Chase Utley doing these days?
-- Steve B.

Chase Utley is an advisor in the Dodgers’ front office, and he will be an analyst for some Dodgers games this season. Utley working in TV reminds me of Matt Stairs’ first season as a TV analyst with the Phillies. Utley walked up to Stairs in Spring Training in Clearwater, Fla., and said, “Don’t forget how hard this game is!” He wasn’t joking.

I have a feeling Utley won’t.

Are postseason tickets available yet or ... ?
-- @zoowithroy

Not yet, but they are on pace to win 93 games. If the Phillies make the postseason and you get tickets, let me know. I’ll buy you a funnel cake.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .