This article was updated after the acquisition of Howie Kendrick from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney.
The Phillies have a lot to work on - improving the bullpen, improving defensively, improving offensively - and now is the time. With a free agent class that doesn't exactly scream with excitement, trades could be a big part of the offseason for teams, including the Phillies. The thing is, that to get something, you have to give something. So, if the Phillies look to make a move or two, who might they part with?
Presented for your consideration are five Phillies who could be dealt this offseason, presented in no particular order...
While Gomez had a late swoon as the Phillies reliever, he put together a better season than anybody imagined. Remember, he wasn't even a big part of the discussion to be the closer when camp opened, but he worked his way into the role, with thanks, in part, to others dropping the ball.
The Phillies may have to decide between dealing Gomez now, or possibly waiting until the mid-season deadline to work a deal. If they wait, Gomez could return to his sharper ways and reestablish himself as a solid closer, which would serve to raise his price in a deal. Of course, if he continued to struggle, the price would drop significantly and the Phillies might have missed an opportunity.
If you deal him now, you have to realize that you won't necessarily get top price for him, but you'll certainly get a lot more than you would have a year ago.
The Phillies have other relievers, like Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos, who could eventually work themselves into a closer's role. Waiting would give the team a chance to see how they progress, while dealing now gives them time to prepare mentally for the role over the winter.
Andrew Knapp is a likely victim of a glut of young catchers. The Phillies have Cameron Rupp at the major league level, and Jorge Alfaro has locked up his spot ahead of Knapp on the depth chart, leaving Knapp as a potential trade piece. He's well respected around the majors and there could be other clubs looking for a guy like Knapp, that could potentially fit as a backup in 2017 or spend some more time in the minors until he's deemed ready to take over a major league job.
It's not likely that the Phillies will bench Rupp in favor of Alfaro to start the season, and it's not likely that Alfaro opens the year in Philadelphia so he can sit on the bench and catch a couple times a week. It's much more likely that the Phillies will move Alfaro up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley next season, where Knapp was in 2016. Do they really want the two sharing time behind the plate or would they rather see Alfaro get the time on the field in anticipation of him becoming their number-one catcher in the majors. If they already feel that he can be the number-one guy right now - which they don't - then Rupp could be the one being dealt rather than being moved to the bench.
It looks pretty clear that the Phillies will look for a veteran backup for the major league level and a journeyman-type guy for Lehigh Valley to backup Alfaro. They could also stick with Logan Moore as the number-two IronPigs catcher in 2017.
Herrera could become a big-time major league outfielder in the very near future. His numbers took a hit last season as teams adjusted to what he can and can't hit at the plate. Still, he put up decent numbers and was in the running for a Gold Glove, although some of the routes he takes to balls work only because of his great speed.
There is a bit of a logjam in the outfield with young players coming up through the ranks. Roman Quinn got his first taste of the majors late in the season and was pretty impressive, considering he was making the jump from Double-A. The Phillies like Aaron Altherr and figure on him being a steady part of their outfield as well. Nick Williams is just around the corner at Lehigh Valley, as is Cam Perkins, who may project more as a utility outfielder than a starter. Slugging outfielder Dylan Cozens is also ticketed to move up to Lehigh Valley this season. On Friday, the Phillies also acquired Howie Kendrick, who can also play the outfield. According to GM Matt Klentak, the Phillies have penciled Kendrick into the left field spot, creating an even longer list of potential outfield candidates.
The Phillies could be looking at an eventual outfield of Herrera, Quinn and either Altherr or Williams, but that still leaves one man out.
As with Gomez, the Phillies could wait to see how Herrera performs this season before working a deal. Bottom line is that there are too many outfielders, so eventually, something will have to give.
There were plenty of rumors surrounding Velasquez during the season and there's no reason to believe that they won't persist during the offseason. While the Phillies love his arm, there are some concerns about the long-term health of that arm, which makes the Phillies believe that they might want to deal him now. It's never good to deal from a position of worry about what might happen in the future, but Velasquez has had some issues early in his career, so there might be something there to be concerned about.
Consider too, that the Phillies have a nice collection of young pitchers either already in the majors or ready to reach that level, so they could deal someone in a deal to either continue stocking the farm or get a player for at the major league level. It would at least be interesting to see what teams might offer for Velasquez on the trade market.
If they were to deal Velasquez, the Phillies would then likely want to find two veteran starters rather than just one. Of course, Aaron Nola has gained more experience and some young pitchers saw a decent amount of action in 2016, so they could simply ride the young arms with just one veteran to fill a role much like Jeremy Hellickson did last season.
No, J.P. Crawford isn't ready for the majors yet, but he will be soon. Galvis has earned a lot of respect for his offensive emergence and has always had a strong glove and arm to go with the package. This past season, he was a finalist for a Gold Glove, but lost out to Brandon Crawford of the Giants.
While there's no denying that Galvis' stock is pretty high right now, what would the Phillies do until Crawford is ready for Philadelphia? One option would be to sign a veteran infielder who could keep the seat warm until Crawford comes up, which could be pretty quickly, perhaps as early as May. If the Phillies wait until Crawford is ready, first, he'll always have to look over his shoulder at Galvis and second, his stock will drop. If the Phillies truly believe in the long-term excellence that Crawford has been touted to have, then now might be the right time to clear the spot and find a stop-gap guy to fill the hole early in the season.
Another option would be to keep Galvis and deal Cesar Hernandez, who a number of teams have asked about. If Hernandez were to be dealt, newly acquired Howie Kendrick could take over at second base. Galvis can also play at second, so he could slide over when Crawford is ready, with Kendrick either becoming a super-sub or moving back to left field.