The MLB trade deadline has come and gone, and the Philadelphia Phillies made a flurry of moves, with President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski saving all of the heavy lifting for the last hours before the deadline. The team acquired Brandon Marsh and Noah Syndergaard from the Angels and David Robertson from the Cubs. They did all of this while still holding onto their top three pitching prospects in Mick Abel, Andrew Painter, and Griff McGarry.
Phillies acquire OF Brandon Marsh from the Angels for C Logan O’Hoppe
The Phillies have acquired center fielder Brandon Marsh from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for catcher Logan O’Hoppe, Phillies President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski announced today. pic.twitter.com/jIfcunmfi1— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 2, 2022
Overview of Marsh
Marsh is an elite defensive outfielder who is just 24 years old and under team control through 2027. The left-handed hitter was a former top 100 prospect in the Angels system but has struggled to find consistent offensive production in the Majors, posting a stat line of .226/.284/.353 this season in 93 games with a career OPS+ of 82 in two seasons. He also has a career strikeout rate of 35.7%. However, Marsh has been worth 8 defensive runs saved in the outfield this year.
Overview of O’Hoppe
O’Hoppe, 22, was the Phillies top hitting prospect and was hitting .269 with an .877 OPS and 15 home runs in Double A this season. There’s a good chance that O’Hoppe does stick at catcher, although he won’t be a defensive standout. As a catcher, he was blocked in the immediate and near future by J.T. Realmuto on the Major League roster.
At a minimum, Marsh is a dramatic upgrade defensively over Matt Vierling and Odubel Herrera, the latter of which was designated for assignment to free a spot for Marsh. A good glove in CF helps mitigate having Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos in the corners. He may not ever hit well, but the Phillies don’t necessarily need him to. His defense will be a major boost on its own.
Marsh is also only 24-years-old and was a highly regarded prospect not that long ago. The Phillies are betting on hitting coach Kevin Long being able to unlock more of Marsh’s offensive potential. O’Hoppe was always going to be traded due to being blocked in this organization. It would’ve been preferable to trade him for a controllable starting pitcher, but the market dictated that this just wasn’t going to happen. Getting a young, controllable center fielder who at a minimum is an elite defender for a prospect who was never going to be on your big-league roster is a solid move.
Phillies Acquire RP David Robertson for P Ben Brown
The Phillies have acquired right-handed reliever David Robertson from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-hander Ben Brown, Phillies President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski announced today. pic.twitter.com/CkHjctanAu— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 2, 2022
Overview on Robertson
Phillies fans should remember Robertson, who was a member of the Phillies from 2019-2020 but was limited to just seven appearances due to injuries. The 37-year-old reliever was having a renaissance season with the Cubs, posting a 2.23 ERA and 14 saves in 36 appearances. Robertson has particularly excelled at limiting baserunners with a WHIP of 1.04 with a strikeout rate over 30%.
Overview on Brown
Brown was having a breakout season for the Jersey Shore BlueClaws. He pitched to a 3.08 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) with 12.9 K/9. The 6-foot 6 right hander features a high 90s fastball and an upper 80s slider. However, he profiles more as a reliever at the MLB level and had Tommy John surgery in 2019.
Brown is a bit of a steep price for a rental reliever like Robertson, even if the latter was the best available relief rental option. The Phillies bullpen has been very good since the beginning of June as their 2.3 WAR over that span is the third best in baseball. They didn’t necessarily need to acquire a reliever as was originally thought. However, Robertson pushing Jeurys Familia off the roster is a massive upgrade. He also gives them another strong late inning option to bolster a much-improved bullpen unit.
Phillies Acquire SP Noah Syndergaard from the Angels for OF Mickey Moniak and OF Jadiel Sanchez
The Phillies have acquired right-handed starter Noah Syndergaard from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for outfielders Mickey Moniak and Jadiel Sánchez, Phillies President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski announced today. pic.twitter.com/NyNZiUo1ZE— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 2, 2022
Overview on Syndergaard
Syndergaard is not the Thor of yesteryear. We broke that down further in our deadline primer, but here’s some quick notes. He doesn’t have the high 90s fastball to rack up strikeouts like he did once upon a time with the Mets. In fact, his 18.9 K% is by far the lowest of his career. However, the 29-year-old is having a good season with the Angels, posting a 3.83 ERA in 15 starts. He’s no longer an ace, but Syndergaard has put up good 4th/5th starter numbers especially with a ground ball rate of 44% thanks to his sinker that sits around 94 MPH. Syndergaard comes as a rental and the Phillies assumed all of his remaining salary.
Overview on Moniak and Sanchez
Moniak is of course a former number 1 overall pick who hasn’t shown that he can hit MLB pitching. If Moniak was ever going to figure it out, it wasn’t going to be in Philadelphia at this point. Perhaps a change of scenery with lower expectations benefits the 24-year-old who owns a career .386 OPS in 47 big league games. Sanchez is a 21-year-old outfielder who has hit well in Single-A this year and was ranked as the Phillies 19th prospect by Baseball America this season.
The Phillies needed a starter to help mitigate the loss of Zach Eflin until the end of August at least. Syndergaard gives them a back of the rotation starter that will allow the Phillies to cut down on their bullpen games. One thing to keep in mind however is that Syndergaard has been pitching in a six-man rotation in Anaheim. It’s to be determined how he will do on normal five days of rest. His FIP of 3.95 and xERA of 4.25 could be somewhat worrisome in front of the Phillies defense, but that’s still solid back-end starter numbers. For the acquisition cost of Moniak, Sanchez, and taking on the rest of Syndergaard’s $7M in salary for this season, the Phillies will absolutely take back-end starter production. It’s the exact type of trade they should be making, meaning using their financial muscle to mitigate prospect cost.
Dave Dombrowski did well at this deadline. Marsh, Syndergaard, and Robertson is a nice haul and the Phillies did not have to give up any of their top three prospects. The biggest prospect that was moved was O’Hoppe who did not have a place in the organization. Brown for Robertson hurts, but it is not back-breaking. The Phillies were able to get upgrades at three positions without burning too much of their prospect capital. They are a better team now than they were yesterday, with the returns of Bryce Harper and Jean Segura looming on the horizon as well.