The Phillies made another deal to reinforce their beleaguered bullpen on Monday. The team acquired David Phelps from the Milwaukee Brewers for three players to be named later. Those players are reportedly Brandon Ramey, Israel Puello, and Juan Geraldo. All three are 19-year-old right handed pitches from the Phillies low minors. Brewers beat reporter Adam McCalvy is who reported the prospect names. 

Background

Phelps is a 33-year-old right handed reliever. He made his debut for Joe Girardi’s Yankees in 2012. He is in the midst of a strong season, posting a 2.77 ERA across 12 appearances. The veteran has 20 strikeouts to just 2 walks on the season and has allowed only 2 home runs in 13 innings pitched. Phelps, who had Tommy John surgery in 2018, has excellent peripherals. His average exit velocity allowed is 80.4 MPH, good for best in the majors. He’s also in the top five percent in hard hit percentage and strikeout percentage.

Phelps throws four pitches: a cutter which averages at 90.2 MPH, a curveball, a sinker which averages at 94 MPH, and a four seam fastball which averages 94.3 MPH. The cutter is his most used pitch, with a usage rate of just above 35%. 

His contract allows him to be controlled through next season. Phelps has a $4.5 million team option for 2021 that can be bought out for $250,000, 

Analysis

Unlike the Phillies previous reliever trades this month, this one seems like much more of a bargain. Phelps is having a great season and immediately bolsters the Phillies infamous bullpen. He is a veteran who brings familiarity and experience to the table, having played for Joe Girardi for three seasons in New York. 

The Phillies also did not give up much to acquire him. Three 19-year-old pitchers in the low minors is not a high price for a reliever having the season Phelps is, especially considering his contract and the general lack of selling teams this year. It was reasonable to question with the other trades if the team was better off just promoting the prospects. But here, the Phillies acquired immediate help for players who, if all breaks right, are a minimum 4 years away. These pitchers were no where close to ready contribute at the major league level, unlike the pitchers moved in the trades with the Red Sox and Yankees. 

Phelps is the fourth reliever acquired via trade by the Phillies in the month of August. He joins Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, and David Hale, as well as a returning from injury Ranger Suarez, as newcomers to the Phillies bullpen. The Phillies, and especially GM Matt Klentak, are hoping they can help a Phillies team that is hovering around .500 but yet still very much alive for a postseason berth in a crowded National League.