Regardless of the fact that the Delaware Valley does a collective cringe every time that Antonio Bastardo trots out of the Phillies’ bullpen, the 28 year-old lefty seems to be one of the most coveted pieces that the Phillies have with the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline approaching.
The fact is, that when Bastardo has control, which he seems to have currently after some early season issues, he is a very effective late inning reliever. At this time of year, finding effective left-handed relief help can help to put you into the playoffs and beyond, and as CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury says, that has numerous teams in the ballpark every night to watch Bastardo throw.
Scouts from Kansas City, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Toronto have been in town for two days now. All those clubs are monitoring the market for relievers. Sources say the Royals are very interested in Phillies relievers (read: Bastardo). The Tigers are keeping an eye on Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon. Pittsburgh and Toronto have also been connected to Bastardo.
Bastardo seems to be peaking at the perfect time for one of those teams to jump at trying to acquire him. After posting a combined 4.07 ERA through the first three months of the season, Bastardo hasn’t allowed an earned run the entire month of July (eight appearances), lowering his ERA to 3.27.
The problem with someone like Bastardo generating more interest than Jonathan Papelbon, is that many of the teams who would have been interested in Jonathan Papelbon seem to have taken alternate routes like Joakim Soria, Joaquin Benoit, and Bastardo, and if the Phillies trade Bastardo to a team like the Tigers, they are only raising the chances that Papelbon is here past the deadline.