Philadelphia Phillies Potential Target: Alex Wood

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Phillies may want to consider taking a long look at the 28-year old lefthander in order to bolster their pitching rotation.

The Philadelphia Phillies made quite a splash last week by spending big on free agent pitcher Zack Wheeler. It was an expensive but wholly necessary move.

But you’re dead wrong if you think that their rotation is fine the way it is.

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Because of the money given to Wheeler, there will be no Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg sightings in Philadelphia. And so the Phillies must consider alternative options to fill a rotation spot or two after Wheeler and Aaron Nola and in front of (a hopefully healthy and effective) Jake Arrieta.

That’s where veteran lefthander Alex Wood may make a good deal of sense for the Phillies.

A back injury limited Wood to a mere seven starts last year in his first season with the Cincinnati Reds. The results were ugly: a 5.80 ERA and 11 home runs allowed in just 35.2 innings.

That doesn’t sound like the kind of pitcher you’d want to bring in, yet Wood’s poor 2019 presents a good opportunity for the Phillies (or any team) to roll the dice and buy low with a one-year contract, perhaps an incentive-laden one.

I won’t even hazard to guess the financials on a potential Wood contract, as a player’s value is as much as one team decides to pay him.

But Wood seems to me to be a worthwhile risk. You don’t find many opportunities to sign a pitcher who carries a 3.40 career ERA and is yet to hit 30 years old. Plus, Wood has logged just 839 career innings in MLB. Yes, that speaks to some of the ailments he’s endured, like last year’s back problems and an elbow debridement surgery in 2016. But is also means that he may still have a good deal left in the tank going forward.

Wood’s effectiveness when he takes the mound, last year’s mess excepted, is impossible to deny.

His 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers were very good, and the Dodgers used their patented rotation maneuvering to help ensure that Wood would make it through the entire season. As a result, he only threw about 150 innings in each of those campaigns.

It would not be unreasonable to ask this kind of workload of Wood in 2020. And if the Phillies decided to give him a shot, they would also be adding the always coveted lefty starter to their stable.

That could have a good deal of value in a rotation otherwise devoid of a southpaw. Maybe the team could even avoid the types of embarrassing, desperation moves that saw Drew Smyly and Jason Vargas come to town last season. Signing Wood would be a step in the right direction.

Alex Wood isn’t a prospective long-term piece for the Phillies at this point. But they could definitely do way worse when it comes to filling out their rotation.

Offering a one-year contract that’s enticing enough for him to come to town has the potential to be a shrewd move for the Phillies.

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As always, there’s some risk involved. But you don’t get rewarded by playing it safe all the time.