Following back-to-back disaster starts from the likes of Matt Moore and Vince Velasquez this past week, it seems all but inevitable that the Philadelphia Phillies will look to add at least one starting pitcher prior to Friday’s July 30 trade deadline. Even if Dave Dombrowski isn’t planning on going all-in this summer due to his team’s current .500 status, it’d be a borderline malpractice to continue trotting out Moore and Velasquez on a regular basis.
Moore is 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA this season, and Velasquez 3-5 with a 5.54 ERA — not pitchers that can be apart of a playoff-caliber rotation.
The Phillies can always turn to an old friend in Cole Hamels to help bolster up the back-end of their rotation, but early signs are pointing towards him not being MLB ready for another month or so. Hamels was unhappy with the initial wave of interest that he received following his Texas showcase, and plans to continue throwing in the meantime. There’s always a chance Hamels signs with Philadelphia sometime in the coming days, and is able to contribute in early September, but I don’t think Dombrowski is counting on it.
With all of that in mind, the Phillies have reportedly been checking in on a few starting pitchers around the league, players who are likely to be moved prior to the trade deadline. They were connected to the likes of Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly on Saturday, and have now been mentioned as a possible suitor for Pittsburgh’s Tyler Anderson:
Another starting pitcher to add to the watch list — the Phillies have been connected to Pirates RHP Tyler Anderson.
Anderson isn’t all that flashy, but he’s a reliable fourth starter who would instantly provide the Phillies with a rotational boost. Anderson is rocking a 4.35 ERA over 18 starts this season, which is almost identical to the 4.37 ERA that he posted with the Giants in 2020.
Anderson is also averaging 5.74 innings pitched per start this season, which is a rather important statistic due to the weak bullpen that the Phillies employ at the moment. The constant early exits from Moore and Velasquez have put a ton of unnecessary strain on the ‘pen this year, something that Anderson (in theory) would be able to limit (should he end up in Philadelphia moving forward).
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The previously mentioned Merrill Kelly has a similar innings pitched per start number — clearly Dombrowski has his eyes set on a certain pitching profile at this year’s deadline.
As highlighted by Jon Morosi in the above pinned tweet, one of the best parts about Anderson is his smaller-than-average salary. He’s owed just over $1 million for the remainder of the year, which would help keep the Phillies below the luxury tax threshold (should owner John Middleton not approve going over).
Anderson is on an expiring deal, which doesn’t help the Phillies in their pursuit of building a longterm, more established rotation — but it should reduce the Pirates overall asking price. Dombrowski doesn’t exactly have an abundance of prospects to offer teams at this year’s trade deadline, so settling for cheaper “rental” type acquisitions might just be the best plan of attack.