Philadelphia Phillies: Kyle Gibson already showing the impact he can have

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Philadelphia Phillies traded Spencer Howard and two prospects to the Texas Rangers for Kyle Gibson, Ian Kennedy, and Hans Crouse, the idea was that Gibson could provide a massive upgrade to the starting rotation.

So far, so good, as the veteran right-hander was fantastic in his Phillies debut on Sunday, scattering five hits and two walks across 6.2 innings, helping lead the Phils to a much-needed 15-4 win. Gibson was in control virtually the entire way, aside from a minor hiccup in the third inning where he walked the opposing pitcher with two outs and nobody on, setting up the Pirates’ first run.

With the Rangers this season, Gibson was experiencing a bit of a career breakout at the ripe age of 33. He just made his first All-Star game and posted a record of 6-3 with an ERA of 2.87 in nineteen starts. Factor in his start on Sunday, and this brings his season numbers to 7-3 with an ERA of 2.86, not bad, not bad at all.

Kyle Gibson is already proving his worth for the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Parting with a young arm like Spencer Howard is never easy, especially when he was so highly regarded just as recently as last offseason. Entering 2021, Howard was ranked as high as 27th on the Top 100 prospects list by Baseball America.

It does feel as if the Philadelphia Phillies sold him off when his value was at his lowest, but for a team that is desperate from innings and (somehow) entrenched in a postseason race, it made sense to make a move for a reliable starter.

Plus, it helps when you include the fact they addressed their bullpen in the same move with Ian Kennedy (2.97 ERA), and they also landed Hans Crouse, who was ranked the 73rd prospect in baseball by Baseball America in 2019. Crouse is also now ranked as the fourth-best prospect in the Phillies system. Not sure if that says more about how weak the system is or how good Crouse is; probably a bit of both, but I digress.

Back to Gibson’s worth, I believe it’s being incredibly overlooked that the right-hander was pushed to 113 pitches in his Phillies debut. It seriously can not be stressed enough how desperate this team is for innings. It is nice to see they view Gibson as a guy who can be relied on to pitch deep into games, as opposed to a guy who can give you five quality innings.

It is also important to note that the Phillies will have Gibson for the 2022 season as well, as he has one more year left on his current deal worth $7 million. I am sure Dave Dombrowski and company are happy to know they now have at least four rotation spots locked in for next season. If Gibson can even be 75-80 percent of the guy he was this season in Texas, this has the potential to be a major win for the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Down the stretch here, it is apparent the Phillies will be relying on Kyle Gibson rather heavily. If Sunday is any indication, he seems ready to handle the pressure. Now, if we can get a few more starts like that, the veteran could help propel the Phils to their first postseason appearance since 2011.