Philadelphia Phillies: It’s up to Hans Crouse to salvage the trade with Texas

Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports /

The big move made by the Philadelphia Phillies in the summer of 2021 brought them three pitchers from the Texas Rangers. All-Star starter Kyle Gibson, veteran Ian Kennedy whose most recent success has come as a closer, and prospect Hans Crouse.

The cost of this deal included two minor leaguers plus Spencer Howard, the once-highly regarded Phillies pitching prospect who wasn’t able to find much consistency in the major leagues just yet.

Normally, you would find trades like this to not include a player like Crouse. A second-round draft pick from 2017, he pitched pretty well in the minor leagues since debuting that same year. We only got to witness two poor major league starts from him in 2021. However, at 23 next season, Crouse has the potential to make up for all of the missed pitching prospects that have come through the Phillies’ pipeline in recent years.

The Philadelphia Phillies have had a tough time finding young pitchers like Hans Crouse

Before Aaron Nola, there was Cole Hamels. The verdict on Nola is still out but if you compare him to so many other young pitchers we were promised would win Cy Youngs, he’s pretty great.

Hamels had many awesome years with the Phillies and although he was never the league’s best pitcher, he did win a World Series MVP, toss a no-hitter, and make multiple All-Star appearances.

Crouse is different from those two. He was brought in via trade like so many other great Phillies pitchers of the past. In line to possibly win the fifth starter role in 2022, his performance can completely change the way we feel about last summer’s big trade deadline move.

The Phillies lost Kennedy to free agency. I’m not sure it’s a loss too many are crying over. After saving 16 games for the Rangers while pitching to a 2.51 ERA in 2021, Kennedy would save 10 more with the Phillies with a 4.13 ERA.

Gibson has another year of control left and is expected to be on the team again in 2022. His season took a much bigger nosedive. After a 6-3, 2.87 ERA stint with the Rangers, Gibson was 4-6 with a 5.09 ERA as a member of the Phillies. Considering his lifetime 4.45 ERA across nine seasons, it’s likely he’s closer to what he was in Philadelphia than he was in Texas.

Crouse remains the greatest unknown of these three. Younger than both by a decade or more, it was a nice reward to also pick him up in this deal and not just for the sake of yelling “Hans!” in honor of Die Hard.

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Crouse could certainly benefit from some starts in Triple-A before making the leap to the majors. He has only one Triple-A game of experience, after all. The Phillies will need to see a lot from him in the spring to reward him with a rotation spot to open the year. There’s no urgency just yet. Still, with Kennedy gone and with Gibson doubts, it may be up to Crouse to save this deal from becoming a loss for the Phillies.