This year’s MLB trade deadline has gone from a lackluster one to the possibility of being an all-time great scramble depending on the future of Juan Soto and Shohei Ohtani. Although neither is a possibility for the Fightins, the latest Philadelphia Phillies rumors do have them targeting a young and controllable starting pitcher.
According to Jon Heyman of the NY Post, it’s the son of former Phillies reliever Dan Plesac they’ve put on the radar.
Zach Plesac, the 27-year-old Cleveland Guardians righty is 2-8 with a 4.09 ERA this season in 18 starts. He could soon be following in his father’s footsteps. In May of 2002, the Phillies sent Cliff Politte to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Plesac who ended his career with Philadelphia in 2002.
Dan Plesac is a buy-low option for the Phillies at the trade deadline.
Plesac isn’t having the best of seasons for Cleveland, nor has he yet to reach where many thought he could get. Through 72 big league starts, he is 24-22 with a 3.97 ERA. It’s more average than anything else. And yet, here Heyman is tossing out multiple teams who have an interest in him.
His strikeout rate of 6.5 per 9 this season is only slightly better than the 6.3 per 9 he had last year. It’s a dangerously low number for a starting pitcher that isn’t amazing at preventing home runs. It means batters are making contact against him. With this Phillies team, a strikeout pitcher would benefit far more.
This is kind of the situation where the team is at. There haven’t been a whole lot of Phillies rumors to discuss even with the trade deadline only a few days away. Plesac is a buy-low option for them. With three years of control left beyond this season, he could be a young arm the club looks to snag without having to develop.
What has caught most people off-guard with the Phillies rumors linking them to a possible deal for Plesac is that the Guardians might not be so committed to selling. They are within reach of a wild card berth. However, with their front office’s desire to lower payroll as much as possible, perhaps they would rather just sell Plesac now. They could, if they wanted, simply deal him to make room on the roster. Back in 2019, the New York Mets traded Jason Vargas to the Phillies in order to give themselves space for Marcus Stroman.
Plesac is a somewhat surprising name to see appear as the topic of Phillies rumors. The more likely expectation was for them to maybe go after a rental or at least an older pitcher having a great year. Instead, they’re doing the opposite. Since that strategy hasn’t worked so well, it can’t hurt to try this one.
Another theory: they’re going for a Zack/Zach Attack with Plesac, Wheeler, and Eflin.