Leading up to the MLB Trade Deadline, one of the biggest priorities for the Phillies was adding depth to their starting rotation. With Aaron Nola having a disappointing season by his standards and three-fifths of the rotation on the wrong side of 30, Philadelphia needed a boost.
When his team has a need, Dave Dombrowski usually addresses it. And that’s exactly what he did on Tuesday, acquiring All-Star starter Michael Lorenzen from the Tigers just hours before the trade deadline.
Phillies Michael Lorenzen Trade
In Lorenzen, the Phillies are adding another frontline player to their rotation. In 18 starts with Detroit this season, Lorenzen was 5-7 with a 3.58 ERA, a 3.88 FIP and a 1.10 WHIP.
The addition of Lorenzen gives manager Rob Thomson some options to potentially shuffle his rotation. With Ranger Suarez (2-5, 4.22 ERA) struggling lately, Thomson could move him back to the bullpen, where he primarily pitched before 2022. He could also opt to move Cristopher Sanchez or Taijuan Walker to the ‘pen as well, although Suarez is the most likely candidate.
Lorenzen provides versatility as a former reliever as well. Before becoming a full-time starting pitcher in 2022, Lorenzen was mostly a multi-inning reliever during his time with the Cincinnati Reds, even picking up some closing experience along the way.
That makes Lorenzen a great weapon for the playoffs, when managers like the bring in starters out of the bullpen with the extra off days and shortened rotations.
Regardless of how Thomson deploys Lorenzen, he’s a great add for Philadelphia. The 31-year-old righty is coming off an outstanding month of July where he went 3-1 with a 1.14 ERA and a 2.39 FIP in four starts. He’s also on an extremely affordable one-year, $8.5 million contract, so the Phillies aren’t stuck with him if he gets hurt or doesn’t work out.
And while the Braves have pretty much locked up the NL East at this point, the Wild Card race is still very much up for grabs in the National League. Philly only has a half-game lead for the last Wild Card spot entering play on Tuesday, so every game counts.
We needed pitching reinforcements for the stretch run, and Dombrowski found a great solution in Lorenzen. In a couple of months, we might look back on this deal as the move that helped us solidify a playoff berth.
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