Phillies Trade Pitch Swaps 2 Top Prospects for $13 Million All-Star

After enjoying deep October runs in each of the last two seasons, the Philadelphia Phillies seem to be just a few pieces shy of winning it all. And with some notable players in their farm system, they might soon flip future potential for a better chance to win now.

Zachary Rymer of Bleacher Report reported that the Phillies are a top destination for reigning All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase in a hypothetical trade that would send outfielder Justin Crawford and third baseman Aidan Miller to the Cleveland Guardians.

“Though the Phillies’ two best prospects are both pitchers, Crawford and Miller rank within MLB’s top 100 at No. 47 and No. 91, respectively,” Rymer wrote. “So if the Guardians’ goals is to turn Clase into multiple top-100 types, this package could work.”

Emmanuel Clase, MLB Saves Leader, Would Be a True Closer Option for Philadelphia Phillies

In a stellar 2023 campaign that earned him a trip to his second All-Star game, Clase pitched for a 3.22 ERA, 64 strikeouts and a career-best 44 saves. That was the most saves for any MLB pitcher last season.

And if the Phillies were to part with any of their top prospects, it is likely they would seek some bullpen help in return. Though they have a bevy of late-inning talent, including Jose Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman and Gregory Soto, they lost their 2023 saves leader Craig Kimbrel to the Baltimore Orioles in free agency.

Rymer noted that, as a result, the Phillies are on the hunt for a true closer this offseason.

“The Phillies were tenuously linked to (Josh) Hader before he signed with the Houston Astros, and more strongly linked to Jordan Hicks … and Robert Stephenson … before they signed elsewhere,” he wrote. “This would indicate the Phils aren’t totally comfortable with handing Kimbrel’s job to Alvarado. And if that is indeed the case, it’s that much easier to imagine president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski adding a Clase trade to his extensive history of blockbusters.”

Clase has been tied to several high-profile trades this offseason as the Guardians look to stock up on young talent and thanks to his team-friendly contract. The 25-year-old pitcher is guaranteed just $13 million in the next three seasons, set to receive $2.5 million in 2024, then $4.5 million in 2025 and $6 million in 2026, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan. He also has $10 million club options for 2027 and 2028.

Can the Philadelphia Phillies Still Make a Blockbuster Move in the 2024 Offseason?

After reaching the NL Championship Series last season, the Phillies have largely retained the same roster thus far into the offseason.

Most notably, the team re-signed number-two starter Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 contract and saw free agent Rhys Hoskins leave for the Milwaukee Brewers. It has seemed that the team is emphasizing continuity over blockbuster moves.

“They are content to see the biggest pieces come off the board and then add complementary players when prices drop,” Matt Gelb explained for The Athletic. “The onus will be on everyone — players and coaches — returning from a successful team.”

Adding Clase would certainly go against that philosophy, but it might be an addition that helps the Phillies take the next step and bring home a World Series championship.

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