The Washington Nationals are waving somewhat of a white flag in letting other teams know that Bryce Harper is available. Of course, waiting until the final last couple days of non-waiver trading to let teams know that doesn’t make it seem like the all-star outfielder will be dealt. This isn’t fantasy baseball where huge deals are cooked up with a couple of emails. Deals involving a superstar like Bryce Harper take time. If you don’t believe me, reference all of the discussions that took place leading up to the Orioles trading Manny Machado to the Dodgers.
While on the open market for slightly longer than Harper, Andrew McCutchen might not be dealt until after the non-waiver deadline passes. He could conceivably get through waivers although it’s not guaranteed.
The Phillies have been mentioned as one of the teams that are in on McCutchen, who would add a much needed big bat to their lineup. The Yankees and Indians are other teams who have been asking about McCutchen from the San Francisco Giants, who could either buy or sell at the deadline, adding even another issue to putting together a deal for the outfielder. That’s one reason why the deal might not happen until August.
Tampa Bay also is not sold on trading starting pitcher Chris Archer. The Phillies had talked to the Rays about Nathan Eovaldi, but they shipped him to division rival Boston. Reportedly, the Rays asked teams to make final offers for Archer late Monday afternoon and it’s unknown whether the Phillies were one of the teams that submitted a formal offer. If Archer is dealt, you can know that the price is going to be steep. Various writers have said Tampa Bay will have to be overwhelmed to get Archer, who is 3-5, 4.31 in 17 starts for Tampa Bay this season but has a career 3.69 ERA and has twice led the majors in starts, posting 34 starts in both 2015 and 2017. It’s worth noting that Archer’s ERA has gone up each of the past three seasons now.
Bottom line is that it’s highly unlikely that McCutchen, Harper or Archer will be Phillies when the trade deadline passes this afternoon at 4:00.
If Harper is to ever become a Phillie, it’s much more likely to happen when he hits free agency following the season. The same is true for McCutchen. Both players are having sub-par seasons, which is unusual for players heading into free agency. Some of the best seasons have come from players who sniff the big money and suddenly become superstars in their quest for a huge haul via free agency. McCutchen, in his first season with San Francisco, is hitting 10-43-.258/.352/.407 with the Giants. Harper has the power numbers – 25 home runs – but is batting just .220 on the season with a league-leading 84 walks.
The Phillies reportedly put together an offer for Baltimore’s Adam Jones but the tenured outfielder is believed to be very picky about where he wants to spend the rest of the season and hasn’t told Baltimore that he would waive his 10-and-five rights (10 seasons in the majors, the last five with the same team) and allow himself to be dealt anywhere. He could change his mind before the deadline hits.
Curtis Granderson has been a target of the Phillies as a bench player to help down the stretch but there hasn’t seemed to be much movement on that front recently. Granderson has played in 87 games with Toronto and has a 10-31-.234/.337/.422 line with the Blue Jays this season.
The Phillies also have Mets reclamation project Jose Bautista on their radar. Should the Phillies acquire Bautista, they would be the third NL East team the veteran 37-year old outfielder has played for this season. The Braves released Bautista in May and two days later, he was a member of the Mets. After a 2-5-.143 start in 12 games with Atlanta, Bautista has been slightly rejuvenated with the Mets, batting 6-24-.233 in 58 games with New York.
Most of the pundits believe the Phillies will be one of the teams making a move as the minutes to the deadline tick down but as their pursuit of Machado showed, there are no guarantees. Just days prior to the O’s sending Machado to Los Angeles, the Phillies were thought to have the best shot at acquiring the infielder.