If the Phillies aren’t going to spend big, why not trade one of their stars to the Dodgers?
Here are the spark notes: The Los Angeles Dodgers are the reigning World Series champions with a number of moves that need to be made this offseason, while the Philadelphia Phillies are eternally floundering and just placed a moratorium on signing high-profile free agents this offseason.
Though they’re both in the National League, a trade between these two storied franchises can help each party. Why? Because the Dodgers can assist the Phillies with their short-term and long-term needs, while Philly can give LA some more win-now pieces to help them defend their championship.
If the Phillies aren’t going to spend to keep a guy like JT Realmuto, that likely means they’re not going to make any significant moves in an ever-important offseason that will more than likely affect the franchise for the next five years. This Phillies team is bad. A complete lack of additions would make them even worse. So if they’re going forth with this plan, maybe it’s time to trade your most valuable asset?
Yup, ship Aaron Nola over to the Dodgers.
Zach Eflin is bad. A rotation of Nola and Zack Wheeler is going nowhere fast. The one smart move the Phillies front office made was getting Nola under contract with a four-year, $45 million pact that runs from 2019-2022 (with a team option for 2023). Let’s look at the breakdown:
- 2021: $12.25 million
- 2022: $15.5 million
- 2023: $16 million team option (or $4.25 million buyout)
Nola is quite literally the Phillies only trade chip that will help them expedite whatever retool they’re about to endure. Nobody is taking on the contracts of Wheeler, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen or Odubel Herrera. Treading the waters of mediocrity won’t get them anywhere.
So what if the Dodgers swooped in with an offer of Gavin Lux, Tony Gonsolin and No. 9 prospect Mitch White?
Perhaps that’s too much for Dodgers fans to stomach, but Nola won’t be cheap, and LA has the luxury of overpaying a bit to get the other bidders out of the picture. And they’d be dealing from positions of surplus (assuming the club plans to re-sign Corey Seager).
A starting rotation of Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Nola, Julio Urias and Dustin May would be nearly unstoppable. The Dodgers are loaded with pitching, so parting with Gonsolin and White hardly affects the status quo. Lux is certainly a loss, but if the Dodgers keep Seager and/or opt to make another move for either Francisco Lindor, DJ LeMahieu or Nolan Arenado, it won’t matter. If not, top prospect Michael Busch is waiting in the wings.
Pitching is always of the utmost importance in today’s MLB. The Phillies don’t have enough to warrant keeping Nola. The Dodger can use Nola to put their rotation over the edge and rely less on the bullpen once the postseason rolls around. And three years of the right-hander at an average of $14.5 million per season is well below his market value.
The Phillies have to make Bryce Harper happy, so getting a bunch of studs under club control for the foreseeable future is the right move. Perhaps the Dodgers can convince them that’s their only option to move forward.