Dave Dombrowski reviews a busy Phillies trade deadline: ‘I think we’re better’

Dave Dombrowski reviews a busy Phillies trade deadline: ‘I think we’re better’

ATLANTA – In a flurry of activity that began 2 1/2 hours before Tuesday’s trade deadline, the Phillies addressed three glaring needs as they shored up their team for a late-season push that they hope will end their playoff drought. of 10 years.

“I think we’re better off,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in summing up the day.

In order, the Phillies acquired center fielder Brandon Marsh from the Los Angeles Angels, reliever David Robertson from the Chicago Cubs and starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard from the Angels.

Syndergaard’s deal was sealed moments before the 6:00 pm deadline, when the Angels walked away from a potential different deal and called up the Phillies.

Made a good day of driving and treating that much better.

“That was big for us,” Dombrowski said. “I was starting to think we weren’t going to have a starting pitcher. Requests were very high. So, we are delighted with that.

“We added a starting pitcher, stabilized and improved the bullpen, and solidified our defense with an everyday position player. We are in a difficult division and there are difficult teams in the race, but I think we are better.

The Phils parted ways with just two of their top prospects in these deals. Catcher Logan O’Hoppe went to the Angels for Marsh and pitcher Ben Brown went to the Cubs for Robertson.

The Phils sent former No. 1 overall pick Mickey Moniak and minor league outfielder Jadiel Sanchez to the Angels for Syndergaard. Moniak never lived up to his billing with the Phillies and may benefit from a change of scenery.

Dombrowski said the Phillies “loved” O’Hoppe but were comfortable leaving him because Marsh comes on five years of contractual control and has a huge advantage at one position, center field, that has been a yearly problem for the Phillies. He added that JT Realmuto was established as catcher for three more years.

“Brown is probably the one that hurts the most,” Dombrowski said of the 22-year-old, 6-foot-6 power righty who went to the Cubs in the Robertson trade. “We like him a lot, but he can’t protect everyone. If you’re trying to get to the postseason, David Robertson is a good reliever and that was the cost for us to get there.”

The Phillies were able to keep their top three pitching prospects: Mick Abel, Andrew Painter and Griff McGarry.

“We never discussed them,” Dombrowski said. “We just didn’t want to trade those guys.”

That didn’t stop other clubs from constantly asking.

“Huge. Off the charts,” Dombrowski said of the interest in the trio. “We couldn’t get people out of those names. From an organizational perspective, we felt like we couldn’t mortgage the future by trading one of those guys.”

While Dombrowski believes the organization’s best days are ahead, he expects this team to remain in contention for a playoff spot. The Phils lost 13-1 to Atlanta on Tuesday night and share a 55-48 record with St. Louis. However, the Phils control the third and final NL wild card after winning the season series with St. Louis. The Phils are picking up the rest of Syndergaard’s contract, more than $7 million, and project to break the $230 million luxury tax threshold. The property is keen to make the playoffs and see what happens with Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola at the top of the rotation. In addition to Tuesday’s trade-market upgrades, the Phillies will get their top two pure hitters back in the coming weeks. Jean Segura (broken finger) is expected to come off the disabled list Thursday and Bryce Harper (broken thumb) has started hitting and could be back by the end of the month.

As for the roles that the new players will fill…

Syndergaard will move into the rotation, filling the spot vacated by injured Zach Eflin. The powerfully built 6-6 right-hander no longer throws 100 mph, but he still sits in the mid-90s with a sink on his fastball.

“We think he can be effective in a five- or six-inning role,” Dombrowski said. “We weren’t looking for a number one guy. We were not in that market.

Dombrowski praised the work of Bailey Falter and Cristopher Sanchez. Both have spent time filling in for Eflin and continue to be valuable to the team in terms of depth.

Marsh, 24, was a second-round draft pick by the Angels and at one point was the organization’s top prospect. He hasn’t hit consistently and his strikeout rate is high, more than 35 percent in his two seasons in the majors. Marsh is, however, “a top defender” in center field, to use Dombrowski’s description. He will get most of the playing time at the position with Matt Vierling against lefties.

Both Dombrowski and manager Rob Thomson said the Phillies’ hitting staff, led by hitting coach Kevin Long, spent hours reviewing Marsh’s left-handed strike and approach.

“We think there are some things we can do to help him,” Thomson said. “He’s one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball, so that’s an upgrade.”

Robertson, 37, has been one of the best stories in baseball this season. He signed a two-year, $23 million deal with the Phillies before the 2019 season, but pitched in only seven games due to an elbow injury that required surgery. He didn’t pitch in 2020 and returned to the majors for 12 games with Tampa Bay last season. With the Cubs this season, Robertson posted a 2.23 ERA and 14 saves in 40 1/3 innings. He was striking out 11.4 batters per nine innings.

Robertson is playoff-proven from his time with the Yankees (he was on the 2009 Yankees team that beat the Phillies in the World Series) and is motivated to help the Phillies after breaking his first time in town.

“I was very disappointed that he got hurt,” Thomson said. “I think he felt bad about it, really.”

The Phillies hope to have Robertson in uniform for Wednesday afternoon’s game at Atlanta. Marsh and Syndergaard, who hail from the West Coast, will likely join the team Thursday in Philadelphia.

As Gene Hackman said in socks, “This is your team.” It’s better than a few days ago. Time will tell if he’s good enough to break the postseason drought.

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