From Thome to Giles, Not Every Trade Must be a Win

We always want to win all trades, whether it is our favorite professional team or it is the deal we just made with a child about their bedtime.  But what is winning a trade?  Is it having it work out better for you, or is it just being in a better place than before?  Do we judge each trade individually or do we judge based on the outcome of a portfolio?  When do we judge a trade, do we do it in the moment assuming we know all, do we go back and analyze later with new information?

What do the following players all have in common: Mark Appel, Brett Oberholtzer, Vincent Velasquez, Thomas Eshelman, Harold Arauz, John Richy, Darnell Sweeney, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, Matt Harrison, Jimmy Cordero, Alberto Tirado, Nick Pivetta, Jeremy Hellickson, Charlie Morton, Zach Eflin, Tom Windle, Ben Lively, Victor Arano, Jesmuel Valentin, Tommy Joseph, Gabriel Lino, Art Charles, Joely Rodriguez, Ryan O’Sullivan

Given the theme, I doubt any of you were stumped, that list represents the 28 players in the Phillies organization that were acquired via trade.  Now there are some clear wins by any stretch, like live human beings from the Roberto Hernandez trade, or things we think are wins like Jerad Eickhoff being the 4th player in the Cole Hamels deal.  There are also some losses, like Tommy Joseph being the lone standing member of the Victorino and Pence trades.  However, what you have here is depth.

Of those 28 names, 17 will appear somewhere on my Top 50 prospects, 6 more are already graduated major leaguers that could make up 4/5 of the Phillies opening day rotation.  In the minor leagues that is an output near on par with the Phillies’ drafting, which helps make up for things like the disaster that was the Phillies 2012 draft and the lack of depth after Aaron Nola in their 2014 draft.

Now has it been worth it, to acquire the players above the Phillies traded: Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, Jonathan Arauz, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd, Roberto Hernandez, Sam McWilliams, David Whitehead, Ben Revere, Jonathan Papelbon, Hunter Pence, Jim Thome, Michael Schwimer, Antonio Bastardo, and Joe Blanton.  Now there are some sentimental favorites on this list, and the trades will never feel fair in relation to their primes.  However, the list of players traded that will be a part of the next good Phillies team is exceedingly short.  So while some trades have not worked out, the Phillies under both Amaro and Klentak/MacPhail have used trades to build a portfolio of players for the present and future, and really worked to repair the damage done under Amaro/Wolever/Arbuckle in the draft.

We are likely nearing the end of trading players for prospects, but it seems as good a time as any to take a step back and realize that building a team requires building a diverse farm system and group of players.

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.


  1. Thomas.L

    Just a heads up, you have “But is winning a trade?” in your first paragraph.

  2. I share your sentiment. It is nice to see all the new prospects that have entered the organization over the past 13 months. My only reaction to those traded away was surprise at Whitehead, shock at McWilliams, and dismay over Arauz. But, I guess you can’t argue with the return.

  3. Eagleye5

    Why include Arbuckle? He left Nov 2, 2008. His last draft had about 8 guys who made the MLs.