From 2008 to 2012, blockbuster trades stripped the Phillies of a lot of their prospects, making the ones they had all the more invaluable to them. However, as the system now looks to be one of the best in baseball, there is excess at certain positions in the organization. While of course the team would love to keep all their prospects and have them be major-league contributors, some of them may be stuck in the roster crunch. If the Phillies want to get as much value as possible from their prospects, the team would most likely have to trade some of their prospects.
For example, take the pitching in the Phillies system. Matt has broken down the Phillies pitching excess in terms of spring training, but this excess permeates into the long-term as well. With three of the five spots in the major-league rotation seemingly set with Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Nola, and Vince Velazquez, spots will be limited for the numerous pitching prospects in the minors. Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin, and Mark Appel could all be in the pros by the end of this season, and that already fills out the major-league rotation and then some.
While the Phillies already have plenty of pitching in the upper minors, there are plenty of pitchers as you move down the minor-league ladder as well. Ricardo Pinto, Nick Pivetta, Thomas Eshelman, Franklyn Kilome, and Alec Asher are all at Single or Double-A this year with at least some chance of becoming major-league pitchers.
This depth exists in the outfield as well, with Nick Williams, Carlos Tocci, Roman Quinn, and Dylan Cozens all at the upper minors below Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr at the majors.
Sooner or later, the roster crunch will leave some players stranded in the Triple-A/MLB gap, like Darnell Sweeney and Adam Morgan already are. While I wouldn’t consider these two trade bait, the same thing could happen to a much more skilled player like Eflin or Tocci if their respective positions become too clogged up.
At the same time, the trades of players stuck in the roster crunch could build depth at other positions. Behind Maikel Franco, third base has little depth in the minors and the middle infield is light as well. The Phillies could secure more all-around depth thanks to the fat at certain positions created by the yearly roster crunch.
Photo of Carlos Tocci by Baseball Betsy