Phillies: Restructuring 2020’s starting rotation

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JULY 06: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros reacts after striking out Kole Calhoun #56 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to end the sixth inning at Minute Maid Park on July 06, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - JULY 06: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros reacts after striking out Kole Calhoun #56 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to end the sixth inning at Minute Maid Park on July 06, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Wheeler may be a backup plan for the Phillies this offseason. Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. /

Top- to-mid-rotation arms:     

After their starting staff’s difficulties, the Phillies probably won’t limit their possibilities to lefties. In fact, some right-handers could be a better fit for the franchise going forward: a pitcher with three prime summers remaining. Yes, one in particular.

Atop the field, Gerrit Cole will probably command a $200 million contract for seven campaigns through age 35 but only the first four during his prime. And the Houston Astros are replacing him in their rotation with Greinke, plus a drawn-out bidding war will discourage quick-moving –not immediate– execs like Klentak.

Among the younger starters, Zack Wheeler‘s stats are those of a fourth-rung hurler, but he could receive a QO from the New York Mets. That stated, would their front office risk $17.9 million for one season? Presently, he’s earning almost $6 million for ’19, and contenders may not want to pay top dollar and a first-round draft pick.

Right-handers’ 2019 stats through Aug. 15:

  • Cole, almost 29: 25 Gms., 156 2/3 Inn., 14-5, a 2.87 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP.
  • Unnamed, 29: 23 Gms., 120 1/3 Inn., 13-5, a 3.44 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.
  • Wheeler, 29: 23 Gms., 144 1/3 Inn., 9-7, a 4.36 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.
  • Gibson, 31.5: 25 Gms. (1 relief), 132 1/3 Inn., 11-5, a 4.28 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.

From the Minnesota Twins, Kyle Gibson would have a 3.78 ERA after lowering it by 0.50 ERA to compensate for the NL. In other words, a three-slot arm is one notch below what the Fightins need, but he could be a second inking if Klentak adds two starters to the five-man-staff. However, 2019 is his last prime 162.

The last candidate is 13-5 with a 3.44 ERA, and he has three prime summers remaining. Basically, he’s a two-slot moundsman with his first free-agent opportunity, and he will probably receive a five-year offer tops. Plus the next section also reveals this most logical Phils’ signing so far.