Phillies: Three moves that might help a very bad situation

Gregorius is ready for a big 2020 with bat and glove for the Phillies. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images.
Gregorius is ready for a big 2020 with bat and glove for the Phillies. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images. /
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(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Phillies are in a rough spot at the moment. Here are three moves that could make a difference.

The notion of narrowing suggestions for the Philadelphia Phillies this off-season to three involves two problems. The first is the assumption the team will do something meaningful this winter despite all kinds of signals they won’t. The second involves embracing the thought they won’t re-sign J.T. Realmuto.

Of the Phillies’ serious needs, though – I count seven, a shortstop, a catcher, at least two better starters, and three better relief pitchers – which three moves would make the most strategic sense?

Phillies’ managing partner John Middleton complained recently (twice, by my count) about the fact the Phillies have been trying to win by signing or trading for players from other teams instead of developing their own. But if Middleton expects fans to come back to the park, he’s going to have to continue doing that to a certain extent because his minor leaguers are wanting.

Of the six Phillies players recently protected from the Rule 5 draft, one might have an impact at the MLB level. Some day. On the 40-man roster, Cole Irvin has been almost ready for two years now. Vince Velasquez has been almost ready for six.

So…

Move Number 1

Trade Scott Kingery for a promising, young starting pitcher, but a pitcher who seems sure to jump forward from the Triple-A level now, or a player who has at least a little MLB experience.

Who might that be? A number of pitchers would surely fit the bill, but how about the Pirates’ Mitch Keller?

Wait, you say, would any team want Kingery after his dreadful 2020 campaign? This is a good question. Kingery was clearly affected by his COVID infection this year. Also, his swing is too long now. But he is entering his age-27 season under a reasonable contract through at least 2023, after which expensive options could kick in.

The Pirates would likely have enough sense to play Kingery at second base (unlike the Phillies), and the trade should make the player more receptive to a hitting instructor’s directive to shorten his swing.

If need be, minor leaguers could be added to the deal, or the Phillies could eat some of Kingery’s contract. Or both.

In Keller, the Phillies would be getting a pitcher in his age-25 year who seems at least as promising as the back end of their rotation now, or anyone likely to challenge for the fourth and fifth slots in it. Keller “boasts” a 2-6 MLB record (1-1 in ’20), but improvements between ’19 and ’20 in WHIP, from 1.833 to 1.246, and in LOB percentage from 59.6% to 93.8%.

Pull the trigger. It’s time for Scotty Jetpax to go and to put Jean Segura at second to stay for at least a year.