The Phillies were one of several teams linked to Rangers left-hander Mike Minor during offseason trade talks, and with the deadline approaching, “the Phillies continue to maintain interest in” Minor’s services, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Corey Seidman writes.
Needless to say, Minor has only elevated his stock in the eyes of any interested parties in the wake of his strong 2019 season. Minor ranked 31st on MLBTR’s recent list of the top 60 trade deadline candidates, though the southpaw would rocket up the standings if the Rangers were to give a clearer indication that they were shopping Minor rather than retaining him for their own (perhaps fading) postseason push.
A four-game losing streak has dropped Texas to 9.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West and five games out of a wild card berth. The Rangers are still a solid 50-46 overall and they begin a three-game series against Houston on Friday. Plus, the Rangers also play the last-place Mariners four times before the July 31st trade deadline, so there’s even more of an opportunity to make up ground.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels has reportedly remained open to the idea of dealing Minor even with Texas on the outskirts of the race, since Minor represents such a major trade chip for a team that, realistically, is still closer to a roster reload (if not an outright rebuild) than they are to being legitimate contenders. Minor is under contract through the 2020 season and owed roughly $13.46MM between now and the end of his deal — between that extra year of control, the very reasonable salary, and Minor’s impressive performance, he should net a substantial haul in a trade.
With this in mind, the Phils would have to further deplete a minor league system that was already thinned out by some big offseason trades. Speculatively, Seidman writes that the Phillies might have to give up something like right-hander Spencer Howard, a young outfield piece (like Adam Haseley or former first overall pick Mickey Moniak), and probably a third prospect as well (if one of a lesser caliber) for Minor. Philadelphia has already received trade interest in Howard, its second-round pick from the 2017 draft who has thus far posted big strikeout numbers in his young career, though Seidman notes that the Phillies “have been uninterested in moving” Howard in response to these prior offers.
The Phillies are known to be looking at adding both starting and relief pitching at the deadline, with such names as Robbie Ray and Mychal Givens connected to the team in recent reports. Like Minor, these pitchers are all controlled beyond the 2019 season, which makes sense given the recent insinuation from team president Andy MacPhail that the Phillies weren’t likely to give up their top prospects for rental players.