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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Phillies Notebook: Not much trade value

Posted by Eric Fisher On July 26

The Phillies will make trades before Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline. If they don’t make any trades, it will be a complete failure.

The Phillies have five veteran players on one-year contracts: Jeremy Hellickson, Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit, Howie Kendrick and Daniel Nava. These players aren’t part of the Phillies’ long-term future. If they can’t get something for them at the trade deadline, they will be in danger of losing them and getting nothing in return.

Having said that, it remains to be seen what general manager Matt Klentak can get in return for players who are basically rentals for the rest of the season.

Hellickson could remain a part of a team’s rotation beyond this season. But it is likely that Hellickson would have to take a pay cut from the $17.2 million the Phillies are paying him this season. Of course, teams might not be willing to give the Phillies too much for a pitcher with a 4.73 ERA this season.

Neshek, the Phillies’ best addition last offseason, should be attractive to contenders. He has a 3-2 record and 1.12 ERA. He has allowed runs in just two of his 43 performances. The Phillies could set up a bidding war for Neshek, but there’s only so much teams will give up for a seventh- or eighth-inning reliever – even for an incredibly reliable one.

Outfielders Kendrick (.343 average) and Nava (.303) are both enjoying fine seasons, but the Phillies can’t expect much of a return for players who will be pinch hitters and spot starters for their new teams. Hamstring injuries for both Kendrick and Nava won’t help their value.

As for 39-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit (1-4, 4.31 ERA), the Phillies might not be able to give him away.

Why would the Phillies give Benoit away? To make room and time for younger relievers. For the same reason, the Phillies are open to trades for first baseman Tommy Joseph and second baseman Cesar Hernandez. Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery are on the way at first and second base, respectively, so the Phillies need to create room for them. The problem is that they probably won’t get much in return – maybe a mid-level prospect or two – for Joseph or Hernandez.

Speaking of prospects, Klentak might get more in return if he were willing to part with prospects or young pitchers. The boldest moves, however, would be trades involving players such as Vince Velasquez, Maikel Franco or Odubel Herrera. These players should bring the most in return. If the price were right, Klentak should consider trades for his bigger name players. Nobody I’ve mentioned in this article thus far should be off limits.

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HERRERA DOES IT AGAIN: Pete Mackanin finally had enough. After Odubel Herrera didn’t run out a dropped third strike during Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to the Astros, the manager removed him from the game in a double-switch. Mackanin said after the game that Herrera’s lack of hustle was a factor in his decision.

When it comes to not hustling, Herrera is a repeat offender. Earlier this season, he didn’t run out a ground ball he thought was foul. He was picked off on consecutive nights, doesn’t always appear to be putting forth a complete effort and has had at-bats where, quite frankly, it appears as if he doesn’t care at all.

Herrera was even mocked by the Astros on Tuesday after flipping his bat on a well-hit to center field in the first inning. The problem was that the ball was caught at the wall. The Astros mocked Herrera, who didn’t run hard out of the box, apparently thinking he had a home run. Later in the game, Astros starter Charlie Morton threw a pitch high and tight to Herrera.

More important than the opposition’s reaction, though, is the reaction of his teammates. Although stated diplomatically, Cameron Rupp’s postgame comments Tuesday expressed a frustration with Herrera’s attitude.

Herrera is an important player for the Phillies, as was evident when they signed him to a five-year, $30.5 million contract extension during the offseason. But, with the trade deadline approaching, Herrera’s repeated behavioral transgressions should raise serious questions about whether Herrera should be part of the Phillies’ future.

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FRANCO FAILURE: When Maikel Franco got off to a good start after the All-Star break, the positive spin was that the enigmatic third baseman was going to have a good second half of the season. Not so fast.

After going 0 for 4 during Tuesday’s loss to the Astros, Franco is hitless in his last 16 at-bats. His batting average has dropped back to .224. Franco leads the team in RBI (52), but he is an extremely inconsistent hitter, with a lot of his production coming in short bursts, which are followed by long droughts.

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WILLIAMS A HIT: Nick Williams is batting .303 (through Tuesday’s game) since being called up from Class AAA Lehigh Valley. He put together a nine-game hitting streak, which ended Tuesday against the Astros. Williams has four home runs and 18 RBI in 21 games, and is tied for second on the team with three triples.

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BACK TO BACK: The Phillies’ series victories over the Marlins and Brewers marked the first time the Phillies had won back-to-back series since April.

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GHOSTS OF THE PAST: The Phillies’ made a remarkable rally from a seven-run deficit Saturday against the Brewers, only to lose, 9-8, on Domingo Santana’s RBI single. Santana’s name should be familiar. Signed by the Phillies, he was sent to the Astros in August of 2011 as the player to be named later in the trade deadline deal for outfielder Hunter Pence. Santana was traded by the Astros to the Brewers in 2015.

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GHOSTS OF THE PAST II: Charlie Morton was one of those veterans the Phillies hoped to flip at the trade deadline. They acquired Morton, who only had one year remaining on his contract, from the Pirates during the offseason prior to the 2016 season. The thought process clearly was to hope that Morton pitched well enough during the first half of the season to bring back something of value at the trade deadline.

Instead, Morton pitched four games (1-1, 4.15 ERA) in April before suffering a season-ending hamstring injury. He earned $14 million. In other words, Morton was last year’s Clay Buchholz.

To add insult to injury, Morton struck out nine during seven shutout innings Tuesday as the Astros defeated the Phillies, 5-0. Morton is 8-4 this season with a 3.83 ERA. He has 92 strikeouts in 82 1/3 innings. He has considerable trade value this season, but the American League-leading Astros have no intention of trading Morton.

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GHOSTS OF THE PAST III: With injuries to several key player, the Astros recalled outfielder Derek Fisher from Class AAA Fresno on Tuesday. Fisher delivered a 2-run single and made two nice plays in center field during the Astros’ 5-0 victory over the Phillies.

The Phillies could have had Fisher in the 2015 Ken Giles trade with the Astros that brought Vince Velasquez to the Phillies. Instead, the Phillies wanted more pitching, which reportedly led to pitcher Mark Appel being included in the deal instead of Fisher. As for Giles, he struck out two Phillies during a scoreless ninth inning Tuesday.

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LOOKAHEAD: After wrapping up their series with Astros on Wednesday, the Philies are off on Thursday and then host the Braves in a four-game series that takes them up to Monday’s trade deadline. That will be followed by a trip out west to Anaheim and Colorado, the first of two west coast swings during August.

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