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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Phillies Notebook: Decent return on trades

Posted by Eric Fisher On August 1

The final verdict on general manager Matt Klentak’s moves before the non-waiver trade deadline can’t be made for several years. For now, Klentak deserves credit for getting something in return for four of the Phillies’ five veterans with contracts that expire this year.

In return for starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, outfielder Howie Kendrick and relievers Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit, the Phillies received one veteran outfielder, five pitching prospects and one minor-league infielder.

The prospects are almost all at the Class A level, so it’s impossible to know if they will become major league players. But, considering Hellickson, Kendrick, Neshek and Benoit could have departed during the offseason without the Phillies receiving anything in return, Klentak did a good job to get something of potential value in return.

Klentak didn’t have a Sonny Gray or anyone with enough value to bring back high-level prospects in return. He was trading rental players for the rest of the season.

The biggest haul came in return for Neshek, who was enjoying an excellent season (1.12 ERA in 40 1/3 innings) for the Phillies. Neshek was sent to the Rockies for shortstop Jose Gomez and right-handed pitchers J.D. Hammer and Alejandro Requena. Gomez, who has played several infield positions, was batting .324 this season with Class A Asheville. Requena, like his Asheville roommate Gomez, is 20 years old. Requena was 8-3 with a 2.85 ERA for Class A Asheville this season. Hammer, 23, has a 4-1 record and 1.20 ERA, with 47 strikeouts in 30 innings, for Asheville after starting the season with Lancaster, a higher-level Class A team.

Hellickson (6-5, 4.73 ERA) was sent to the Orioles in exchange for outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, the only major-league player acquired at the trade deadline, and minor-league pitcher Garrett Cleavinger. Kim is batting .232 this season, but hit .302 in 2016. Cleavinger, a third-round draft pick in 2015, is 2-4 with a 6.28 ERA in Class AA Bowie. The Phillies also received international cash considerations, which is money that can used to scout and sign international players.

Howie Kendrick (.340 average) also made his way South on Route 95 at the trade deadline, going to the NL East-leading Nationals in exchange for left-handed prospect McKenzie Mills and international bonus money. Mills posted a 12-2 record and 3.01 ERA with Class A Hagerstown. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Mills could develop into a major-league starter, but it’s far too early for an informed opinion on that matter.

Klentak completed his trade deadline moves by sending Benoit (4.07 ERA in 40 innings) and cash to the Pirates for reliever Seth McGarry, who was 1-0 with a 1.34 ERA in 40 1/3 innings with Class A Bradenton.

The only veteran with an expiring contract that Klentak didn’t trade was outfielder Daniel Nava, who is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. He didn’t make a big splash by trading a starting position player or high-level prospect, but his restraint may turn out to be a positive factor.

The final verdict on Klentak’s moves won’t be rendered for at least a few years. For now, we can call Klentak’s trade deadline moves a short-term success. We’ll see if they pay off in the long run.

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MORE MOVES? Although the non-waiver trade deadline has passed, teams can still make trades through August 31 and have those players eligible for the postseason. The problem is the players being traded must first clear waivers.

Big salaries often discourage teams from claiming players on waivers. But the Phillies don’t have any high-salary players. If the Phillies try to trade first baseman Tommy Joseph or second baseman Cesar Hernandez to create playing time for Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery, it’s likely Joseph and Hernandez would be claimed during the waiver process.

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HISTORIC SWEEP: The Phillies’ sweep of the Braves was their first four-game sweep of the Braves in Philadelphia since 1949, when the Braves were based in Boston. It should be noted that there aren’t that many four-game series, but something that happens for the first time in 68 years is still newsworthy.

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STREAKING: The Phillies’ five-game winning streak is their second-longest streak this season, behind only a six-game winning streak in late April that occurred just before the season fell off the cliff. Sweeps of the Braves were part of both of these winning streaks.

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NO LONGER WORST: The Phillies’ current winning streak, which includes three straight one-run wins over the Braves, moved them ahead of the Giants in winning percentage, so the Phillies (39-64) no longer have the worst record in baseball.

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GARCIA EXCELS: With Pat Neshek traded to the Rockies, Luis Garcia is the best reliever on the roster. Garcia is 1-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 46 innings. His scoreless streak ended at 21 1/3 innings on Sunday, the longest single-season scoreless streak by a Phillies reliever since current broadcaster Larry Andersen hurled 32 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in 1984.

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ANDERSEN GETS HALL MENTION: The end of Luis Garcia’s scoreless innings streak wasn’t the only reason Phillies broadcaster Larry Andersen was in the news Sunday. He also was mentioned by Jeff Bagwell during his induction speech at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bagwell, a Red Sox prospect, was traded to the Astros in 1990 for Andersen, who helped the Red Sox make the playoffs that year.

“I asked who I got traded for,” Bagwell said, “and they said Larry Andersen. And I said, ‘Who is Larry Andersen?’ They said he is a relief pitcher for the Astros, and a really good one.

“Larry used to always get on me when I went to Philadelphia and say, ‘Hey man, you’ve got to step it up. People are not actually talking about me anymore.’ And I was like, yeah, OK. So I do the best I can and play my entire career, Larry. OK. I am (in the Hall of Fame): is that good enough for you?”

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NOT-SO-ROSEY SCENARIO: When the Phillies return home from their current road trip, their series against the Mets includes a Pete Rose bobblehead giveaway on August 11. The following night Rose is scheduled to be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame. But a woman claimed in a sworn statement in federal court on Monday that she had a sexual relationship with Rose during the 1970s before she was 16 years old, which would be statutory rape.

The statement was part of defense filings in Rose’s defamation suit against John Dowd over comments made during an interview with WCHE, a radio station based in West Chester. Dowd, who led Major League Baseball’s investigation into Rose’s gambling, which led to Rose’s banishment from baseball, said that a friend of Rose who ran bets for him also said he supplied Rose with underage girls “12 to 14” (Dowd’s words).

The legal moves and filings are obviously bad timing for the Phillies, who have had no comment thus far on whether the Rose promotions and induction to the team’s Wall of Fame will continue as scheduled.

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PLAYOFFS RACE ISN’T WILD: With more than one-third of the season remaining, the wild card berths in the National League seem virtually sewn up. The Diamondbacks (60-45) and Rockies (60-46) have solid holds on the wild card berths, with the Brewers, who are 5½ games behind, the closest pursuers. The Brewers’ best chance to make the playoffs is not the wild card. The Brewers, who have struggled since the All-Star break, are just 2½ games behind the Cubs in the NL Central, the only division with a competitive race for first place.

The Dodgers and Nationals have 14-game leads in the NL West and East, respectively. Barring a collapse by the Rockies or Diamondbacks, both of those teams have a clear path to the playoffs, leaving the Cubs and Brewers to battle it out for the final playoff berth.

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Phillies take a five-game winning streak from their homestand on the road, where they will face the Angels, Rockies and Braves. The Phillies play the Angels on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before going to Colorado for a weekend series with the Rockies. After having Monday off, the Phillies go to Atlanta for two games with the Braves, who certainly will be looking to avenge the Phillies’ four-game sweep.

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