Grading Every Matt Klentak Trade Part 1

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    When the Phillies hired Matt Klentak in October of 2015 they planned for him to embark on a full out rebuild. The roster was filled with aging Philly legends with large contracts, that would be hard to say goodbye to, but had to be done. He didn’t get put in the easiest situation when first joining the Phillies. His main objective after being hired was to get valuable and promising prospects in return for the aging veterans on the current roster. Fast forward five years later and the Phillies are still yet to return to the playoffs, but they’re so close that fans all throughout Philadelphia are hungry for a playoff series at the Bank.

    December 12th, 2015:

    Astros trade Vince Velazquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Harold Arauz, Mark Appel and Tom Eshelman for Ken Giles and Jonathan Arauz

    In the first trade that Matt Klentak made as the General Manager of the Phillies, he sent a young elite bullpen arm to Houston in return for a bundle of prospects as well as Brett Oberholtzer. The highlights of the return were the power arm of Vince Velazquez and top 100 prospect SP Mark Appel. Mark Appel didn’t see himself throw a pitch in AAA, and retired during the 2017-2018 season. Vince Velazquez shined in his first few outing with the Phillies, including a 16 strikeout 8 inning performance, and a 7 inning one hit effort just a few starts later. It seemed like the Phillies may have struck gold with Vinny Velo, but since that debut season with the Phillies, he has been unable to find long term consistency. There is no doubt that Vince is incredibly talented, and with a recent move the bullpen, many people in the organization believe he will be able to take a step forward opposed to being in the rotation. It might have been a good idea to just not trade Giles at all, as the return hasn’t really netted anything super valuable, and the Phils could use an arm like Ken Giles right about now. Tom Eshelman also seemed like he was a vert promising young star in the Phillies system, after winning the Phillies Minor League pitcher of the year award in 2017, but after that, wasn’t able to find any real success, as he posted a 5+ ERA in 2018, and was traded to Baltimore for cash considerations during the 2019 season, where he later made his MLB debut.

    Grade: D+

    December 12th, 2015:

    Pirates trade Charlie Morton for David Whitehead

    Charlie Morton only made four starts for the Phillies during the 2016 season, but they were four solid ones. After the season Morton mentioned during an interview that he felt something click in his game with Philadelphia, and he had discovered some new found confidence. The Phillies let Morton walk after the 2016 season and he went on to have two fantastic seasons with Houston, and a phenomenal debut season with Tampa Bay. Without this trade to the Phillies, who knows where Charlie Morton’s career would be right now. As for David Whitehead, he posted a 7.62 ERA in 2016 in the minors and retired after the season.

    Grade: A

    February 3rd, 2016:

    Phillies trade Jesse Biddle to Pittsburgh for Yoervis Medina

    Jesse Biddle was the Phillies highest rated prospect for many years, and for good reason. He had the stuff, and put up the numbers to be a highly elite SP at the major league level. Unfortunately, he plateaued in AA and never really was able to mount to anything after that. He reached the MLB with Atlanta in 2019 and posted a 3.11 ERA and a 3.88 FIP as a RP, but since then, he’s been unable to keep his ERA below 5.50 while spending time with Seattle, and Texas. Yoervis Medina never appeared in a major league game for the Phillies and was out of the league the following year. This trade didn’t really do anything other than signify that Jesse Biddle was a failed top prospect for the Phillies

    Grade: C (Didn’t gain or lose anything significant)

    August 25th, 2016

    Phillies trade Carlos Ruiz to the Dodgers for A.J. Ellis and Tommy Bergjans

    When the Phillies traded Carlos Ruiz to the Dodgers at the waiver trade deadline, they traded away a beloved player in the city. A player that no one wanted to say goodbye to, but it had to be done. Ruiz was slashing .261/.368/.352 when the Phillies shipped him to LAD. They received veteran catcher AJ Ellis who spent the rest of that season with Philadelphia before walking away via FA at the seasons end. Ellis only made 35 ABs for the Phillies and he posted an .871 OPS as well as one HR. Tommy Bergjans posted a 7.20 ERA for the LV Iron Pigs in 2016, and a 3.57 ERA over three different levels in 2017. He signed with the Reds on a MILB deal after the 2017 season and spent some time with the three separate Reds affiliates in 2018. Bergjans has never pitched at any level since. The best thing about this trade, was the Phillies being able to dump an aging player with high salary in Ruiz.

    Grade: C

    November 4th, 2016:

    Astros trade Pat Neshek to the Phllies for Cash Considerations or PTBNL

    After losing David Hernandez and Charlie Morton in Free Agency, the Phillies needed another veteran presence on the pitching staff. When the Phillies added Neshek to the bullpen, they were adding a true veteran, who also has had an overwhelming amount of success throughout his career. When Neshek came over to Philadelphia, he had the best season of his career. He had a 1.12 ERA as well as a 1.94 FIP, when he was flipped to Colorado later that season at the deadline. As for the return, the Phillies didn’t even give up a player, just cash considerations.

    Grade: A

    November 11th, 2016:

    Dodgers trade Howie Kendrick to Philadelphia for Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney

    About 2 or 3 years prior to this trade, Darin Ruf was viewed as a super talented prospect, that would be apart of the future for the Phillies. Obviously that was not the case however, although Ruf impressed in streaks with the Phillies, he never was consistent enough to sustain any long term success. Howie Kendrick slashed .340/.397/.454 over 141 ABs. Kendrick battled injuries during his half season with the Phillies until being shipped to Washington later in the season, but when he was healthy, he was very good. Had Howie never been hurt throughout the 2017 season, there is a very real chance he would still be on the roster today. Ruf never made an appearance for the Dodgers, and Sweeney didn’t as well. Darnell Sweeney had 4 ABs for Toronto in 2018, but has never been back to the majors since.

    Grade: B

    December 20th, 2016:

    Red Sox trade Clay Bucholtz to the Phillies for Josh Tobias

    When the Phillies brought in Clay Buchholtz they were hoping for some rotation stability at the back end of the rotation. Instead, he suffered a season ending injury in his second start of the season and never pitched for the Phillies again. He signed with Arizona the following offseason and posted a 2.01 ERA and a 3.47 FIP over 98.1 IP, but after his successful 2018 season, he didn’t do much else. He posted a 6.56 ERA for Toronto in 2019, and signed a minor league deal with Cleveland this offseason. As for Josh Tobias, when he arrived into the Boston farm system, he was ranked as the organizations 26th best propsect, and posted an .817 OPS over three minor league levels. Since then, hes struggled to put up much productivity above the AA level. He’s 26 now, and still plays in the Red Sox organization, making it as far as AAA, and putting up average numbers at best

    Grade: D+

    April 22nd, 2017:

    Toronto trades Ty Kelly to Philadelphia for cash considerations

    When the Phillies made a mid season trade for Ty Kelly, they were hoping to see some more productivity out of the bench. At the time, the Phillies were last in just about every bench statistic. Ty Kelly didn’t really change this that much. Kelly slashed .193/.260/.341 with two HRs for the Phillies during the 2017 season, and he is most remembered by Phillies fans for his walk off single vs Atlanta to give the Phillies the come from behind victory. At the conclusion of the 2017 season, Ty Kelly walked via Free Agency and signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets.

    Grade: C (didn’t lose or gain much)

    July 26th, 2017:

    Phillies trade Pat Neshek to Colorado for JD Hammer, Jose Gomez, and Alejandro Requena

    When the Phillies traded Pat Neshek at the deadline, he was one of the highest coveted RPs of the 2017 deadline. He had a 1.12 ERA at the time, and the Rockies added him to help their playoff push. Obviously the Phillies would end up signing Pat Neshek again after this season in Free Agency. The return, included two of the Rockies top 30 prospects. JD Hammer put up respectable numbers throughout the minors, which was enough for a 2019 promotion to the major leagues. Hammer posted a 3.79 ERA and a 5.11 FIP. But the organizations view changed heavily on Hammer after he was demoted from the majors, he posted a 12.64 ERA over 17 outings in AAA LV. This was enough for Hammer to DFAd when the Phillies claimed Deolis Guerra off waivers. Hammer went unclaimed, and returned to the Phillies organization, where he still is now, and still only 25. Jose Gomez was the other top 30 prospect in the Rockies organization. When he first came over to the Phillies, he debuted as the clubs 22nd prospect. In 2017, he slashed .310/.357/.401 over three levels. Since then, he fell out of the Phillies top 30 prospect list. In 2019, Gomez slashed .266/.323/.352 for the Phillies AA affiliate. He’s still only 23, and will most likely see time in AA and AAA in 2020 or 2021. As for Requena, he has put up decent numbers for the Phillies minor league affiliates. In 2017, he posted a 2.74 ERA over 21 starts. Since then, he has reached as high as AA, and posted a 4.86 ERA for the Fightins in 2019, like Gomez, Requena is still only 23. He will most likely see most of his time in AA this upcoming season. Due to the fact that the Phillies resigned Neshek not even four months after this trade, this seems like a win for the Phils.

    Grade: B-

    July 28th, 2017:

    Phillies trade Howie Kendrick to Washington for McKenzie Mills and Cash Considerations

    The Phils traded Howie less than 7 months after getting him from LAD. He was very, VERY good for the Phillies when he was out there, but when he got to WAS, he was able to stay healthy, and be super productive. Without this trade, who knows if the Nationals end up as the 2019 WS Champions. Kendrick played such a huge part in that season, and postseason run. Kendrick resigned with Washington after the 2019 season, and will remain with the World Series Champions. McKenzie Mills was a Top 30 prospect for Washington, and when he came into the Phillies organization, he debuted at 23 on the top 30 list. Mills posted a 3.22 ERA between two levels in 2017. He was later traded in a separate trade a year later. He had a 5.36 ERA in AAA for the Marlins. He is still only 24, so he has time to figure things out. He still has lots of potential, and besides for 2019, he has put up good numbers throughout the minor leagues.

    Grade: C+

    July 29th, 2017:

    Phillies trade Jeremy Hellickson to Baltimore for Hyun Soo Kim, Garrett Cleavinger, and cash considerations

    The Phillies signed Hellickson in free agency after the 2015 season. He went on to start back to back Opening Days for the club. In 2016, Hellickson posted a 3.71 ERA and a 3.98 FIP.

    The Phillies were rumored to be trading him that offseason, due to his value being very high at the time, as a lot of playoff hungry teams were hoping to stabilize their rotation. The Phillies ultimately chose to keep him and shop him again at the deadline. This plan backfired as Hellickson posted a 4.73 ERA and a 5.51 FIP for the Phillies up until the deadline. They were able to net Hyun Soo Kim, who at the time was a 29 year old, sophomore season outfielder. In Kim’s rookie season he slashed .302/.382/.420 with a .801 OPS. So there was reason for optimism for Kim. Kim slashed .230/.309/.299 for the Phillies in 2017 over just under 100 ABs. The Phillies non tendered him after the 2017 season and he has not played in the majors since. Cleavinger however, was an interesting project arm for the Phillies. A kid with a super high K/9, but had command issues throughout his career. Cleavinger had a 1.36 ERA the prior year in the Orioles organization. In 2019, he spent the entire season in AA Reading, and posted a 3.66 ERA with 83 SOs over 53.1 IP. This intrigue was enough for the Phillies to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, and add him to the 40 man roster after the 2019 season, where he still is at now. There is a real chance that Cleavinger could make his MLB debut sometime this upcoming season.

    Grade: D

    July 31st, 2017

    Phillies trade Joaquin Benoit to Pittsburgh for Seth McGarry

    The Phillies signed Benoit to a one year deal in the prior offseason, to add a veteran presence to a young bullpen that needed one. He did okay for the most part. Posting a respectable 4.07 ERA and a 3.88 FIP. The Phillies shipped him to the Pirates who were hoping to solidify their bullpen and help strengthen their playoff push. Both of those goals weren’t achieved as Benoit posted a miserable 7.56 ERA for the Pirates, and the club had a horrid second half finishing with a mere 75 wins. Seth McGarry came over the the Phillies organization sporting a 1.34 ERA for the Pirates High-A affiliate. Now 26, McGarry has reached as high as AAA for the Phillies, and was a NRI invite to big league camp this spring. He looked great this spring for the Phils, as he had a 0.00 ERA over 3 outings and only allowed a single baserunner. In 2019, McGarry posted a 4.20 ERA across High-A, AA, and AAA. He also had 71 SOs over 79 frames of work. McGarry will most likely see most of his time in AAA this upcoming season, and possibly has an outside chance of making his MLB debut sometime in the near future depending on his play in AAA.

    Grade: C

    September 6th, 2019:

    Phillies trade Juan Nicasio to St. Louis for Eliezer Alvarez

    The Phillies had claimed Nicasio off waivers from Pittsburgh around a month before trading him to St. Louis. In that time, he recorded 2 scoreless outings for the Phillies out of the bullpen. When they had claimed him, he had a 2.85 ERA over 65 outings for Pittsburgh, so the Phillies most likely claimed him with the idea of flipping him for a propsect, which they did. They received a 22 year old second baseman, Eliezer Alvarez. Alvarez only made 23 ABs for the Phillies organization, slashing .130/.286/.130. After the 2017 season, he was traded to Texas for cash considerations where he still spent 2 seasons, befoe joining Seattle’s organization last offseason.

    Grade: C-

    December 15th, 2017:

    Phillies trade Freddy Galvis to San Diego for Enyel De Los Santos

    I’ll admit, it was tough to say goodbye to Freddy Galvis. Not because he was a great player, but rather because of the person he was. Freddy always played with flare, and never didn’t have a smile on his face. Freddy was a fan favorite loved by Philly fans, but the move had to be done. The Phillies were ready to end the rebuild and sadly Freddy wasn’t apart of the team’s future. Freddy Galvis went on to slash .248/.299/.380 for San Diego in 2018. In return, the Phillies acquired SP Enyel De Los Santos. De Los Santos burst into the scene for the Phillies, posting a 2.75 ERA in the first half of the season for the AAA Iron Pigs. This was enough for him to be named the starting pitcher of the International League all star game. De Los Santos debuted as the Phillies 8th best prospect. De Los Santos made his MLB debut in 2018 as well. He recorded a 4.74 ERA and a 4.37 FIP over 19.0 IP in 2018. In 2019, De Los Santos pitched 11.0 innings for the Phillies, posting a 7.36 ERA. Obviously a very small amount of work, so there isn’t any reason for major concern, Still only 24, De Los Santos should get more opportunities to prove himself to the Phillies brass. Enyel is currently listed as the clubs number 8 prospect. To get this type of value out of Freddy Galvis is something the Phillies should be proud of.

    Grade: B

    Part 2 will resume with the beginning of the 2018 calendar year through present day.


    Political Theory & Journalism Major at Delaware Tech. Soon to be Arizona State Sun Devil

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    Samuel O’Neal
    Political Theory & Journalism Major at Delaware Tech. Soon to be Arizona State Sun Devil


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