Matt Klentak's final trade as Phillies GM for David Phelps should have worked, but didn't

Corey Seidman
·3 min read

Even Matt Klentak's final trade, which should have worked, didn't originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

As baseball's offseason takes shape, we will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2020 roster and where they fit in the future. We'll go through the roster by uniform number, lowest to highest for position players, highest to lowest for pitchers, and alternate daily.

Today: Reliever David Phelps

Career rundown

Phelps broke into the majors in his mid-20s as a starter/reliever with the 2012 Yankees. After three years in the Bronx, he was traded with Phillie-killer Martin Prado to the Marlins for Nate Eovaldi, Domingo German and Garrett Jones.

Phelps' career took off in 2016 with the Fish. He had a 2.28 ERA that year with 114 strikeouts in 86⅔ innings.

From 2016 until the day the Phillies acquired him, Phelps had a 2.85 ERA in 171 appearances with 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings.

Then he became a Phillie and things went downhill. 

How he became a Phillie

The Phillies traded three players to be named later to the Brewers at the 2020 deadline for Phelps. This looked like a coup for then-GM Matt Klentak. At the time of the trade, Phelps had a 2.77 ERA with 20 strikeouts and two walks. 

Then in 7⅔ innings as a Phillie, he allowed 11 runs, five homers and 15 baserunners.

Those three PTBNLs turned out to be right-handed pitchers Juan Geraldo, Israel Puello and Brandon Ramey. All three pitchers are between 19-20 years old and last appeared in Rookie ball. None of the three were ranked among the Phillies' Top 30 prospects by Baseball America or MLB.com.

2020 season

Phelps was shockingly awful after the Phillies acquired him. The five home runs he allowed in just 7⅔ innings matched his full-season totals from 2017 and 2019. It made no sense. You hear all the time that hitting is contagious. Meltdowns were contagious in the Phils' 2020 bullpen.

Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree and Phelps were all acquired to boost the Phillies' bullpen and they combined for a 10.20 ERA, 2.30 WHIP, four blown saves and five losses.

What lies ahead

The Phillies declined Phelps' $4.5 million team option. In a normal offseason, they may have exercised it because he still has a track record of success and this bullpen is so thin. But it’s an offseason when one of the best closers in baseball (Brad Hand) was let go so his team could save a million bucks. The Braves declined a $3.5 million option for veteran Darren O'Day, who has an even better and longer track record than Phelps.

The 34-year-old Phelps, like many relievers coming off of uneven seasons, is in line for a one-year deal this winter. It could end up being in the $1-2 million range given the way we're seeing teams cut spending.

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