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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

7/30/21 : The Trades - My Take

It’s amusing how some folks almost always react to sports transactions … there’s seemingly a quick knee jerk despair and angst that the home team didn’t do well. Truth is we won’t know until the players involved actually perform. As fans we know more about what we gave in the deals than what we’ve received. It hits home even more when some of us actually know the players and some of their family members. But that’s part of pro sports and these fellas know what they signed up for.

Truth is in this profession known as Baseball better opportunities are often found in other organizations and fresh beginnings can kick start good runs of play. With that in mind here’s my initial take on today’s Phillies transactions.

C Abrahan Gutierrez to Pittsburgh for LHP Braedon Ogle

Abrahan Gutierrez has been a very consistent hitter for the Clearwater Threshers this season, in fact he just went 2 for 5 this week in two games against Tampa and has 6 hits in his last 13 AB’s. Offense is his strong suit. After the trade was announced I sent him well wishes and he gave me the thumbs up and said thanks. He will be back in action next week in Clearwater as the Pirates have assigned him to the Bradenton Marauders … the Threshers opponents next week.

Ogle from what I’ve read has a lively arm, he’s reached 97 mph as a reliever after spending the early part of his career as a starter. He’s 24 years old and was the Pirates 4th round draft choice in 2016 out of Jensen Beach High School in Florida. He’s got a three pitch mix ( FB, Curve, Change Up ) with scouting reports stating that the FB and Curve are plus deliveries. Braedon has been assigned to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs roster and presumably will pitch out of the bullpen.

RHP Spencer Howard, RHP Kevin Gowdy & RHP Josh Gessner to Texas for RHP Kyle Gibson, RHP Ian Kennedy & RHP Hans Crouse

The Phillies needed experienced pitching help at the major league level and this deal brings it. We’ve seen all three of the young hurlers the Phillies traded away and they are all talented. Spencer Howard ( 25 yrs old ) may benefit the most from the change in scenery as it’s likely the Rangers just let him pitch instead of mixing him up with different roles, whether that’s at the big league level or in the minors. He’s got big league skills, just needs to figure out how to use them.

Kevin Gowdy also has a big league arm, he’s battled his way back from TJ and has shown flashes of brilliance but also struggles in command at times. He’s a very well liked teammate and person, always treats others with respect. If he can build up the arm strength and find consistency he can get to the show, right now the 23 year old is a ways off, he was pitching for the Jersey Shore Blue Claws at the High A level and for now has been assigned by the Rangers to their low A affiliate the Down East Wood Ducks.

Josh Gessner ( 21 yrs old ) was pitching very well for the FCL Phillies in the Complex League. He’s got the projection of a starting pitcher with capabilities of popping the mitt consistently in the mid 90’s, he’s flashed there already. The Australian born hurler was signed by the Phillies in June of 2019 so we’ve actually only seen him pitch a couple times. He has been assigned to the Rangers Complex team in Arizona.

Kyle Gibson ( 33 yrs old ) has been a consistent innings eater throughout his nine year major league career with Minnesota and Texas. He generally keeps his team in games which is what the Phillies need, a chance to win without being in early holes in games. Gibson is a ground ball pitcher so the defense behind him will certainly have to perform better than the Phillies have thus far this season. Pitches in a similar style as Zach Eflin.

Ian Kennedy ( 36 yrs old ) has pitched 15 seasons in the big leagues … he went 21-4 as a starter for the Diamondbacks in 2011 and has made 290 starts in his career. Kennedy re-invented himself as a reliever in 2019 becoming the Royals closer and saving 30 of 34 chances. He’s 16 for 17 in saves for the Rangers this season. He’s generally a strike thrower who goes right after hitters with a four seamer ( 93-94 ), sinker ( 90-93 ), slider ( 87-88 ), cutter ( 88-89 ), curve ball ( 79-80 ) and changeup ( 86-87 ) … in other words a starters arsenal as a closer.

Hans Crouse ( 22 yrs old ) was the Rangers 2nd round draft choice in the 2017 draft from Dana Hills HS in Dana Point, CA. That’s the same high school that Phillies utility man Luke Williams went to. His fastball has clocked as high as 99 mph and he’s reported to have a “wipeout” slider. His third pitch is a changeup but it seems to lag behind the others. Crouse also throws a curve ball … according to his MLB profile “ He's entertaining to watch because he'll talk to himself, groom the mound a la Mark Fidrych and employ a Johnny Cueto shimmy, and some scouts think his energy would be best directed in a late-inning relief role.” He’s been a starter this season at the AA level, it’s expected he stays in that role at Reading which is where the Phillies have assigned him.

RHP Tyler Burch to Baltimore for INF Freddy Galvis

Tyler Burch ( 23 yrs old ) was signed as an un-drafted free agent by the Phillies on 6/12/19 from Lewis-Clarke State in Idaho. He’s a very pleasant and courteous young man who quickly became one of our favorites the first time we met him that summer at the Complex. Tyler has the ability to push the heater from the mid to upper nineties and had been converted to a closer this year, first at Clearwater and then Jersey Shore. He’s punched out 49 batters in 29 1/3 IP. We sent him a note wishing him well and in typical form he thanked us for the “things that we do” … just a class act and family, the Orioles got a good one, he can advance quickly I believe in their organization. He’s been assigned to High A Aberdeen and will face his now former teammates from Jersey Shore next week.

We know what we get back in Freddy Galvis, energy, a passion to win, defensive excellence and a clubhouse leader. He’s a welcome addition to a club that quite frankly needs all of that. Freddy is presently on the IL but is close to returning, the 31 year old should provide the club with a strong defensive option at multiple positions and has some pop also as a switch hitter off the bench.

All in all I think each of the trades were fair, now it remains to be seen who steps up to perform.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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