Seeking to end the longest active postseason drought of any National League team, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired a pair of former All-Star pitchers in Noah Syndergaard and David Robertson on Tuesday’s MLB trade deadline.
The acquisition of Syndergaard was one of two separate trades the Phillies made with the Los Angeles Angels, as the teams agreed to a trade earlier in the day that sent young outfielder Brandon Marsh to Philadelphia.
The Phillies were among the most aggressive teams on the run as they tried to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Only the Seattle Mariners, whose last postseason appearance came in 2001, have a longer streak of losing the playoffs.
Philadelphia went into the day one game ahead of St. Louis Cardinals for the NL’s third and final wild card, and is 33-18 since Rob Thomson replaced Joe Girardi as manager on June 3, the third-highest winning percentage in MLB over that period.
“I think we’re a much better club,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told MLB.com. “We have a tough division and tough people who are in the race, but I think we’re better.
“We try to address certain areas, knowing that we are getting [second baseman Jean] Safe back soon. AND [2021 NL MVP Bryce] Harper is making progress, which is very encouraging.”
Dombrowski sent outfielder Mickey Moniak — the number one overall pick in the 2016 draft — and minor league outfielder Jadiel Sanchez to the Angels for Syndergaard, an All-Star with the New York Mets in 2016 who had a year of recovery after miss nearly all of the 2020 and 2021 seasons recovering from Tommy John’s surgery.
The strong shooting right-hander has remained healthy this season and has posted a solid 3.83 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 15 games. Syndergaard signed a one-year, $21 million contract with the Angels in November.
Robertson, obtained from the Chicago Cubs to Double-A pitcher Ben Brown, has mounted a strong comeback season at age 37. and 14 defenders in 36 appearances.
The 2011 AL All-Star has pitched seven games for the Phillies in 2019 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing the entire following season. Robertson began the 2021 campaign outside the top teams before signing with the Tampa Bay Rays last August.
Philadelphia traded catcher Logan O’Hoppe — the organization’s third overall prospect according to MLB.com — to the Angels in exchange for Marsh, who could take over as the Phillies’ center fielder.
The 24-year-old has only hit .226 with eight home runs and eight stolen bases in 93 games this season, but has received high marks for his defensive skills.
“He’s one of baseball’s best center field defenders,” Thomson said. “Obviously this is an update. He can run. He’s just a grinder type player. He’s been hit in the past. He hasn’t hit it lately, but I think there are some things that [hitting coach] Kevin [Long] can do to help you.”
Odubel Herrera, who started in 43 games at center field, was assigned to the signing following the signing of Marsh. Herrera was hitting just 0.215 with an OPS of 0.550 as of June 1.