MLB

Phillies trade for Noah Syndergaard and David Robertson to bolster pitching staff

By Sports Desk August 02, 2022

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 at Tuesday’s MLB trade deadline.

Syndergaard’s acquisition was one of two separate trades the Phillies struck with the Los Angeles Angels, as the teams agreed to a swap earlier in the day that sent young outfielder Brandon Marsh to Philadelphia.

The Phillies were among the most aggressive teams at the deadline as they attempt to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Only the Seattle Mariners, whose last postseason appearance came in 2001, have a longer active streak of missing the playoffs.

Philadelphia entered the day a game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL’s third and final wild card spot, and are 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 lot better ballclub," Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told MLB.com. "We’ve got a tough division and tough people who are in the race, but I think we’re better.

"We tried to address certain areas, knowing that we’re getting [second baseman Jean] Segura 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 of 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 has had a bounce-back year after missing nearly the entire 2020 and 2021 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.

The hard-throwing right-hander has remained healthy this season and has posted a solid 3.83 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 15 starts. Syndergaard signed a one-year, $21 million contract with the Angels in November.

Robertson, obtained from the Chicago Cubs for Double-A pitcher Ben Brown, has put together a strong comeback season of his own at age 37. The veteran reliever has held opposing hitters to a .162 average while going 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA and 14 saves in 36 appearances.

The 2011 AL All-Star previously pitched in seven games for the Phillies in 2019 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing all of the following season. Robertson began the 2021 campaign out of the majors before signing with the Tampa Bay Rays last August.

Philadelphia traded catcher Logan O’Hoppe – the organisation’s No. 3 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 hit just .226 with eight home runs and eight stolen bases in 93 games this season, but has received high marks for his defensive abilities.

"He is one of the best defenders in baseball in center field," Thomson said. "Obviously, that’s an upgrade. He can run. He’s just a grinder, gamer type of guy. He’s hit in the past. He hasn’t hit lately, but I think there’s some stuff that [hitting coach] Kevin [Long] can do to help him out."

Odubel Herrera, who has started a team-high 43 games in center field, was designated for assignment following Marsh’s addition. Herrera was hitting just .215 with a .550 OPS since June 1.

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